UNSHINE yet another Finnish metal band that are new to me. I had to interview them to get to know more about them. Anders Ekdahl ©2013
As I know next to nothing about you guys perhaps a short introduction would be in order?
-Yes, of course! UNSHINE is a Finnish druid metal band with five members, vocalist Susanna, guitarist Jari, bassist Teemu, drummer Stibe and me (Harri), guitarist. The band was formed around ten years ago in Helsinki, Finland. Our music has reportedly elements from folk, gothic and symphonic metal. We do not like to think very much in categories, good groove and melodies are the be-all and end-all for this band. Lyrics are very nature-oriented, as one could suggest from ‘druid metal’. We have two albums (Earth Magick and The Enigma Of Immortals) out and the third one (Dark Half Rising) will be released on 23rd of August via Massacre Records. This album will be our first for an international label, we’re proud of it and looking forward to get on the road and present the material to druid metal crowds.
How do you as a band make sure that you stand out from all the other metal bands fighting for the same crowd? How do you avoid being just another band?
-I think the only way to stand out is to concentrate totally on your own thing. If you consciously and constantly bring artificial outside elements from the other bands you admire, it might weaken your chances to be more individual and separate from the crowd in a fresh way. In band activities, there is always some driving element which pushes the band to go and continue despite of whatever difficulties there always comes down the way. If the spark for the music lights instinctively from the heart, it cannot be totally wrong.
There are just so many chords you can play on your instruments. How do you come up with something that hasn’t already been written? What are you combination of sounds that make UNSHINE unique?
-In Western music tradition, all possible combinations of chords and pentatonic scale exercises have been already used countless of times during history, of course. To create unique sound, you have to arouse the spirit inside the music alive. Music is not about calculating an optimal formula, it is about making real magic. If elements of a single song, including musical performance, melodies, lyrics and especially atmosphere created by these all are in harmony, it is possible to come up with unique music. We draw inspiration from depths of nature’s mysteries, earth, sea, air and fire and in more concrete level, also from each other’s playing at rehearsals.:)
Is it important to have an album cover that catches the attention of the record buyer when he or she browses through the new releases?
-Yes, practically. It’s a healthy thing for musicians also to care about their album cover art. If it’s boring nonsense, nobody pays attention to it. Nowadays, an obscure cover also weakens the chances that a possible new listener with a small mobile phone screen would go and click the link to music behind it. More and more records are now printed in vinyl format (which is a great thing) and it’s important that the cover art looks good also in larger format. We really aim to release also in vinyl format in the future.
How much freedom do you have in choosing who you want to work with in the studio? Do you
have a dream team that you’d like to work with and if so why?
-Many bands, like us for example, have nowadays own small home studios, where it is possible to record in relaxed conditions without that sometimes intimidating pressure of time versus money in the bigger commercial studios. Of course, for example, drum recording and mixing etc. are those things that we can’t really make at our own facilities. It’s basically a financial question. However, I think that an expensive studio does not always mean that the music which comes out from there is equally better, history has proven this…So, having your own studio is really great and I think we’re not going to change that custom. About dream team, maybe it would be interesting to experiment some day with a good producer.
When you see yourself being place in a compartment (to you dismay or not) where do you see yourself ending up?
-If you mean categorization, it would be nice to see us as an original and professional metal band that follows steadily its’ own path. On the other hand, it would be horrifying to see us as an uninteresting, unprofessional and vague band.
Are the lyrics important? When you write them do you think about them being there forever to be sung in years to come or are they more spur of the moment kind of things?
-Yes. To us, music is born from combination of lyrics and musical performance. The themes are definitely not from highly topical daily issues, if you know what I mean. The lyrics and the message (yes, we do have a message!) behind them are related to the relationship of man and nature and the aim to better reconnect with our ancient roots to Mother Earth. So, it would be good if someone in the future, decades or centuries after this interview, finds some meaning and importance from our lyrics. That would a perfect goal.
How do you best promote a band these days? Have printed magazines outlived themselves? Is it all electronical nowadays?
-Good music promotes itself! Most of the promotion is now done electronically, I think FB is nowadays very important channel for many bands, sometimes even more important that the band’s own pages. With our new album ‘Dark Half Rising’, for the first time, we have an international record company behind us and this opens up also better chances to get promotion on printed magazines. I believe that printed magazines, like real books, will never die out totally.
Are the social media still a great way to spread the word of the band or have they too outlived themselves and alternative ways are being created?
-The social media seems to constantly renew itself nowadays, it is interesting to live during these times and spread the word about the band. You have to be fast and also follow the progress, this is sometimes irritating but at the same time it also creates unbelievable chances for unknown bands like us.
Is there a future for UNSHINE?
-Yes!! The whole music industry is in some kind of a crisis to due world-wide record sale problems and the current reasons which have led to it, but I hope we will get a chance to publish music also in the future. There is very much music written for the future use of UNSHINE and we will continue playing it as long as we and our listeners enjoy it.