Unwritten Law are no strangers to our fine country, having toured here plenty of times in their impressive twenty year career. Now with a new album ‘Swan’ on the way, the boys are heading back for another round of shows and Kill Your Stereo caught up with bass player Pat Kim to chat about the upcoming tour as well as a little reflection on their past.
Firstly, I have to mention that the first gig I ever went to was an Unwritten Law show in Adelaide with Bodyjar, and that show made me want to join a band, I have been in band’s ever since, that was 11 years ago, how does it feel to still be touring, especially in Australia, and still getting great crowds for that long?
You know, being able to make a living and just doing music as your job is equivalent to winning the lotto. We feel so fortunate to be able to still be doing this nearly twenty years later. I look forward to being back in Oz, seeing old friends and doing these shows. Funny thing you mention Bodyjar, been fortunate to say that since our first tour together, we have been able to stay in contact and keep that friendship with them. Grant and Tom have a new band called Burn The City that we were able to get to come and do a few shows with us. They will be doing the Adelaide and Melbourne shows, look forward to hanging out and checking them out.
How has the band managed to last for so long, how to you stay relevant?
I scratch my head at the very same though honestly. I don’t really know, it just works itself out. You have to realise that you have four very different personalities in this band…very strong personalities. We are pretty much like brothers at this point….when we fight, we fight 100%…..when we play, we play 100%…when we work, we work 100%. It’s just the way it is and pretty much all we know at this point. As far as staying relevant thanks for the compliment. I think we are able to stay relevant because we don’t really go by any playbook or trends or what not. We just do what we do and thankfully we still have fresh and relevant outlooks and ideas.
How do you guys manage making a living from music in the current climate of the music industry?
Well that remains to be seen, Ha! It’s a much tougher time….not just in music but in life in general. It has hit the music industry pretty hard, it definitely isn’t like it used to be. You can see the whole music industry trying to find a new format to run its businesses…..obviously they haven’t worked out the kinks yet.
What can fans expect from the upcoming tour?
Well, you are dealing with UL so you never really know what to expect. Really, just come with your dancin’ shoes on and just expect to have a good time.
The band has had several line-up changes, how is the general vibe with the current line-up?
This band is like a perfect storm. We fight one minute, we love each other the next. Look, we’ve been a part of each others lives for the better part of two decades and at the end of the day we love each other like brothers. It’s not always good, but when it’s good, it’s great. We are at a kosher time at the moment.
What can you tell us about the new album, Swan?
It’s basically a nice roller coaster ride. It has a healthy mix of just about everything but also being cohesive as a whole. It’s a solid record.
Whose idea was it to hold the fan art competition for the album art, and why do it?
I can’t really remember if it was Steve or Scott who came up with that idea. Anyhow, when the idea was brought up, it just seemed perfect. The fans pretty much make up this band so who else would do a better job than the fans? There were so many great submissions that we had to chose four! Thanks again to all who submit their artwork!
Del the Funky Homosapien is a guest on the album, interesting choice, why choose that particular artist?
We didn’t chose him, he chose us. It was really a random encounter. He showed up at Scott’s house with Roscoe’s Fried Chicken and waffles. Scott had been stuck with “Chicken (Ready To Go)” for some time so kind asked Del if he was interested in recording some shit. He played Del “Chicken” and Del loved the track and said he wanted to throw down on that song and….wah-la, rest is history. Funny part is we named that song “Chicken” long before Del showed up at Scott’s with a bucket of fried chicken and waffles. I guess it was meant to be.
When you guys re-recorded songs for The Hit List, were you tempted to change them dramatically or was the idea to stick as close to the originals as possible?
We did not want to change them drastically at all. Minus a few minor changes, we stuck as close to the originals as possible. You have to be careful with that shit because nine times out of ten, you usually fuck it up. I remember buying Megadeath’s ‘Peace Sells’ record re-mastered and Mustaine re-did all the vocals and solos and really just jacked it up. It was so awful and I remember just going “what the fuck were they thinking?”
What does 2011 hold for Unwritten Law?