„Hey Guys, nice to meet you“, Singer Leo Unnermark greeted us after we approached him on an early Saturday evening and introduced ourselves (we had agreed to meet with guitarist Parker Halub after our mail interview and the announcement of the Tour Dates in the near-Karlsruhe area of Waldbronn). Unfortunately Parker got ill shortly before and even had to be brought to a Hospital which lead to the cancellation / postponement of the gig the day before ours, so we couldn´t meet him before the gig; anyway, Leo was a really nice and friendly down to earth guy to talk to for at least 20 minutes, so all was fine. Sadly we didn´t record our interview so this is out of my recollection of what we talked about:

Asked how they brought the Tour on he said that „Parker and me did it ourselves“ (no management existing), they got recommendations on Social Media and contacted a lot of people. Expressing my respect he said „We try anything to get our music to the people and this only working through playing live. We played on a Festival in a tent and started with around 50 people but when the sound of us playing was heard outside, the tent was packed.“

When we mentioned that the Band is just consisting of him and Parker he confessed that „it´s really difficult to find the right people. In L.A. you find people that come to rehearsals 30 minutes late and don´t even know the songs because they didn´t learn them. ‚I thought we learn them here together‘, I don´t have time for such shit, you know? This is our Band and we mean it and try everything to get on with it, so what do you want with such guys? It´s not helping that they are surely good musicians you also have to have the discipline if you want to succeed. Album and EP were recorded with friends that we know from High School  and that we can rely on but they couldn´t make it to the Tour, so we added a german drummer and a belgian bassist. We´d like to continue with them as they are great guys and musicians but we cannot pay for them to bring them to L.A. and keep them there, we´d just be able to pay them through the money we make out of playing live and that´s not working out. Tours like this help us to broaden our Portfolio, the more we can show the bigger the chance that some new doors open up and new possibilities arise.“ How do you and Parker survive I like to know? „I live with or at my girlfriends flat and Parker´s with his parents who also support us. Whatever we earn we put back into the Band to create a Base that we can expand.“

Speaking about possibilities to play at home Leo meant that „It´s difficult to play in the US, the Club Owners just say ‚The Club´s for 800 people, so you have to buy all 800 tickets and try to sell them yourselves‘, so they put all the risk on the Bands and in addition even take 25% from merchandising sales.“ Man…this is as hard as it is unfair….asked about the still missing label-deal, Leo confessed that this is due to their own choice. „We had several offers by Labels already and dealt with all of them but we don´t accept like it is… the Labels always also own the rights to the songs which is okay for us as long as the contract lasts but they take away your rights for a lifetime, or 20 years or whatever. I mean, I´ll be 47 in 20 years (laughs). As long as it is this way we prefer to release our stuff ourselves. However, a distribution deal would help a lot as people then would get our CDs much easier and we are working on that as well“.

There´s always been some days off between gigs, so how did you spent your time? What will you tell your friends and families about Germany upon their return to the US? Surely not this shit about Lederhosen and Sauerkraut, right? „Well, you all can drink more Beer than us“ he laughs and adds that „usually 2 or 3 days are enough to recover, so we go the Gym for example which leads to Gudio remarking that one can see that. Leo laughed and said that he wants to stay in shape which also helps his voice. „It doesn´t make a difference in front of how many people we play, we give it all and have fun playing. It´s fantastic being in the middle of nowhere and people come out to see and us pack the Club, this is really great.“ And pointing to the area around the Club he says „I love Forests anyway.“ As I told him that we were at the start of the Black Forest here he remarks with a grin that he grew up in Sweden for 15 years and went into the woods regularly to somehow reappear after some 6 hours or so.

At the end of our interview we once again paid our respect for the DIY-attitude that he and Parker have and wish them all the necessary strength and all possible success. „I don´t have much of a choice, this is what I love.“ he says, „I once worked at a Slaughterhouse and did some other jobs as well and I just can´t do it…I’m a musician and this is what I want to do with my life. It is what it is.“

Time for Guido and me to check out the little Club with a capacity of 150 – if you are ever near, check it our for yourselves, the walls are covered with (Tour-) Posters ranging from Dio to Bathory, the people working there are really nice and friendly and the evening went on totally relaxed. Standing outside for a bit longer with a cool Beer in hand we then entered Soundcheck One as it was time to see the Opening Band. Here we go: