Official release: 29.02.2016
It hasn’t exactly been quiet around local Federal Unicorn since Robert, Kuba, and Kristian formed the band back in 2010. They have worked their way up from playing small bars and college parties to releasing records and playing all over Europe.
On the very last day of February 2016, they will release their new EP ‘Substances’, following up on their album from 2014 called ‘Come Again’, and to me, it feels like they have really found their sound.
Their new EP ‘Substances’ has this provocative, grungy sound to it. It’s heavy and hard hitting, yet with a touch of a lighter Kings of Leon-ish element to it. A combination that really works. Give ‘Animal’ a listen, and you will see and hear what I mean, and you will see that I’m right; it really works!
Now, this EP deserves a listen. And you know what, I think you’ll be rewarded if you give the entire EP a listen. And when you think it’s done, just hang on, see what happens.
Here’s your chance to get an exclusive pre-listen, and while you’re listening, you can read a Q&A we did with the band. Furthermore, you can catch Federal Unicorn at their release party at HeadQuarters on the March 4, with support from John Alcabean.
First of all, thanks for giving us the possibility of premiering your new release. Can you tell us a little about the creation of the ‘Substances’ EP?
Robert: As in many cases, this record was not planned from A to Z. In other words, we weren’t planning to make an EP until we saw that we had the songs for it. It was a very natural decision to put these songs together. We also left out some songs of out this record, since we thought they would clash with the vibe. This one is moody, good kind of moody, but moody. The EP was done at TapeTown Studios in Aarhus with our good friend Rasmus. It was an engaging and interesting experience with
Kristian: being 3 very different personas with very different taste in music, creating that narrow genre spot that we all could grow in, has been a long process. Once we found it though, the songwriting got a better flow and in my opinion a more enriched quality and sound.
Kuba: It took us couple of days to record, but several months before that to get the songs in the shape. We recorded everything in one room, playing all together, so we can capture the real energy of the band playing live. Record was self-produced, but Rasmus Bredvig from TapeTown helped us hash out a couple of small things that made the songs just right.
In your own words, what is the main theme throughout this new release?
Robert: It’s about facing your demons, telling good from bad, finding beauty in ugly and trusting your own mind and flesh. A lot of it is a product of taking really long walks in search of unidentified treasures. Sometimes you do, sometimes you don’t, sometimes you end up with poison on your tongue and your mind in abyss and all the while you observe and contemplate. There’s a sense of alertness and longing to it all.
It has been two years since your last release ‘Come Again’ from 2014. How come the long break?
Robert: I know it’s been two years, but oh boy it did not feel like a break. At first, we were torn between following on the previous release, moving to a new city, and paying our bills. Moreover, we’ve grown much more critical to our end-product and therefore it took more time to finalize the songs. Last but not least, coordination came in the way, and the release ended up being delayed almost a year. Though, with the whole package in front of us – I must say it was worth the wait.
Kristian: touring takes time, concerts takes time, and last but not least writing music with a more concise genre focus takes time, when you want to do it right and have three perfectionist guys with very different tastes in music.
What are the main differences between ‘Substances’ compared to ’Come Again’?
Robert: ‘Come Again’ was evident in the many inspirations that we were driven by at the time, and perhaps lacked decisiveness and direction. With ‘Substances’ we wanted to remove that flaw and give the sounds more identity and continuity.
Kristian: Basically you can say that “come again” contains many different “chapters” and stories, whereas Substances focuses on one.
Kuba: ‘Come Again’ was a collection of songs, moving around genres and moods within FU. ‘Substances’ is a common voice.
In regard to the individual tracks, what are the main differences between the lyrical stories and musical spheres in the tracks?
Robert: It is safe to say that the musical spheres on tracks are similar. Perhaps the last track stands out, since it’s played on a piano with only Kristian backing my vocals. The lyrical stories refer to events and experiences I have had since I moved to Arhus. State of Decay is a rough poem about being an immigrant, Animal is pretty much about sex, Filter Legs is about a girl I loved and as to My Line – I would like to leave the interpretation to the listeners.
Kristian: What he said – I’m just the drummer.
Kuba: What they said. I don’t even sing on this one.
As a little advice for the listeners, how would you guys describe the perfect setting for hearing the album – feel free to describe it via the use of a small story or mental images.
Robert: I think it’s perfect for roaming in a city with a harbor, get it? Pop a bottle of wine, light up a smoke, look up ahead with peaceful but eager eyes and just fucking go not caring much for the public eye.
Kristian: Late night alone with a bottle of red wine. Simple as that.
Kuba: Do it somewhere where you can bob your head, do some air-drumming, and have a drink or five.
Can you tell us about your inspirations in reference to the creation of ‘Substances’ – both in connection with everyday things, thoughts, dreams, and other musical artists?
Robert: This record has two main purposes. One is to be the product for the listeners, a product that we believe some will find soothing. The other one, equally important, is to give us the substance we need as an independent band. It’s a form of treatment, it’s necessary, it’s a part of a bigger picture we want to paint. Musically, we have been embracing the more heavy, grungy alleys but at the same time are not fearing a lighter sound, which in this case Filter Legs is. If it’s honest, good and coming from the heart – it’s a song and we will keep it. While my favorite songwriting to this day still comes from Nirvana, but I’ve been indulging heavily in bands like Velvet Underground, The Doors and the modern era Suuns, Band of Skulls, Bon Iver, all of the Pete Doherty’s music.
Kristian: I am going to have to be honest here, as I come from a pop’ier background; beatwise my inspiration comes from The White Stripes and Franz Ferdinand. Oh – and Velvet Volume. They inspire me on so many levels.
Kuba: Tone of the bass on this one, was inspired by bands like Royal Blood and Death From Above 1979, where bass player doubles as a rhythm guitar.
Last but not least. I have heard rumors about a secret track that will only be included on the LP version of your new release. Do you guys have any comments on that rumor?
Kuba: We can’t tell you because the secret track will stop being secret. The EP will be released physically on a two-sided medium, but not vinyl. So at least we can tell you that there is a B side.
Kristian: The rumor is that our release party will be on March 4th at Headquarters…