Uada - Interview

Since their inception in 2015, UADA's rise to the upper echelons of the international black metal scene has been an astronomical one. For an American BM movement that was - at the time - still searching for its identity, UADA's arrival was a profound one that changed the landscape of the scene. They introduced new and much-needed levels of harmony, melody and soul into the music. But mainly, it's UADA's essence that so enraptures us all - that mystique and intangibility that so many other bands try to emulate but almost always fall short. It's not something that can be mimicked. For Jake Superchi and UADA, music is an outlet for the expression of spirituality and a conduit for the exploration of the paranormal along with various forms of mysticism that have influenced them over the course of their lives. So, it's a personal venture - one that happens to tie into the art of black metal beautifully. During my latest interview, Jake Superchi of UADA goes in depth about the influences and the experiences that have shaped the project, from haunted houses to Shamanism and a bit of everything in between. We also get some detailed insight into UADA's LP, "Crepuscule Natura", which was released on September 8, 2023 via Eisenwald/Obsidian Spells. A band that started on a voice and a vision, now bearers of the torch for USBM, sages in their experience with the war against black metal and purveyors of some of the world's finest BM. Let the ritual commence!


Hails and welcome. I'd like to start off with a rather mundane question, but it's one that I seem to get very vague answers to, so I'll ask it again. You've naturally been inspired by other black metal artists over the years. Which BM band or artist do you put on a pedestal and why?

Thanks for taking the time to speak with me. I suppose the "put on a pedestal" could be a way of saying it, as this was a very true thing for us in our younger years. I think once most of us reach a certain age it becomes easier to realize that we are all people at the end of the day and therefore much the same at our core. With that said, black metal has always been a big inspiration and in many ways has dictated the way we have and continue to live our lives. In the very first moments of UADA's creation, there was a clear path of what we wanted to do sonically, emotionally, and artistically. At that time in 2014, it seemed most of black metal was focused on dissonance and a more off-putting sound. Rightfully so, but for me personally, I really missed hearing more of the melodic structures that were more prominent in the 90s. Being that UADA would be the first band I've been in in my entire life where I was not the only guitarist, I wanted to focus on more harmonizing and the duel lead movements.  Of course, writing comes naturally and there is never anything forced when it comes to writing. What feels right is what remains but in the first talks with lead guitarist James Sloan, we laid out a basis of influences as a direction for the writing to go. Our whole idea really was to bring back the classic sound of the 90s Swedish scene with the main influences being Dissection, Dawn, Vinterland, and Unanimated. All of these bands and more of course had helped form a sound that I grew up listening to and wasn't hearing much of in most of black metal at the time. We weren't limiting ourselves to just these influences though and we really thought it would be something to take these influences and mirror them with our love and passion for the 80's NWOBHM. So, while we have our black metal influences on our sleeve we also wear those of Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Thin Lizzy, and Iron Maiden there as well. Although this isn't anything new for a black metal band to undertake or incorporate into their sound, most of the bands that tried to do this exact combination in the late 90s and early 00s fell short to my ears. There were a few that pulled it off well, and I appreciated the honesty those bands had with their sound. I think it is really the most important thing an artist can do. To be true to themselves and their influences.

A band's name is generally a statement as to their mission or - in UADA's case - to what's inspired them the most. UADA is translated from Latin to English as "haunted". Is UADA meant to be metaphorical or is its meaning based on actual experiences with the paranormal?

Paranormal experiences are something I've experienced almost my entire life, or at least as far back as I can remember. I've lived in numerous haunted houses and even one church, although the church was only for 10 months between 2005 and 2006. These experiences and occult knowledge have always been a great part of my writings as well as who I am. There are things that I've seen that have changed and shaped my worldview over the years, and I feel it is important to incorporate that into the art itself. In fact, the entire existence of this band formed from an experience I had in September 2014. This event came to me on the third night of pacing in my home. There was a feeling of change around me and this internal battle of accepting this change. I knew that I was at a crossroads in my life and felt the need to restart. I felt as if my time was running out and I only had one more shot to make my life what I always (or always thought) I wanted it to be. At this time I was really pulling my hair out and felt like a failure in my own mind. I had all these goals that I had gotten nowhere close to even beginning those steps. So, it was really strange with what came on that third night. I was pacing in my living room and I remember sitting down in a chair staring out the window over the horizon as the sun was setting. Without thought or meaning to speak out loud I asked, "What am I supposed to do?" It came without force but almost as if something was speaking through me and before I could even understand what had happened, someone or something was answering my question. There I sat in this chair staring out the window and a voice spoke to me the simplest of words. The voice sounded female, but also electronic, or perhaps electric. It sounded as if it were in stereo as if two of the same entity were talking into each of my ears from both sides of my body. I now can only assume it was a telepathic message but it was beyond a shadow of a doubt the clearest voice and message I had ever heard in my life. The voice said, "You can achieve all that you want to achieve, you just have to go and do it." Of course, it is such a simple message and one that most would brush off if that advice had come from a friend or a family member. In this case for me, it hit me like a bolt of lightning. I remember after hearing the message jumping up from my chair running into the next room and picking up my guitar. I instantly started playing without any thought. It was just a feeling that was coming through me. What I started to play is what became the opening riff to 'Black Autumn, White Spring'. As I sat there strumming away I remember my vision going white and all of a sudden I was walking through the back of a crowd at a concert. I walked to the right of the venue and leaned up against a pillar and as I watched shadows performing on stage in a wall of fog, I knew that I was watching myself at some point in the future. I'd never experienced a remote viewing like this before, but I knew exactly what I was seeing. As I watched from within while I continued strumming throughout, the word "haunted" kept appearing in my mind as if it was being spoken to me subliminally. As I came back to my conscious reality, I quickly tabbed my riff and started to look for an alternative word for haunted. Being that there was already a prominent band called "The Haunted", there was no way I could use it in the English format to name the band I was about to begin. So, as cliche as it is, I looked into the Latin language for an answer and found the word "UADA". To me, this was a name that made sense. It was simple, although I assumed most wouldn't know how to pronounce it, but I felt that could also add to the mystery of it all. And although it was a Latin word and black metal is known for its use and butchery of the language, I felt that the word haunted being used in what is considered a dead language made it even more prominent and interesting. That night, or most likely morning, as I tend to stay up until sunrise, I laid my head down to rest. Later that day I awoke from a dream and in that dream, I saw myself and future UADA lead guitarist James Sloan in a room writing and rehearsing material. So, I immediately grabbed my phone and opened up my messenger to reach out to James about the idea of starting a new band. We made plans to meet and talk about the ideas, and did so on October 1st, 2014. Some of his other bandmates from his now previous band expressed interest in joining that night and we set up our first rehearsal/writing session the following week on October 8th. That night we wrote, 'Devoid Of Light'. It was pretty surreal, because I remember this was a song and album title I had been sitting on since I started writing new material, and after we had got the first take of the song down after we completed the writing, we took a break and went outside. I remember how intense this moment was as I looked up into the sky to see the moon being eclipsed and turning red. As I stared at this event my mind immediately thought of the stage presence I saw in my remote viewing a few weeks back as well as just finishing the writing of our first song and the title track. It was like a sign or symbol of confirmation that I was right where I was supposed to be. I knew my time was here and that the universe was listening.

Personally, I couldn't imagine living in the Pacific Northwest due to its unforgiving and often bleak weather patterns. However, I understand that there must be something enchanting about this region as so many people call it home. How has life in the Pacific Northwest influenced the band's creative process?

When I first moved to the Pacific Northwest (Washington State) from Massachusetts, the weather was indeed a hard thing to deal with. As one who struggles with depression, the constant rain and gray can definitely enhance the bleak feelings of hopelessness. At this stage in my life, I'm more affected by the damp cold getting into my bones. Since I suffer from a lot of nerve damage and arthritis-like pain, it can really take its toll on the body as well as the mind and spirit. This of course is more dominant if I'm sitting around the house doing office work as opposed to being out in nature and staying active. These days I don't see nature enough as I am constantly swamped with work. The weather here does play a part in it all though. I feel most inspired on those gray days to create, and any time spent in the forests or mountains brings a sense of a reset within myself. It helps keep me grounded and focused on the important things. And of course, it's a great inspiration for the creation and sound of UADA. Unfortunately, as we grow and become busier in our careers we find that we continue to run into more distractions. So, being able to get out into nature, which is everywhere here, is really important to restore the senses and forget about the outside world.

As one of the countless black metal bands to have fallen under the foolish judgements and accusations of PC warriors and hypocritical "anti-fascist" groups, how do you feel about the impact that cancel culture is having on black metal? I'm of the mind that it only makes the genre more seductive.

I honestly don't really care what people think. We know who we are, we know what we are and we know that the accusations from any side of the pendulum won't stop us. I think we've definitely seen a lot of pullback from media sources as well as some music festivals over these accusations, but that isn't something we can or will try to control. As a free thinker and spirit, I can't imagine basing my entire identity on a political stance that the media is trying to brainwash us all with. I have the morals that I choose to live by, and I don't need anyone on the news, the internet, or at a concert to tell me how to act or live. I feel anytime someone acts in such a way that they feel the need to point fingers at others, it is because they are deflecting and trying to hide something about themselves. I have zero skeletons in my closet and I live my life as an open book.  If people that don't know me personally want to judge from afar that's fine, and I'm happy to be a scapegoat for those who feel the need. I'd say 90% of accusations are really just projections from those who are unable to put the scope on their own personal inner flaws. If one really wants to get an idea of who I am and what I'm about they can read the lyrics.

Many black metal artists and bands, particularly within the Scandinavian scene, are inspired by their region's history of Paganism or Heathenism that predates Christianity. Here in North America, pre-colonial history belonged to indigenous tribes who practiced Shamanism and believed in ancestral and great natural spirits. Does or has UADA ever drawn creative energy from these particular currents?

Absolutely. Although most will look at the differences of Native Americans and European Paganism, I think it is important to remember that all humans came from the same exact beginnings, and that the acts of Shamanism are not particularly owned by a race or region. It is within all of our blood and where we came from. With that being said I can tell you that I am a Mut. I have blood connections to the Romans, the Welsh, the Native and French-Canadian, and the Native Americans. It is a lot to unpack and I haven't done a lot of research into certain areas of my family as I've always found myself mostly fascinated with being a direct descendant of Judge John Hathorne of the Salem Witch Trials. Since my beliefs are so different, I imagine he would have not hesitated to send me to the nooses if I were alive in his day. I know that there was a curse upon my family's bloodlines from one of the victims he had helped sentence, and I feel it is a large duty in my life to try to reverse that curse and give what I can to those who are connected to a more spiritual and magical way of life. Although witchcraft has always been one of the biggest influences and currents in my life, the Native American Shamans have always piqued my interest, and at some point in my life I hope I can find time to immerse myself into becoming a student. Although I truly believe that all that exists outside is within us, I think there is always much to learn and I would be interested in partaking in ritual.

Now, let's get into some band business. You just wrapped up a tour where you hit the road in support of the mighty Rotting Christ back in February for the "Under Our Black Cult" North American Tour. How did it feel to tour with whom many consider to be the greatest of all time, and what kind of live experience did UADA bring?

Yes, indeed. First and foremost, it was an absolute honor to be asked to be a part of this tour. Rotting Christ have been a band that I've been a fan of and looked up to since the mid to late 90s. I remember discovering them on a Century Media compilation in '97 called "Out of the Dark". It was a live split with Samael, Moonspell, Sentenced and a few other bands on the roster at the time. I was hooked from that moment on, and to open for them on their own North American tour was something special. Unfortunately, being the 2nd of 4 bands, we were only granted a 35-minute set, which allowed us 4 songs in total. We decided since we're gearing up to announce our 4th album that we would play one song from each record, including a new song. Since we write really long songs, it can be challenging to mend such a short set. Often it felt like we were just warming up as we would get to our last song, and then before we knew it the set was over. But nonetheless, we had a really good time and played for some really passionate crowds across the entire nation as well as a few shows in Canada.

You also have a new record coming down the pike. I know you can't divulge much information about it until later, but can you give us an idea of the album's concept or a musical direction for the new material?

The new album and what I refer to as "The 4th Dimension" is titled "Crepuscule Natura" which translates to Twilight Nature. The concept of this album is "Resurrection". Our first three album concepts were transition, reflection, and possession. I remember when writing the first album that I felt as if I had killed a part of myself before starting anew. It was a complete ego death and I felt as if I did not exist. After completing and living through the possession cycle, I felt again that a part of me was dying or in a way being killed. After driving myself into the ground and into some really unhealthy territory, the pandemic began. During this time, I was able to reconnect at home with my roots, my family and with myself. It took some time for me to pull myself out of that same feeling I had before UADA had begun, but with all the inner turmoil I had been through and survived before the plague hit, I had once again found myself feeling like a failure. As I pulled myself out of that dark place again and forgot about the outside world, I began to write the next (now upcoming) album. It was a period that I had to go through in order to remember who I am, what is inside me, why I am here and the power that I hold. And what I mean by power is the power I have within and over myself. The universe directs us in mysterious ways and this was another lesson I had to remember and allow myself to accept. It isn't easy of course, especially when spending the majority of lockdown in a room alone while wishing I could be out in the world sharing my craft. So coming out of what felt like another death as well as the plague, "Resurrection" really made a lot of sense. Of course, this was not a planned or forced concept. These always come to me during the writing sessions as what I write is always based on the experience of the time, what I'm going through in my life and what the band is dealing with etc... And although our last album "Djinn" has done really well, I think "Crepuscule Natura" will - in a sense - be or feel like a "comeback" album. I don't say that with any regard to our last album, but in regard to the times and the experiences in those times. But perhaps for those who did not like our last album, they'll feel the same in a different way. Only time will tell. Sonically, I think this album is a solid mix of our last three albums with a little expansion on the sound. When I wrote the base structures and riffs it really reminded me of "Devoid Of Light" and "Cult Of A Dying Sun" with the occasional gestures of "Djinn" here and there. Of course, after James laid down his leads and I finished the vocals, it really changed quite a bit. All the classic trademarks of an UADA album are there but it is definitely its own album. Since it's been almost 3 years since it was written, for us, it now feels old, and soon it will be time to focus on the next creation. Although it does feel old for us, we hope it will feel as new with the fans as it did for us when we finished the recording. I think I can safely speak for everyone in the band when I say that it is our favorite to date, and we look forward to seeing where it takes us next.

Black metal is the kind of genre or art form that once discovered generally has a life-changing impact on people. How has black metal changed your life?

The thing I loved most about black metal when I first discovered it was the mysticism involved with certain acts. It was as if you could feel the magic in the music as if it were (and for most of us is) a spell being cast directly from the soul of the creator. I've always believed that art and magick are one if one's intent is pure. Although my interest in the occult and my experiences with otherworldly beings existed before finding black metal, it was that genre that really connected the two together. In some ways, it has taught me and in others guided me. Perhaps my soul was connected to the dark arts before I ever knew, but there is no doubt that my life and existence are dedicated to this craft, and I've sworn my blood to it. Many find it and form their identity around it, but only a few of us really live it.

What's the most valuable lesson you've learned during your career?

Be careful who you trust, for anyone can turn on you in an instant. When certain people see that you have something they want, they'll try to take it for themselves. When they realize they cannot have it, they'll try to destroy it. Luckily, most people are not equipped to hide their agendas and will leak signs of betrayal, but we always have to keep our eyes open.

"Knowing the place and the time of the coming battle, we may concentrate from the greatest distances in order to fight."

- Sun Tzu, The Art of War

Do you have a message for your listeners?

I can only send my greatest gratitude to all of those who continue to support us in our journey. We hope to see some of you on tour soon. Until then, stay haunted!

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Entered: 6/15/2024 10:03:21 AM

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