UNSILENCE INTERVIEW WITH GOLDEN LAKE ZINE (SCOTLAND) 2002.
1. You guys formed way back in 1993? After 9 years of dooming round what keeps you going?
It's just the love of the music. We don't have high expectation of what we'll get out of it. With many bands, there's a need to prove themselves success-wise, weather they're into the music or not. You also get the ones who go into it just to do the music but end up concerned about the money through social pressure from people around them. After all the general opinion of being in a band is to be rich and famous. And if they're not a success after a few years, they just give up. This was something I experienced in previous bands. It's lucky for us that we all have the same approach.
2. The line up stability that you have had (two members from 1993, two from 1996) must have contributed the longevity of the band. Would you agree? Many bands would kill for a stable line up like that.
It's interesting to be asked about line-up stability as many have asked about the line-up changes. Even though the most turbulent period of line-up hassles was over five years ago. There have only been a couple of guitarist changes since, the last one being nearly three years ago. In recent times we have quite clearly benefited from the line up stability. In terms of the writing, we can get to know how each other works. And in terms of playing live there's a natural tightness through having played together so many times. No having to work in a new member. One core factor that keeps us together (Apart from luck) is that we all get on with each other and no one tries to make things difficult for anyone else.
3. Two demos were recorded in the early days of the band. How do you view these releases now? Have you managed to keep in touch with fans constantly through that period?
The first demo, "Shadows Cast In Stone" was written in quite a short space of time after the band had started and our previous bands had split. Some of the ideas had been used in previous bands and the Unsilence style of today had yet to develop. We were still in a similar mindset to before. The second demo "An Unfinished Chapter" did see the style develop although it did focus on the gloomier side. A lot of the arrangements were clumsy. We were trying to do too many things without thinking much about the overall song. Many older fans have stuck by us to this day. Of course, many would become less interested in music in time with the demand from jobs, families, etc. But it's not a case of when death metal was trendy. When you had all these kids supporting your band only for them to be into black metal/ Pantera/ rave/ Rage Against The Machine, etc the following year. However, a large part of our following has been gained in recent years with the release of the "Transfiguration" MCD.
4. You seem to have had a fair deal of shit thrown at you in terms of signing unto labels and getting arsed about. Has this ever made you wonder as to the point of it all or made your determination stronger to continue?
t's something we've luckily been able to keep from the creative side of the band and from the enjoyment we derive from the music. Our most basic desire for doing this is to do the music we'd enjoy had it been done by a band we'd heard. My old band went through a similar thing with a label (Though we didn't record the album) and it sapped the motivation of all the other members. I was pushing to keep going but the others just didn't have it in them after that. So I'm quite lucky that the rest of the band I'm with now have the same idea as I have.
5. You have an album "Choirs of Memory" recorded but has never seen the light of day? Will it ever be released? I suppose that you would rather concentrate on promoting Transfiguration and the new MCD.
It's a subject of some debate round here. There are members of the band who are totally opposed to it being released. I personally would like to see it released just because I wouldn't like to see the time and money wasted. But having said that, the album has many flaws. We went through a number of problems with the studio (M.A. Studio) and the guitarist we had at that time wasn't pulling his weight. But musically, we hadn't developed enough. So in a way, it's non-release may have been a blessing as when we finally released something that a lot of people would hear, with "Transfiguration", we had made significant development. We've had a label interested in putting it out and also the 'Unfinished Chapter' demo (Which was also to be released on another Italian label). It remains to be seen if it will ever be released. But even if we do, it will not be for some time. We'd like to establish ourselves more with our more recent material.
6. Talking of Transfiguration, it is truly an awesome release, featuring one of my all time favourite doom numbers "The Gallery". Were you pleased with the response to the release? Did it give you a renewed energy towards the band/scene again?
It was certainly a boost in some way. Obviously we felt we'd made a significant development from the past (The mixing session at Academy Studio for 'Choirs ' being particularly inspirational) but we'd really been the only people to hear the material before it was released. We were only playing one song from it (Our Final Autumn) in the gigs prior to recording because the guitarist we had at the time was slow at learning songs. And also, most of the gigs were local. So we couldn't gauge what reaction it would get and it was really pleasant to see it well recieved. It's still a release that we're very proud of even though we have moved on.
7. Obviously I'm biased, but how pleased are you to be signed up by that most amazing label Golden Lake? I've heard they are the coolest guys who take you to pubs that play Celtic Frost. But how cool are they? Seriously, what do you hope to achieve through the label? A springboard to larger deal perhaps?
We are pleased that you signed us for the MCD. All we can hope for is that it builds on whatever we achieved with the last MCD. We would like to be able to reach more people who'd appreciate what we do. When doing a self-released CD, there are some limitations in terms of distribution. Many bigger companies simply won't take self-released CDs. Also, a lot of trading takes place with distributors as opposed to them buying the CDs from you. We'd then need to sell the CDs to make the money back. And getting involved is distributing other peoples stuff is not something we'd like to get involved in on a major scale. As for a larger recording deal, well after this, we would like to aim for a full album and we'd like there to be a decent recording budget and distribution. But we are realistic about what we can achieve, especially as bands like us aren't the most lucrative in the eyes of many labels. There are also the aforementioned letdowns from labels in the past. A case of "Once bitten, twice shy".
It was most impressive to hear the mighty Frost at that pub you took us to in Glasgow. Not only that, but the fact that they played Manowar when I asked them too. Not only is it quite a rarity in this Nu dark age, but many Rock pubs wouldn't have played them years ago!
8. Your Golden Lake release "A Walk Through Oceans" will be released by the time this interview is read. Talk us through the concept, songs which appear on the disc? How pleased are you with the end product?
"A Walk Through Oceans" doesn't really have a concept as such. In relation to "Transfiguration", it is a more darker and heavier release. The song arrangements have also progressed. The opening Track "Still" is a more up-tempo and in-your-face type than most of our others. But the atmosphere is still intact. There's a riff on it that also harks back to our more death metal roots. The second track "The Unknown" is also quite up tempo for the first part and is more melodic. It then goes into a slower, dreamier section. The third track "Deep Is The Stigma" is probably the most out and out miserable track on the CD. Maybe harking back to a lot of the material we were doing on the second demo but done much better. The last track is the title track and tends to go through quite a lot of dimensions. Ringing guitar riffs, clean guitar over heavy riffs, major chords, acoustic passages, doom riffs and another deathly passage. We recorded the MCD back in March at the new Academy Studio with Mags engineering and co-producing. It came out better than we expected largely due to the new Pro-Tools set up that they now have at Academy nowadays. We didn't spend much more money on it than the last CD but it came out much better because of this. Also the performances are better because Mags was working with us throughout the whole session unlike the last time, where we had another engineer for two of the days. And Mags has higher standards.
9. Who has been the biggest influence on the Unsilence sound? There is definitely more than just doom rearing its ugly head in there.
It's hard to pick out a band as being the biggest influence. When we started, the doom bands which were prominent at that time were an influence in the sense that they showed us what possibilities there was with taking music based in death metal further on an emotional level. However, we never decided to be a doom band as such. Although doom bands have influenced us and doom is a large part of what we are, we do have other influences from heavy, death, black metal. We also like other things. Our vocalist (And our guitarist and me) likes some dark alternative bands like Joy Division. Our drummer is really into progressive bands like Dream Theatre. I like older Rock stuff like Thin Lizzy, Rush. Our bassist likes all sorts of stuff, things like Frank Zappa.
10. Now I have asked this of a few people this time around and really, it serves no purpose whatsoever but-you have to spend a week in a darkened room with only one CD to listen to. Who would it be and why?
Probably "Nightfall" by Candlemass. An all time favourite and appropriate for the kind of thought I would have.
11. When you started with Unsilence how did you see things mapping out? Given the time you have been together are you pleased with how far you have come or, in a perfect world would you like to be a bit further down the path to mega stardom?
One thing we tried to perceive when we started out was that the band would be able to adapt to whatever change we would go through. That it would be relevant to us many years later as it was when we started. I had previously played in a death metal band that had been going for three years and I felt I wanted something more from the music. I also was also not into the name. That was something else. To have a name that we would like after so many years. And we feel we've achieved that. However, given the time we've been together, I feel we should have a bit more to show for ourselves. Maybe a few full-CDs. Maybe to have done some gigs in Europe. Then again, we did play in Ireland last year (And are due to play again in September) so that's a step further.
12. Do you go to a lot of gigs/listen to a lot of underground releases yourself? Who are the up and coming stars in your mind?
I personally try to get to whatever gig I can. And in these past two years, there have been more gigs than there had been in previous. But I don't go to watch underground gigs just for the hell of it. I like to be interested in at least one band on the bill. I also enjoy the social aspect of gig. And I don't have a prejudice about what level of band I'll watch. I'll watch pub bands to arena bands. I have a similar approach to demos. It's better now that there are mp3s. At least I can sample a band before I send money to buy a demo. Some good underground bands include Mourning Beloveth, The Enchanted, Tefra, Honey For Christ.
13. Did you feel like there was a vibe when recording at Academy. I mean some great doom bands have recorded there in the past, did you feel like the atmosphere of the place helped you in the recording process.
Well, Academy has moved to new premises. Before, it was two stone terraces knocked through and it had that gloomy sort of vibe. But now, the new place is part of the owner house and naturally has a more homely vibe and is brighter. A better environment for Mags to work in. It didn't make any difference to us. I think the first time we were there (When we were mixing the unreleased album) we may have been a bit overwhelmed but we settled in very quickly.
14. What of the future? Where would you like the band to be say, two years from now?
I would hope that we're still together and that we've made sufficient progress. By that time we would have gone past our tenth anniversary and it would be nice to have a full album recorded, or better till released by then. And maybe to have done some gigs a bit further afield.
15. Finally, David Seaman-how funny was that?!! (biased Scotsman's opinion)
Not as funny as Alan Rough against Brazil back in 1982! Truthfully, I didn't think England were that impressive this time. Had they gone any further or even won the tournament, we'd have never heard the last of it!. Final comments.Nothing much. Thanks for the interview and for releasing the next MCD.
Interview by Graeme
MGartland. August 2002.
A FIRE ON THE SEA
A TORN SKY