INTERVIEW: The Unwriters – A band with strong views!
How and when did the The Unwriters project come about?
The Unwriters: A simple conversation between close friends, musicians, March 2018: “Hey guys, are you doing… Bla Bla Bla… End of conversation: “Do you want to create a new band? Answer: NO, are you crazy?! One month after, The Unwriters began their first rehearsal, nothing official, just playing. The project turned a bit more serious on July 2018.
Who came up with the band name, and what is the meaning behind it?
The Unwriters: Mel, the bass player, created the name while we were joking on many famous bands. One of them is called “The Journalists”. They are from Italy. People are rebuilding the world and if you read the book of life, they get fooled! So, “Unwriters”, maybe, to “un-write” the world, made them think about it or simply: Just because we can’t write something, just doing the best we can… Yeah, just do it! (Hidden Commercial…ha ha ha).
Who are your early musical influences, and who are you listening to now?
The Unwriters: The Blues! With a Blues song, you catch immediately emotions. This is still really impressive. Minimalist Blues artists are the best, for us. Jack White is right about Son House. Twister (Keyboards, piano), she loves Bach & Chopin, Emerson, John Lord. Pat (Drums), one name in mind: Buddy Rich! Mel (Bass): Mississippi John Hurt, Pastorius, James Brown. Z (Guitar): Gershwin, Son House, Coltrane, Syd Barrett…many others. We listen to every band who gives chills and fun. We live in a Rock N’ Roll universe, so (ha ha ha). The Raconteurs are great. Muse are not bad at all (Kidding, they are cool). We discover everyday many talented musicians around the world, thanks to Internet. They are unknown and produce terrific music.
If someone has never heard your music, which keywords would you personally use to describe your overall sound and style?
The Unwriters: As a great friend said: “Sonic Nectar Bursting Alive!” (Thanks The Void.C). A Groovy-Psyche-Rock-Fusion-Pop-Funky.
Where do you do your recording, production and mastering work? And do you outsource any or all of these processes?
The Unwriters: We record and produce in our own studio. We have all what we need to work in peace. This is a privilege, we know the chance we have to do it in that way. We did all mastering, except some tracks: Abbey Road Studios.
Could you describe your creative process? What do you usually start with and how do you go about shaping these ideas into a song?
The Unwriters: From a simple word or idea, Sad/Happy news. The world and people are our inspirations. In some cases, Z writes around, a short part here and there or he comes with a complete new song and we try something. Usually, we begin, as many other mates, with a jam. If it works, fine. Simple drums and bass groove, guitar gimmick, organ waves arpeggio or/and piano and the work begins. It happened that we were playing a new piece, at a certain point, the patterns changed, colored by a fuzzy bass and we created another track. Z hears all sounds already. It is hard to follow him sometimes (ha ha ha). So we try something different, from a previous session and finally, it sounds even better.
What has been your biggest challenge as a band? Have you been able to overcome that challenge? If so, how?
The Unwriters: Ouch! Pat (Drums) suggested: “Guys, “Tomorrow Never Knows” could be a great cover! We asked him if he was serious. “Brother, you touch an iconic song and Beatles fans will kick us in the face. Don’t forget: that song was recorded with bass and drums loops… So?!” One morning, Pat tried a drums pattern with Z, and showed him that we could record that song differently than the Fab Four did. Z was not convinced at all. A week after, Pat was drumming like never he did and demonstrated to the band the possible way to cover that incredible song. We tried and we tried all day long. At the end of the session, Mel took his bass, playing a new simple line along the drums pattern. Z began to sing and we didn’t stop playing. We recorded it after 2 days of hard rehearsals, asking Twister the impossible with her keyboards. More than 20 takes. No loops was used for the track. Pat was right (Again, thanks a lot brother!) We did it. Some short overdubs (Sounds effects) and … The mix was a terrible story! We were just tired. Twister told us to take a break because we gave too much on that session. The sound was like the ocean waves dying on the rocks. It was not bad, but a bit flat. We worked out after a week of troubles. When we uploaded it on the Internet, we quickly had the best comments that a band could ever have! From many true Beatles fans and musicians, it was so positive that they gave us a ton of energy… An amazing experience for us all. We decided to follow the road of the Sonic nectar Bursting Alive Sound!
Beyond fame and fortune, what’s your ultimate direction for your band?
The Unwriters: Fame & Fortune Rick! … Seriously, If we could spread a good and positive message in the end, it would be fantastic, as many other bands. But we don’t think about it. We take every single day as it comes. Doing good music is difficult, we can’t think of our ultimate direction, because the end could be tomorrow. Let’s play and have fun all together. So, time will tell. Mel (Bass): “Hey people, get ready!”
Why are all the members of the band anonymous?
The Unwriters: The future is unwritten. We want peace. Being anonymous is the right way to find it. Music first! Music must be at the top of the place. This is important for us all. Remember Daft Punk? They did the right thing.
Vinyl records, cassettes, CDs or downloads, which do you like best and why?
The Unwriters: Tapes, Rick! Ha ha ha… Vinyl: It is like a book. You need to touch it, to hear and feel the soul of the album, the artist. If you read a great book, it will not be the same with a computer, tablet, whatever. Vinyl is a piece of Art, even if it is a copy of the copy of the master. Digital sounds cool but you can’t touch it. The CD is the little vinyl brother, can be great too.
Digital or analog recording & production tools, which do you ultimately like best?
The Unwriters: Analog system tape reel-to-reel. Analog Mix console, Compressors, EQ etc. What else? Digital is fun to work with, but you can’t have the deep fat sound as analog. Ok, in the end here is a digital file, even like this, it will get better than working all tracks with a whole digital system. We tried both.
How essential do you think video is in relation to your music? Do you have a video you could suggest fans see, to get a better understanding of your craft?
The Unwriters: Oh yes, video is more than essential to our music. It happened several times, that we were practicing and talking about images, atmosphere in the same way of playing: “Your drums patterns sounds like a train crossing an Irish valley. Your riff is jumping on the moon, flying through the Milky Way (Laugh). Music video is Art and do one with music track. Giving also some lyric clues, the piece is complete. The last one: Miracle On The 7th (Way Back Home).
What’s your view on the role and function of music as political, cultural and/or social vehicles – and do you try and affront any of these themes in your work, or are you purely interested in music as an expression of artistry and entertainment.
The Unwriters: Serious topic! If an artist gives a positive energy/advices, why not! If we go back in the sixties/seventies, we can see the big bag of great ideas that some musicians wanted to spread. Politics has a real view on musicians work. Bob Dylan, John Lennon were disturbed by politics, because they were involved, maybe, more than a politician could be. It was a fact. Time didn’t changed so much if we see well. It can be dangerous too. Years ago, in France, on a famous radio show, we heard someone speaking with an artist: “Do your gigs, record your songs and let the politicians work as they do, you are only a musician!” Wow. Without taking the place of the other one, an artist doesn’t have so much choice: We spread the word or not! Surely with honey and sugar melody, people understand much better than a person with a shot gun in their hands or someone who screams and shouts like a bear, just to say: “I will give you a job, you will have money, I love my country and I understand you…!” People listen to musicians when they talk to them honestly (And they are). Constructive critics, are better than all politicians around. And it’s still a fact, Rick! How many times have we heard from band fans: “You saved my life with that song, or, I changed my way of life and I feel better now because of you, etc..” About us: Pat said to not answer to your question, Rick.. Laugh! As we used to say: “Music first… BUT… (Oh!). Joker?
With more and more musicians creating and releasing music on their own, what are your feelings on how the music business works right now with all the digital platforms and streaming services? Are you happy about how they work or do you have different vision about music deals?
The Unwriters: Definitely not! It looks like a joke. Musicians can’t be happy in the way the music business is working these years. Hoping they will improve it. That’s the reason why, thousands of musicians are indie, working with indie mag (Yes Sir!) Indie labels distributions etc. The Indie World exists, resists and it is at its best. Without them, it will be a nightmare. Mel (Bass), about “Queen”: “Imagine Queen in 2019… Ha ha ha, no way, man. Nobody will hear one of their tunes!” He’s right. Think of it. It is also easier for listening to a new band but it is impossible to get signed with a Major like they did before. Majors don’t have this little flame any more. They are scared! (Laugh). It is not necessary to point the finger at streaming services, except for some, this is ridiculously unfair. It is a battle between all majors, services and artists. The digital platforms and streaming services, obviously, help many artists, but this is not enough. If musicians want to live with their music, they have to play almost every night in a club, bar etc. And quite good!
What would you consider a successful, proud or high point in The Unwriters endeavors so far?
The Unwriters: This is a success when you are finishing a mix, a record and you love what you are doing. For now, people who are happy listening to our noisy-groove, telling us: “Thank you for that song!” is the beginning of a success. Playing with a band is hard and asks a lot.. The second EP is a true example. We are proud of it. All efforts and sweat gave us a smile, in the end; that only a kid could have, when he/she is in front of the best gift he/she asked. Our last EP was released at the end of June (21) and, in less than 4 days, we were very surprised to see on Internet, that some funny guys, created a bootleg of this album.. WoW!! We read on music forum some comments like: “Hey guys, thank You for this link (Download). I was waiting for a link because this album is super etc…” We cannot understand this.. We are only at the start of the band and this EP is, after few days, a crazy Bootleg!! Success? Amazing. It is positive to see that we have fans here and there, but it is also negative, because we earn nothing at all in this way. The show must go on until the end. The future will speak.
Do you consider Internet and all the social media websites as fundamental in building a career in music today, and what is your personal relationship with all the new technology at hand?
The Unwriters: A triple YES! Without Internet and social media websites: The Unwriters will be just close friends, playing gigs here and there, recording together and sharing a CD on a secret place.. We are not fans of all new technologies and some social media are “Bip” (Censured!). Ok, read my lips! (Ha ha ha). Thanks to fantastic people from great social websites (Few). They love music and work seriously with bands, artists.
What is the best piece of advice regarding the music business that you actually followed so far, and what is the advice you didn’t follow, but now know for sure that you should have?
The Unwriters: Be sincere and honest with your Art and people you work with, first! Consistency, diligence and more, is how we think, a way of life. Maybe, sometimes, too much. This is a natural way for the band. What we do is also what we would like to hear from others. The problem is always the same: Promoting. It is very important but bands around have no time for that. A group can get all qualities and release an outstanding album but they forget all promoting, it will be hard for them. We have to do it! Same story for gigs etc. Not easy finding a way without a serious goal. If you believe in your music, the right person will listen to and you will meet the right one to work with. Never give up is written in the book of our band law (Smile) and take the first person who will work with you, as a part of the band. People forget that to be a musician full time, is a real job for all! Read the contract twice. Ok, you understood that we need a manager (ha ha ha)
What do you like best about what you do, and what do you hate the most?
The Unwriters: Music, of course, working on new sounds, creating videos is fantastic; to see people happy listening to our noises. Promoting (We told you!) and speaking about ourselves is not what we like most.
Tell us something about your latest music release and where fans can find it?
The Unwriters: The second EP, title: “The Unwriters”. 6 tracks. As we told you before: “Sonic Nectar Bursting Alive Sound”. Some of the tracks were recorded “Live Studio” (Old School). We do, many rehearsals first, and when we are ready, we record the track all together, live. Two were total improvisations: “Alive!” & “AcoustiCat”. These instrumentals are the opposite of the other one. “Waiting For Dawn” was recorded live in the studio, as simply as possible, a dark Blues. We made two versions of that track, the choice was not easy. “Whisper”: a short acoustic song with a deep slide played by Mel, was also recorded live in the studio. “Tomorrow Never Knows” Beatles cover, we like both versions so much (Huge Smile). “Miracle On The 7th (Way Back Home)”: The first single, should we say. Funky Monkey Mix! You can find this EP everywhere, yes everywhere without discrimination (Laugh).
Do you have a specific musical vision and goal set in your mind for The Unwriters to reach or achieve before you’re satisfied?
The Unwriters: Certainly! It is set in our mind. That’s the reason why we can’t talk about it. (Smile) Thank you so much Rick for this fantastic “Twenty Questions”, it was great to speak with you!”