Unida at HellFest
Hey Arthur, is this your first time here at Hellfest? For Unida it’s the first time, and for House Of Broken Promises as well. Of course our singer John Garcia has played Hellfest before with Kyuss Lives and Vista Chino. I’m definitely familiar with Hellfest. It’s an awesome fest and we’re all superstoked to play here. Especially with this amazing line-up.Are there fests comparable to Hellfest in the United States? Any differences?There’s nothing comparable. You have big fests in the United States, although not as big as Hellfest. There’s fests like Coachella which tries to be like a Euro fest but that’s more of a weird alternative indie fest. It’s very eclectic and got everything from pop to rock to DJ’s. I remember one year Ghost played but at a really weird time, around noon (laughs).It also works in Europe to have a diverse line-up. Here you have punk, rock, hardcore, metal, hard rock, death and black metal, stoner, and even bands like Status Quo, all together and the people are into it and support it. It’s an amazing thing. I think Europeans are a little bit more connoisseurs of music. In the United States it’s more like fast food for the brain and people are focused on what’s cool. Here they stay into that band, support that band, buy the t-shirt, whether it’s 10 years later.Are you into diverse music styles yourself?I definitely have a crazy diverse music taste. Me and Mike (Cancino, Unida drummer) grew up together and we’re metalhead kids. But I dig punk too. Like Black Flag, and I really love the Misfits. Unida used to do Misfits covers(laughs)! But I love Motown stuff too. When I’m at home I basically listen to everything in between Iron Maiden and Stevie Wonder or James Brown. My roots for sure is rock but I like to listen to everything. If you just listen to one thing it gets boring. You can get inspired by different things. I am also a vinyl record nerd listening on my headphones how they mixed old records, how they mixed the drums. Stevie Wonder is a drummer (laughs).Talking about old records: on your unreleased 2nd album you do a cover of a really obscure early 1970s band called Leafhound. How did you know that band?When we toured Europe way back when (around 2000) some fan gave us a mix tape with two obscure early 70s bands, Leafhound from the UK and Buffalo from Australia and we listened to those records that whole tour. And that Leafhound song “Stray” is such a great song, I could totally hear John singing it. So we recorded it and I love it, and we always play it live, it’s always in our set. It’s funny because I heard Leafhound is playing again, maybe we helped them to come back. (laughs)
Yes, and now Unida themselves have come back. What’s the story behind that?(laughs) That’s true! Well, we went through a lot of bullshit, it was very traumatising. We recorded a great second album for American Records and Rick Rubin (producer of Black Sabbath, Slayer, Metallica, Johnny Cash, AC/DC, Beastie Boys, etc.) but then it couldnt be released because problems with the record company. We were living the dream and doing our music and never had any inner turmoil. We as a band went through some hard shit, and after that everybody did their own things, but now it’s time to do it again.Even huge artists like Prince had their problems with labels so I guess it must have been very hard for you guys?Yes, it was very depressing. I can say I drank for a whole year and was in limbo for two years.I’ve heard that album: it’s very good and could have made you guys a well-known band…You know what? Hopefully it still will! Right now we’re working hard on talking to the right persons. I think we will get that record back and finally released. Whether they put it out, some other label, or we do it ourselves, but it will happen! And you know what? In all reality, back then we would have been just a cool rock band between Limp Bizkit and Slipknot. That was the kind of rock and metal that was going on back then. Now our style of rock is popular again, so maybe it’s even better if it comes out now (laughs).That’s great news! Are you gonna do new stuff as well?Yes, we’re already writing songs for it. We’re planning everything right. John is doing his solo record, and House Of Broken Promises is doing a new record, and we’ll do some Unida around those two things. We wanna write some new songs, get that unreleased record out, and get out there and tour!You are writing songs for both Unida and House Of Broken Promises. Any differences in writing?Definitely! House Of Broken Promises has more of a metal edge. It’s a high performance rock band. Unida is more straight ahead classic rock or stoner rock. But UNIDA also likes diversity; some of it has a bluesy feel, John is great singing some blues. When I write riffs, I already hear it in my head: “This is perfect for John.”. But I have to wait for whatever the riffgods send me (laughs).Are these Unida shows the first shows in a lot of years?We didn’t play for a long time after the whole unreleased album tragedy, but every couple of years we do something depending on schedules. We did DesertFest last year, we did Australia, and we did some shows in the United States. John is in a really good vibe right now, he wants to play and do things. So we’re all like: let’s do it and have fun!Are there any differences between now and then, are you more experienced?Everybody has been doing a lot of things but it’s basically still the same thing: we have a good positive vibe. Like I said, we never had any inner turmoil. We all wanna make music, have fun, no bullshit, no drama and hopefully make a buck when we continue. So we kinda picked up where we left off from the positive end.You’re still the same line-up but you have a new bass player?Yes, it’s Curt Christensen from Texas band Dixie Witch. He’s a professional guy, he’s our age, he toured, and he’s a great guy; he laughs and has fun the whole time. And that’s exactly what we do; laugh, have fun and enjoy music. It’s something that doesn’t happen much.
The last few years, singer John Garcia played with Kyuss Lives and Vista Chino, did it give Unida extra exposure?For sure! The more anybody does, the better. John was here at Hellfest before and he’s in a really good vibe and focused. This Unida tour is also gonna help John’s solo record, he has been talking about that record for 15 years. It’s good for everybody if we all do stuff.How was the House Of Broken Promises show at Hellfest?It was awesome. The Valley stage was packed and considering it was our first time here, people went crazy. There was a moshpit and people knew our songs. It was our biggest show so far and it was amazing.In a few hours you’re gonna play with Unida at Hellfest, what do you expect from that show?We get to play around the same time as Black Sabbath (laughs). It’s gonna be cool. It just means they think we’re so bad ass that we can play at the same time as Sabbath and not be affected. I’m looking forward to it. We played London last night and I was out of control, and tonight is gonna be even bigger and better!Any last words?There’s a lot of good stuff in the works and coming your way, so keep an eye on Unida and House Of Broken Promises on Facebook!Interview: Marc Emmerik (Vitamin X)Republished with Permission Courtesy of Marc Joseph Emmerik with Credit to Al Quint for the link up.