Boston street-punk quartet The Unseen join the Hellcat Records family with their fourth album, the Ken Casey-produced State of Discontent. And having clocked up about 200 shows in 2004, the band don't anticipate slowing down anytime soon.
Interview by Steve Tauschke | firstname.lastname@example.org | with Mark (singer) of The Unseen.
The new album has been out for a while now ... how's the reaction been so far?
Well, with every album we have haters but so far most feedback has been great. People seem to think this is the best one.
I heard there's quite a history behind Outpost Studios where you recorded?
Yah, definitely. We have done our last three albums there, Dropkick Murphys always record at the Outpost and other names are the Business, Slap Shot, Mighty Bosstones and Blood for Blood has done everything at the Outpost. Jim the owner he is fuckin' amazing especially with punk and hardcore.
How did the band hook up with Ken Casey from the Dropkick Murphys?
Well, hookin' up with Ken was the idea of Brett Gurewitz. It was an easy project to make happen because we have known Ken for like seven years. We all grew up in the same city, fuck, Ken lives a mile away from me. Also it was easy because we, along with the Dropkicks,we always record at the Outpost.
Tell us about some of the guests who dropped by during the sessions?
Well since the album was started I wanted Lars from Rancid to sing on it. I'm a huge fan of his voice, he's fuckin' awesome - one of the best in punk rock. We were doing vocals and I found out the Bastards were playing Boston so a week in advance I called Lars. He came by before his gig and sang on We Are All That We Have. We also had James and Matt from the Dropkicks do back-ups. We then flew out to California to finish the record with Brett and decided we needed another voice on our Paint it Black cover so we called Dicky from the Bosstones. He said "Fuck, I'll come down!" It was odd, we have never had so many people interested.
Did you actually record on X-Mas day?
Fuck X-Mas hahah! Yah, I had to finish vocals. Jim, the guy who recorded us, is not much of a family man so he let me come in. I remember I sang Social Damage that day - I was there about 3 hours.
I read you had some problems with the final mix?
Yah, we mixed Otherside, Scream Out, End Is Near and Flames at the Outpost then we had to finish somewhere else. We fuckin' freaked, we didn't know how we were gonna finish it without The Outpost. Brett called and said he wanted to do it. Brett is the man, he is one of the best mixers in punk. Workin' with him was great - he also bought us lunch a lot. Hahaha!
So is the Hellcat label akin to one big family?
Haha, it is. Kind of a big family. A lot of artists tour together or are in the same bands or at least play on each others albums.
Do you feel there's been a return to a political agenda with punk bands in the US the past two or three years, much like anti-Reagan movement in the 80s?
Yah and I think it's kind of lame. I think a lot of bands are bashing Bush to sell records.
You've played with everyone from Agnostic Front to Ant-Flag but also a Chinese punk band called Brain Failure. How was that?
Brain Failure was great. It was odd because they didn't speak English but we are used to that. We toured Japan with bands that we could not talk to but we still had a great time and became friends with them.
Tell us about the stolen van episode out in the desert?
In short form basically, we were on tour with Hatebreed we had two vans on that tour. Me, my girlfriend and our friend who drives and helps out, we were in the van and we stopped to get some food at a gas station. My friend stayed in the van while me and my girl went in. We left the van running while my pal was lying in the back trying to fall asleep. Well, two guys jumped in and took off. My friend opened the back door jumped out and watched the van drive away up the street. Haha! Luckily our van sucks and it broke down so the crooks stole some shit and took off. We got the van back and fixed it.
What's happening with your side venture Self-Destruct?
Not much in the past two years. The Unseen is so busy. I'm gonna put together a full length and release it hopefully in the fall.
State of Discontent is out on Hellcat.