Ever since they were skipping high school to attend Rock on the Range, Columbus natives Black Coffee have never liked rules. The band, consisting of frontman Ehab Omran, bass player Nick Frantianne, drummer Tommy McCullough, and lead guitarist Justin Young, kept true to that while playing the Sonic Temple main stage on Saturday, May 20, when Frantianne threw a banana into the crowd during their set.
Of course, with a lack of rules can often come with a lack of certainty.
“Did that go over well? Honestly, I wasn’t sure,” Frantianne said. “They had bananas in the green room, and I’m allergic to bananas. So, I had someone set it up on my amp and after the third song I saw it and knew I had to throw it to somebody. I’m waiting to meet the person who caught that banana.”
Nevertheless, the vibe of Black Coffee is nothing if not easily read. When the band played the Monster Energy Stadium Stage, Omran wore a flowing purple top and tight jeans, his brown hair flowing in thick curls down to his shoulders. Frantianne is similarly clad, his pitch-black hair reaching his chest and eyes concealed by a pair of aviator sunglasses. They strutted confidently across the stage, Omran wailing like a banshee alongside screaming guitar solos and pounding basslines for songs like “I Barely Know Her” and “Monica.” In a few words, their vibe is textbook rock and roll.
Even so, these Columbus boys refuse to be confined by any label or stereotype.
“What we’re trying to do is get back to the roots of rock n roll, which I feel like everyone desperately needs,” Frantianne said. “I wouldn’t put a box around it like, ‘Oh, we’re just a 70s band’ or some shit like that. We’re just doing what we do and it’s rock n roll.”
While the band’s music is inspired by legendary acts like Led Zepplin and AC/DC, the group is inspired by anybody who ever wrote what they consider to be a good song, from Ted Nugent to Britney Spears. Most of all, they are inspired by the Columbus music scene they grew up in.
“It’s [Columbus] an unbelievable scene, it’s an unbelievable culture,” Omran said. “It’s the new LA. LA is dead as fuck, this is where rock n’ roll is living right now. It’s better than anywhere else in this fucking world, except maybe Europe. Europe is probably the best rock and roll scene, but on this side of the ocean it’s the best rock scene that’s out there.”
Their performance at Sonic Temple isn’t the only big thing the band has going for them. During their set, Black Coffee revealed they had signed to a major record label. Even if the group cannot disclose many details, including the name of the label, Omran insisted that they would not be following anybody else’s rules but their own any time soon.
“That right there [signing to a major label] would seem like the biggest cop-out ever,” he said, “but the label knew that we’re not going to play by rules and he decided to be very flexible and give us what we wanted.”
So, with all that under their belt and on the horizon, what is the next step for Black Coffee?
“We’re going to get to the top, we’re gonna have our big break up, Ehab is gonna go solo and I’m going to go solo,” Frantianne said. “About eight years from now, we’re going to break up and it’s going to be a whole thing. It’ll be in the news, but four years after that we’re going to get back together and put out the best album the world has ever seen. Our next record is going to be sick, but twelve years from now it’s going to be amazing.”
Black Coffee’s music is available to stream on all platforms.