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Interview: Uni (a benevolent musical cult)

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Photos by Luis Lucio. Interview by Tamim Alnuweiri.

Uni are headlining our December Cult Citizen alongside Wooing and Twin Guns. Ahead of the show Luis and I met up with the band basically to talk shit and take photos. Below is what transpired and should make a pretty convincing argument for escaping the hellish New York holiday season and seeing some freaky shit go down this Thursday the 28th.


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How important is controversy to art? 

Kemp Muhl: If you’re not pissing someone off, what’s the point? Might as well be a florist or a dentist. Art should be beautiful, but it should also make people argue, laugh, cry and gag. Like Hendrix on LSD shredding the national anthem on electric guitar, or The Who smashing their instruments, Bowie wearing a woman’s dress, Stravinsky’s rite of spring, G.G. Allin shitting on stage, Jim Morrison singing about getting high on Ed Sullivan show… even Gaga’s meat dress was pretty great…
Do you approach getting dressed for the stage differently than for your day today? Is there a conscious effort to look like a band?

Nico Fuzz: I usually spend about 4 hours doing my hair and makeup every morning. Then I have to put my teeth in and shave my toe hairs and try and try to wash off the dried peanut butter. It’s the cold days that are hard to get into it. From curling iron disasters to hurling myself through drywall. Something that really gets my stage look together is when fans bring me baby koi fish and golf memberships… The koi fish with a Gene Simmons face. I’ve never been to a golf course but I just love collecting the memberships.

Kemp: I pretty much look like a homeless child prostitute when I’m not dressing up for Uni.

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You guys have generated quite a bit of buzz before releasing a full LP or EP. Are there any aspects of that that have been irritating or felt counterproductive?

David Strange: Totally. Groupies outside our apartment waiting to throw bras at us in the morning when we’re trying to get a cup of coffee…investment bankers offering up to 6 figures for us to write autographs to their stepchildren and worst of all the bidding war of the music industry…I mean all the big labels keep on flying us to Disneyland to see the dolphins play with beachballs – Flipper isn’t so cute the 9th or 10th time around.

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Are there any artistic, creative, musical endeavors or themes that you would explore if there were no consequences?

Kemp: Incest and the IRS are two very under-explored themes.

Nico Fuzz: Actually yes. Personally I’ve always wanted to be a park ranger in Yosemite, stationed inside the volcano. All that quiet time and sulfur are what I really need to practice more French horn and finish the rest of the Hardy Boy books…

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Has the internet ruined or enhanced “music mythology?”

David Strange: Since the internet invented music it would be difficult to say that it also destroyed it. See, Napster was the first American folk band. They wrote songs about the civil rights, the government, exposed corruption and championed the working class during such famous performances as their famous acoustic set at Royal Albert Hall in 1966. But success came too easily to Napster and it moved from a suburban Virginia high school town to Hollywood and lost sight of their original artistic vision in the blinding glitter of the Hollywood lights. While Napster was trying to record it’s second album rival bands like Limewire came to popularity with huge hits like “Hit Me Baby One More Time,” The Spice Girls song and “Hotel California.” Tragically Limewire was the first victim of the millennial generation to the many vices of success. Unprotected file sharing led to an early death due to complications of a digitally contracted terminal disease. By the early 2010’s this had cleared a space on the field for the greatest artist of all time to win over the hearts, minds, and virginity of young America. That artist was called Spotify and we only hope that Uni will fill the little toe of the footprint Spotify has left in the quagmire of rock n roll.

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What would be the mythology you want to be associated with Uni?

Kemp: We wanna be a cult, for sure. A benevolent cult that celebrates sex, goat milk, rock and roll, vintage music gear, surrealism, science, platform boots, Aleister Crowley, Being John Malkovich and tritones.

Find Uni on the internet here, here and here.



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