Interview med Jake Superchi fra UADA

Jake Superchi

For nyligt kastede vi 9 kulsorte kranier efter UADA, så derfor var det jo oplagt at få en snak med geniet bag; Jake Superchi!

Først og fremmest vil jeg lige lykønske jer med Djinn, det er en fænomenal plade!

 1: Hvilke erfaringer tog I med jer fra Cult of a Dying Sun, og benyttede I jer af dem, da I skrev Djinn?

Jake: Tak for lykønskningen. Da UADA blev formet, var der en ide og en lyst til at gøre noget utraditionelt og skubbe ideerne over i en mere rock’n’roll-orienteret lyd. At blive indenfor linjerne i det typiske black metal-spektrum var aldrig rigtig noget, vi havde lyst til. Selvom 90’ernes black metal altid vil være en af mine største indflydelseskilder, og noget jeg er enormt passioneret omkring, så kommer der en tid, hvor man får lyst til at rejse ud og udvide sine horisonter. Bandet handler om at gøre det, der kommer naturligt, så vi leder ikke bevidst efter at gøre noget, der ikke føles rigtigt.

Jeg tror, at Cult of a Dying Sun var et album, der byggede bro mellem Devoid of Light og Djinn.

Selvom jeg tror, hvert album er anderledes end det forrige, så er der elementer, de har tilfældes, men hvert album blev også skrevet, som vi afsluttede det forrige. Jeg fandt for nylig nogle gamle videoer af James og mig, der spillede og dokumenterede sangen ”Djinn” tilbage i januar 2017, og af mig selv der dokumenterede de oprindelige riffs tilbage i september 2016.

Hvis vi kigger tilbage på tidslinjen, så er det mindre end seks måneder efter, vores debut blev udgivet. Så der er ingen tvivl om, at de her ting tager tid, eller kan blive tvunget til at sidde på bænken, især for et band, der turnerer så ofte som os.

En anden ting, som Cult lærte os, var, at vi ikke stopper eller sætter farten ned, når det begynder at blive hårdt. Der var masser af indre konflikter fra begyndelsen, der varede helt op til starten af i år, med medlemmer der kom og gik. Vores andet album var højdepunktet af alt det, og der lærte vi meget om mennesker, deriblandt os selv.

2: Jeg vil gerne spørge ind til den del af sangen ”No Place Here”, hvor der er et spoken word-segment. Jeg har læst det, var inspireret af Twitter-debat – er det noget, du vil uddybe?

Jake: Tja, der er ikke nogen mangler på løgne og misinformation på internettet de her dage, og jeg ville lyve, hvis jeg sagde, jeg ikke havde læst mange om mig selv og bandet. Det her må være en af de antagelser, for jeg er ikke engang sikker på, at nogen af os har en Twitter profil. Jeg har ikke, og eftersom jeg skriver alle teksterne, kan jeg helt ærligt sige, det ikke var inspirationen for den del. Jeg er dog helt sikker på, at der ikke var nogen mangel på politiske debatter på samtlige internetplatforme op til valget, så handler det mere om den splittelse, vi så blandt egne rækker, som inspirerede de ord. Da vi prøvede at finde nye medlemmer, blev vi mødt af nogle få politiske aktivister, eller wannabe-aktivister. Vi er alle rummelige mennesker i bandet og åbne overfor folks personlige forskelligheder og forventer derfor at blive mødt med det. Desværre blev det til en situation, hvor vi ikke engang kunne spise et måltid på turneen, uden nogen ville prædike for hele bordet. Vi så endda nogle få, der prøvede at bruge deres moralske ståsted som en magtposition i bandet, som om de skulle overtage tøjlerne, selvom det er James og mig, der er skaberne og komponisterne.

Så der var en masse underlige dynamikker, som vi skulle gennemleve. ”No Place Her” er vores bandlysningsformular, for vi bandlyser den slags scenarier, de skal aldrig forpeste dette band igen. Som musikere og kunstnere er vi kritiske tænkere, inspireret af de friheder der gør, at vi kan være netop det. Vi har alle brudt med kirkens lænker, og det begyndte at føles, som om der blev prædiket for os igen, især for en som er søn af en prædikant. Det tog hårdt på bandets moral, især når man så den slags skinhellige typer konstant bryde med deres egen moral. Vi indså hurtigt, at de ikke selv kunne leve op til de standarder, de satte for andre. Så selvom det var et mareridt at gennemleve, inspirerede det mig til at skrive de ord om min oplevelse, og endelig er de oplevelser ikke længere. Kapitlet er lukket.

3: Den amerikanske black metal-scene virker meget mere varieret og eksperimentende end den europæiske, men også meget mindre forenet – hvad er dine tanker om den amerikanske black metal-scene?

Jake: USA er et enormt land med mange forskellige regioner. Jeg tror, det er en af årsagerne til, at vi ser en masse forskellige stilarter fra forskellige dele. Jeg tvivler på, at det nogensinde vil ændre sig, eftersom de naturlige omgivelser (eller mangel på samme), spiller så stor en rolle for black metal. Det gør det i hvert fald for mig, og jeg vil tro, at det også gælder for mange andre.

Helhed er noget, vi aldrig har set i det her land, og jeg er sikker på, der kommer til at gå nogen tid, før vi kommer til at opleve det. Eftersom USA er så ungt et land i forhold til andre, vil splittelsen virke så meget stærkere, og eftersom vi lever i et kapitalistisk samfund, er det stadig meget som det vilde vest. Dræb, eller bliv dræbt på en måde, så når du ser et band vinde frem, ser du også en masse had til det band opstå. Vi ser ned på succes i stedet for at hylde det. Jeg ved ikke, om det skyldes jalousi eller noget andet. Jeg er med på, vi er programmeret til at skabe vores egen vej som musikere, men jeg kan da ikke undlade at blive spændt, når jeg ser andre musikere opnå bare et milligram af succes, anerkendelse eller erfaring for deres hårde arbejde og dedikation.

Jeg er først og fremmest musiker, så jeg vil altid støtte andre musikere, for jeg ved hvor hårdt det er at være en og de kvaler, som vi kunstneriske typer kæmper med, især her i Nordamerika.

Nogle tror, at black metal kun handler om had, og hvis det er tilfældet, så gætter jeg på, at de bands, der modtager mest had, på en eller anden måde repræsenterer den sande black metal. Det er sjovt, for jeg har forstået black metal som en måde at tænke for sig selv, at lave sin egen vej, at fejre sin individualitet og mestre sig selv via de mystiske øvelser, der har inspireret den kunstform. Had er en banal og barnagtig ting at bære rundt på for mig, i forhold til hvor jeg er i livet nu. Det er følelse, jeg har mestret og udnyttet for et større mål. I forhold til innovation, så tror jeg, det er en meget amerikansk ting. Det er noget, vi har i blodet, som vores forfædre tog med sig i håbet om at skabe en ny verden. De var nødt til at være innovative for at overleve, og ligesom vores land erklærede sin uafhængighed for længe siden, så ser jeg, at black metal gør det samme nu, selvom vi alle erklærer uafhængighed af hinanden.

4: Det er ingen hemmelighed, at black metal er mere populært end nogensinde før, nogen ville måske endda sige, det var hipt. I er jo fra Portland, Oregon, så er I nogensinde blevet smidt i samme gruppe som de såkaldte ”hipster black”-bands som Deafheaven, Wolves in the Throne Room eller Ghost Bath, og hvad er dine tanker om, at black metal er blevet populært?

Jake: Eftersom jeg kun bor et par timer væk fra Wolves in the Throne Room, har jeg kendt dem i et stykke tid, og jeg nyder for det meste deres musik. De andre bands er jeg ikke så bekendt med. Vi er blevet smidt i alle mulige forskellige grupper. Måske er vi bare gode til at forvirre folk, for vi er blevet kaldt alt, hvad du kan forstille dig. Måske er det mangler på ansigter og personlighed, eller at vi ikke laver interviews med lyd eller video, der gør, at folk kommer med antagelser og fordømmelser? Jeg ved det faktisk ikke.

Jeg er heller ikke helt sikker på, hvad en ”hipster” egentlig er, men jeg kan forsikre dig for, at jeg er alt andet end hip. Det meste af min tid bruger jeg derhjemme alene i mørke rum, hvor jeg spiller musik eller arbejder på noget musikrelateret. Jeg er ikke pjattet med populære feststeder eller at spille ”vigtig”, ej heller er jeg det, man kalder en ”influencer”. Jeg kan lide sandheden og de underlige ting i verdens udkant. Mennesker er ikke ret spændende, for vi er for det meste de samme. Jeg har de få omkring mig, der betyder noget, og dem fokuserer jeg på. Så jeg kan faktisk ikke fortælle dig, hvad der er ”hipt”, men jeg tvivler på, at jeg ville blive kategoriseret som det. Hvis nogen tror det, så vil mit bud være, at de lever kedelige liv.

Jeg tror, at black metal allerede var begyndt at blive populært i midten og slutningen af 1990’erne efter eksplosionerne i Norge. Siden da er det kun vokset, og flere er blevet gjort opmærksom på genren. Når noget først er blevet opdaget, er det klart, at det vil blive undersøgt, dissekeret og kopieret. For mig spiller det dog ingen rolle.

5: Da I begyndte som band, blev I sammenlignet med det polske band Mgla. Hvorfor tror I, det skete, og er det stadig noget, I hører for?

Jake: Jeg tror, det skyldtes, at vores debut udkom lige efter deres album Exercises in Futility. Det siger noget om, hvilken effekt deres album havde på scenen. Vi så mange kritikere, der kaldte vores debut for en kopi af det album, og det spredte sig som en steppebrand. For os var det en bittersød oplevelse. Den bitre side var, at vi følte, at det, vi gjorde og præsenterede, var ret originalt, og at det helt bramfrit blev kaldt plagiat, trods at der er videoer af os, der spillede de her sange live, hele ni måneder før Exercises blev udgivet – så det var ikke helt det, vi havde håbet på. På den anden side hjalp sammenligningen os på mange måder, og det skabte en hel del opmærksomhed omkring os. Ingen publicity er dårlig publicity, tror jeg. Jeg er sikker på, at den overgang henimod anonymitet, som der skete i black metallen på det tidspunkt, også spillede en rolle. Mange bands tilpassede sig og gik væk fra den typiske og trætte corpse paint-fetich. Hvorimod hætter, som er en hverdagsting her på Nordvestkysten, var ved at blive en ny tradition. Så selvom det stadig virker til at være noget, folk stadig snakker om, så ser jeg det ikke som et problem. Folk tror på det, de vil, uanset hvad, det kan vi ikke kontrollere, og det ønsker vi heller ikke. Vi er her for at skabe den musik, vi ønsker at skabe, og det er det eneste, vi vil fortsætte med at gøre. Hvis folk ser ligheder, så er det ikke nogen overraskelse, dem finder man i alle former for kunst og musik, især i black metal. Vi henter jo alle inspiration fra de samme kilder.

6: Hvad inspirerede Djinn?

Jake: Overnaturlige hændelser. Eller, jeg bruger ordet ”overnaturlige” som en beskrivelse, selvom disse oplevelser kunne være fra vores verden eller måske endda fra ens egen underbevidsthed. Vi kunne kalde det paranormalt, udenjordisk eller interdimensionelt. Der er sket mange underlige begivenheder igennem mit liv, og jeg prøver bare at få dem til at give mening. Jeg har for eksempel oplevet at få ønsker opfyldt her i livet, nogle gradvist, hvilket ikke får en til at stoppe op og tænke over det, og andre gange er det sket med det samme.

Med det samme og på en fysisk måde, hvilket rejser en del spørgsmål, især når de også havde involveret andre. Så hvad end det her er, så tror jeg, det har givet nogle evner, hvorfor ved jeg ikke. Nogen tror måske, det er Satan eller Gud, dæmoner, engle, rumvæsner, vores overjeg, men jeg tænker, at det måske er, hvad mange mytologier har kaldt for en ”djinn”. Vi ved, at disse væsner senere blev til ånder, så giver det mening. Og eftersom vi ser det her album som vores tredje ønske, så var Djinn bare den bedste titel.

7: Hvad er oprindelseshistorien for UADA, hvorfor besluttede I jer for at lave et black metal-band i det hele taget?

Jake: De grundlæggende medlemmer har spillet black metal i årevis. Jeg har været involveret i denne kunstform i omkring 25 år. Det er ikke noget, vi bare besluttede os for at gøre, det er noget, vi har gjort, siden vi var teenagere, og det er en livsstil, vi har dedikeret os til. Selvom vores kunst måske ændrer sig en kende gennem årene, så er vores kerneværdier de samme, og vi forbliver sande over for os selv først og fremmest.

8: Hvilke bands inspirerede jer til at begynde at spille instrumenter?
Jake: Før jeg lærte mig selv at spille guitar, havde jeg spillet trommer. Min far var trommeslager og havde et sæt et kælderen. De to første bands, der inspirerede mig til at spille trommer, var Metallica og Nirvana. Det niveau af teknisk snilde, som Lars havde på … And Justice For All, og den rå aggression, jeg hørte fra Dave Grohl på Nevermind, var de to ting, der virkelig talte til mig fra en ung alder. Jeg voksede op i 80’erne og 90’erne, og derfor var mine første oplevelser med metal via mainstream radio og MTV, dengang de altså spillede musik. Så mine første metalbands var Ozzy, Mötley Crue, WASP, Van Halen og rockbands som Billy Idol og The Cult. Det er mine første erindringer af heavy musik, indtil jeg var ni, og ”Smells Like Teen Spirit” ramte og ændrede min opfattelse. Selvom det ikke var lige så tungt som nogle af de andre bands, jeg kunne lide dengang, så havde det en råhed og en oprigtig vrede, der virkelig ramte mig. Det gjorde det klart for mig, at jeg skulle finde musik udenfor mainstream radioverden. Det var i det øjeblik, jeg vidste, at det her var det, jeg ville. Musik har altid været den ting, jeg fandt mest spændende, og jeg følte en uforklarlig forbindelse til det.

9: Hvad er det næste store skridt for UADA?

Jake: Indtil COVID-19 er overstået, og vi kan tage på turne igen, vil vores fokus være på album IV. Vi har intet valg lige nu, så vi vil arbejde på det og være klar, til når verden genåbner.

 First of all, I wanted to congratulate you on Djinn, it’s a phenomenal record!  

1: What did Cult of a Dying Sun teach you about yourself as a band, and did you use any of that writing Djinn? 
Jake: Thank you for the congratulations. When UADA formed there was an idea and aura of wanting to do something untraditional and push the ideas into a more rock ‘n’ roll oriented sound. Staying within the lines of the typical black metal spectrum was never really something we wanted to do. Although 90s black metal will always be my biggest genre influence and a huge musical passion of mine, there comes a time when one wants to venture out and expand. This band is all about what comes naturally, so we aren't really looking to purposely do anything that doesn't feel right. I think that Cult of a Dying Sun was an album that bridged that gap between Devoid of Light and Djinn
Although I do think each album is different from each other, they also have a lot of similarities within them as well, but each album had also begun it's writing stage as the previous was being recorded. I recently found some old videos of myself and James playing and documenting the song "Djinn" back in January of 2017 and myself documenting the original riffs in September of 2016. If we look at the timeline that is less than six months after our debut had been released. So, there is no doubt that these things can take time or are forced to sit on the backburner, especially for a band that tours as often as we were. 
Another thing that the experience that Cult brought us, is that we aren't going to stop or slow down when things get rough. There was a lot of inner turmoil from the beginning right up to the beginning of this year with members coming and going. Our second album was at the height of it all and it really taught us a lot about people, including ourselves.  

2: I wanted to ask about the spoken word speech at the end of “No Place Here”. I have read that it was inspired by a debate on Twitter – can you clarify? 

Jake: Well, there is no shortage of lies and misinformation on the internet these days and I'd be lying if I said I haven't read many about myself and this band. This must be one of those assumptions since I'm not sure if any of us even have a twitter account. I know I don't and since I write all the lyrics I can honestly tell you that was not the inspiration for these words. Although I am sure there was no shortage of political debates on all internet platforms pre-election, it was more of the division we saw it causing within our own ranks that inspired these words. As we tried to find new members we were met with a few political activist, or wannabe political activist types. Although the members of this band are open to anyone's personal differences, we expect that to be met in return as well. Unfortunately, it started to become a situation where we couldn't even have a meal on tour without certain members wanting to push their beliefs onto the entire table. We even saw a few try to use their moral stance as a position of power within the band itself, as if they should be handed over the reins to lead the way, even though James and I are the founders and writers of the band. 

So, there were a lot of weird dynamics we were seeing and living through. "No Place Here" is our spell of banishment that will banish these scenarios from plaguing this band again. As musicians and artists, we are critical thinkers and inspired by the freedoms that allow us to be. We've all broken away from the constraints of the church and it was starting to feel like we were back to being preached to, especially from one who was the son of a preacher. It was wearing on the overall morale of a band, especially when watching certain preachy types continuously contradict their own words. We were quickly starting to understand that they couldn't hold themselves to the same standards they were trying to hold others to. So, although it was a nightmare for us to live through over and over again, it did inspire me to write these words about my experience, how I felt about the experience and ultimately to experience it no more. A chapter closed.  

3: The US black metal scene seems to be more varied and experimental compared to the European, but also much less unified – what are your thoughts on the US black scene? 

Jake: The US is a very big country with a lot of different regions. I think that is one reason why we see a lot of different styles coming from different parts. I doubt that will ever change, since the surroundings (or lack) of nature plays a big part in the inspiration of black metal itself. At least it does for me and I would expect it would for a lot of others as well.
Unity is something we've never really seen in this country and I'm sure it will be quite some time before we do. Since the USA is very young in comparison to others, the division seems even stronger and in the capitalist society we live in it is still very much like the wild west. Kill or be killed in a sense, so when you see a band rise, you see a lot of hate for that band form. "Success" seems to be frowned upon instead of championed here. I'm not sure if it's out of jealousy or something else. I understand we've been hardwired to create our own path but as a musician I can't help but get excited when I see another musician get an ounce of success, recognition or experience for their hard work and dedication. As a musician before anything else, I'll always support musicians because I know how hard it is to be one and the struggles that we artistic types deal with, especially here in North America. 
Some still believe that black metal is all about hate, and if that is so then I guess the bands that receive the most hate in some way are the truest form of what black metal is. Something interesting to think about I suppose, as I always viewed black metal as being able to think for yourself, carve your own path, celebrate your individuality and master yourself through the mystical practices that have inspired this artform. Hate is pretty basic and adolescent to me at this stage in life. It is an emotion that I have already mastered and harnessed for a greater purpose. 
As far as innovation goes, I think that is the American way. Again, it is something that is in the blood of our ancestors who set out on their own to create the new world. They had to be innovative to survive and much like our country declared its independence long ago, I see black metal doing the same today, even if we all declare independence from one another. 

4: It is no secret that black metal is more popular than ever before, some might even say its hip. Being from Portland, Oregon have you guys ever been lumped together with the so-called “hipster black” bands such as Deafheaven, Wolves in the Throne Room or Ghost Bath? And what are your thoughts on black metal becoming popular? 
Jake: Since I live only a few hours away from Wolves in the Throne Room, I've been familiar with them for a while now and do enjoy their music for the most part. The other bands listed I'm not really familiar with. 
We seem to get lumped into all sorts of different categories really. Maybe we're good at confusing people since we've been called just about everything you can think of under the dying sun? Maybe it's the lack of face and personality from the absence of auditory and visual interviews that allows others to assume or make judgements? I'm not really sure honestly.  
I'm also not very familiar with what a "hipster" is, but I can assure you I'm anything but hip. The majority of my time is spent at home, alone in dark rooms playing music or working on something music related. I'm not into the popular party scenes or trying to be someone "important" or what they call an "influencer". I like truth and the strange things in the outskirts of this world. Humans aren't very interesting to me because we for the most part are all the same. I have the few around me that matter and I focus on them and myself. So, I couldn't tell you what's "hip", but I doubt that I would be categorized as such. If some think so, then my guess is that they must live pretty boring lives.
I think black metal had really started to become popular in the mid to late 90s after the explosions happened in Norway. Since then it has just increased in its growth bringing more awareness to the genre. Once something is discovered it's bound to be examined, dissected and replicated. It really makes no difference to me either way.  

5: When you first started out as a band, you were compared a lot to the Polish band Mgla. Why do you think that was, and is it still an issue? 

Jake: I think the timing of our debut coming out not long after their Exercises in Futility album played a huge part in the comparisons. It goes to show how impactful their record was among the scene. We watched a lot of critics call our debut a rip off of that album and it spread like wildfire. For us, it was a bit bittersweet. The bitter side was that we felt what we were doing and presenting was pretty original and watching it get blatantly called plagiarism, even though there is video of us playing these songs live 9 months before Exercises was released, was not exactly what we were hoping for. On the other hand, the comparisons seemed to help us in many ways and brought a lot of attention to the band. I suppose no publicity is bad publicity. I'm sure the transition of anonymity that was happening in black metal played another role. A lot of bands were adapting and moving away from the typical played out corpse paint fetish, and hoods, which is just an everyday thing here in the Pacific Northwest, were quickly becoming a new tradition. 
Although it still seems to be a prevalent topic, I don't see it as really an issue. People will believe whatever they want, we can't control that and don't wish to. We are here to create music that we wish to create and that's all we will continue to do. If people see similarities then it's really no surprise as we can find them in all forms of art and music, especially black metal. We're all drawing from the same inspirations.  

6: What inspired Djinn? 

Jake: Otherworldly experiences. Well, I say otherworldly as a descriptor although these experiences could be from within our own world of even one's self. We could call it paranormal, extraterrestrial, interdimensional among other things. There have been a lot of happenings throughout my life and I'm just trying to make sense of them all really. On some particular experiences I've had some wishes granted in my life, some gradually over time which doesn't really make one stop to think about it too much, but other times have been instantly. Instantly and physically which does raise a lot of questions, especially when they not only had involved myself but another as well. So, whatever this thing that I believe to be granting me abilities on occasion is, I really don't know. Some may believe it to be Satan or God, demons, angels, aliens, a higher self, but I wonder if this is what many mythos' believed to be djinn. Since we all know these beings were later angelized as genies, it made sense. And since we consider this album our third wish we felt "Djinn" was the best possible title.  

7: What is the origin story of UADA, why did you guys decide on making a black metal band in the first place? 

Jake: The founding members have been playing black metal for many years. I've been involved with this artform for around 25 years now. It isn't something we just decided to do, it's something we've been doing since we were teenagers and a way of life we've dedicated ourselves to. Although our art may slightly change over time, our core beliefs haven't and we will remain true to ourselves first and foremost. 

8: Which bands inspired you all to pick up instruments in the first place? 

Jake: Before I taught myself to play guitar, I had played drums. My dad was a drummer and had a kit in the basement. The first two bands were Metallica and Nirvana that really inspired me to want to be a drummer. The technicality of what Lars was doing on ...And Justice For All and the raw aggression I heard from Dave Grohl on Nevermind were two things that really spoke to me at an early age. Growing up in the 80’s and 90’s my first experiences with metal were from the mainstream radio airwaves and MTV back when they actually played music. So a lot of my first metal bands were bands like Ozzy Osbourne, Mötley Crue, WASP, Van Halen and even more rock like Billy Idol and The Cult. Those were my first memories of heavy music until the age of 9 when "Smells Like Teen Spirit" hit the airwaves and changed my perception. Although this might have been as heavy as some of the other bands I liked at the time, this had a rawness and a real life anger about it that really hit me. It opened me up to finding more bands outside of the mainstream radio world. In those moments though, I knew this was what I wanted to do. Music was always the thing I found most interesting and there was an unexplainable connection that I felt to it. 

9: What is the next big step for UADA? 
Jake: Until COVID-19 is a thing of the past and we are able to tour again we will put our focus on album IV. There is no other choice right now, so we will work on that and be ready when the world reopens.

 

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Tak for rigtig godt interview

Jonathan Pichard

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