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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. http://www.cdbaby.com/Artist/Unveil http://unveil.bandcamp.com
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.
For episode 91 we are happy to bring back one of our favorite bands, Unveil. The goth-punk metal band from Sherbrooke, Quebec, was formed by songwriter and guitarist Alain Robitaille, a drummer named Pom, bassist Mr. Lee, and now includes lead vocalist Jow. Alain explained, “Unveil is a rock band with a dark edge. One could say, we are metal heads playing gothic rock songs with prog influenced arrangements. The band was officially born in 2004 out of the desire of good friends to play music together. This gave me an outlet to use songs I had stashed in my ‘secret garden’ for the past 20 years.”
The song we are featuring for this episode is “Empty”, from their album CODEX NOCTEM, which was just released in June 2013. Alain sent us “Empty” because of its theme which is near and dear to my heart: vampires. As he put it, “vampires [are] my favourite horror character. But you won’t find bats, fangs or red lined caps here. You have to listen carefully to ‘unveil‘ the truth. This is our first official album and it was entirely self-produced. The only outside help we got was for the mastering. We are now working on material for a second album.”
The band thrives on playing gigs. “Playing concert halls is always fun because you get the chance to bring the full stage show. But what we really enjoy is playing the odd gig in town. Record stores, radio stations, you name it. Last year, we played at a Zombie Walk. Now that was a totally different experience. One song that stands out at every show is ‘Hide’. It’s the kind of song that makes you jump around. On Halloween 2010, we presented a very special event called ‘The Story of Sarah‘; a multimedia production combining a short film within a rock concert. More than a year of work went into that show and we got a fantastic reaction. We are looking at the possibilities of creating an acoustic version.”
Alain’s many musical influences have shaped the band, including the name. “I am a big fan of the 70’s prog movements with bands like Genesis and Pink Floyd being major influences. From day one, we knew that we wanted to combine elements of storytelling into our show. Stories shrouded in mystery in which you unveil clues to uncover the truth.”
As for the album’s title, he added, “A codex is the first incarnation of the modern book. So CODEX NOCTEM is a fitting name for a first album built around a collection of songs about the night. Producing an album is a lot more work than I first envisioned. The hardest part is the same as with any artistic creation: letting go. You can always improve your creation, but you have to let it go to let the magic begins. Only then can listeners get an emotion out of your work. I am involved at every creative level with this band. Anything related to Unveil has passed through my hands. That includes recording, video editing, web design and a whole lot more. For the “Story of Sarah” project, I actually wrote two short stories. Who knows, maybe one day they will become audio books.”
What music does he like to listen to? “I listen to a lot of music and my favourite artists continually change. I would say Black Sabbath, Katatonia and The Mission are major influences of my song writing style. Alice Cooper and Rammstein are my reference in stage productions. I’m also a big fan of the Finnish Rock scene (Charon, PoisonBlack, etc.) I like many styles of music. But if you want to grab my attention, any type of music with a little dark side will do the job. Emilie Autumn, Birthday Massacre, Peccatum, etc. I personally think that there is good stuff in every music style, but you sometimes have to dig a little deeper to find it. We are currently working with a local DJ to create a dance floor version of one of our songs. Now that is really far from our comfort zone. A dark ambient track would also be a fun thing to make.”
He also listens to podcasts, including some familiar to us. “I listen to very few podcasts asides HorrorAddicts. I really enjoyed the Night’s Knight series and I’m looking forward to sink my teeth into Lilith’s Love. I am also a big fan of The MetalCast.”
So what’s next for Alain and Unveil? “Now that the album has been released, we can start working on our new stage production. We are working with a set designer to create a show where storytelling is woven into a rock show. I am reading various fairy tales to get the creative juice flowing.”
Finally, what advice does he have for new bands? “Don’t be afraid of who you are. Create music that you like, not music to be liked.”