Catch up with Kiko (guitar/vocals) and Dan Freiberg (drums/vocals) of Brazilian/American rock band Unconscious Disturbance and watch the video for their latest single, "Eye To Eye", off the band's upcoming EP, Let It Rain, due out September 1st.
What got you interested in starting a band together?
Kiko: Well, we've been playing music together since we were about 7 years old. We come from a very musical and artistic background so we grew up with a lot of music in the house and we used to play but he was always the big brother and he would beat me up and we wouldn't really hang out that much. Finally we started playing because there was a band called Downthesun that we got really into and I learned some parts on the guitar and he learned some parts on the drums so we came together to play and, after that day, we kind of just stopped fighting and started playing music, so it was pretty organic, actually.
Where does your name, Unconscious Disturbance, come from?
Dan: Unconscious Disturbance means a lot of things to us. We wanted something that was thought-provoking and wasn't just an ordinary name that doesn't spark any reaction. Unconscious Disturbance, to us, is basically the urge that I feel that almost everybody feels to just pursue what they really want and to express themselves the way that they really feel they should express. So, Unconscious Disturbance is that feeling that everybody has deep inside to just be themselves and basically say screw everything, I'm gonna do what I wanna do and what I believe in.
Kiko: And to piggyback on that, it also uses the word 'disturbance' which usually has a negative connotation - just because that urge usually has a negative connotation - but disturbance is just an occurrence and if you embrace that and decide to pursue what you want to do, we feel that it turns out you become a happier person and a more authentic version of yourself. That's what the whole concept of this new EP we're releasing is about.
Which musicians have you been influenced by?
Dan: Both Kiko and I come from a rock background: from early on, our dad showed us Black Sabbath and Frank Zappa and Led Zeppelin and all those bands. When I discovered metal, personally, it changed my world completely; I started playing the drums after I heard how crazy metal drumming could be. Those were the early years and, as Kiko said, we started playing together when we covered the Downthesun track, which was a super heavy band from the Slipknot era. After that, we started getting into other kinds of music which is what really contributed to what Unconscious Disturbance is today. Kiko ended up going to jazz school and I listened to a lot of jazz and classical while I was in college.
Kiko: I went to school for also classical composition, not that I'm a huge fan of that term 'classical' but, anyway. And, from there on, I think for the band, The Mars Volta would be a band I would say influenced us a lot. Anything from Muse to Mastodon and there are bands that are continually influencing us that are somewhat new, like bands like Royal Blood who I think is bringing a lot of fresh blood into rock again. So, we're always being influenced by different types of music, whether old or new. And, obviously, because we're Brazilian we grew up around a lot of Samba and Brazilian rhythm, so we always find a way to sneak that into our music.
How would you describe your sound to someone who had never heard you before?
Dan: I'd say we're a little lighter than metal and a little edgier than your average rock and roll, so I usually say rock with a little extra edge.
Kiko: Always a lot of groove.
Dan: A lot of groove and we don't restrict ourselves to a specific genre, we don't try to fit in with other bands just so we can have that niche. We're finding our own niche and our music is for people who love music; for people who are interested in composition that comes from the heart.
What were your inspirations behind your single "Eye To Eye"?
Dan: "Eye To Eye" was a special track on the album because it's very percussion heavy and we had the privilege of having Marivaldo Dos Santos - which is a Brazilian percussion player who is one of the head percussionists for STOMP New York - come into the studio. He's a good friend of ours and so he just came in and spent a whole afternoon with us at the studio just going crazy on percussion, so I'd say that "Eye To Eye" is very Samba influenced, just because of all our Latin roots. Kiko lived in Cuba for a while studying percussion and Cuban and Latin music in general, so I'd say that "Eye To Eye" is a song where we take a lot of our percussive influence and blend that with the rock and roll background that we have. For fans of Mars Volta or bands that have heavy Latin influence mixed with rock, I'd say "Eye To Eye" is a great track for them.
Kiko: And in terms of the meaning of the song, it can be about that whole idea of being yourself and exploring who you really are. Actually, we got invited to go out to a pretty fancy club by some guy in the Meatpacking District once and we were there and we noticed that a lot of people were so worried about projecting an image and I felt like I wasn't really meeting any individuals. We just started talking about that and we left the club and went straight to the studio and spent about 8 hours there through the morning and that's when the first track, "Eye To Eye", came out. We incorporated this idea of the percussive element which is very visceral feeling and we really tried to layer that and have that mix with - and it's probably our song with the most - vocal harmony. So we kind of tried to embody that whole concept of very heavy percussion, very visceral, but then we go into a heavy, harmony oriented vocal atmosphere.
Could you tell us more about your EP, Let It Rain?
Dan: Let It Rain compared to our last album, Shooting At The Moon - which is a very progressive album, some of the songs are about 10 minutes long, one that's 16 minutes long - with this new EP, we started working more with repetition and you'll have verses and choruses and pre-choruses and whatnot, but we're trying to keep every part of it spicy and so you'll always have something new that you can find. All the songs are a lot shorter, but it's going to be a pretty edgy but at the same time pretty catchy EP.
Kiko: To build on that, I think you can expect a lot of musical variety. We've only put out "Eye To Eye" - that's definitely our more percussive and vocally rich song, in terms of harmony - we have other songs that are just more in your face, hit hard, rockin' tracks. We tried really, in the EP, to take the listener through a complete trip. The next song we're going to put out is going to be "Scream" which is more mysterious, wall-of-sound chorus, more straight-up rock and roll song. We always try to go different places. We try to stay away from the whole album that is just a repetition of your best song, we really try to go different places so, even if it's a short EP, you get to go to a lot of different places, musically.
Dan: Yeah, and I'd say it's even riskier than our last work because it has a lot more attitude and has more of a clear message. Let It Rain is more about bring it on and allow things to be as they are and really embrace who you are and stick to that. We have new members, we brought in a lot of their punk influence - Danny and Tim both come from a very big punk background - so I'd say it's almost more unique and we're really, really pumped about it.
Is there a track off this EP you're most excited to share with your listeners?
Kiko: It's hard, since we've put so much work into every track. For me, I'd say, probably "Our Secret", just because it's got a cool music video that we're going to release in the next couple weeks. It's a song that we had a lot of fun writing, I think the production came out amazing, and the music video that goes with it just brings a whole new experience; you can expect a very action packed music video for "Our Secret".
What do you hope your listeners are able to take away from your music?
Dan: We're hoping to have people have a fresh take on rock and we really don't believe when a lot of people try to say that everything's been done before in rock. I think that this EP is pretty unique and we just want to throw our name on the map and just have people have a good time and just rock out and let loose. That's the whole point of the EP, is for you to put nothing on and to just let go and that's what we project at our shows. At our shows, everyone just throws down - people dance, other people headbang, other people mosh - and it's about just embracing everyone and just having a good time, really.
Is there anything you want to add?
Kiko: I guess we just hope you all enjoy it and come out for our shows. Check out what we do and stay tuned because we've got a lot of new material coming out soon; we've already started working on the next EP and I think we're just going to be a machine at this point. We'll be hitting the road starting September 1st and through October 15th we'll be playing pretty much every night, so go online to unconsciousdisturbance.com and check out the tour dates.
Dan: Also, the EP is going to be released on September 1st and following up to the EP we're dropping about a track a week online, so that'll be everywhere on our social media, Facebook, or the dot-com, as Kiko mentioned. Again, we're a pretty unique name, so we're not hard to find and, yeah, stay posted, keep rocking, and I hope to see new faces at our show!
Upcoming Tour Dates
Aug 25 – Annandale on Hudson, NY – Bard College
Sept 1 – Stamford, CT – Seaside Tavern
Sept 2 – Bridgeport, CT – The Acoustic (with Chaser Eight)
Sept 3 – Cranston, RI – 1150 Oak Bar
Sept 4 – New Haven, CT – Stella Blues
Sept 8 – Worcester, MA – Ralph’s Rock Diner
Sept 9 – Stratford, CT – Main Street Tavern (with Chaser Eight)
Sept 14 – Rochester, NY – Pineapple Jack’s
Sept 15 – Boston, MA – Thunder Road
Sept 29 – Beckly, WV – Muncheez
Sept 30 – Hickory, NC – Wizard Saloon
Oct 1 – Fayetteville, NC – TBD
Oct 4 – Chattanooga, TN – Ziggy’s
Oct 6 – Nashville, TN – Daisy Dukes