United & Strong are a hardcore metal band from Germany, have been making music for over 15 years, gathering a wide, loyal fan-base and growing recognition which led them to the Warped Tour 2016. They’ve been playing a few gigs here and there as well as writing new music after which they released their demo in 2008, a full-length album titled Transit in 2009 and Welcome to Coma City in 2011. Last month, United & Strong came to Morocco as a part of their tour on the 14th, 16th, & 17th of April where I was fortunate enough to meet them and have a quick interview with them about their history, their musical influences, and where they stand in the hardcore scene.
First, please start by introducing us to the band members. How did you find each other and how did you start the band?
So we have Bianca on drums, Micha on bass guitar, our first guitar player and me (Christian, vocals) wanted to be a part of the Hardcore Metal scene and started United & Strong in 2001. We met each other from other bands, school and just because we all came from small towns where you know each other anyway. In 2006 we all moved to Berlin and our first guitarist had to leave the band and Spider joined. 2007, Florian completed the guitar team. Spider also left a few years later and we continued as a 4-piece band. In this line up, the band became a real band with tours and releases.
Since 2014 we had Marv helping us out on drums, Aike and Robin helping us out on bass for all the tours we play, because Bianca and Micha have to take care of their son.
Tell us about the taste of music of every member, what genres of music do the members personally prefer?
We all prefer Hardcore, that’s the style of music that brought us together. Beside that you probably find all kind of music genres in our playlists, from classic music, to punk rock, to sludge metal, to electronic music, to euro thrash techno, to hip hop and to rock. If we should name bands that we like beside Hardcore it would be Tocotronic, Crowbar, Air, Benjamin Clementine, Mobb Deep, At The Drive In.…
United & Strong caught my eye as an unusual name for a Post/Hardcore band. What made you choose this name?
Actually, we chose the name because it sounds so typical Hardcore. We were young and we looked through an Agnostic Front booklet and caught that phrase. We then thought it sounded really cool and also fits our message.
I never read before that UAS playing in Morocco. So, is it the first time you’re here on tour in? When and how was the experience you making here?
Yes, it was our first time in Morocco. The first time we were thinking about playing in Morocco was in 2014. When we toured Spain and Portugal, the plan was to take a ferry and play some shows in Morocco as well but it didn’t work out. We stayed in contact with Jeffrai from Rabat. Finally, it worked out this year and we booked our flights. We didn’t know what to expect but we are happy to and can’t wait to bring the mosh back to Morocco!
United & Strong is one of the most productive bands in the German Hardcore scene. What was the reason for your creation and what fuels you through all these years? What are your top inspirations for creating music?
I think we are not that productive when it comes to writing new songs and releasing them but we are productive when it comes to touring. And that is the main inspiration of the band. Playing shows, making friends, not caring about borders and nationalities.
What kept us going for the past 15 years is that even if twas hard some times, the idea of having a good time together with our best friends and sharing those unique moments. For example going on tour in Morocco, playing a show above the Arctic Circle or in a Brazilian favela.
Who writes the lyrics and what do the lyrics talk about?
In the past I wrote most of the lyrics, those songs deal with personal stuff, which can be influenced by politic issues, the hardcore scene or how it is to play in a band and be on the road. Mostly it is an outlet of the negative things everyone has to deal with in life.
Since Flo joined the band, he mostly writes all the lyrics but it’s still about similar stuff.
How many copies were released and which medium was used for this new edition (CD, digital, vinyl, cassette)?
We released couple of demos in the past on CD. Our first album Transit was released on CD in 2009 on Superhero/Swellcreek Records, you might find some rare copies of it on the Internet but officially those 500 pieces were sold out a few years ago. In 2011 we released Welcome To Coma City EP on 300 black 7” vinyl records by ourselves, and 50 cassettes on the Berlin tape label Mustard Mustache.
Which type of gigs do you prefer, whether it’s (clubs or festivals) and which of your performances would you consider as the best?
We played about 330 shows in 20 countries. We like all types of shows as long as the people are going crazy and there is energy between us and the crowd we love it. Doesn’t matter if 30 or 300 people attend.
To name our best shows is hard. I can tell you my favorites, Mayak Fest in Ukraine last year. St. Petersburg & Petrozavodsk Russia 2013, playing right beside the beach in Brazil 2012 in Cabo Frio and my 30th birthday show in Berlin 2012.
After our two Albums Transit’ (2009) and Welcome To Coma City (2011), and first Demo (2008)… What about your plans for the future or do you plan on recording any more Albums?
We are working on a new album, which will be released by the end of this year or beginning of next year. After the Morocco Tour we will go back to the Baltic States and Russia for a 9 days tour.
How and where can your fans contact you? Can you provide some contact information?
You can of course! Like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram but we also have a website which gives you a view into UAS history as well as all news. Our YouTube channel has tons of live videos plus a tour movie and video clips. You can listen and download all our releases on BandCamp. You will also find our music on Spotify, iTunes and so on.
And to finish up the interview, please add anything extra here that you would like to have our readers see.
First of all, we would like to thank you for this interview and say hi to everyone who just discovered us because of it. We are just some friends from East Germany playing the music we love, like to go on tour and make friends from all over the world.
Interviewed by: Yassine Siyaf
Edited by: Ahmed S. Khalil