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Unexpect - Interview

Present - Jason Levine & Unexpect
Leilindel - Female Vocals, Syriak - Guitar, ChaotH - Bass
Interview took place in New York City
November 2007

Jason:  You play a very unique style of metal. How would you classify your music and what influences do you have?

ChaotH:  I think it’s pretty wide. I always said that definition is limitation. So I guess you could say a hundred words that would define a style. But the more accurate simply would be, I don’t know. Experimental orchestral metal or something like that. But it kind of has weird rhymes. 

Leilindel:  Actually people found good ways to describe us better than us. 

Syriak:  Yes. Exactly. 

Leilindel:  On every group. Or we find some name they give us and I think it’s appropriate. 

Syriak:  And it really comes from different sources, because we all pour our personalities into it. So naturally we are all different humans and we all have different tastes, so. 

Leilindel:  That’s the plan of everything. 

Syriak:  That gives the results. 

Leilindel:  We still have this common. 

Syriak:  All kinds of metal, but also all the other musical styles that we like. Maybe jazz, electronic or gypsy. 

Leilindel:  Just the phase you’re in. 

Syriak:  Or whatever. We’re open minded to pretty much anything. Except country (*laughs*). 

Leilindel:  It’s not about just putting every style together either. 

ChaotH:  Country (*laughs*). 

Leilindel:  It’s also about being open minded at the present moment when you are doing it. Trying to ferment it and then see if it works or not. It’s not about trying to put everything together and then make something. We just go with the flow and then something happens. 

Syriak:  Can I also mention that I, one day there will be a vacuum cleaner conception. I’m pretty sure of it. It’s an idea that jumped into my mind a while ago and I think it will happen. 

ChaotH:  I’ve never heard it. Never. 

Syriak:  So that’s just why I want to express that it’s not only music, but it can be pretty much anything that inspires us.

Jason:  With the music style you also use unique instruments. 9 string bass, keyboards, violin. Did you always want to use such a wide range of instruments or did you start out more traditional heavy metal and expand into this? 

Syriak:  We started very traditional I guess. In 1996 it was more a kind of thrash metal kind of influenced by vintage bands like Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, Iron Maiden. It was really straight forward and quite simple in structure. Then we just wanted to add some textures so we added keyboards and violins at the same time. And a female singer. Everything came together at the same time. So after that we just started experimenting with all those kinds of new sounds. After that, new musicians added themselves to the band. It became what it is today. 

Leilindel:  But even at that moment, the name Unexpect was the same name. We just didn’t add the name. 

Syriak:  It wasn’t meant to be, you know, oh we’re doing unexpected music in Unexpect. 

Leilindel:  We do strange music. 

Syriak:  There’s no relation with that. 

Leilindel:  Yeah. Exactly. The name was still the same name before. 

Syriak:  Because it was called Unexpect and it was really more kind of straight forward thrash metal. There’s no traces of our past or that history actually. We had something like ten or eleven songs that we just threw down the thrash and began anew with the new instruments and just restarted ourselves totally. But it would be fun to just dig up the past. 

Leilindel:  Yeah. Try and work with that.

Jason:  You’ve been touring now mostly in the Northeast and Canada. How have the shows been and how have the fans reacted to the music? 

Leilindel:  It’s different everywhere we are going. 

ChaotH:  Yeah. But pretty good.

Leilindel:  But it’s good. It’s very good. 

ChaotH:  Yeah. Everywhere we play we have a really. 

Leilindel:  Warm welcome. 

ChaotH:  An extreme reaction. I would say. 

Leilindel:  Exactly. 

ChaotH:  People are either. Either they hate it or they really love it. But usually people are open minded and they really like it. 

Leilindel:  Yeah. 

Syriak:  They’re shocked at first. We see it in their face (*laughs*). 

Leilindel:  Yeah. 

Syriak:  It’s just. 

Leilindel:  It’s just they don’t know what to say. They’re speechless. 

Syriak:  It’s not easy music to understand. 

ChaotH:  Yeah. I think people are open minded and ready for that kind of music. 

Leilindel:  Yeah. 

ChaotH:  And we want to give it the most exposure we can and spread it around the world. 

Syriak:  We did two whole national Canadian tours so far, so I guess our notoriety in Canada is starting to really go well. In the states it’s not been such a long time since we’ve been traveling around. 

Leilindel:  For sure the next tour is going to help us a lot. 

Syriak:  Yeah, Yeah. Definitely. Because we did two short tours last year with The Gathering and Tub Ring in the Midwest and we went as far as Texas, but yeah, the tour in January will be very good for us. We’re just playing all across America.

Jason:  You’re going out with Trail Of Tears for that one. 

Leilindel:  Exactly. 

Syriak:  Echoes of Eternity also. 

ChaotH:  All the way down to California and Texas. 

Leilindel:  Mexico.

Jason:  You’re pretty excited about doing your first full US cross-country trek. 

ChaotH:  Yes. Officially we are doing the full blown tour now and that we’re going to spread the news all over America. So it’s cool.

Jason:  On that tour you are going out with some female fronted bands. Do you like being part of the female scene and do you want to be more involved in it? 

Leilindel:  I think people never really know what bands to put us with on an evening. So we always just. Every show is different. 

ChaotH:  We’re always the weird band. 

Leilindel:  Yeah. 

ChaotH:  On the lineup. Whatever is the scene, we’re always the weird band that doesn’t fit it. But I think it’s mainly because of our booking agent that we end up on female fronted lineups. Because it’s mainly. What is it. 

Leilindel:  After Forever. We played with them. 

ChaotH:  With First Row Talent Agencies mainly female fronted singer bands. So yeah, there’s a lot of them. 

Leilindel:  That’s the main reason why we end up doing shows with them. But it’s cool because we can touch different kind of scenes. 

Syriak:  It’s different because yeah, actually in the past it wasn’t that way so much. So it’s new for us. 

Leilindel:  People don’t really see us as a female fronted. We’re not. Well I don’t really know what we are exactly. Some people can call us a female fronted band, but we’re pretty much a seven person fronted band. I don’t know how to say that (*laughs*). 

Syriak:  We all sing equally. 

Leilindel:  But it’s exciting because we end up doing shows with a lot of different kind of groups and bands. 

ChaotH:  Yes. We played with Mike Patton. We played with Ulver. We played with whatever. So it’s cool. 

Leilindel:  Yeah. It’s nice. 

ChaotH:  To be in a different scene. But at the same time we have no personal scenes. So it makes it kind of hard. 

Leilindel:  They all see us kind of differently. So it adds to their own perception also. 

Syriak:  Perhaps because there’s not really any genres at all. 

ChaotH:  There’s not? 

Syriak:  No (*laughs*).

Jason:  With your style, are there any bands that you would like to play with or get on a tour with? 

ChaotH:  That question has been asked today. And you answered? 

Syriak:  Beethoven. 

Leilindel:  (*laughs*). 

ChaotH:  Yes. Right. 

Syriak:  I mean, I like touring with dead people. 

Leilindel:  (*laughs*) 

Syriak:  So Beethoven would be the right choice, because it’s just fusion, my love for classical music and dead people. 

ChaotH:  Yeah, and they don’t eat a lot on the catering list. 

Leilindel:  (*laughs*). 

ChaotH:  So you have all the food for yourself. That’s a really good point. 

Syriak:  And they don’t drink alcohol. 

ChaotH:  Exactly. You get all the stuff. 

Syriak:  It’s all the best. So touring with dead people should be quite nice. But no, if we’re talking about new bands. I don’t know. There are so many I guess. Something really good would be if Mr. Bungle would be able to just reconstruct and restart together. 

ChaotH:  Yeah. 

Syriak:  I think that would be one of my choices. 

Leilindel:  It would be a cool evening. 

ChaotH:  Anything Mike Patton did. The Dillinger Escape Plan or Dream Theater. Sleepytime Gorilla Museum. There’s a big, big, big list. 

Leilindel:  There’s a lot of them. Yeah. 

Syriak:  Anything. The Mars Volta. It could be anything. 

Leilindel:  But you know what. It should. It could happen because we. Everyone. Every promoter. They all have their own perception of what style we are. So maybe they’d just put us with who we think we should be playing with.

Jason:  You also have a very unique stage show. It is really more of a performance than just a show. How did the performance come about? 

ChaotH:  Yeah. Um. Yeah (*laughs*). 

Leilindel:  There’s so many things to be inspired with when you just play. There’s all the energy you have and the energy of the band surrounding you. You have the energy of the crowd. It’s like a circle. It nurses you and you just give it. 

ChaotH:  Yeah. 

Leilindel:  You’re in the present moment and you just feel what happens. Your body. 

Syriak:  You shake and it just moves you around. Kind of. It’s very focused. 

Leilindel:  Exactly. Your body reacts and you just let it go and there’s so many things we can be influenced right on the second. 

Syriak:  It’s not prepared whatsoever. There’s no choreography or anything. It’s just. It goes the way it goes. You know, all the moments. It’s all about the present moment. 

Leilindel:  And to be really linked together also the seven of us. When we’re on stage it really helps to have this kind of a blending. 

ChaotH:  I never liked the bands that are just standing there and play their songs. You have to, you know, people are coming to see a show so you better sweat and bleed a little bit. 

Syriak:  Yeah. I hit him on the head one time. 

ChaotH:  I still have a scar. 

Syriak:  I nearly cracked his skull with my guitar. 

ChaotH:  On the first song and I was bleeding the whole set. 

Syriak:  People we’re like, oh they’re doing a stage show and it’s fake blood. No. It’s real. It was. 

Leilindel:  You never know what happens. 

Syriak:  But I nearly gouged out your eye last year. 

ChaotH:  Yes. Thanks for that part of the, I don’t know what it’s called. But, um, if you have blood on your hands and your face, you know you did a good show. That’s all. 

Syriak:  But that’s not the main part of it. 

ChaotH:  Yep. 

Syriak:  Blood or no blood, it’s always good. It could be flowers too. Drinking. Good music and good people.

Jason:  Jumping into the crowd. Is that something you do a lot? 

ChaotH:  It was. Yes. 

Syriak:  I think he wanted to bleed (*laughs*). 

ChaotH:  Well it’s just. It’s something I like to do. I don’t know. 

Leilindel:  It just happens like that in a second. In whatever song. Whatever timing. 

Syriak:  He doesn’t do that at all shows. 

Leilindel:  Sometimes he just feels like doing it. 

ChaotH:  It’s kind of an exorcism. You can get your frustration out when you play shows. 

Syriak:  And I’m always frightened, because he loves his bass so much. 

ChaotH:  Yeah. 

Syriak:  That I always think, man. How come he’s able to... jump into the crowd? 

Syriak:  ...Jump up into the crowd. 

Leilindel:  Don’t care... 

Syriak:  ...And just take a chance that his bass may be broken, right. And it already happened actually I think. 

ChaotH:  Yeah. 

Syriak:  There’s consequences. 

ChaotH:  Yeah, I broke my bass on tour once. But you know, somebody, my drummer asked me, can I try your bass. Can I play it. I’m like ok, put the strap this way and be careful. And on shows I just smash it on walls. 

Leilindel:  Yeah.

ChaotH:  I don’t know what’s going on with me. I think I’m crazy.

Jason:  The album In A Flesh Aquarium. Has it been doing well sales wise for you? 

Syriak:  The reviews are excellent. 

ChaotH:  Yes.

Syriak:  Most. Not most. But. 

ChaotH:  All of them. 

Syriak:  Everybody. It’s very surprising because we would be expecting people to be a little put off by the kind of weird music. 

Leilindel:  There are people that think like that. 

Syriak:  There are. Yes. 

Leilindel:  And we respect that also. 

Syriak:  We respect that. But most of the reviews actually the people really take the time to listen to it and they don’t stop at the first listening and they just wait. 

Leilindel:  Yeah. They don’t do the whole review at the first listening. They just wait and take time to hear everything. There’s so many layers on this album. 

Syriak:  But it’s good. We’re just looking forward to just playing live for everybody and just be seen pretty much. 

Leilindel:  Everywhere. 

Syriak:  Yeah. Everywhere. We’re working on finding our way to Europe in the next year and we’ll see about that. We’ve been invited to Progfest and we’ll see if we. We’ll just try to get on some festivals. 

Leilindel:  Yeah. 

Syriak:  Maybe do some touring over there.

Jason:  Have you started working on any material for a follow up album? 

ChaotH:  Yes. We are working on that right now. It’s kind of complicated because we play shows all the time. But on time off we do work on music right now and we just started doing it. We’re working on two, three or four songs maybe. 

Leilindel:  Yeah. 

ChaotH:  But, yeah, we’re really excited about. We’re really starting, but really excited about what we have so far. 

Syriak:  Starting. But there’s already almost, yeah, I could say four or five structures. 

Leilindel:  Structures. 

ChaotH:  Yeah. 

Syriak:  But now the fun part is after a while. When there is a structure it’s just the beginning part is when we are getting to it. 

Leilindel:  Yeah. 

Syriak:  But since we’re doing all. We’re doing a lot of shows right now. It’s a little hard for us to. 

Leilindel:  To concentrate on it. 

Syriak:  Concentrate on it and just getting inspired. And yet we only have two shows left until the end of the year. So we’ll be able to really get a big boost on the composition before starting up again on the next tours. 

ChaotH:  And I think people who like In A Flesh Aquarium have to buy the next one, because I already know it is going to be awesome.

Jason:  More of the avant-garde, out there style? 

Leilindel:  We don’t know yet (*laughs*). 

Syriak:  Always (*laughs*). 

ChaotH:  I have no idea what it’s going to sound like, but it sure is going to be awesome. 

Syriak:  Even us, don’t know. We don’t. 

Leilindel:  We don’t have this plan. 

Syriak:  Anything.


Jason:  If In A Flesh Aquarium is any indication, the next album should be great as well. 

Syriak:  Thanks. Thanks a lot. 

Leilindel:  Thank you very much. 

Syriak:  But we really want to take our time. It’s just. We can set a date. We won’t. Our main goal will be to record by the end of 2008. 

ChaotH:  No, we will. 

Syriak:  I think we will.. 

Leilindel:  We don’t want to have this... 

Syriak:  We don’t want to rush anything. If it’s not ready. 

Leilindel:  It’s not ready. Then we’ll just... 

Syriak:  We just don’t want to release an album because it’s time to release an album. 

Leilindel:  It has to be now. And I think people respect that. And it’s better like this. If you hurry then it’s crazy. 

Syriak:  Some bands just produce and it’s production and you have to produce albums and the next year. Ok, here’s another one. We’re not like that. We just want to take our time. Put all our emotions and passion into the music and then let it go.

Jason:  And do some more touring in the meantime. 

Syriak:  Yes. 

Leilindel:  Yeah. 

ChaotH:  We have a heavy tour schedule as you might know in January and it’s going to be first of a bunch of tours. 

Syriak:  And our booking agent is working on finding other tours to follow up after that. Nile in the spring. 

Leilindel:  Yeah. 

Syriak:  We want to pass most of the next year touring and composing. So we want to be busy. We don’t want to have too much spare time or anything. It’s music, music, music. 

Thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions in person and good luck touring and in festivals in the future!

www.unexpect.com , www.theendrecords.com