Interview with Eric Unseen

Formed in 2010, Blaenau Gwent’s Eric Unseen have played literally hundred’s of gigs, supporting the likes of The Alarm and punk legends Stiff Little Fingers. They opened the 2011 Merthyr Rock and are set to release a new EP ‘Courting Conversation’, recorded with Greg Haver, this year.

They describe themselves as Guitar driven, melody laden, indie pop and that is pretty spot on.

The band are Dan, vocals/guitar, Rhys, guitar/vocals, Slim, bass/vocals and Scott, Drums and we caught up with the band to ask them all sorts of questions.

Who are you and what do you do?  We are Eric Unseen, we make Indie Pop music and drink tea … not necessarily in that order though!

Where did the bands name come from?  Basically when we started the band, like most we obviously didn’t have a name at first so it was a bit of a minefield when it came to thinking of one! We were going to call the band Frenzied Pavement Reverends, but apparently there’s a band from Blackwood with a similar name … ? Luckily Dans Dad was reading Eric Morecambes autobiography, called ‘Unseen Eric’, and as you can guess we somehow changed something around and came up with Eric Unseen!

How did you get started?  We all knew each other originally from being in other bands, and after they all ‘disbanded’, (excuse the pun!), like a heartbroken teen on a rebound, quickly got together and started playing with each other! In a purely musical sense of course!

What have you got going on at the moment?  Currently working on the festival scene! Got some great stuff in the gigging pipeline! We’ve just been recording some new ideas and putting finishing touches to recent songs that we’ve wrote which is what Eric Unseen is about really! Also we’re trying our best to save money for a new van, as our old one is now in scrap yard heaven, bless!

Favourite music and why?  We’ve all got a romantic affiliation with Brit pop bands like Blur, Supergrass and Oasis etc. mainly because we grew up listening to music in the mid 90’s. But we all love The Jam, The Smiths, The Clash, The Beatles and many other bands without ‘The’ at the beginning too. Luckily we aren’t musical snobs, so we’ll give anything a listen, especially unsigned music!

Favourite book and why?  Catcher in the Rye  – It’s just amazingly well written and addictive once you start reading! Slim loves 50 Shades of Grey, but it ain’t our cup of tea!

Favourite film and why?  Mmmm … Tough question! I’d love to think of something really intellectual and avant garde but it has to be Dumb and Dumber!

Best experience in the business?  Most probably playing in the O2 Arena or supporting The Alarm! We also met Stuart Cable the night we supported Welsh Legends, The Alarm, as his band were also playing, and he honestly was a great guy! R.I.P Stu!

Why should soundscape readers care?  Because the mass demographic need to get good, honest guitar bands back into the charts! I’m all for having a ‘take away’ with a few beers on a Saturday night and watching The X factor but really we all know it’s killing the music industry! Come on readers, lets restore some faith back into ‘bands’ and start another wave of Brit Pop!

Tell our readers an interesting fact about the band?  Dan was Merlin’s body double on ITV, Scott won £25,000 on a game show, Rhys is a published author and Slim is related to the Indian from ‘The Village People’.

What’s the best and worst things about touring?  Being around each other everyday and being around each other everyday!

Most embarrassing thing to happen to you while in the band?  Probably when we did our first BBC Radio Wales acoustic session. In our song “I’m The King”, there’s a higher vocal note to go with Dan’s lead vocal towards the end and during the live performance Dan decided to leave that out which threw Rhys and left him sounding like a stranded beach whale for a second or two on national radio!

What’s your writing and recording process?  It varies to be honest! Sometimes Dan will record a few songs acoustically and send them to us via email, we’ll have a listen and then work out our individual parts ready for live practice. Sometimes songs will pop out of nowhere whilst we’re jamming and we just go with it. As long as it sounds cool we don’t really mind how we create a tune! But to be fair, and as much as it pains me to give him credit, Dan is the brains behind the tunes! But don’t tell him that, his head is big enough as it is! Haha!

What inspires you? Anything really! Mostly other bands that have ‘made it’, and like other bands we strive to emulate their success! We can also be inspired by local talent, as there’s loads here in Wales that are still undiscovered or not seen enough … Cough, Cough!

Best thing about coming from Wales?  I suppose the kinship that our fans have for us and the fact that people can be quite supportive. I think people from Wales and especially ‘The Valleys’, like to see fellow bands from Wales succeed, as it’s something that they can relate too. Everyone at some point has wanted to ‘break out’ of their one horse town and succeed, and when someone does, it sort of restores faith that it can happen and can be done, with a bit of hard graft of course!

Who are your role models or idols?  Morrissey, Johnny Marr, Jo Strummer, Mario Ballotelli, Eric Cantona, Ian Rush, Keith Floyd and many more!

Hardest thing about the current business?  Breaking out of the mould I suppose! Getting Industry folk to part with money and take you seriously even if you haven’t been on a talent contest!

What are your future plans?  Keep enjoying what we do! There’s no point at all in being in a band if it doesn’t make you happy! We live for the band and for the people who come to watch us listen to us and READ us! As long as everyone is happy we’ll still be doing our thing!

But world domination and chart success wouldn’t go amiss haha!

Favourite Batman actor?  Ra’s al Ghul … Nothing like an arabic bad guy who hates what America stands for …. Hang on a minute … is that a bit too satirical?

So, Thats Eric Unseen, you should definitely keep an eye out for them!

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