The dark rock band, Unveil was featured on episode #91 of HorrorAddicts.net, Season 8 and then you the listeners voted them Best Band. Unveil was formed in 2004 by Eric Lee on bass, Eric Pomerleau on drums, and Alain Robitaille on guitar. In 2011, they played a special fund raising event and invited their friend, Joelle Nolin on vocals. Ever since that magic night, she has been part of the band.
I was fortunate to sit down with Alain and discuss the band, their sound, and what they have coming up next.
HA: Tell us about your band. Who writes the music?
ALAIN: I write most of the music but Unveil has no dedicated lyricist. The lyrics of the first album were written by me and Erich Langlois, a good friend of mine who writes lovely dark poetry. He gave me several texts when I started the band. I simply built a universe around his words. Writing of the second album is moving along smoothly. I have a good idea of the direction I want to take. It will include several texts of my own. Joelle, our new vocalist, also brought-in several solid texts. And I still have a few things left over from my “Erich” stash. As the album is in the writing stage, more contributors may appear in the future.
HA: What singers or bands inspired you growing up? Who are your favorite artists today?
ALAIN: My teen years were in the 70’s, so I learned to play electric guitar listening to vinyl records. My favorites were Rush, Black Sabbath, The Mission, Pink Floyd, The Cure, and countless others. Since those days, the Internet has opened up a floodgate of incredible music. To catch my attention, a band has to have a dark edge. Some of my favorite artists these days include The Birthday Massacre, Emilie Autumn, Lacuna Coil, Chelsea Wolfe, and Die So Fluid.
HA: How did you find out about HorrorAddicts.net? How does it feel to be chosen as Best Band?
ALAIN: I’ve been faithful HorrorAddicts.net listener since season 4. I must admit, I don’t remember exactly how I find out about Horror Addicts. I believe it was through Grave Concerns Ezine. I’m always web crawling for new and exciting music, authors, photographers… We were up against so many great bands, to be named “best band” is a totally unreal. It’s like being included in a family that you have loved for many years.
HA: What non-musical things inspire your music? Is there a place where you go to be inspired?
ALAIN: Since a very young age, I have had a fascination for vampires. The setting of the first album is deliberately inspired by this. The songs are not about vampires, but are written from a vampire’s perspective. Songs about loneliness, death, disgrace, fear… Unveil is all about subtlety, so don’t expect bats, coffins or blood sucking. I don’t have a special place where I sit down and wait for inspiration. I often find my best ideas when I am doing something else. The trick that works for me is: pen and paper. Whenever an idea pops-up, I write it down. So when I’m ready to write new lyrics or a story, I flip through my notes looking for building blocks.
HA: What’s been the greatest achievement of your band? Where is the coolest place you’ve played?
ALAIN: Unveil’s greatest achievement is without a doubt: “The Story of Sarah”. An event that mixed a rock concert and a short film. This project actually included the writing of two short tales: The Story of Sarah & The Story of Anna. The bridge between the two tales is a character named “The Stranger” whose story is revealed through the lyrics of the songs. It’s fun to play the “standard” gig, but what I love is bringing music to places you don’t normally see a live band. In 2010, we played a full set in a gothic fashion store. But the definitively coolest place we had the pleasure of playing has to be at a Zombie Walk where we played to a horde of zombies. A videoclip of the event can be seen on Unveil’s YouTube page. Having fun is always the number one goal at any Unveil gig. If we don’t have fun playing the show, the crowd won’t have fun watching it.
HA: What are your favorite horror movies?
ALAIN: Vampire movies. Some of my favorites are: Fearless Vampire Killers, Fright Night, From Dusk Till Dawn, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and The Addiction. I also enjoy horror-mystery movies such as: Stigmata, Prince of Darkness, The Omen, The Others, and The Ring. I’m also a big fan of the Tim Burton. I think he did a mesmerizing job in retelling Sleepy Hollow.
HA: What was the scariest night of your life?
ALAIN: When I was young, my father was a movie theatre manager. So he had access to 16mm reels of major theatrical releases. He would regularly take out his projector to present the latest movies on a wall in the house or even in the backyard. Keep in mind that this was in the 70’s, before the coming of the VHS cassette. I remember one night in 1974, I was 8 years old. That night, he did a private screening of the movie “The Exorcist” for family and friends in the basement at our house. At the end of the evening, when everyone went back to their houses, I was left alone to sleep in that same basement.
HA: What is available now that the listeners can download or buy?
ALAIN: Last year, we released a first official EP called “Codex Noctem”. Physical copy can be ordered through CdBaby. If you prefer downloads, you can go to BandCamp, iTunes, Amazon and many others. You can also listen to “Codex Noctem” through streaming services like Spotify, Deezer, Rdio.
You can also find Unveil on many social medias such as, Facebook, Twitter, ReverbNation, MySpace… A web search for “unveil616” will find most of them.
The best place to get all the latest news is our FaceBook page at: http://www.facebook.com/unveil616
HA: If you could play anywhere in the world, where would it be and who would be your opening band?
ALAIN: Finland would be great! They have a thriving music scene with so many great artists. But the ultimate “dream gig” would be Las Vegas; a big production with showgirls in black feathers raven costumes and massive stage props. Or maybe a midnight acoustic set at Stonehenge? The opening band would be One-Eyed Doll from Austin, Texas. Lead by Kimberly Freeman’s amazing stage presence, this duo puts on a rockin’ high energy show.
HA: What are you working on now for future release?
ALAIN: For now, we are working on a second album. We still have no release date at this time, but we are aiming spring 2015. We will be making local shows to try out new ideas. I also want to create a stage show around a new story set in the world of ghosts and spirits. I have been doing paranormal investigations with my friends of the web series “Ghosts in Time” to get into the mood.
On Progressive Rock and Horror
by Jeri Unselt
For as long as I can remember, I have always been a fan of progressive rock and almost everything that is horror. When I first started podcasting, I wanted to do a show that combined both loves, however everyone I knew at the time kept saying it was a bad idea and that it wouldn’t work. So, I gave it up and started The Adventures of a Walker Dependent Music Fan podcast.
It was months after that I started my two year journey of podcasting my story, Inner Demons. For those who haven’t listened, the podcast is about a group of psychic researchers who investigate an incident inside a known haunted house called Hawley Manor that claimed the lives of a progressive rock band. I wasn’t expecting anything, but to my surprise, I received a lot of good feedback and was deeply honored to have some big names in the industry give me a story so far segment.
Since then, I have wondered if there are other examples of prog rock and horror going together. I asked around and people told me about a group called Goblin. They were mostly known for the soundtracks of Dario Argento movies, a big example is Emz’s favorite film, Suspiria. Another example is former Yes keyboard player, Rick Wakeman, who scored the soundtrack for the 1981 film, The Burning. While it’s not really horror, Keith Emerson scored the music for the Sylvester Stallone movie, Nighthawk.
It’s really nice to know prog rock and horror can connect. As a matter of fact, I do have a podcast in mind that I hope to do to look deeper into this subject. Stay tuned.
Jeri Unselt is a native of Colorado who has been writing stories ever since childhood. She started podcasting her first novel, Inner Demons, in 2008. The print book will be released in 2012 alongside a podcast prequel, Inner Demons: Turmoil. She is a member of the Wicked Women Writers, has been featured on several HorrorAddicts.net episodes, and will be in the up-and-coming Wicked Women Writers anthology. To find out more about Jeri, go to: www.jeriunselt.org
Saints of Ruin has taken the Goth/dark rock world by storm. Already popular internationally, the release of their first full-length album “Nightmare” has garnered them some very well-earned respect and praise in the United States. I had a chance to speak with Ruby Ruin, lead vocalist for SOR and ask her some questions about Saints of Ruin and what drives their music.
SM: First of all, your music is awesome. The fans here at HorrorAddicts dig you guys BIG TIME. The first thing that really hits me about the bio on your website is that Tommy Dark, singer and bass player for what became Saints of Ruin journeyed to California from New York when he found you. What is the story behind that? How did you guys meet across a country and what were you doing before that?
RR: Oh, it is a great story: Tommy Dark was in a band on tour here in San Francisco and played a show with my band. We became big fans of each other’s talents (and were mutually attracted as well). It took three years for us to finally come together and he moved to SF in 2006. We started the band, got married and the rest is history. Funny how love at first sight can work out.
SM: How has Saints of Ruin evolved over time, sound-wise and as a whole band?
RR: I think the sound has not changed dramatically except in that our writing has changed as we get to know our market (audience) better. We have learned what our fans like and strive to do more of the same rather than just to write and preform whatever comes out. Also, our lineup has changed and now the synth sound and harmony vocals have evolved to be more cohesive with the material.
SM: The Industrial and Goth genres are full of A LOT of subcategories and as a fellow Industrial musician, I know it can be difficult sometimes to decide where you should place your music to get the best reception from listeners, especially when you don‘t really WANT to categorize and label your stuff. Which niche or category do you think Saints of Ruin fit in the best and why?
RR: Our record label categorizes us as “Classic Goth Rock” but I think we have very little “Classic Goth” in our sound. We are rarely “new-wavey” and not death-rock but more epic like European bands such as HIM, Lacuna Coil and Tiamat. However we do have a touch of Cult, Sisters of Mercy and Concrete Blond in our sound. We are really a dark rock band in Goth clothing with a touch of horror-slash-vampy sexuality.
SM: Which Saints of Ruin album would you say is your favorite so far (if you had to choose) and why?
RR: We only have our debut 5-song EP “Fairytale” and our first full-length CD “Nightmare” so far, so it would have to be “Nightmare” because it is a maturing of our concepts and writing skills. It also showcases our diversity while sticking with a theme.
SM: What do you think is the biggest inspiration for the music for you personally (as in, what inspires you to write a song)?
RR: In my case it is actually dreams. I often wake with a hook in my head and get up in a daze to write it down. When Tommy writes he is usually practicing when he stumbles upon something catchy. Then we flesh our the ideas together.
SM: The SOR song “Halloween” is the theme on HorrorAddicts right now. What is the story behind that one?
RR: That is an anomaly of our writing style. I told Tommy that I wanted to write a song that embraces the concept of Goth culture. He wrote the lyrics in an hour while the rest of the music took a month. It came out reminiscent of Voltaire’s
cabaret style. It is fun to perform and anthemic.
SM: I saw video of SOR playing The New Orleans Vampire Lestat Ball last October and you guys were great! How was it?
RR: The whole experience was epic! That was probably my favorite show we have ever played: a Thousand decked-out Vampire fans at a gorgeous venue all centered in the mysterious City of the Night. New Orleans is crawling with Vampire freaks throughout Halloween weekend. This year the whole thing is being called Undead-Con filled with music and costume events, book signings, vendors, etc. We will be playing again this year and the theme is “Memnoch’s Resurrection.” Check out Anne Rice’s Vampire Lestat Fan Club, or ARVLFC and Endless Night. It is an unforgettable experience.
SM: Who would you name as SOR biggest inspirations musically (as far as sound)?
RR: We don’t necessarily sound like them, but some of our favorites are Rammstein, Type O Negative, Depeche Mode, Nick Cave, Sex Pistols, Black Sabbath, Alice in Chains and Led Zeppelin.
SM: Who would you name as your own personal musical inspirations, like vocalists you admire, etc.?
RR: My favorite vocalists are PJ Harvey, Robert Plant, Amanda Palmer and recently Mona Mur. We just got back from a partial tour with Slick Idiot (original members of KMFDM) and Mona Mur has been collaborating and performing with EN Esch for quite some time. She is amazing. My new heroine.
SM: I see that you guys are passionate about animal welfare and animal rights [‘Murder of Crows’]. As a HUGE advocate of animal rights myself, I commend you for that. Would you say there is any one message you want to get across to people with your music, or a message you want to come across the strongest?
RR: No, there is not one message, Tommy is particularly sensitive towards animals, though we are all animal lovers. I think we all just recognize that humans are pretty fucked up. There is a lot of injustice in the world and suffering is a part of the human experience. I think we will always write songs that touch on depressing subjects to some extent. That said, we do write love songs and violent songs as well.
SM: You guys have gotten a lot of recognition lately. Has that changed anything in your lives?
RR: Not so much except that we are sometimes recognized in public. And we were recently asked to endorse a cosmetics company. Not only are they using a photo of me advertising Black Magic Mascara in Gothic Beauty Mag next month, they also have created our own line of dark nail lacquers after Saints Of Ruin. I even have my own color named after me! That is pretty cool. We don’t quite make a living off of our music yet but we hope to tour Europe next summer. It is great that our name recognition is taking root in both the horror and Goth communities.
SM: What’s next for Saints of Ruin?
RR: We are just finishing our summer shows here in California and plan to get working on all of the new material that is in the pipeline. We will begin tracking new songs this fall and will hopefully release a new album at the beginning of 2011. We will play a few shows around Halloween here in San Fran and in New Orleans. We are shooting our first video next month so check our website in early September: http://www.saintsofruin.com. We plan to have a few new bone-chilling tunes ready for horror fans real soon.
So there you have it: Inside Horror Music with Saints of Ruin. Thank you to Ruby for being so gracious and forthcoming. We are looking forward to their new album!