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Black Smoke Trigger - Set It Off

Produced, recorded, mixed & mastered by Michael Wagener at WireWorld Studio, Nashville

USA billboard Charts Ranking Week of 30th November 2019

#12 - Hard Rock Album Sales

#13 - Heatseekers Albums

#46 - Rock Album Sales

#6 - Heatseekers - South Atlantic
#43 - Independent Album Sales



New Zealand quartet Black Smoke Trigger are unstoppable. They’re a band on a mission, constantly challenging themselves to create a unique brand of modern hard rock that’s instantly recognizable. “We’re not satisfied playing the same kind of songs as everyone else,” band founder Wallace states emphatically. “We’ve progressed hugely in our first couple years as a band. Next record, we’re honing in on our distinctive sound and showing people who we are and what we’re made of.”

Reviews praise the band’s “engine-revving, ballsy hard rock,” frontman Josh "Baldrick" Rasmussen’s “impressive and unwavering high range” as well as the “big, bold rock riffs on every track.”

The combination of passion, talent and an unwavering work ethic caught the ear of Spectacle Entertainment Group’s legendary rock manager Andy Gould (Pantera, Rob Zombie, Linkin Park). “It was everything I love about rock music,” said Gould. “The visuals and song were great. Digging deeper, I realised this band had crazy talent, and it was something I had to be involved with.” In 2021, BST signed with the L.A.-based manager.

The stellar songs and success of Black Smoke Trigger’s debut EP, Set It Off launched the band. With millions of views on Facebook / YouTube / Spotify for Set It Off’s two singles --"Caught In The Undertow" and "You Can Have it All" – the stage is set for the next big step. Legendary producer Michael Wagner (Metallica, Ozzy Osbourne, Mötley Crüe), who produced Set It Off, says, “I loved their music from the minute we met. The songs are kick-ass and we had a hard time picking which ones should go on the record.” Black Smoke Trigger were also honored with a special guest for Set It Off: Motley Crue guitarist Mick Mars adds his playing to the EP’s edgy third song, “The Way I’m Wired.”

The young band with old souls is fronted by Rasmussen’s passionate, spot-on vocals, with a tone, range and power that’s influenced by icons including Chris Cornell and Maynard James Keenan. The propulsive rhythm section of bassist Dan Fulton and drummer Josh Te Maro drive BST, with Charlie Wallace’s tasteful solos, lines and riffs broadening the band’s scope even further. Songs coalesce thanks to a one-for-all brotherhood—each member shares in the Black Smoke Trigger songwriting, and they’re all multi-instrumentalists as well.

With the mesmerizing guitar riff and timeless chorus of “Caught in the Undertow,” it’s clear that Black Smoke Trigger offers an original sound that’s inspired by heavy classic rock melded with production and sensibilities.. With seven diverse but cohesive tunes, Set It Off jumped onto the Billboard charts with #12 Hard Rock Album Sales and #13 Heatseekers Albums.

“The writing is collaborative,” explains Rasmussen. “Every member gets to put their stamp on it. While we share some of the same core influences, we also have different preferences for who are our favorites, so all songs go throughout various filters.”

The band name suits the music and vibe without pigeonholing. In short, Black Smoke Trigger are simply three words that sound rock ‘n’ roll. As Wallace explains, “It’s meant to evoke images, feelings and sounds as to what we are without putting too fine a point on it.”

From small-town beginnings — the tourist-city of Napier in New Zealand — the lineup came together with a shared goal of musically conquering distant shores, following in the footsteps of the rock icons that first inspired them. The Black Smoke Trigger band members all grew up in homes full of music. Rasmussen’s childhood soundtrack was rife with AC/DC, Elton John, Neil Diamond and Guns N’ Roses. Starting guitar at the age of 12, he soon branched into writing his own songs – learning drums and bass along the way – and went on to join various local bands.

He met Wallace when the two were only about 13. At a party, Rasmussen played Wallace some demos of songs he’d done. He was looking for a singer. Wallace was blown away by his friend’s powerful voice on the tunes and told him that he was the one who needed to be the singer. Emboldened, Rasmussen took on frontman duties for his band, his assurance growing with each live gig.

Wallace’s own first musical epiphany as a kid was hearing “Paranoid”. He looked for the song online but came across a guitar tab instead. “I picked up the dusty guitar from down the garage, and that was all it took the self-taught guitarist, who moves easily between neo-classical shredding and tasteful, gutsy solos, was teaching guitar in schools by 16.

Bassist Fulton likewise grew up with music cranked at home, and he and his older brother-guitarist were obsessed with the live version of “Stairway to Heaven.” “We were both totally determined to learn the guitar solo, but because he's the big brother, he decided he needed a bass player,” It turns out bass was a natural fit for Fulton, who found a love of John Paul Jones, Faith No More and “busy Motown-y flavored parts.”

Like his bandmates, Josh Te Maro paid his dues in local lineups. He moves easily from his massive double-kick sound to one that serves the song, learning from producer Wagener that “less can sometimes be more.”

In their short time together as Black Smoke Trigger, the band has done New Zealand-wide tours, playing venues of up to 1,200 capacity with such national favorites as Devilskin. Earning new fans at every gig, life on the road also cemented friendships and their incendiary live show. But BST are not content to rest on their laurels. Black Smoke Trigger’s goals are simple, but ambitious, as they state confidently: “We want to be the biggest hard rock band out there and play for as many people as possible. We’re really ready to make a statement, progressing and experimenting to create our own sound with our debut album.”

BST - Live At The Cabana