Welcome to the second installment of “Nerds in Bands.” If you missed our debut interview, then I suggest you click here and check it out while then rest of us wait for you to catch up… go on.
Great! Now we’re all caught up!
This week I had a chance to pick the brain of Aslan Freeman, vocalist/guitarist for the band Unifier. Check it out below!
4LN – Aslan, as I understand it, you have several nerdy interests. What would you say is your biggest nerd interest?
Aslan – I’m going to answer this in two ways: I’d say the nerdiest thing I’m interested in is playing Dungeons & Dragons, but the nerdy thing that I am the most interested in is following E-sports, especially Starcraft 2. I watch tournament streams (and have attended tournaments), follow popular announcers and players, and even watch strategy and analysis videos. It actually paid off pretty well when our first EP Oh, Great City originally came out. I e-mailed our music video for “Spotless” to my favorite caster and he tweeted it as his song of the day, which got us around 18,000 views in the first 24 hours.
How did you initially get into that?
I’ve always been an avid gamer, and used to take turns playing the Warcraft 2 campaign with my neighbor almost every day growing up. When Starcraft 2 finally came out (like 10 years or so after the original Starcraft) some buddies of mine got into the beta and had an extra key they gave me, so I tried it out with them and got thoroughly addicted. We still get online and play together every now and then, but unfortunately I’m too busy to play much so instead I just watch tournaments while I work. As far as Dungeons & Dragons goes, some of my college roommates were part of a long running game that one of the English professors at the college (who has become one of our best friends) was DMing. He was starting a new game and looking for some other players so I decided to give it a shot. It ended up basically being a weekly ongoing guy night where we’d get together to relax, eat terrible food, and play for a few hours.
What movie do you wish everyone would see?
Obviously it’s always tough to pick a favorite anything, but one of the best movies I’ve ever seen that I’ve always thought was generally overlooked is The Prestige. The premise is genuinely original, the acting and writing are great, and the twist at the end is exactly what it should be.
In your opinion, what is the best show on television right now?
I love Game of Thrones just because I’m such a fan of the books, but for me it’s really a toss up between House of Cards and True Detective. House of Cards is a much more fun and intriguing watch for me, and has proven its greatness over multiple seasons, but the first season of True Detective is about as perfectly done as a show can get, so I can’t wait to see how the next season turns out. If it continues to be as quality as the first I can absolutely see it becoming one of the best shows of all time.
I’d like to talk about your band, Unifier, for a minute. Can you tell us how Unifier came to be?
Our first guitarist Chris and I actually met through the group we played D&D with and ended up playing together in another band for a while with some of the other guys. A friend of ours had shot a B-movie style zombie short film that he needed a little music for, and asked Chris if he could get something together. I’ve got a little studio set up so he asked me if I could help him with it, and we got together one day to record a couple of songs. We had such a great time and things came together so easily we decided to start a new band together and keep doing it. I ran into our drummer Mike at a show shortly afterward, and knew him from watching his bands play in our hometown when I was coming up in high school. As the three of us rotated through some other members and lineups we happened to play a few shows with our bassist Luke’s old band and became friends. When we finally got a long tour offer that our bassist at the time wasn’t able to commit to, we asked Luke if he wanted to give bass a shot and come out with us. Since then Chris left to go back to school and we’ve been through a couple other guitarists, but we always have fun and find a way to keep things moving forward with whoever’s along for the ride.
After listening to your EP, “Oh, Great City”, I feel like there’s no way to classify your sound, which is a real achievement in the current landscape of modern music. I kept trying to think of other bands that it reminded me of but all I could do was think of different bands that I could hear minor elements of (As Cities Burn, Foo Fighters, Death Cab…? Am I way off here?) Who would you say are the biggest influences for Unifier?
That’s awesome to hear! Thanks so much, you’re absolutely on point there. Our big three have always been Brand New, Jimmy Eat World and Foo Fighters, though of course we shift others in and out of focus for different releases to try and keep some fresh development in our sound. Right now we’re looking a lot at Deftones, Coldplay, and Balance & Composure for some new elements.
You’ve just recently signed with Spartan records, tell us what’s up next for the band in 2015?
The first order of business is putting out a new music video for one of the tracks on our new EP Gutted, which Spartan will be releasing onMarch 24th. After that we’ve got plans to put out a couple singles that we recorded around the same time we were working on Gutted last year, and we’ve been gradually writing and demoing songs for our next full length.
My thanks to Aslan for chatting with us here at 4LN. If you’re interested in checking out more from Unifier you can follow these links to their various websites:
Additionally, they’ve just released a brand new song called “Break” (That I can NOT stop listening to!) which is off their upcoming EP, titled Gutted. Listen to it and make sure to pick up the album when it drops on March 24th!