For the loved ones – an interview with Californian post rock act UNCONDITIONAL ARMS

UNCONDITIONAL ARMS hits the hammer back with the newest split with THREADING. It marked a great for a little chit-chat with the man behind the project, Jeff Wright. His 2013 debut record ‘Kinship’ was made to celebrate the birth of his newborn son, Owen. Jeff figured that lyrics just couldn’t convey the incalculable emotions a new child presents, hence the instrumental form. After two more short EPs, UNCONDITIONAL ARMS is back with an exciting new collaboration record that comes out February 24 via The Native Sound, and is part of that label’s split 7″ series. I recently caught up with Jeff to learn more about this effort and ask him a couple of questions about his inpsirations, the family part, and his live appearances. Read the full piece below.

UNCONDITIONAL ARMS has announced its upcoming tour dates with REPTOID around Treefort Music Fest and Catacomb Party. See the details below.

Track premiered over at BrooklynVegan.

Hey there Jeff! Thanks a lot for taking some time with IDIOTEQ! How are you? How are your musical endeavors going?

Hey there. I’m well. Everything is going very well at the moment, 2015 has definitely started out with a bang for us.

Sure thing! You’ve announced a new collaboration with THREADING and The Native Sound. Please tell us more about the split project and the main ideas behind it.

We’ve been wanting to do a split for awhile now. In fact, the two songs from Never Unrequited that were released last year were originally intended for a split – but that never panned out we ended up doing a CS run of those two. We were approached by The Native Sound with the idea + pairing with Threading and it was sort of like love at first sight. I feel our two bands compliment each other very well.

As with out last 7″, we can really only fit one song per side; so with this one we only did one. Very excited to get it out there, I think it’s some of our most thoughtful work.

You’re a family man, aren’t you?

I am! UNCONDITIONAL ARMS was actually started when I set out to make an album as a gift for my son, Owen. You could say me being a family man is the basis for this band.

Awesome! Do you perform your tracks live? Considering live shows, do you find your music niche limiting, or do you like the creative challenges it offers?

We do! We have done three tours last year with off-date local shows peppered around. This year we’re already slated for Treefort Music Festival 2015, Catacomb Party Festival and a tour that we have yet to announce. UA has evolved to be me and three close friends playing, writing an collaborating. Creatively, we all flow together very well. That shows when we are playing live and I think that’s honestly the most difficult part of being in a band. The live aspect. Anyone can layer guitar parts in a room. To be able to perform it is another story. We’ve all agreed to put everything on the table when we play live and I’m overjoyed with the reaction we’ve received and our own general euphoria that stems from it. The most difficult part about “the niche” is that it doesn’t exist. I mean, we could only play shows with bands of similar timbre, but where’s the fun in that?

Is there a big difference between a live gig and the studio recorded versions of your tracks? Please share some thoughts on your personal approach to live performances.

There are subtle differences. Nothing major though. There’s also a secret fifth member when we play live; my loop pedal. Ross (drummer) and I practice a great deal to get in the pocket together with looping. There are even times when I’ve looped so much that I literally have nothing to play. Hah.

Who do you look up to for musical inspiration? What events, works, and works played an important role in your cultural life?

I have a pretty big thing about not looking up to people for inspiration, but rather looking over. Putting a person on an imaginary pedestal is a poisonous thing when it comes to achieving my version of success in in music. The band was formed after I decided to make a record for my first born, Owen. That event alone has shaped a great deal about the way I approach my music career and the seriousness of each action that I choose to make with the band. There’s really no room to be reckless for me, so we have to focus in on quality over quantity; and honestly in comparison to what I had been doing before I was a father (touring touring touring), it’s much better. Our songs are mostly made as gifts. You can find your own meaning in the songs, and we encourage that, but they all have been associated with a person thus far as a sonic representation of feelings. Our newest release, “Haunt”, is for my late grandmother – Constance.

Interesting. How about your closest neighbourhood? How do you feel about your local music scene? Could you share your insights about the creative scene in your area?

Haha. I think we’re one of maybe four bands in our genre in the SF bay area. I work in local music, so I’ve constantly got one finger on the pulse of whatever is going on. I have to say, I feel like SF / Oakland produces a very eclectic and overall quality music scene. I love it. Also, it’s been very welcoming to us for that reason. People are eager to try new things and not necessarily stuck in one sound, persay. In fact, I would go as far as to say that it’s that nature, the ability to accept anything as it comes, that makes our area so awesome. Very proud to be operating out of Oakland.

Ok then. Can you talk about the direction this project is headed in now?

We have many great things shaping up for 2015. We plan to keep making music and doing the best we can to stay honest with that. Hopefully from there we can expand our touring to further places!

Thanks for the chat. Is there anything else you’d like to add?


UNCONDITIONAL ARMS official website
[email protected]
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