After starting life as a straight ahead punk band, “The Unseen” in the year 2007 prefers to walk a fine line between hardcore, punk and rock… with a few metallic moments thrown in for good measure.
Vocalist Mark kindly donated some of his “Warped Tour” downtime to speak to us…
Interview w/ Mark (vocals) of
By Cameron Chambers.
Thanks heaps for speaking to
us today mate.
No problem man, how are you?
Good thanks man.
You guys played the first stop of the Warped Tour in North Carolina
Yep yep. We’re out on Warped
at the moment.
How was that?
It was really cool. We played
early, at 11:30am but we had a really big crowd – it was really surprising.
North Carolina isn’t really known for a being a punk mecca, but we
had a really great crowd and played a really great show!
A lot of other bands have commented
on how tough the Warped Tour can be – you know, it’s hot, it’s
dirty, it’s long – what is it that you guys like about doing this
Ha ha, well, there’s a lot we
hate about this tour as well, ha ha. At the end of the day, we do it
because there’s a lot of great people involved in it and it lets us
go to places and play for people that we wouldn’t normally get to
Using today as an example, we
played for 1000 kids in North Carolina but if we toured here on our
own we’d probably play in a tiny bar to maybe 40 people. Which is
awesome – don’t get me wrong – but at the same time, doing things
like Warped Tour enables us to play to more people, so when we come
back on one of our own tours we might get 100 people at our shows.
It’s all just a part of the
climbing process you know? Building your band up.
There’d definitely be a lot
of fresh kids to play to that might not have heard you guys before
– maybe steal some of Hawthorne Heights fans, ha ha?
Ha ha, yeah, we’d like to steal
some of Underoath’s fans, ha ha.
I’m assuming you guys copped
a lot of shit from your long term fans
– and I use the term loosely – about taking bigger tours like this?
Yeah man, we always get shit from
our fans. Being a punk band, people put you on this pedestal – they
want to like you but they don’t want other people to like you.
We got shit when we did a video.
We got shit when we signed to BYO and then we got even more shit for
signing to Hellcat. But this is the 3rd Warped Tour that
we’ve done so we’re used to getting bitched at. We haven’t had
too many complaints this time though!
If anyone does complain, we’re
like, “we did the Warped Tour 3 years ago, where were you”, ha ha!
Who are some bands that you’re
keen to check out on Warped this year?
Really looking forward to seeing
Tiger Army, Bad Religion, Throwdown, Parkway Drive – who are from
Australia so I’m assuming you know a lot about them. We’ve actually
been travelling with those guys and getting to know them which has been
I’m drawing a blank right now,
there are just so many bands on this tour! Um, Mad Margin, The Stone
Cutters, Left Alone, The Briggs, they’re all great bands so there’s
heaps of people that we’ve got to meet and hang out with.
The Unseen have been kicking
around for more than a decade – what’s been your favourite tour
I’d say when we toured Japan
about 6 years ago. We were really young and it was a real DIY tour so
that was cool. Touring in Australia last year as well and I’m not
just saying that because I’m speaking with an Australia! We never
thought we’d get to do something like that and we met so many great
people and play some great shows.
We got to tour with Rancid through
England last year and that was a blast. We’ve done so many tours man,
but those ones really stand out.
I read a really great article
that your bassist Tripp wrote for Alternative Press last year, saying
how hypocritical the quote/unquote punk scene was
these days – anything you’d like to add to that?
He pretty much covered everything
man, but I definitely agree. Punk is supposed to be about being open
minded and being a community, but some places… the people are so sexist,
saying shit like “girls can’t play guitar” and heaps of racist
I think overall we’ve heard
so many ignorant things, like “that guys a loser because he doesn’t
drink”. Stuff like that and it’s shit because that not what punk
I’ll be honest man, I’d
only heard a couple of songs from you guys prior to the new record,
but “Internal Salvation” has blown me away.
Ha ha, that’s cool man.
“Brutal Truth” (intro song) started I thought I’d put in a Maiden
Ha ha, that’s awesome, thanks!
What was the writing process
like for the new record? Did you have many of the songs ready before
you hit the studio?
Well, we never write in the studio,
it’s just a waste of money. I mean, it’s costing us an hour
to be in there, ha ha.
We write in our practice space
and we always have all our songs demoed before we go to record. This
time round we spent about a year and a half writing this new record.
We’d spend downtime between tours writing and then we’d throw all
the ideas together.
Some of the songs are a year old,
but the one of the last songs on the record – Step Inside, this short,
fast, hardcore song – was written a week before we hit the studio.
“Right Before Your Eyes” – which is maybe the fourth song –
that was one of the last songs we wrote for the record, which was probably
about a month before we hit the studio.
Mostly though it’s a slow process
between tours. I spend time writing lyrics, and the other guys write
riffs, but the songs are always changing. It’s not really a new process
for us, we just get together and come up with riffs and go from there.
I spend a lot of time taking tapes
of our songs home and doing lyrics as well, so we’re usually pretty
Your last record (State Of
Discontent) broke you guys on a national level
– now that Hellcat/Epitaph had seen what you were capable of were
you given more time to write and record
Hellcat have been so good man,
they just let us down our own thing. There’s no pressure at all. They
didn’t do it with the record either… they’re so cool about that
They sign a band because they
believe in them and just say, “if we can help then let us know”.
They pretty much said that when we are ready to do a record to just
go for it.
We basically said, let’s record
in January, then we’ll aim for a release in June and then hit the
Warped Tour. That was the plan!
“State Of Discontent” was
produced by Ken from The Dropkick Murphy’s and mixed by Brett Guerwitz
(if you don’t know who he is then go buy a Bad Religion record)
– who took up production duties on the new record because it sounds
We did “Internal Salvation”
at the same place we did our last record. Ken helped out in the studio
with our last record which was great – he was able to throw around
a few ideas but I think the reason for the quality of the production
is because of the studio we were using.
We actually used the same engineer
for our last 2 records and this was one I guess you’d say was self
produced. For better or for worse, ha ha.
Was this the first album where
you guys have had 2 guitarists?
Well, we always had 2 guitars
on the record so we didn’t change the amount of guitar tracks that
we did. So this time rather than having one guitarist laying down 4
tracks we had 2 guitarists laying down 2 tracks each.
Adding Johnny (2nd
guitarist) has really filled out our sound and added to it. He’s not
a guitar prodigy or anything like that. I mean, he’s really good but
he’s not a musical genius but he definitely brought his feel to this
Any time you have more people
involved with writing and recording it helps and Johnny’s such a solid
player so he was able to add new perspective to what we had.
After hearing this new record
I feel like such a dick that I missed your Australian tour
– when can we expect you guys back here?
Ha ha, I would say hopefully in
February or March next year man. We’re talking about getting back
over around that time.
What else have you guys got
planned for the rest of 2007?
Right now, not too much. We’ve
got a month off after Warped Tour and then we hit England for 2 weeks.
After that we’re off to Europe for 5 weeks so we’re planning what
to do after that.
That’s pretty much it man,
anything else you’d like to add?
Umm, that’s all I can think
of. Thanks for doing this though!
No problem man,
enjoy the rest of the Warped Tour.
For more information on “The
Unseen” head to