Black metal upstarts Uada appeared from the void, seemingly out of nowhere, in 2016. They came armed with debut album Devoid of Light, which quickly earned them renown stateside and in Europe, including a Maryland Deathfest appearance, European and Latin American tours and more. Returning later this week with their second full-length album, Cult of a Dying Sun, the anonymous black metal collective will undoubtedly continue their upward trajectory, luring listeners in with their signature melodic black metal sound.
Decibel spoke with guitarist/vocalist Jake Superchi regarding Uada’s new album, anonymity and their vision as the band continues to grow. Cult of a Dying Sun will see release through Eisenwald on May 25. U.S. customers can purchase the album here and European customers can purchase it here.
Your first release was Devoid of Light, which was received very well. Did getting that attention immediately with your first album change the process for writing, recording and releasing Cult of a Dying Sun?
No, we didn’t feel any pressure in any way. Half of the new album was written before Devoid of Light was released. Being that this was the first time I had ever played in a band with dual guitars, it was a very exciting and productive time as any new beginning should be. James and I are constantly writing, especially when we’re in the same room. During the time of writing we were also learning how similar a lot of our roots and influences are, which really helped shape this record.
Uada hails from the Pacific Northwest, where there is a growing, innovative black metal scene. Does being so close to all those bands (WITTR, Barrowlands, etc.) inspire you or push your writing to a different level?
I wouldn’t say it inspires or has an affect on our writing. Music for us is a very freeing experience and we are not trying to sound like anything other than what comes out when we create. It’s a very natural and organic process. There definitely is however a Pacific Northwest sound and I am sure it comes out through our music. Personally, I do hear a lot of the older bands from genres outside of black metal in our sound. In the mid-90’s, there was another intense scene here that I am sure has made an impact. There was a lot of grunge, punk and this “alternative” movement/culture that had really taken over. Moving here from the East Coast in ’92, I had gravitated to some of those records just before discovering black metal. Of course if you lived in this area of the world at the time, you were hearing a lot of it. I really enjoyed the genuine pain and freedom in some of the music. There was a darkness, and much like what was happening in Scandinavia around the same time, there was self-destruction, suicides, murders, conspiracies and a fucked up world of its own here. Although I eventually found the darker side I was in search of, those early years and albums stuck with me musically… and had a step in crafting me as a human and a musician. Whether or not regional metal bands want to admit it, those 90’s groups really set a soundscape and emotion that I can hear throughout this area.
The lineup on Cult of a Dying Sun features new drummer Brent Boutte and bassist Robb Bockman. What do they bring to Uada that wasn’t there before?
Brent and Robb are great musicians and we were on a search for like minded band mates that could come into an already-written album and perform the task at hand. They both did an incredible job stepping in and helping make the album what it is. Unfortunately both members are no longer with us. The tour life is not a life set out for everyone and being as busy as we are, we need to not only find the ones who can handle the professional side, but also those who can really understand and feel the music/art we’re creating. Since we have brought in Ed Halpin on bass and Josiah Babcock on drums. Ed has just completed his first tour as well as his first stateside appearance with us. He has been working with Uada since the beginning as a merchandiser and a stage tech. He is very in tune with the members and the art itself, so we already know his dedication. Ed recommended Josiah, so we held an audition in which he played our entire live set through with not one error or issue on the first take. The feel and groove was flawless, natural and it really took us by surprise. Ed and Josiah have been friends for a while and were involved in another project together, which is also a plus. It allows us to know there can be a unity and brotherhood that we need among us. Coming into the Snakes & Vultures over North America tour, we truthfully feel stronger than ever.
Cult of a Dying Sun is considerably (roughly 20 minutes) longer than your debut. Is the album longer because you’re more comfortable with Uada’s sound by now?
It’s not due to comfort but more so that we purposely left Devoid of Light on the shorter side. We felt with a debut it would be good to leave people wanting more and not give away too much too quickly. Of course, the follow up album has to be sufficient and it’d be unwise to return fire with only 33 minutes of music again. 55 felt like a much more solid and full experience. There was a lot of content and inspiration lyrically happening around us, which also was something to consider, but we were prepared and anxious to produce an hour long record. We could have easily written and added more to this one, but the journey with these seven songs felt complete.
Uada seems to be very particular about releasing things—you have not released demos or EPs, just fully-formed albums, and you have a relative degree of anonymity with the hoods you wear. What is your vision for the band’s future, and how do you know the releases are complete and up to standard?
Yes, we are a very, extremely particular band. We set out with the intention to sprint against the hourglass. Demos, splits, covers are of no interest but it could be possible to see EPs in the future. We will know when the time is right. We don’t really plan, and allow it all to come together naturally. We will be very busy on the road after the new album is released, but soon enough we will finish up the writing for the next full length. That will be the third in a trilogy concept.
Our lyrical and artistic vision is following whats happening around us, what is directly going on within the band and the lives we live. The writing for Devoid of Light was based upon transition, which was exactly what we were going through at the time. Following that session and moving forward with Cult of a Dying Sun, we really took a step back to look at our pasts as well as what was happening in front of us at the time. Through this we gained reflection. It was not a predetermined idea to link our first three albums together, although we knew soon enough that we didn’t have a choice. The third album will reveal another concept that ties it all together, but now is not the time to reveal that.
Yes, anonymity is an important message. We chose to eclipse ourselves and blackout image. This band is not about the fame or the glory of face recognition. We are just doing what comes naturally to us & that is create art & writing music that we can hold a spiritual connection with. It doesn’t matter who we are, where we came from or what we look like. We just want the music to speak for itself.On both albums, each instrument was recorded separately at different times. Brent had his drums done at Sawn & Quartered in Denver, CO. He had recorded there with his other band in the past and we felt that it was important for him to work with someone that he was already comfortable with. Coming into this band and having to learn an entire album in such little time was stressful enough. We wanted to cause the least amount of frustration for the process. We’ve had some help on the mixing/mastering side but other than that, everything was recorded separately ourselves; they are both very DIY. Like all albums you make, you’ll always look back & nitpick the things you wish you could have changed or made better. With that said, we are happy with how Cult of a Dying Sun has turned out and we learned a lot during the process. We will take those things with us for the better on the next journey.