We recently featured the debut EP of Canadian dark rockers Unveil on Femetalism and we liked it so much we asked Alain and Joelle to take some time out and speak to us about the band, the EP and what is coming up for Unveil.
How did Unveil get together?Alain: The story starts in 2004. After many years of playing in cover bands I felt the need to do my own thing. I took out a couple of songs written years before and called up a few friends. In the following weeks, I was jamming the first Unveil songs with Mr.Lee and Pom. From 2004 to 2011, Unveil played many shows as a power trio with me on vocals. In 2011, we shared the stage with Joelle Nolin on a special fund raising event. Since that magic night, we haven’t played a show without Joelle on lead vocals.
Joelle: I have known Unveil since 2007. I was singing in another band called Blame Adrianne (stoner-rock) and we had our first show with them. We loved doing collaborations with the artists we played with, so since then, I never stopped being in Unveil's circle.
Can you tell us a bit about each member of the band?Joelle: Alain is the creator of this whole idea. He is "Unveil". He writes the songs and the music. His head is always full of ideas and projects each one more interesting than the next.
Pom is the clown of the group. Always has something to say, sometimes just for word play. Hahaha! He's a very talented drummer. He did a lot of shows, with Unveil and other bands, so it's very nice to work with someone with this much experience.
Mr. Lee is the wise one. Always calm. I think he analyses us, haha. He's a man of few words but when he has something to say... it's not bullshit. He did lots of gigs with Alain and Pom separately before Unveil, that's why they know each other. He was playing guitar in the early beginning of Unveil but he switched to the bass and he's very talented. It's very easy to work with great musicians like these 3 guys. I love them a lot.
Alain: We first met Joelle in 2007. At the time, she was lead singer for a band named Blame Adrianne. What always impressed me about Jow is her raw energy. We are glad we convinced her to join the band in 2011. And now, her songwriting skills are bringing Unveil to new levels. Expect the new songs to rock.
Where did the name Unveil come from?Alain: The name came naturally. From day one, we knew that we wanted to mix storytelling into our live shows. So we were looking for a name with a sense of mystery and intrigue. We sat down and dropped a few name. When the name Unveil came out, we immediately knew we had found our identity.
How would you describe your sound?Alain: Unveil is a rock band. We are not aiming for a specific sound; we just play what comes out naturally. Our music does have a dark edge which comes from many years of playing in metal bands. We also like to include elements of prog to give the arrangements a sense of excitement.
Joelle: Before I joined the group, it sounded more goth metal. But since I joined Unveil, I have brought my rocker side. The result is a melting-pot of us all called dark rock.
Your EP Codex Noctem was released in 2013. Can you tell us about the EP?Alain: Codex Noctem is Unveil’s first official release. The entire album was recorded and mixed in my modest home studio. It was built around a series of dark poems written by me and my friend Erich Langlois. Inspired by vampires, the lyrics depict the inner thought of a lonely dark figure that has no contact with the outside world. I wrote most of the music but Mr.Lee also contributed some killer riffs. Every song on the EP has been part of our live set for many years. We recorded 8 or 9 of them but only 6 made it to the final release. For the artwork, we used pictures from an infrared photo shoot we did for our friend: Jean-François Dupuis. The results were beyond my dreams. The eeriness of the picture suited the subject perfectly.
Are you working on new material or planning a full length album in the near future?Joelle: Yes, we are working on new songs. I'm very excited about it! Heavier and faster! They reflect more who I am because I'm part of the process. Also, I gave a few songs I wrote to Alain such as: "Listen to yourself". There have been lots of good comments about it so far.
Alain: We have enough songs as we speak for a second EP. But we have no plans to record these for now. We want to play them live as much as we can before going in the studio. So if you want to hear these new songs, you have to come to the show. Recording is scheduled somewhere in early 2015. We will see at that time how many songs we have, and how many make it to the final mix but a full length album is the objective.
What motivates you to make music?Joelle: Working and having fun with dedicated people, friends. Working on new songs, playing shows and the energy the crowd gives me is very important for me.
Alain: Music is my life. I can’t get enough of it. I have been playing in bands for more than thirty years and I intend to keep at it for as long as I can. Music has the power to carry you. Whatever troubles you may have had in your day, once you raise the volume and hit that play button, nothing else exists. My main motivation is creating music that will carry you away.
Which artists have influenced you?Alain: I stated playing guitar in the early eighties. At the time, my heroes were David Gilmour of Pink Floyd, Alex Lifeson of Rush and Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath. These three guitarists have influenced my guitar playing style more than anything else. Of course, I have listened to so many bands since then that it would be impossible to name them all. In the last ten years or so, I have been listening to a lot of female fronted bands. I find that female vocals and electric guitar makes a perfect match. If I was to name bands that are influencing my songwriting today, I would say: The Birthday Massacre, Lacuna Coil, Die So Fluid, The Marianna Hollow and Autumn.
Joelle: That's a difficult one, too many artists and bands that I love. The Grunge decade influenced me a lot (Soundgarden, Stone Temple Pilots, Alice in Chains, Hole, Nirvana, Silverchair, Veruca Salt, etc). I'm a rocker, I love when it sounds loud, deep, dark and energetic. (Guano Apes, Die mannequin, Korn, Flyleaf, Deftones, Chevelles, Obscure Sphinx, PJ Harvey, etc). I love too many things - it goes from folk, bluegrass, psychobilly, and country, garage to rock, stoner, metal, post-rock and a bit of hardcore.
What do you enjoy most about playing live and which Unveil song do you most enjoy playing?Joelle: The heavier songs of Unveil (" Camera", "Deceiver", "Listen to yourself", "Addicted to lies" and the new ones you don’t know yet) and the energy of the crowd are the fuel I need to rock the stage.
Alain: What I love about playing live is that no two shows are the same; each one has its own energy. That is why we enjoy playing unusual venues such as record stores and Zombie Walks. We recently opened for a hardcore event in our hometown of Sherbrooke. As the crowd began entering the venue, you could feel it would be a wild evening - and it was. A song I especially enjoy playing at every show is Hide. The main riff has an odd time-signature that just keeps pushing the groove to the edge. You always have to be on your toes.
If anything was possible, who would you most like to tour with and why?Joelle: In the same category, I think The Mariana Hollow or The Birthday Massacre would be a good blend! Gothic style, female voices, deep chords and good songs would be a perfect match for a tour. If anything was possible, I'd be thrilled to play with Obscure Sphinx. The voice and the energy of Zofia Fras is amazing!!
Alain: With so many great bands, it’s close to impossible to choose just one. But if anything was possible, I couldn’t say no to a tour with Halestorm. I saw them live last year and I can say they put on a solid show. No backing tracks, no elaborate lighting design, just an honest, hard rocking band that kicks ass. I believe Lizzy Hale is one of the top female vocalists in the business right now.
Inspired by a recent guest article on Femetalism, I am interested in finding out more about the metal scene in other countries. Can you tell us about the metal scene in Canada?Alain: Canada is home of Strapping Young Lads, Gorguts and many other ground breaking metal bands. The province of Quebec has two major metal festivals: Heavy Montreal and Montbello’s Rockfest. The one city all major North American metal tour stop by is Montreal. But every city has its own local scene with bands in different sub-genres. In our hometown of Sherbrooke, we have a lot of death metal and hardcore bands. Personally, I still feel the Canadian metal scene is lacking in female fronted bands.
So what’s next for Unveil?Alain: We are working on our second live show which will weave a rock show and storytelling. Still no official title, but a first presentation is scheduled for early December. We are also juggling with the possibility of doing a rehash with content from our previous show: “The Story of Sarah” for our YouTube channel. We are also working on a script for a future video clip. Then there will be an album and other thing I can’t talk about for now. But don’t worry, whatever happens with Unveil, you will be kept in touch.
Huge thanks to Unveil for taking the time to talk to Femetalism. We definitely would like to be kept up to date on the album and anything else the band are up to!Codex Noctem is available from Bandcamp for $6 CAD. Check it out here.
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Originally posted by Emma Sheridan on Femetalism.