As I don’t know too much about UNITY I thought an interview with them would straighten out the biggest question marks. You might not get to know all you want to about UNITY but you will be much wiser than before. Anders Ekdahl ©2012
How much of a declaration of intent is the title of Unity’s album Reborn?
A: The title was chosen because of a communal rebirth within the members of Unity. Tim (Drums) hadn’t played since he left Dark Mirror back in 2008, Adam took on the bass duties for the first time in his life, Yasko (guitars) has never been in a band playing original material and on a personal level the title reflects the fact that I had to start another musical project from scratch. So for all of us it was a new beginning, a musical rebirth if you will.
When you leave a band and start a new, what good stuff do you bring with you from the old one?
A: Usually you bring the good experiences and good memories. In my case, I also brought with me my musical ideas, lyrics, designs, drive, ambition, etc. I think that this time around it will be much easier and much smoother. It is like you know which road to take this time so you don’t make the same mistakes as before. With this band I feel that there isn’t a struggle to pull it in any different direction from where it needs and it is intended to be.
How much of a difference is Unity compared to Dark Mirror? What was it that made you leave and start anew?
A: Every single aspect of Unity is different from my old band (Dark Mirror). The musical direction of Unity is what my old band should have turned into and not the direction they decided to go after I left (some mix of Death Metal subgenre). Dark Mirror was special due to the registry in the vocals and the musical intent. That was the reason why Jens at Killer Metal Records became interested in the band. Now it isn’t anymore. Dark Mirror sounds like everything else that being played in the Midwest. When thinking about the names of my new possible musical project I came to the realization that in order to make this new project different from my old band, I had to start from the name of the band. So I chose UNITY because I told myself that this time I was only going to work with individuals that share my musical vision and style. There were too many reasons that made me leave the band. The most important ones were that I sensed that the band wasn’t a unit anymore. I felt I was being dethroned. I felt that the musicians in the band wanted to take the band on a direction that wasn’t intended when the band was formed. I felt the new members in the band were boycotting the natural course that the band needed to take by unwillingly wanting to write the material proposed and lack of motivation. So we entered into a conflict of interest. At that point I felt that the vision once established by me wasn’t a unified vision anymore so I decided to take my vision and talent elsewhere.
When Ronnie James Dio died how much of the American metal scene died with him? What kind of influence had Dio on the scene?
A: I think that when Dio passed a little in everyone of us died as well. I don’t know how much influence Dio had on the Midwest music because nobody other than a few musicians and a few bands know of his music and legacy. The American scene is more concentrated in making music a little more brutal and less melodic every time. There isn’t a band now in the Iowa scene besides Unity that is creating melodic music with clean vocals that could be compared to Dio or any other great vocalist of that same style (Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, etc)
In being a four-piece playing heavy metal do you see any limitations to the sound that a two-guitar band would have?
A: Yes and no. There isn’t a rule about how many people need to be in a band in order to make Heavy Metal (Motorhead, Venom, Manowar, all great Heavy Metal bands and only a 4 piece). Now, when you try to play more melodic music instead of straight forward riffs then you run into the limitations. Unity is very melodic musically and those limitations are reflected when we play live. Now when we go into the studio to record, there aren’t any limitations. We go crazy and make it as challenging and intelligent as possible. We like melodic Metal. We are always looking around and keeping our ears open in case we find that person that can help us fill the void, but in the meantime, we will keep doing what we do best: give the audience the best show possible to our maximum capabilities.
Was it hard to find a label that wanted to release your album? What disadvantages are there to being an American band on a European a label?
A: Well, Jens at Killer Metal Records knew about my departure and since my vocal style was what attracted him to Dark Mirror to begin with, it wasn’t hard to get in touch with him once again. It was very easy for him to have faith that my new project was going to be as good as my old one. I showed Jens some of the demos and he immediately became interested in releasing Unity’s debut album. There are a few disadvantages but we are happy to know that Killer Metal Records has our back. We have a great working relationship and that outgrows any disadvantages that may come as part of this record deal. Also, the type of music we create it tends to be more receptive in Europe than in the US.
Where do you see Unity’s biggest chance to make it first? How will you promote the band/album?
A: I think that the responses of the European people that have listened to our album are very good. We have sold several albums in Europe and Canada more than we have in the US. We will promote as much as we can by playing in The Midwest area and then try to spread around to Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois and also to the southern states such as Tennessee and Georgia.
What kind of live scene is there for smaller metal bands in the States? How easy is it to play to a reasonably sized crowd?
A: I imagine that the live scene in order states is much larger than in Iowa. In order for us to gain a little more recognition and more fans, we have to go outside the Iowa borders and start playing to the people that listens to our style of Metal music. I have always said that Unity was conceived in the wrong part of the planet. I say this because there aren’t many people in this state (Iowa) that listens to Power Metal. Those fans are found in Minnesota, Illinois and Wisconsin. It isn’t a big surprise that big International bands do not play here in Iowa. There are a few places that are willing to take the risk and book national and international bands that play Power/Heavy Metal. Regarding playing in front of a big crowd, Spicoli’s Bar and Grill, the only local bar in Waterloo Iowa that has live music has booked the mighty Sabaton to play in April and Unity will be playing with them. We hope that the crowd is into it as much as we are and get a good response. Other than that, it is very hard to play in front of a big crowd. I have played in the past something that we call “pay to play” which consists on paying in advance for certain amount of tickets so the promoter or bar gets their money in earlier and can justify the cost of bringing a bigger band. So unless you do it like that you won’t be playing in front of more than 30-40 people.
We’ve seen reality TV-shows featuring Ozzy, Gene Simmons, Brett Michaels and Tommy Lee. When does an old heavy metal icon become a parody of himself?
A: I don’t watch any of those shows unless they have something constructive to say or show. Super group I did follow for a bit but I lost interest in it. If you become a popular icon, then people really want to see how you act in your natural surroundings. I get that part, but there isn’t anything natural about having a camera crew following you around 24/7. I think that this allows the celebrity to do stupid things and become a parody of yourself. In the end, you end up losing respect for them and what they meant to you in the beginning gets shattered because of the way they act now.
How will you take Unity forward from the album Reborn, and unto the international metal scene?
A: We are already in the process of writing and coming up with new material. We have no pressure to record a new album until later this year of early 2013. So we will take it easy. We as a band have accomplished so much more in a year than I ever did in my past project. I’m very proud and happy about the people I work with. Things are moving smoothly and there isn’t any type of resistance. The collaboration is outstanding and that allows for things to move at a normal pace and flawlessly.
The international Metal scene already knows about us. Jens is doing a great job promoting his bands and we hope soon to be able to travel to Europe and hopefully show a thing or two to our international fans.