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Une Misere Opens Up About Debut Album, Music Videos And Iceland

The great thing about the internet is that it's enabled not just fans, but labels to discover bands from all over the world. We're now seeing bands from such places as Ukraine, Moldova and Estonia break into the metal spotlight, whereas not so long ago, it was rare to find a band who weren't from an English speaking country, Germany or Sweden. One such country which now has a growing number of interesting artists is Iceland, thanks to its viking heritage and breath taking if cold scenery, perfect for heavy metal.

Recently, Une Misere, another group from the small Scandinavian country, released their debut album, "Sermon" through Nuclear Blast, a label which has seen its roster display great loyalty and in turn, receive much promotion. Since the release of the record, the band has gone on tour with Darkest Hour and next month will be embarking on a run across North America with Thy Art Is Murder, Carnifex and Fit For An Autopsy. During the trek with Darkest Hour, I caught up with vocalist Jón Már Ásbjörnsson to discuss the record, promotion for the album and Iceland itself. You can watch the interview in full below.

Diamond Oz: Straight into it, the full length debut, "Sermon" is out now. So far I've seen a lot of positive reviews and responses. Have you felt that to be the overall reception?

Jón Már Ásbjörnsson: Yeah, we've kind of always been waiting for that really bad review. There was one guy who commented that we were too much like Gojira, Behemoth, Slipknot and Hatebreed and he is said that as if it was a bad thing. I was like, "Man, that's the best review ever!" But yeah we've been getting some rave reviews and we couldn't be prouder.

Oz: Nice one and there's probably no better label to release your debut through than Nuclear Blast.

Jon: No. I've been going through it in my mind during this tour, where we would fit in if we weren't at Nuclear Blast and... No. It's just Nuclear for us.

Oz: They seem to put a lot of time into their roster. I've heard so much about you the last few months through emails alone!

Jon: Yeah, our manager and Nuclear Blast have been working day and night into making this a reality and what we wanted it to become.

Oz: One way that the album has been promoted is that you've done quite a few videos for the album, I believe three, maybe four.

Jon: Yeah we've done, "Grave," "Failures," "Damages" and "Sermon" and we might have a couple more coming. I mean we did our other videos for "Overlook" and "Wounds" and actually, "Damages" was before the album. But we used to do those all by ourselves and then we got Nuclear Blast behind us, but we still just do it ourselves because; Why pay other people to not do it as we want? We realised really soon that YouTube basically has the exploring market, where you can go to find new bands and stuff like that. You listen to your favourite bands on Spotify but you find new bands on YouTube. So we realised that we had to be very visual from the get go.

Oz: Obviously you've been a band for a few years, having previously released an EP, "010717." Was this album comprised of material written from back then or was it all new?

Jon: It was kind of both because we released our oldest song, "Overlooked/Disregarded" in November 2016 I think. Heavy Blog Is Heavy released our music video for that song but that landed on the album because it's a good song. We really like that song and it kind of shaped our sound and our writing process and how we do things. So we have a couple of songs that are from way back, but we also have six/seven songs that are brand new and just written for this album and we've already started writing for the second album.

Oz: Well that leads into what I was going to ask next, which was if there was any material left over from "Sermon" to use for the next album.

Jon: No leftovers. It kind of sounds stupid but that's not how we work. If we have material that we feel shouldn't go on to an album, then it shouldn't go on to any album. During our writing process, somebody comes up with a riff and shows the rest of the band during practice and if any one of us doesn't go, "Holy shit!" then we have to stop, it's not going anywhere. You're your own worst critic and in our case, we could have released like three or four albums considering the material that we've written but it's the one that counts.

Oz: And obviously you want each album to be more like a fresh meal as it were.

Jon: Yeah. The next album's going to be better than the first one.

Oz: Only a month after this you're heading over to North America with Thy Art Is Murder. How did that combination come about?

Jon: We were playing the Summer Breeze festival and Andy from Thy Art Is Murder went to see us with our booking agent Marco and after the show Andy came up to me and said, "So, we're going to be touring North America this year. You wanna come with?" And I've never been as starstruck as I was right then and there so I looked at Marco and he's like, "Say yes." So it was kind of like a classic, "I see a band, I want to bring them" thing, which is nice.

Oz: Yeah, it's nice to be able to give other bands a leg up. When I was watching the "Beauty In Misery" short videos you were posting, you had some... Interesting things to say about Iceland. I was wondering, has there been any backlash from fans at home?

Jon: No. None whatsoever. I mean, I may have said some things that people don't agree with but they're my opinions. But people know where I come from and why. Nobody's asked me about it. The only person that was remotely interested in correcting my view of Iceland was my grandmother. Before she passed she was like, "Are you really going to move out of the country? Aren't you going to miss the mountains and being alone?" I was like, "No no no, don't worry about me."

Diamond Oz's avatar

Ollie Hynes has been a writer for Metal Underground.com since 2007 and a metal fan since 2001, going as far as to travel to other countries and continents for metal gigs.

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