UNSILENCE INTERVIEW FOR ATHMOSFEAR (UKRAINE) 2015
This is an English version of our interview in the latest edition (15) of Athmosfear Magazine from Ukraine. This is print only and is in Russian. If you wish to obtain a copy then email: email@example.com (A price for the Ukraine residents 50 hryven + postage. For the residents of foreign countries a price is 2 Euros + postage). The issue will be available in the many rock- and internet-shops in Russia and Ukraine.
-Hello! My congratulations with the release of the new album! Is the A Fire on The Sea more than album for a band?
Hello. Being our latest album, it's naturally expected that we would see it as our best. But we've been able to use the experience we've gained over the years to make the ultimate Unsilence album. This album is more heavier and direct and it was an area we felt we needed to explore. Wherever we go in the future, what we've attained on this album will be part of the step taken.
-Who made this oldschool album cover?
The cover and inlay was designed by our vocalist/guitarist James Kilmurray.
-Choirs of Memory would be the first album, but related to the some problems it wasnt released. Do you plan to release it nowadays?
Unsilence was a far less developed band when we did "Choirs...". And we encountered a number problems during the recording that we probably would have dealt with in a different way nowadays. We had problems with the engineer and he wasn't able to make the recording just a few days before we were due to start. Rather than cancelling and going somewhere else, even if it meant delaying, we got a friend to engineer at the last minute. He did his best but wasn't able to get the sound we wanted and a lot of time was lost. We were also having problems with the guitarist we had then. Therefore the album turned out to be below par. We mixed it at Academy Studio (My Dying Bride, etc) which couldn't salvage it. But they were of a higher standard than anywhere we'd been before. They pointed out all the errors and explained how it could have been better. It was possibly the most important few days for us ever as it set us on the right path for the future.
After all that, there was the label to contend with. They had released one of their other bands before us even though we were next in line. This band were popular in Germany and had interest from bigger distributors. They though that they would sell well and it would be a better return for the label. Only they didn't and they were left without the money to continue the label.
When the deal finally fell through, we were on the verge of recording the "Transfiguration" MCD. Something that was going to be so much better. It was just logical that we would release that. We later got an offer form a label to release the album. But we turned it down as we didn't want an inferior version of us from three year before undermining what we were achieving with our new material. And that has been the case to this day. It was a sorry episode from our more naive years. But it's awesome that we got through it.
-You had started from death/doom, then you switched to the melodic doom, and nowadays you play something like epic/traditional doom with clean and soulful vocals. What does motivate you to change the style?
In the beginning, we rushed into things a bit too soon. We had been playing in bands for a few years before that and we had become used to the lifestyle around it. And after our previous bands had split, I think we just wanted to get back on the go again. We had only a vague idea of what we wanted to do back then. And most of had been playing in death metal bands. So I think the doom death style was something we could agree on. And also our first guitarist was developing his style on those bands whereas I went back further. Once he left there wasn't as much of that influence.
When I first saw your question, I wasn't sure when we changed from melodic doom to epic/traditional doom. There hasn't been a change in influences and you can hear the epic influence on older songs like "The Gallery", "Still" and even as far back as the second demo with "An Unfinished Chapter". I think the change would have been down to the change in vocalist. The old singer largely kept to a mid range depressive style, even though he was capable of more. When Kil took over, it would have been insincere for him to mimic Hodson. But we also felt that we needed more to the vocals as, without going into specifics, we sensed the decision the former singer made to do some things the way he did wasn't necessarily what he felt the song needed. With a more dynamic voice, we had more options with the songwriting. So in short, we always had epic doom leanings but just needed that voice to really bring it out.
-You are in metal more than 20 years. But you have only 2 albums and some demos&EPs. What was the reason of low productivity?
In our earliest years, we were a lot more productive. We did two demos - an album's worth of material during the first two years. And then the unreleased debut album, which only featured two demo songs, was recorded 18 months later. I mentioned some of the problems we had in the band around the time of the unreleased album. After that we felt we needed to take more care with the writing and it has remained that way ever since. We don't want to be on a two or three year treadmill of churning out albums. And even more so nowadays with other things going on in our lives. Although the departures of the drummer and singer back in '03 and '05 slowed us down because we needed to re-think the future approach. And that couldn't be rushed.
-For the recordings of the albums you invited your ex-drummer Jonathon Gibbs, who isnt the active member of the band. How do give a concerts? In which line-up?
We've only done a handful of gigs since '08, when we last had a permanent drummer. Whatever gigs we've done since have been with Jonathon. We tried to find a permanent drummer a few years ago but there wasn't anyone remotely suitable. We would rather do less with Jonathon than do more with someone not as good. It also keeps Jonathon drumming as in The Human Condition he does guitar. Although the main reason for the lack of live activity has been because our vocalist/guitarist James Kilmurray has been doing a college course.
-Which gigs were the most memorable?
At the start of 1998, we supported The Blood Divine in Bradford. It was the biggest gig we'd done for the time and we were well received. After a string of particularly bad gigs in '97 and most of the gigs before that not being too exciting it was a refreshing start to the year. In 2001 we made our first visit to Ireland. The gig in Dublin is probably the best gig to this day. A good turnout and a really receptive crowd. The two most recent London gigs, in 2004 and 2007 were probably the best UK gigs, the last one being one of the best ever. Especially as the early London gigs were pretty crap. The gigs we've done abroad such as Malta, The Dutch Doom Days and Doom Shall Rise (Germany) were all great events and among our best gigs.
-Some members of UNSILENCE play in another doom-band THE HUMAN CONDITION. Tell me about this band.
The Human Condition was started after our former/present stand-in drummer Jonathon had become a father and moved back up north after working in Kent for a few years. He was also the drummer in The River during that time. He started working on new material with a sound closer the The River but incorporating earlier influences. He asked me to play guitar and eventually got a new lineup together including James Moffatt from the recently split Misericorde who has since become our bassist too. We recorded our first demo 'Modern Maze' in 2010 and started gigging then. We have recently recorded an album titled 'Pathways' an are looking for a label to release it.
The Human Condition could be described as progressive doom. It's a more crushing and less melodic style than Unsilence.
-Thnx for the conversation. Your wishes?
I don't think there's going to be a whole lot of Unsilence activity this year. James Kilmurray has just become a father for the first time, as well as his college course. But next year after he's finished his course, we hope to play some gigs again.
Thanks for the interview. Your support is always appreciated.
A FIRE ON THE SEA
A TORN SKY