As desired, Uada’s hard work bears fruit with Djinn, the third album – another masterpiece.
I had a talk with the leadsinger Jake Superchi about their newest release. About being the first band to play on the moon, about formless silhouettes and about what to expect from them in 2022.
If you were to introduce UADA to those of our readers, who does not know you, what would you say?
I’m not sure if I would say anything honestly. I always felt it was extremely important to allow the listener to be able to listen and interpret their own meaning and conclusion of what they’re witnessing. To entertain the idea, and I guess what we would like to convey in our music is the spirit of black metal meeting the soul of rock’n’roll.
You are known for wearing hoodies (for better or worse). This has given reason for some people to do certain comparisons, the comparisons I am not that interested in. Is it not hot on stage with hoodies on? Do you get them custom made? Have you considered other ways to mask yourselves?
When starting Uada, I had come out of a few other past projects that also wore hoods, more so in a robe form of course and one that was still using corpse paint. I was not interested in that as I saw it had become more of a trend and I could no longer attach meaning or purpose to it in these moments.
During a profound experience that brought some deep messages and a remote viewing of future events, it was clear to me that a shadow form, or silhouettes, was what was on the horizon for the next step. Physical identity can sometimes play a large role in music, especially in a plastic shallow place like the USA.
So, initially it was our visual goal to be formless while wearing our everyday clothing. Here in the Pacific Northwest it rains a lot and is damp and cold most of the year. A hood and a leather jacket are a great way to stay warm and protected from the elements. This did in fact become far too extreme in temperatures, especially with the intense amount of energy that we extend during our shows.
It wasn’t long after a handful of tours that we adapted and moved to a more ritual cloth that was less extreme in keeping our body degrees as high as they can be. Unfortunately though, the garb really doesn’t seem to matter much when I’m pushing every ounce of energy that I have outwards into the vocals and what I like to call the ritual dance.
So, there really isn’t anything we could change for comfort unless we chose to release less energy, which will not happen. It is ok though as I believe the more we suffer for our art the greater the reward, not only for us but for those experiencing our craft as well.
I have been asked quite a few times, if UADA is an acronym. I know it is not, but do you have any cool ideas as to what UADA might be the acronym for, if it happened to be an acronym? (Like: Unearthly Alternative Dark Angels)?
I never really gave thought to what it would be if it were an acronym, but on our “American Black Metal” tour last fall, a fan in New York had expressed a rumor going around that U-A-D-A stood for “United Against the Downfall of America”. Of course, this is a rumor and a false narrative, but it made for an entertaining story.
You performed at Copenhell in 2019. A concert that was well received and reviewed by Devilution, another metal zine here in Denmark, who gave a top grade for the performance. How was it to be one of the bands closing Copenhell for the season?
We had an amazing time at Copenhell and it was definitely one of the highlights of our year. Often in festival situations there is not much time for preparation but the way this festival was laid out, and the fact that we were playing very last, it gave us some extra time to relax and focus. Everything seemed to align for the performance to go well and we were pleased with the end result.
It was also great to see so many people stick around after a long weekend full of bands to check out our set. We know a lot of music was witnessed that weekend and going on at 1:00 am in the morning after 3 or maybe 4 days of bands is pure dedication. We truly appreciated that and hope we will have the chance to return to Copenhell again one day.
You have chosen a German label to release your first record. Was it a conscious choice to pick a European label? Were there also American labels considered?
In the beginning at one of our first few live shows, we were recommended to check out Eisenwald by (at the time) Agalloch photographer Veleda Thorsson. When our album was finally ready, we sent it in and immediately got a response within a few hours letting us know that he had been waiting for it. His enthusiasm seemed genuine and being that there was only one other label (also from Europe) that responded over the course of the next few days, it felt like the right choice.
As far as an American label goes, it wasn’t really on my agenda. I much prefer to work this side of the ocean myself and keep the band as DIY as possible, all while continuing to push for greater heights. There are many great labels here that could probably do some good things for us PR wise, but since I am very skeptical of big business, especially when it comes to the music side of things, I continue to keep things under our own roof.
You have had a huge growth considering your number of listeners. How do you feel about having attracted that many listeners so fast, over a wide range of nations?
It has been interesting to watch and it truly is a powerful thing to observe. Although we were very confident in the music we were creating, we weren’t in any ways expecting our first review to come from a huge publication like Vice/Noisey, or to make headlines in the German newspaper Die Welt.
Although I knew that the metal genre has a massive global following that is always growing, to see such things ascending so quickly for an American black metal band seemed almost unheard of, at least to my knowledge. It seemed people were grasping on to what we were doing very quickly and that the lyrics were also making their way into the forefront of the focus, which again is something else you don’t often see.
Can you elaborate on the album Djinn and is there a recurring theme? Why was the title Djinn chosen to represent the entirety of the record? If the Djinn gave me three wishes, would you let me choose three of my favorite tracks from your setlist for your upcoming Danish gigs?
Well, there are many reasons for the title to fit here. For one, the album concept is possession and being that djinn are known essentially what we know as demons or angels in western culture, it was very fitting.
Secondly, we knew that we would be traveling to the desert for this experience and wanted to showcase a very distinctive one from our area of the world.
Most importantly and third (although this comes before all others), I have had a lot of strange experiences in my life that I believe to be supernatural, paranormal, interdimensional and maybe even extraterrestrial. I’ve had communication with something, and I’m not sure if it could be what we consider a “djinn”.
There have been many times where I have wished out loud and watched it come into fruition. A few times instantaneously which a few had even involved the physical abilities of other humans. Perhaps a coincidence but then again, with the things I’ve seen, I’m not so sure.
In regards to the live songs at our next Danish gig, you could wish and see if it comes true, although there are plenty of more important things to hope for.
I have read somewhere that you do not want to be put into a mold, how about a box?
There are several groups of black metal. The Nordic. The European. And the US black metal. You are often put into that last box.
How do you feel about that? Is it something you agree with?
It is true we aren’t here to fit into any sort of mold, and although a box is something that we will be put into regardless of our take on it, we do consider our music to be that of black metal. It is our roots and what has led us to be where we are today.
Because of the occult themes and entities, we conjure through our art, I’m not sure what else we could really categorize it. We could say musically we are much more than just a typical black metal band due to the many influences that we incorporate, but since the second wave of the 90s, there has always been a multitude of different genres being infused into this craft.
So, perhaps it is subjective to the listener, to decide what they believe is what, but it doesn’t really matter to me in the end. Creating craft that is true to my own self is more important than being slapped with a label from a critic or spectator.
What bands are you listening to yourselves? And can you recommend any other US black metal bands? Any guilty pleasures?
Right now I’m listening to the new Varathron “Glorification Under the Latin Moon”, which is a 30 year live celebration. Great classic band from Greece that I have followed for many years now.
For some reason, we were scheduled to play right after them at Thronefest in Belgium last year. To me this should not have happened as they deserve more respect than that. Luckily for us though, that meant we could actually catch some of their set before we were to take the stage. This was a true honor to witness as well as an honor to share the stage with them. Great band!
There are a lot of bands from the USA that I have listened to for a long time. Absu, Inquisition, Krohm, Von, Judas Iscariot, Black Funeral, Havohej ect… There is a newer rising scene now of course with a lot of different styled bands within the genre.
One of my favorites is Alda who resides just north from me here in Washington State. They have a very Pacific Northwest sound that could be comparable to Wolves in the Throne Room and Agalloch at times, all while still having their own sound.
I’d also recommend Ahklys from Colorado, Obsequiae out of Minnesota and Mare Cognitum. All these bands are very different and unique in their own right and worth giving some time and attention to.
A few honorable mentions of my favorite groups that are now no longer with us, are Void Omnia and Pale Chalice. Two amazing bands from the bay area who released some solid material.
Have the Covid -19 pandemic had any effect on how you have been promoting Djinn compared to your earlier releases?
Other than the fact that we cannot tour, the release and the response have been going really well. I’m not really sure if there is much of a difference that I can tell as far as the online presence. There are of course some plans that we had that have been pushed back due to this situation, but we will adapt.
What track on Djinn do you like the most yourselves? What track have you found the most interesting to work with?
We all have our personal favorites and it’s hard to choose just one, but if I had to, I would probably say the title track is my personal favorite. It is just such a different animal as well as the call to start the whole process. The way the song seamlessly weaves through post-punk, occult rock and black metal truly sparked a lot of emotion in me when writing it. The lyrical cadence was also something a bit challenging for me at first as the verses flow into much more of goth rock territory. This was definitely a bit of my heavy influence from The Fields of the Nephilim shining through.
Who writes the lyrics and are responsible for the composition of the album? And in what order?
As the vocalist, I take on all responsibility for the lyrics as well as the compositions. When writing, it is important to know where to verbally strike and where to hold back to allow the music to tell its own tale. The writing of music is always first, although I’ll always be jotting down notes for lyrics.
When I start to write a song there is usually a title in mind. It is important for me to have a concept from early on so that it can fully develop as much as possible over the course of its creation. Once we have all the music finished, then I’ll really start on the lyrics.
My original instrument, before teaching myself to play guitar and finding the courage at a young age to step into the frontman territory, was drums. The percussion foundation has given me some advantages to really play off rhythms between the vocals and guitar playing, and since I consider the voice its own instrument, it should have its own set of rhythms to accompany the music.
As far as the lyrics go, since I am pouring my soul out through them, I have to be the sole writer. To each their own of course, but I could never understand why a vocalist would want to repeat words that are not their own. If a band is paying homage through a cover or something, I can understand, but for me it’s crucial that I relate and feel the words being expressed.
In my review I wrote:” Uada’s third release is a masterpiece. and it will be hard to make a follow-up with such a massive development as seen between each record so far.” (translated from Danish) So far you have released records with only two years apart. What can we expect from UADA in 2022?
Thank you for the kind words on the new album. I can tell you that writing for the next album has already begun and I’m very excited for what is pouring out right now. We are in the very first stages of the foundation, but it is forming very quickly. I think 2022 would be a fair assumption of when we will see the next album.
Do you have other interests besides music that influences the creation of your music?
I’ve always been interested in cinema and film, especially the darker artforms. At a young age I was introduced to horror movies as well as a lot of local tales that tied my bloodline to the Salem Witchtrials of 1692. In Massachusetts, where I grew up before moving out west, they would teach us this stuff in school. I remember reading “The Crucible” by Arthur Miller in 3rd, maybe even 2nd grade. So, witchcraft has always been very prevalent in my life and something of an obsession, you could say.
Are UADA the only focus you have, or do you have other projects, work, or school?
When I started UADA, I put everything on hold to focus completely on this project. Now that it is flourishing, it has opened up some time for me to allocate some focus into some other projects that I am currently working on behind the scenes. Nothing I can openly talk about now, but things are coming into fruition and some will be seen, while others may be a little bit later down the road.
Is there a place (or a location/festival, a plateau in a tree in the forest or an ice glacier on Iceland) in the world, where you have not yet performed, where you would really love to perform?
If nothing was impossible, being the first band to play on the moon would be the ultimate goal. As far as something more terrestrial, the forests and mountains are always what I long for. Playing live outdoors in Salem, Massachusetts or in Aokigahara (The Suicide Forest), Japan would also be something of interest.
Anywhere extremely haunted would be welcomed honestly. Although I’ve always written and performed music for my own passion and gratification, I also play for those that are just beyond us. I truly believe that our energy is like a light beckon in other plains and that the emotions we share through music is felt and heard in those dimensions.
When performing, channeling is something I strive for and if I could achieve this in a place that would be more sensitive or welcoming to it, that would be the place I would choose.
Are there any questions you would have wished, I asked you? If yes, would you answer it? – Any famous last words?
I can’t think of a question, but if you asked, I would have surely answered it. Thanks again for your time and thanks to all the readers out there that have taken the time to read this. Hope to see you all somewhere out in the world soon. Until then, stay haunted!
I would like to say thank you to Jake from Uada, for answering our questions, and will be looking forward seeing Uada onstage when promoting Djinn on the forthcoming tour.
Assignments: Reviews of Releases and Concerts and Interviews. Nerd on all levels (finding releases, bands and labels) - Giving the editor gray hairs... Active since: 13-12-2019 Favorite genres: Blackened Death Metal - but listens to all kinds of metal and rock!
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