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Wretched, Ruinous, and Recycling: An Interview with TREVOR PHIPPS of UNEARTH

I still remember making the hour-long drive to a dilapidated dive bar as a teenager with a carload of my friends, excepting to see E-Town Concrete -- and stumbling upon some new band that blew us away with their sheer, feral aggression. We nominated one of the group cough up ten bucks and buy their CD so the rest of us could tape it onto cassettes when we got home.

That album was Stings of Conscience, and the band was Unearth. Two and a half decades later, I'm still going to shows at dilapidated dive bars. Unearth, to say the least, is playing much bigger venues. As the PR wire puts it, "Now, nearly 25 years into a career that’s seen the Massachusetts mob play innumerable gigs and massive festivals on six continents, sell hundreds of thousands of records, and inspire some of the most important bands in extreme metal today, they remain a force to contend with."

Vocalist Trevor Phipps was kind enough to take some time on Unearth's spring tour to answer a few questions about the band's evolution, life on the road, and the philosophies behind their music:

Congratulations on nearly 25 years as a band! How *on earth* do you keep a metal band going for that long?

Heyo! We've kept the band going this long from always pushing forward, keeping the band a democracy on band decisions to keep everyone happy and motivated and mostly because we love what we do and we are lucky enough to have fans around the world supporting us.

Certainly music distribution and how listeners find bands has changed so much since Unearth began. How have you adapted to these changes over the years?

Social Media has risen to be a major factor in a bands success. Great music will only get a band so far in modern times. You need to couple it with an online presence which wasn't a thing when we first started the band.

Your new album The Wretched; The Ruinous talks about climate change and the inevitably of humans' self-destruction. This is something actually I think about a lot myself, but feel like as an individual I'm powerless to affect the downward spiral. In your own personal and professional life, how do you reconcile the massiveness of this problem with everyday goings-on/touring/etcetera?

Everyone can do something. What might seem like a minor solo act adds up when more and more people do these responsible solo acts. Making lifestyle choices to reduce hyper consumption, recycle and reuse when able, installing motion activated light switches to lower electricity consumption, eating less meat to lessen the burden of industrial farming, planting your own fruits and vegetables and voting for politicians that will push for clean and renewable energy rather continue to push the use of fossil fuels that add to our CO2 emissions.

Your run in May is super-busy! How do you keep your mental health and energy up on tour?

We've been able to keep a routine on tour of travel, show prep and performance and some time to unwind after the gigs. Keeping this schedule on repeat and combining it with making sure you're staying physically healthy helps keep everyone motivated and moving forward.

You've traveled around the globe as a band. What are some of your favorite places that you've visited?

Traveling the world is something I truly love doing and I soak up the experience everywhere we go. Some of my favorite cities I've been are Tokyo, Taipei, Kuala Lumpur, Anchorage, Porto, Madrid, Berlin and Montreal to name a few. I really like traveling everywhere though.

You probably have many listeners now that are younger than Stings of Conscience. What advice would you give to the kid trying to win that ESP and follow in your footsteps?

Practice and dedicate yourself to the music and process of being in a touring band. Keep up to date with modern ways to push the band forward, stay active in playing shows and honing your craft - and most of all write music for you and not others. True emotion in music comes from within, so if you are writing a song that means something to you and you feel it you'll increase the chances of others feeling what you are doing.

Thank you! As someone who first saw Unearth play on the floor of a tiny club in Connecticut in like 2000/2001, it's very cool to hear your thoughts.

Thanks for having me!


Interview courtesy of Adrenaline PR.

Band photo by Ben Alexis.

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