House of Broken Promises | Interview with Arthur Seay

For those who don’t know House of Broken Promises formed from the ashes of the late and criminally underrated Unida, who featured John Garcia of Kyuss fame on vocals and had released an extraordinary debut album titled ‘Coping With The Urban Coyote’ a few years back thru the defunct Man’s Ruin Records. Basically, House of Broken Promises is Unida’s latest incarnation minus Garcia, guitarist Arthur Seay, drummer Mike Cancino and bassist Eddie Plascencia - now doubling as lead singer – have resurfaced together to bring us another fine dose of hard, sludgy rock that is bound to lift grandmas from wheelchairs to boogie as if there is no tomorrow. Their debut recording for Small Stone Records ‘Using the Useless’ has quality rock stamped all over it. David Alexandre contacted riff master Arthur Seay to know more about the problems that plagued Unida’s career and the creation of this exciting new band brilliantly called House of Broken Promises. Read on…

[House of Broken Promises]

What’s happening Arthur? How’s life and what have you been up to?

“Life is good! Wheeling and dealing and making shit happen!! I’ve been swamped playing shows and getting ready for SXSW and a European tour for House of Broken Promises as well as a new video we’re shooting with Rick Kosick (Jackass) MTV 2 has picked up our video for “The Hurt” (paid my dues) and will be playing on “Headbanger’s Ball” very soon. Been doing a lot of producing and recording in my Bittersand Studio also, as well as photography and my poster art. I like to keep busy if you didn’t notice.”

It’s nice to have you back! Unida was a band that I truly admired and I was disappointed when I first found out that the band was put on undetermined hiatus.
It’s well documented that Unida have experienced a lot of setbacks when they moved from Man’s Ruin Records to Rick Rubin’s American, which ended in a legal battle over the rights of the band’s sophomore work ‘The Great Divide’, a record that never got the chance to be officially released. Were the arduous dealings with record labels, namely American, Columbia and Island Def Jam that dictated the premature demise of Unida?
I believe it were frustrating times for the band, having a new record on the shelves without the chance to release it.

“Yeah that was a real pisser but it only made me stronger and smarter for it!”

So at what point did you decided to put Unida on hold and create House of Broken Promises? I believe at the same time Garcia was getting more involved with Hermano right?

“Unida never really broke up, we actually started HOBP while we were still doing Unida. Unida just wasn’t really doing that much and I live to play and record so I started HOBP with Mike after the whole American Records bullshit morale was def down. I just wanted to get back to work and make it happened again which would have not been a problem but everybody was not on the same page. It was rough, we worked our asses off and things were paying off and then the classic story. Sony loved us and was all about supporting and building our career to having to go over to Island Def Jam and those fucking cocksuckers that didn’t know us or what we were about and where our music came from, our heart and soul! Their rock at the time was Sum41 and Bon Jovi. Somebody should do the Stoner Rock Behind the Music version for that whole story it had it all and will blow your mind!! Lol
We’ll do some more Unida stuff when we have time. Right now we are completely focusing on HOBP!!”

Where does the name House of Broken Promises comes from, does it tie into your problematic dealings with record labels and the whole music business?

“Mike and I were sitting at my bar in my recording studio and we were talking about all the bullshit we went through with Unida and the record label and the name just popped out of Mike’s mouth. And I was like that’s our new band’s name!! It just comes from all the fucking bullshit and negativity we went through and we were going to turn that shit around and not stop and go farther than Unida ever did.”

So let's talk more about the new record. There's a groovy-rock vibe to some of the songs that somewhat recalls Unida, but for the most part House of Broken Promises sounds heavier and harder than Unida? Do you agree that your music has steered toward a more heavy direction?

“HOBP has elements from Unida’s vibe and yes heavier elements also. We’ve always been into good heavy music that’s melodic and has a good groove to it. The new record has a good variety I think the heavier stoner groove of “Blister” to the straight ahead rock “Obey the Snake” and more of a metal groove of “Torn” and “Justify”. We like mixing it up.”

Can you tell me a little bit about how the band writes together and if it was different at all this time around? And is the process of writing songs a collective effort?

“I’ll have all the riffs for a song pretty much how it might be arranged and then we’ll jam it out together and arrange it. Or when we rehearse I’ll strap on my guitar and the first riff that comes from the Riff God flow’s through me we’ll just start jamming that shit and have a whole song done in one rehearsal! It all depends each song is born a different way, Eddie will bring in a sick bass line and I’ll have a riff and they’ll work together and POW!! Shitting out another hit!! LOL!! And def we’ll just jam out and go for it and all the riffs with just ooze out of us. There’s no set way every song was born a different way.”

What would you describe this album as being about, generally?

“Everything musically and lyrically comes from all the personal relationships and personal experiences that we have gone through over the years.”

Knowing your history with record labels, how has Small Stone Records been thus far? How did you get hooked up with Small Stone?

“I know right?!! Geez, everything with SMALLSTONE has been fucking amazing! Scott (owner) is a straight shooter with no bullshit, which is a breath of fresh air cause we’re a no-bull-shit band too. We work hard and get it done and live and breathe what we do. We’re doing our job and he is doing his and we’re all gonna benefit from our hard work.”

House of Broken Promises is confirmed to play at Roadburn 2010 in Holland. Are you looking forward to it, I believe it is your first time at Roadburn with HOBP right?

“We are definitely looking forward to rocking the fuck out of RoadBurn. A lot of our desert brother’s will be out there and it should be an amazing time.”

Did you hear that John Garcia will be there as well playing a special show featuring only Kyuss songs with some invited musicians?

“Yes I did, who knows maybe there will be a Unida jam as well hmmmm.”

Any plans for doing an extended tour throughout Europe during that time?

“We are doing about 2 weeks of shows and RoadBurn is our second stop. Here are the tourdates:

18.04. NL - Tilburg O13, Roadburn Festival
19.04. GER - Jena, Rosenkeller
20.04 GER - Berlin, White Trash
21.04. GER - Hamburg, Hafenklang
22.04. GER - Kiel, Schaubude
23.04. GER - Rostock, Mau Club
24.04. GER - Essen, Turock
25.04. B - Waarschoot, Gastelstraat
27.04. CH - Luzern, Sedel
28.04. I - Torino, United Club
29.04. I - Ravenna, Bronson
30.04. I - Vicenza, Sabotage Bar”

What’s the quintessential story from back in the day on the road that someday you’ll tell your grandkids?

“Hmm I’ll have to wait till they’re 18 to tell most of my stories!! LOL
Being invited by Jason Newstead to come out to his house and jam out for a few days will def be one. Jason is one of the coolest, down-to-earth guys I've met in this fucked up industry, he lives and breathes music. He's a big Unida and HOBP fan and when we first met up he was like ‘Dude YOU and me have to get together and jam!’ I said call me and I'll be there the next day and that's what exactly happened. He called me on a Thursday and me and Mike drove up to Northern Ca. that Friday and spent 3 days jamming our asses off none stop and couldn’t have gone better. Personality wise playing wise everything. We recorded everything and it sounds bad ass! We're all pretty busy so when the time is right we will blow some shit up!
Another will be when I was out teching for my best friend Paul (bassist of Slipknot) and got sick and I filled in for him for the rest of the tour!! I can say the first time I played bass with a band live it was with Slipknot!!”

David Alexandre

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