UNSILENCE INTERVIEW WITH PSYCHEDELIC ZINE (HUNGARY) 2000.
UNSILENCE created a few years back a fantastic MCD called Transfiguration, its early Solstice-styled epic sorrowness with bittersweet melancholy. Csaba asked Kieron/guitars for an interview and also for details about the songs that touched his heart very very deeply
1- Greetings Kieron, be welcomed at Psychedelic Fanzine. Before we go into details, could you give us a brief history of Unsilence, which are those things, we surely have to know about your band ?
We formed back in December 1993 and we released our debut demo which was titled Shadows Cast in Stone the following year. We released a second demo in 1995 titled An Unfinished Chapter which was to be released as a MCD for the Italian based Full Moon Rising but the deal fell through. We then signed to Seven Art Music and recorded our debut album during 1997 titled Choirs of Memory. But that deal also fell through.
2- Two years ago, you have released an MCD with 3 tracks, self-financed and self-released. Did you choose this way, because you got enough of unsuccessful trials with releasing of the previous stuffs at different labels ?
Yes, most definitely! We knew that by doing it ourselves, then everything is in our control. Its a pain to have made all the effort recording only for it to be a waste when a label fucks things up.
3- With this MCD you worked at the famous Academy studio in Dewsbury. Please tell us a few words about the recording itself, how were the conditions and atmosphere like during the recordings, how long have you been in the studio, while you were completing the songs ?
We mixed Choirs.... at Academy and we were shocked at how professional they were. They had ideas that we just didnt really consider in the past. I feel it was something of a turning point for the band. So we just had to do the whole of our next recording there. When we came to doing that, it wasnt as much of a shock as we were more prepared and had developed a bit since the album. Academy is a well-equipped studio and the environment is one, which encourages you to be productive. And the engineers there (Mags and Mark Brookes) are with you in getting the recording the way you want it and the best quality as its whats earned them theyre reputation. So you can relax and get on with things without worrying if the engineer knows his stuff or will get the right sound. We spent four days at Academy on the MCD. The first day was where we set up and got the drum and guitar sounds. Mags engineered us the first day, but wasnt there for the next two, the engineering being done by Mark Brookes on those days. Then we recorded the drum tracks and a guide guitar. On the second day we recorded all the guitars and then everything else was recorded on the third. Then Mags returned for the fourth day and all the mixing and mastering onto DAT was done.
4- Could you present each track of 'Transfiguration' in a couple of detailed words ? Please tell me, what they are about, how did you get them together and tell us a few words about your song-creating process at Unsilence.
The Transfiguration MCD opens with the track Our Final Autumn. It is a slowish track in a three tempo, going from bludgeoning heavy sections to dreamier sections. The lyrics are based and a story about the last group of witches. It can be an analogy to feeling youre the last of your kind. The second track is called The Gallery which is a more uptempo track by a ringing lead. But theres a more melancholic middle section with folky guitars and violin. The lyrics are based on the idea of an acid trip in a gallery. It can be related to being in difficult situations where everything seems distorted. The third and final track is called Once were Embers. It also features clean guitar and violin parts. Its generally a more atmospheric track with a few up-tempo sections. Lyrically it deals with experiences, which bring back things from the past and also how things can be better dealt with experience.
The earliest bits of writing for the MCD started in late 1997, but most of it was written in the first half of 1999. The music in Unsilence is written by Jonathon and myself. We usually get a draft for the song and then Andrew comes up with most of the lyrics (I do some lyrics as well) and vocal melodies and then, if the need be, the music is altered to fit. Our new guitarist James has written a few riffs, but weather hell get more into the songwriting remains to be seen.
5- I feel a solid touch of Solstice (both musical and vocalwise) influences in your transfigured songs, am I right ? Anyway, do you know them, do you like them ?
Youre not the first to make this comparison. I do like Solstice and so do some of the other guys, but I would say that any comparisons are probably to do with having similar influences (such as Candlemass) and some other things (such as using the same tuning) as well as them influencing us. Our vocalist isnt a particular Solstice fan, so they wouldnt have influenced him. I feel the Solstice comparisons are rather superficial as we both have a different aura from each other.
We do know Solstice (particularly Rich and Chaz) and have played a gig together. Theyve been quite helpful to us on a couple of things and theyre certainly characters!
6- There was mentioned in your official biography that your unreleased debut album called Choirs of memory may be available through a MP3 release in the future. It's really great, because that would have been a wonderful debut album...
There have been plans to issue Choirs... on MP3, but we havent done anything. We recently had an offer from a label to release it and also the second demo (which was to be a MCD). But the album is over three years old and were not pleased with the playing production and most of the material doesnt stand up to the stuff we do these days. Seeing that we have a much more superior release available, wed rather people hear that. So we have at the very least shelved plans to release it. If we ever do get round it, then wed like a few newer releases out so that people will know that its an old release. If we put it out now, people may pick up on it and get the wrong impression.
7- Do the violin-parts constitute a main part of the Unsilence sound or were they just given to the songs as emotional and atmospherical touches ?
Those violin parts were just for them songs. We would have otherwise done them on a synth, but our drummers dad is a professional violinist and he was more than happy to help. There are no plans to use violins on any new material or to have a violinist in the band like that band..........er.......... God, I cant remember who they are! My Bride is Dead or something like that!
8- Please share with us, what hides behind your bandname, Unsilence. Has it any special or personal meaning to you ?
Originally the name of the band was to be Unsilent. But I thought that someone else may use the name as well, so I bastardised the word to Unsilence. My interpretation of the name is how the music makes the deeper emotions unsilent.
9- Well, give us a foretaste about your rehearsals, how often do you come together to practise, write and put the songs together ?
We usually get to rehearse once a week as we all live some distance from each other making it difficult to rehearse any more often all the time. The song writing is usually done outside practices. I will go to Jonathons and we work on ideas and do tapes to give to the other members to learn the stuff. Andrew will come round here to work on the vocals. When we rehearse, its usually just to practice together and not much writing is done.
10- Have you managed to find a new second-guitarist since last summer, since you haven't played any gigs, because of it ? If I know it well, you played circa 28 gigs so far, could you tell us, which were your best and worst experiences connected to this?
We now have a new guitarist. He is James Kilmurray and hes working out excellently. With some of the previous guitarists, theyre lacked in either ability or commitment and generally werent the right people. So we decided to take the time to find the right person even if it meant not gigging for years. Luckily, we settled for James after seven months. We did our first gigs with him in the summer. It will be over thirty by the time this is out. We had a gig in Bolton last week. Then we play in Bradford next week and in London in January. The best gig we did was when we supported The Blood Divine three years ago. Bad gigs have been when the crowd has been against us or when certain ex-members have been playing badly.
11- Don't you want to release any vinyls in the near or far future ? I ask for it to know, if you prefer vinyls to CD's and tapes ?
I generally think CDs are better. However, vinyl has a certain charm and Im speaking as someone who grew up with it. So it would be nice for us to have something on vinyl.
12- Could you give us an overall (both atmospherical and reality-descriptive) view of Bolton ? What is your life like there, are there many true doom or music fans, do you have a huge fellowship in the town ?
Firstly, only myself and our vocalist Andrew live in Bolton. But the places the others live in arent too different. Bolton is in the North West of England and twelve miles north of Manchester. Its like allot of northern towns in that its a bit grim, but it has some nice old buildings. It has the benefits of being close Manchester, which the southern part of the town goes towards. But to the north are some nice desolate moorlands. I like the way that Bolton is not too urbanised, but not totally out of the way.
There are only a few people into Doom here. Even my mates, who are into metal arent into doom. There are people here into metal, but its mainly trendy stuff. We have had good turnouts, when weve played here, but its often people who know us and who wouldnt give a toss otherwise. At the recent gig we did here, it was 90% people from outside town.
13- Please introduce each member of the band in a few, concrete, detailed words from the personal point of view. What kind of guys are you, do you hang out a lot together, what is that you do in civil spheres of your lifes ?
Our vocalist is Andrew Hodson, better know round here as Hoddy. He works as a foreman at a glass company. He has a mysterious aura about him and a bizarre sense of humour. Our drummer is called Jonathon Gibbs. As well as Unsilence, he does a fanzine called Inquisition and he has just started a job as a credit controller at a bank. Hes quite an amiable guy and also fussy (in the right kind of way). Our bassist is called David Elliott and we usually refer to him as Elliott. I think hes working as a part time barman and was recently a student. Im not sure if hes carrying on his studies. He is rather mad underneath his somewhat quiet exterior. He has cultured tastes (particularly music) and he can be a bit untogether at times. Our guitarist is James Kilmurray, better known as Kil. Hes working at a dog kennel right now, but I think hell go back to college. Hes a quiet guy but rather passionate. I suppose these descriptions say as much about me as it says about them. By the way, I work in an aluminium fabrication place, operating machines and doing the delivery driving.
We dont usually hang out together and this is because we live some distance from each other. Myself and Hoddy live in the same town and used to hang out all the time. But it isnt as much these days as hes more settled with his home and his girlfriend. But when we are together, we get on really well and have a good time.
14- What brings the future for Unsilence ? Any new planned recordings, gigs and so on...
At the moment there is no plans for recording but were busy working on new material. We hope to demo some stuff very soon. We have a few offers from labels so well see, whats the best. Maybe well do another self-release. Were very wary about labels and rightly so given our experiences.
As mentioned, we have a gig in Bradford next week. Its a five band all-dayer with The Enchanted, Conquest of Steel, etc. Should be classic. We then have our first gig in London for nearly three years in January. Theres more gig plans for next year, hopefully in some different places. We may have some gigs in Ireland. Weve discussed the idea with a band we know there called Honey for Christ and well be getting them gigs over here. Theres no plans for any gigs in Europe but its something that we hope for.
As for other things we plan to have some T-shirts available soon and hopefully upgrade our website when the guy who designs it gets the time.
15- Finally, please add anything to the interview that you'd like to share with the readers in any case at the end.
Theres nothing in particular that I havent already said. Just check out the Transfiguration MCD for £4.60(UK)/ $8 (Europe)/ $10 (ROW). Thanks a lot for the interview.
A FIRE ON THE SEA
A TORN SKY