First off, I’d like to welcome you properly to The Blerd13 (lite). It’s got less questions AND less calories so it’s good for your attention span and your health while you read (Not really). If you live in New England and love some metal, chances are you know Unearth. You probably know about that annual thing they call The New England Metal And Hardcore Fest, too, right? Unearth are playing. They take the stage at 6. Vocalist Trevor Phipps gives us the scoop.
1. You’ll be playing the 14th Annual New England Metal And Hardcore festival this coming Saturday, how important are hometown shows to you?
Playing at home is always a great feeling for this band. The band got our start in Massachusetts and the NEMHF was one of the first “big” shows we played back in 1999 when we were just starting out. They gave us one of our first shots in front of a big crowd and we are always pumped to come back and play the fest.
2. Are there any bands you’re looking forward to seeing perform this weekend?
Protest the Hero, All That Remains, Overkill, Bane, Cruel Hand….just to name a few. I’m only headed up on Saturday, but the entire weekend is killer.
3. With bands like Unearth, All That Remains, Killswitch Engage, and The Acacia Strain all playing NEMHF, how do you feel the metal scene in New England is doing?
I think the line up, positioning and how the Mass bands do Worldwide speaks for itself. This is a thriving market for metal and hardcore bands and has been for decades. We are lucky to be from a place that loves heavy music and appreciates it this much.
4. Are there any up and coming New England bands today that you feel will share the same spotlight as Unearth 10 years from now?
There are a ton of great bands out there, but Cruel Hand, Thy Will Be Done and Acaro top my current list of up and comers from N.E..
5. What are your touring plans following NEMHF?
We fly to Belgium next week to headline the Impericon Stage at the Groezrock Festival. After that we gear up for all the summer festivals in Europe in June, July and August and then head back to the east coast in the States at the end of August for select dates on the All Stars tour.
6. Speaking of touring, you’ve shared the stage with everyone from Megadeth and Testament to Godsmack and Slipknot. What would be the ideal tour for Unearth to perform on? Bands on the bill, venue, etc…
Every size venue has its benefits and I would hate to have to choose just one. Going back and forth from the big festivals to the small clubs tours to the indoor arenas/big clubs definitely helps musicians improve their performances and creates a different challenge in each place. That said, I am still most “at home” in a packed small club with no barricade with the people right in our faces, crowd surfing, moving, singing along and just enjoying the heavy music we are throwing down. That intensity and positive aggression usually goes unmatched.
7. Your last album, Darkness in the Light, has been out for almost a year now, are there plans to start recording the follow-up?
No plans yet, but we have already started writing for a follow up release and have set aside this May as a time to get a bunch of new material together.
8. Nick Pierce has recently joined as a full-fledged member and follows a long line of drummers that Unearth has had over the years. What makes him the right man for the job?
He is is the most skilled drummer we’ve ever had in this band and his personality and professionalism seem to be right on par with the rest of us. He’s the type of guy that fits in so well with us on stage and off that it feels like he has been in the band for years.
9. Boston recently banned moshing and crowd surfing in its’ area clubs and venues. Being a band that obviously causes some intense reactions in the pits, how do you feel about this?
It’s actually embarrassing for our city. Not to sound like a dick, but Unearth has been touring the World since 2001 and we’ve never been in a city that “bans” moshing. Somebody at City Hall must have forgotten that 1982 was 30 years ago. Everyone who goes to a heavy music show knows that moshing isn’t meant to injure and isn’t malicious. People move to the music in an aggressive way, but all the concert goers know what it is and injuries rarely happen. I could go on and on about this, but it doesn’t really matter. Boston hasn’t been a big supporter of Metal shows for a while now and Worcester is the real capital of heavy music….thanks to Scott Lee and everybody at Mass Concerts.
10. It’s been over ten years since The Stings Of Conscience was released in 2001. Looking back, did you see yourself in 2012: five albums deep, touring the world, and still doing what you love? What’s the next step for Unearth?
For me the intention to do this for a career has always been there, even before this band formed. I started singing for bands when I was 14 and always set the bar at being in a World touring band. Intention and expectations are two different things though, but luckily I found a group of guys that was willing to sacrifice and put everything we had into this band. It took three years to get signed and another three before we could do this full time. I love what I do and have never taken it for granted. I see bands breaking up all the time and I sometimes I just laugh at how lucky the band is to have such a dedicated fan base and how lucky each of us in the band are to have found dudes who are passionate enough about what they do to fight through thick and thin.
Next step? More music, more touring, more everything. See you on the road.
Unearth plays the main stage of The 14th Annual New England Metal And Hardcore Fest at 6 PM this Saturday, April 21st at the Palladium (261 Main St) in Worcester. Tickets are $45 with doors opening at noon.