Interview with lead vocalist Trevor Phipps - Unearth (December 3rd 2008)


One of the leading groups in their genre is Unearth. They just released their album a few months ago. Time to getting to know a little more about what's going on in the Uneath camp. Vocalist Trevor was kind enough to answer following questions..



For the new Album the band chose again for Adam Dutkiewicz to produce it. Was the band not satisfied with Terry Date’s production on the third album?


Trevor: We were all very happy with Terry Date, but we missed working with Adam. Dutkiewicz produced and engineered our first two full lengths and some other random recordings over the years. He knows our band inside and out as well as being good friends with us. He just made the most sense to work with again this time around ?


The new record is much more melodic, was that the bands goal when the recording started?


It wasn't the intent to get more melodic with the music at all. We just set out to write the best songs we could and that is what came out of us. Last album we were in a dark place internally and it showed with a very dark, straight forward speed metal album. This time around we were in a much better place within the band and I believe the quality of the songs shows because of it.


Your guitarists Ken (Susi) and Buz (McGarth) must have had the time of their life recording ‘The March’, they bring a variety of exiting riffs and harmonies.


Another big reason we brougt Adam D back on board was because he knows how to deal with both Buz and Ken and get the best ideas and performances out of them. With the friendship and mutual respect they all have for each other they definitely had a good time recording the album together. Every time I walked into a tracking session for guitars it was either them getting drunk and telling jokes or really buckling down and getting work done. They mixed it up just enough to make it a good experience in the studio.


The songs are a little less hardcore and have a more metal kind of feeling over them. Not worried to lose some hardcore metalcore fans?


I believe we have always been a metal band that is known and respected in the hardcore scene. We don't wear custumes, have any real gimmicks or come off as pompous assholes, so I feel that we will always have a place within that community to play.


Has the band any idea if the next record will be even more melodic and more metal minded?


We have no idea. This one just came out and we haven't even dreamt of writing for the next one yet. I am sure it will sound like Unearth with some minor tweaks here and there. We are who we are and we will always take some risks and do some different things, but our core sound will likely remain as long as we are a band.


After drummer Mike Justain left the band, Gene Hoglan saved the bands tour, on this record Derek Kerswill plays the drums. Is he officially the new drummer and why did Mike leave the band?


Derek is officially in the band. He has been touring with us for about a year and half and he wrote and recorded this entire album with us. He has been the perfect fit for us moving forward. He is a great guy, solid as a rock behind the kit and he really helps glue us together as a five piece band. Mike Justain is a great musician, but we never really clicked as a five piece unit with him in the fold. A bunch of things went down between us and him over time both professionally and personally, so we decided as a band to send him home in 2007 right in the middle of a North American tour with Dimmu Borgir. We had arranged with Gene Hoglan to fill in for Mike even before we told Mike the news. We wanted the transition between Gene and Mike to be smooth for us, when we told him the news. The funny thing is, we are better friends with Mike now than when he was in the band.


Your singing sounds a little more balanced, do you agree with me on that? 


With the music being a bit more structured and not quite as dark, I was able to use more variety in my delivery. I also think Adam knows how to get the best performance out of me as well. I was pulling five to eight hour days doing take after take to get the right recordings. I was beat up, but it was worth it in the end.


Can you tell us something about the lyrics, as a reviewer I get only the promo, but I have the idea that there is a kind of subject or message in them.


The March' symbolizes both the evil and hopeful sides of humanity. The Evil: With the constant balancing act of power within government, religion and our financial institutions, there lies the chance of those most hungry for power to alter and restrict our freedoms for their gain. The Hopeful: This represents the faith in mankind as the most powerful force on the plant. If we come together and do not fight over religion, class and borders then we hold the key to a peaceful world. There are two possible futures in store; either a March of power and greed or a march of a unified human race.


Satisfied with Metal Blade so far?


Very much so. They get our albums in stores around the World, they promote the band and they treat us like family. They do what a label is supposed to do and we are all happy as hell.


You played Ozzfest again, how was the response of the audience?


We did Ozzfest in 2004 and 2006 and both times were great. High energy crowd participation and good times. It is a festival we would do again for sure.


You have been playing in Russia as well. This must have been quite an experience. Was it what the band expected?


Playing Moscow was definitely a cool experience for us. Growing up in the cold war we never thought we would end up playing music in Russia, but sure enough we did. The show was intense, meeting the fans was a pleasure and walking around different parts of the city seeing monuments, markets and trying the local food was somewhat surreal. We have already been talking about a return trip.


What are the touring plans for the next few month?


We have the majority of December off, but January through March is already booked up as we have a North American headlining tour in January, the Defenders of the Faith tour in the UK in early February, the Soundwave Festival tour in Australia at the end of February and finally a Japanese tour with In Flames and Lamb of God in March. There will be more worldwide touring starting in April and we will likely be on the road for a good portion of 2009 into 2010.


We in Europe always look very surprised at the guys who run for president. I personally can’t understand that people dig it and believe all what they say. I think it is a waste of money, do you follow the election debates?


Our most basic and valued freedom is the freedom to vote. If I didn't follow the debates and what each candidate has to offer us, then I wouldn't be a contributor to our system. I believe this most recent election was the most followed in the history of our country. People paid attention and wanted a change. They voted for change and got it.  


Please react on the following words or persons.


      • Death Magnetic - I find it a good record. As a huge fan of their first four full length albums I am happy as hell they brought the riffs and long metal song structures back. There is a certain level of nostalgie with the new songs for me, bit it is also well written and catchy. Maybe not as mean and heavy as 'Justice' or 'Puppets', but still a solid metal album. Horns up. 
      • The March - Currently my favorite Unearth album. It has everything we bring to the table as song writers and musicians and the songs are fun as fuck to play live.
      • Obama - A renewed hope for our country. 
      • Terry Date - A nice guy, legendary producer and one hell of a Coors Light enthusiast! 
      • Mike Justain - Great drummer for a band called Trap Them. Check them out. 
      • Killswitch Engage - Awesome dudes, huge band, great albums. 
      • Metalcore - I fucking hat sub-genre titles. It is all heavy metal to me. 
      • Economic crisis - Rough times for us all.

I leave here room to tell what ever you want to our readers…


Thanks for the support. Check the new album 'The March' and look out for us on tour soon.


Trevor, thanks for answering the questions!

Interviewed by Reinier de Vries

Unearth - The March

Album available on Metal Blade Records