Monday, October 27, 2014

interview with UnKured from Ohio, U.S.

If you look up what people are saying about UnKured, you will discover a particularly positive perspective about the sound of the band. It is not just this zine that has noticed why UnKured sounds good. In 2013 UnKured had the EP “As Reality Melts” and this is what Metal Bulletin Zine observed about it.
-- There’s something about UnKured that makes the music very likable. It could be just my own imagination, but UnKured sounds like a critique of “modern metal” so infested with chugga-chugga, hardcore-diseased, lazy-guitar low-string knuckledragging plucking that passes for “riffs” and that stupid “macho man” angry-guy-down-street yelling-style vocals, not to mention the hipster or shopping-mall radio aggro/angry-rock posturing.
So, how is UnKured a critique? The shredding, for one thing. This band has worked on creating real riffs in the thrashing way, worked up with some blasting and old-style thrash/death Terrible-Certainty-era-Kreator-like vocals, within a bass-and-guitar friendly context. UnKured is into doing these cool guitar solos that show that they have spent time practicing the guitar. Hey, I notice these things! Into shredding thrash/death? Do you have an interest in a band from Cincinnati, Ohio that’s been at it stubbornly for several years?
-- Now in 2014 they have a new album called “Mutated Earth” and it continues the trajectory of the EP of constructing structures that highlight quality and tradition. It’s thrash, but it’s not linear, easy retro thrash; it’s death metal but not chugga-chugga or clicky “modern death metal”; it’s a bit technical/prog but still very much headbanging, too. As the bassist Ben Stanton explains, their biggest influence is Death, and after listening to UnKured’s music you can hear the band taking inspiration from the difficult balance between memorable, quality riffs and complexity that characterizes the fundamentals of Death’s “Human,” “Individual Thought Patterns,” “Symbolic,” for instance. UnKured is a name that we will be hearing more in the future if they follow their stubborn path.
I have been listening to how your new album "Mutated Earth" stands out and sounds fresh in 2014. UnKured’s previous EP already showed the band’s rebellion against forms of “modern metal” by emphasizing riff-oriented, shredding, classic-style thrash/death with an honesty that allows the listener to hear all the instruments.
Out of curiosity, do you play the songs all the way through in the studio? How much sampled-sound drumming is there on the album? Autotune and error-fixing on the vocals? Does your vocalist do every chorus each time?
BEN: We recorded mostly piece by piece due to tempo changes and also because we just finished writing the songs right before we got into the studio. So that's just how that had to be done. The snare and double kicks are somewhat sampled for consistency's sake. Of course, Adam did all drums in 2 days, 8 hours one day and the next was around 12 or 14 hours so hits are going to be slightly inconsistent after playing that long and that hard. I will say Adam can certainly play the songs live superbly, so weren't too concerned about that. I think there may have been one or two instances of looped vocals. I wasn't there for vocals, so I'm honestly not sure. No auto tune, though he may have put a little reverb on here and there, but it’s pretty much how he sounds live.
It is very common in metal for bands not to use the actual sound of the drums, and instead use a sound completely robotized, perfected and sanitized. In your opinion, why do metal bands do that?
BEN:I think every band is different. Some bands want a super triggered clicky perfect sound, some want raw recording and some just want it to sound good. I think we fall under just wanting it to sound good. I think metal bands feel they have to have very high standards and also very odd double standards. Like if a record sounds perfect it sounds " too perfect," "it sounds fake" stuff like that; and if it sounds not perfect, "it sounds like garbage" "production," so really there is no winning in recording, you just should do what makes you happy. It’s your band, not some random jerk behind a screen in Idaho.
[Leave the people of Idaho alone, Ben! UnKured will play Idaho one day, and it will be glorious!!—ed.]
If a band does not use the sound of the drums that were recorded, and instead uses a bunch of sampled drums, shouldn’t they just admit that it is drum programming?
BEN: I don't know, I mean, for us we have always been about the live performance. We write for songs to sound crushing live. If the drummer can do it live, but wants to get whatever sound he wants in the studio more power to them. Now if that the drummer can’t play the songs so you have to program drums, then, yeah, you should say the drums are programmed, and also find a new drummer.
I hope UnKured is never successful. You know why? Success is the worst thing that happens to metal musicians. Shredders get lazy, skilled drummers become “groove” drummers and riff writers start talking about how "less is more.” Have you noticed that? I get the feeling that UnKured actually rehearses together in the same room? Am I wrong?
BEN: Not at all, yes, we do rehearse together. I think by success you mean money, money isn't bad for a band but too much of anything is bad for anyone, so it’s really a balance. Chugging and groove is fun, but you just don't want to do it too much, like I said it’s a balance.
People like sludge, gimmicks, core and angry-man shouting and guitar chugging. Wouldn't UnKured lose its way if you actually started touring with bigger bands and becoming "friends" with those bands?
BEN: Not at all. I mean people ask me if I like their set sometimes at shows and I'm like, “not really man, sorry.” I'm an honest dude, and we're all honest with ourselves especially with our sound. We have learned from bands before us. And the lesson we have learned is don't write garbage music. Write cool stuff and you will have at least some type of success. Us touring with other bands would do nothing, but get us closer to where we want to be. We don’t have too many outside influences as of right now. We just write what we enjoy.
Is core, hardcore, deathcore, and chugga-chugga metal, is that people with mediocre talent, but who have an extraordinary desire to be rock stars?
BEN: Well, I like some true hardcore like cro-mags, madball, those bands are cool. Deathcore is really dead or dying off, as far as I can tell. There are good players in every genre even the ones I don’t like, so I can't say they are all terrible players. Generally deathcore is pretty awful, though. As far as egos and ability, you're going to have that in just about any genre or subgenre.
Is UnKured something like a band with a ferocious desire to be creative, but a band that lacks the ambition to be trendy in order to make it? Plenty of ability and stubborn as hell, but bad businessmen?
BEN: Well, I think you are 100% correct up until the horrible businessmen part. At least I hope, haha. I don’t think being bad at business is good. I think it’s important to cover yourself and not get ripped off. Everyone thinks business is about making money and for some it is, but for us we just want to survive and play music. So really being good at business definitely isn’t bad, because if you aren’t good someone can make a quick buck off of you and that’s never cool.
"As Reality Melts" is an EP from 2013. Then, your new album "Mutated Earth" in 2014. You have a release every year since 2010. In 2011 you had three different recordings? How do you manage to be so productive?
BEN: I actually feel that you saying that UnKured has been productive is a bit ironic, seeing as we always feel like we aren't doing anywhere near enough. We just try our best at this whole thing. We try to put out the very best we can possibly make and hope people enjoy it.
Where do you get the inspiration to be good musicians and to dedicate time to your instruments? It seems like lots of band are on Twitter and Facebook all day long. How do those bands even have time to rehearse?
BEN: Well, we wouldn't be able to play like the bands we listened to, which was old school death metal and old and new thrash bands. We got our chops up and practiced a big, big ton. As far as social networking goes, that kind of stuff only means so much. You can have 7000 likes on Facebook, but not bring 20 people to a show, so obviously that stuff doesn’t matter too much.
Is your vocalist and guitar player Cody Knarr a guitar nerd? Does he like early Coroner? To me, UnKured sounds like Terrible Certainty-era Kreator-vocals jamming with classic, technical thrash-era Coroner, together with Human/Individual Thought Patterns/Symbolic-era Death.
BEN: I wouldn't call him a guitar nerd as much as I would call him just very creative, and yes, he is a big Coroner fan haha.
Death is our favorite band, every member in this band has Death as our number one, so Chuck is a huge influence. We make it a point to differ ourselves because this is no time to be unoriginal. We always get told we sound like Death. Personally, I don’t think we do that much aside from Cody's vocals. It is a compliment I'm definitely willing to take haha.
Thanks for learning to play your instruments for real and for bothering to spend time on the songwriting. I appreciate the arthritis-inducing work that you do for metal. If I were to meet you, I would buy y’all huge, tall glasses of apple juice or orange juice or almond milk because you deserve it. Or, the drink of your choice, of course. Cheers!
BEN:You can get us some Yoohoos. We all enjoy our chocolate milk haha!
UnKured - As Reality Melts... 2013 (EP)
UnKured - Before Us, Heaven Trembles (Music Video)
Unkured - Mutated Earth (ALBUM PROMO)

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