As a child, Jonathan Fortin was perpetually terrified, so of course he grew up to be a horror writer. Haunted by tales that grow in his head like demonic children, Jonathan believes that a good horror story is first and foremost a good story—just one where particularly awful things happen. Facebook / Website
This winner’s entry will be read an discussed in full
on the Cemetery Confessions podcast, June 2nd, 2017.
Here is just a taste of the blog:
“Imagine you enter a theatre in the year 2025 and take a seat. In front of you is a device that you place on your head and over your ears. Your vision is blackened. Thirty minutes of adverts begin because some things just never change. Eventually the film starts and you’re in a corridor where the lightbulb flickers and a putrid smell of rotting meat wafts to your nostrils. You are creeping forward when the light goes out completely. There’s icy breath on the back of your neck. You not only hear it but you feel it too…” Hear more on Cemetery Confessions June 2nd.
The heart was still warm when I found it near the latrines. It hung from the barbwire fence like some hellish Christmas ornament, dripping blood into the muck below. I wasn’t sure who it belonged to.
It might’ve been Private Jefferson’s or Lieutenant Blackmore’s. They’d gone missing and Sargent Collins had laid the blame on the Hun’s doorstep. I knew the truth, though. My mum had told me long before I took up my gun and gasmask.
“Go to sleep, Johnny,” she’d said one night before bed. “Sleep before Laughing Man comes. If he catches you awake, he’ll rip your heart out and hang it up to dry.”
“Does he come every night,” I had asked.
“He does. If you smell almonds, he’s coming. And, if you hear him whisper your name, he’s testing to see whether you’re awake.”
“What if I can’t sleep?”
“Best pretend, love. Pretend and pray.”
The memory of her words kept me from the trench and the squirming shadows which filled it. I returned to my dug-out as quickly as I could.
The blanket had grown cold in my absence. I huddled under it and would’ve drifted off if the scent of almonds hadn’t wafted in.
“Johnny?” a voice whispered.
I froze. Something moved in the moonlight. It dropped to all fours and peered through my doorway.
“You awake, Johnny?”
Moonglow didn’t favor the creature. Instead, it laid bare every flaw in his leprous face. I shut my eyes but the image of oozing sores remained. He hadn’t changed.
I answered with a snore as I had always done. A moment later, his cold hand clutched my throat.
“I’ve always known you were awake,” he said.
Laughter echoed throughout the dug-out and, like a malevolent lullaby, it bore me to my final rest.
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.
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Goodbye, my darklings, until next year. Please be safe and stay spooky!