Unkind | Interview with Saku

Billed as a cross between Mogwai and Tragedy in their press materials, which, for some strange reason, really piques our interest, Finland’s Unkind return with another furious slab of d-beat crust/hardcore crossed with some intriguing and dark atmospheres that transcends boundaries and avoids easy pigeonholing.
Scratch the Surface caught up with drummer Saku to talk about their latest album, 'Pelon Juuret' and their imminent touring plans.

You just released your new album and sixth LP, ‘Pelon Juuret’, how has the reception been since its release?

“Pretty good! There haven’t been many complaints and even the ones that had some were mainly positive overall.”

This is your second LP for Relapse Records and it seems that you didn’t receive much attention outside Finland until ‘Harhakuvat’ was released two years ago. How did that affect your development as a band?

“Well if there's been anything substantial it must be that we've attained a bit more prestigious gigs out of it as well as loads of attention from people who would have otherwise dismissed us entirely.”

"...We've never really considered changing anything in hopes of pleasing a larger crowd."

It seems that ‘Pelon Juuret’ essentially picks up where ‘Harhakuvat’ left off, weaving an intriguing blend of furious d-beat crust/hardcore with some dark ambiences. In your opinion how does the new album differ from its predecessor? Did all the recognition the band garnered recently had an impact on the songwriting?

“It's a bit more coherent and straightforward compared to our previous releases. As for the recognition it probably gave us a bit more self confidence, but overall the creative process has stayed the same. We've never really considered changing anything in hopes of pleasing a larger crowd.”

The press release describes your new album as if Mogwai made a record of Tragedy covers or a From Ashes Rise influenced by Explosions in the Sky. Are you comfortable with such descriptions and do you see yourselves influenced by these bands?

“It is somewhat accurate at least to someone who hasn't heard us before although I can't see we've drawn any direct influences from any of them. Comparisons and genre labels do have their place - mainly in introducing bands to newcomers but from there on they should have less meaning and importance as the only thing the listener should decide upon is whether they like it or not.”

Which other bands have influenced Unkind to this current point the most?

“The biggest and earliest influences were and still are to some extent Discharge, Amebix and Black Sabbath. We have pretty wide taste in music so there have been loads of other smaller ones over the years, but those three have remained central inspirers along with numerous others of the same type.”

You have an impressive array of influences from grindcore/crust and post rock atmosphere to hardcore, etc… and you still manage to sound cohesive and preserve your own identity. Do you find it difficult to get the right balance between all those different sounds?

“I'm glad to hear you think we've pulled it off. We've never felt we've had to force it in any way. It's just our basic recipe to try and add dynamics to our songs. I think we've just about found the right balance especially with the latest material.”

The artwork for ‘Pelon Juuret’ depicts an unsettling black and white drawing of numerous humans lined up and with what it seems their eyes bleeding. ‘Harhakuvat’ also has a black and white cover with a man covering the mouth with his hands, so it seems that you have some sort of fascination for monochromatic images. How does the black and white art work in tandem with the music itself?

“Black and white cover art has always been the classic format in hardcore/crust albums and it does usually fit the bleakness of the music well. As long as the visuals fit the mood of the record it doesn't really matter to us how much colours there are. With the last two albums we wanted the artist Jacob Speis channel the feelings he got from the music into images and it worked out great both times.”

Finally, what plans and projects does the band have for the rest of 2013 and beyond?

“We have an extensive release tour starting on the 3rd of august with a set of Finnish gigs after which we hit the road with the KEN mode to tour most of Europe. After that we'll probably slow down for a bit and start writing new material and sorting out some gigs for the next year.”

Catch Unkind on tour with Ken Mode at the following locations:
Fri 13.09.13 Cafe Nova, Essen, Germany.
Sat 14.09.13 Patronaat, Haarlem, The Netherlands.
Sun 15.09.13 Cassiopeia, Berlin, Germany.
Mon 16.09.13 Feierwerk, München, Germany.
Tue 17.09.13 Chapeau Rouge, Prague, Czech Republic.
Wed 18.09.13 Elfer, Frankfurt, Germany.
Thu 19.09.13 Bastard Club, Osnabrück, Germany.
Fri 20.09.13 SAS, Delemont, Switzerland.
Sat 21.09.13 Freakout Club, Bologna, Italy.
Sun 22.09.13 Lo Fi, Milano, Italy.
Mon 23.09.13 Secret Place, Montpelier, France.
Tue 24.09.13 Les Saints Des Seins, Toulouse, France.
Wed 25.09.13 Miroiterie, Paris, France.
Thu 26.09.13 La Ferailleur, Nantes, France.
Fri 27.09.13 Minsters Bar, Stoke On Trent, UK
Sat 28.09.13 Crane Lane, Cork, Ireland.
Sun 29.09.13 Voodoo, Belfast, UK.
Mon 30.09.13 Fibber MaGees, Dublin, Ireland.
Tue 01.10.13 Corporation, Sheffield, UK.
Wed 02.10.13 Royal Park Cellars, Leeds, UK.
Thu 03.10.13 Audio, Glasgow, UK.
Fri 04.10.13 Water Rats, London, UK.
Sat 05.10.13 VK, Brussels, Belgium

More info at: www.facebook.com/UnkindHardcore 

We have one copy of Unkind’s latest album ‘Pelon Juuret’ courtesy of Relapse Records to offer to one lucky reader, to apply you need to follow us on twitter or facebook and answer the following question in the comments section below before August 31: 
What is the name of Unkind’s debut album for Relapse Records?
Giveaway is now closed and the lucky winner is Wendy Chung from Syracuse, NY.

1 comment: