United And Strong
Hello, guys! At first write your name, role in band and your interests besides the band.
Christian: I am the singer. Beside UAS I work for the Berlin streetwear brand IRIEDAILY, I like to ride my skateboard and take analog photos.
Florian: I usually play guitar and do some songwriting. I like to read but don’t like to ride my bike.
Bianca: I am the drummer girl. Also I am a friend, wife, mother and I am interested in Dinosaurs.
Shitboy: Bass player, loving dad and also I am a welding engineer.
Christian: Beside the 4 of us we have two more members, Aike on bass guitar who studies and plays in another band called Tonedown. Marv on drums who has his own booking/artist agency and is a drum teacher. They help us out from time to time and mostly when we go on tour, so Bianca and Micha can take care of their son. Good guys!
What would you like to tell about your band to those who don’t know about you yet?
Christian: We are a hardcore band from Berlin, East Germany. We exist since 2001 and we like mosh, going on tour, making friends and we hate Nazis.
Florian: We don’t look tough, but we actually are pretty tough.
Bianca: Female backed Hardcore.
Tell a bit about how was the band formed? When did you start playing together and what was the thing that unites all of you?
Christian: When we started the band in 2001 most of us were really young. We all were stupid kids without any experience with playing in bands. We had no idea what we were doing. We wanted to be a part of the scene. We went to shows and wished to be up on that stage and go on tour. Then we stumbled upon the phrase “United And Strong” in an Agnostic Front booklet and thought this sounds really hardcore. So the band was founded.
Back then this naive mentality of just doing something without thinking if it is cool or not united us. We didn’t give a shit about the haters and just kept on going. It’s still the same thing that unites us today, but also the deep friendship, all the up and downs we went through, all the fights and all the problems we solved to keep this band alive. I think that really binds us together. Especially when you get older and life gets more serious with jobs and children. But we still try to make everything possible to keep on going with UAS.
Also the love for touring countries off the beaten track and the common goal of what is our expectation in the band.
Shitboy: In the beginning of UAS, the band was the main focus and in time the friendship got bigger and tighter. Now it changed and the friendship is the main focus.
Is the band for you one of your main hobbies or does it mean something bigger to you?
Christian: I was 18 when we started and now I am 33 so the band is definitely a very big part of my life. One of the best things I experienced in my live I did with UAS. Having the idea of touring Brazil and doing it. Having the idea of touring Europe from the Arctic Circle down to Turkey and to Portugal and doing it. Sharing that with my UAS family is something that will be a big part of me forever, even when the band doesn’t exist anymore. Without the band and all those experiences I wouldn’t be what I am today.
Flo: I consider the people in the band family. The band has such a big part in my life, it’s impossible to tell where my life ends and the band begins.
Bianca: For me a hobby is something you love or you leave it and keep going.
To play in a band means to go to the rehearsal room even though you are in a bad mood. But you know you have to. So it's not just a hobby, it's more than that.
Shitboy: I never thought about that hardcore is a hobby. It’s life and I have lived it more than half of my life! Not I chose hardcore, hardcore chose me or better Christian when he asked me to play bass in UAS when I was a 15 year old teenager.
You visited Ukraine in 2010 and in 2015. What did you like the most, and did you dislike? Maybe, you have mentioned some difference between the concerts that were 5 years apart?
Christian: In 2010 we came to play two shows. During these 2 days we were ripped off on the road by the police 3 times for nothing. We left lots of money in their pockets. That’s what we disliked. But on the other hand we played two nice shows and met great people who showed us what Ukrainian hospitality means. So it was worth all the troubles with the corrupt cops. This time we came to play Mayak fest and weren’t sure if we can get some more shows. In the end we played two more shows with the help of our brothers in The Lowest. All the shows were great again and of course Mayak Fest was the highlight. Had the biggest circle pit in the history of UAS and you even sang along! We didn’t have any troubles with cops this time and felt much more comfortable and welcome in the country.
Flo: The hospitality was amazing in 2010 and still is. Even with all the things that are going on right now. It really sucked being ripped of by corrupt cops but I remember how much I liked it in Kiev and how I told everybody about it back in 2010. And how excited I was going back to Ukraine. And it was as amazing as ever.
Shitboy: I was in Ukraine only in 2010 and I have only good memories of the people we met and shows we played. But I also remember the police as the most corrupt of all the countries I have ever been to.
Can you tell about main differences between concerts in Ukraine and in Germany?
Christian: In Ukraine people get crazy at our shows and mosh harder but without violence. You appreciate so much that we play, it is hard to describe but you pay much more respect to the bands, I think. You don’t need all that fancy bullshit like the western Europeans. For example Mayak Fest, it is just about the bands, no bullshit. The kids get in the venue, go crazy and that’s it.
Flo: We play lots of great DIY shows in Germany, no doubt about that. But there is a part of the scene I don’t like. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not glorifying “the good old days” because these things have been around for ever. Always, there seem to be people that are trying to make money out of everything under the label DIY. Bands and promoters alike. There are not even ashamed of using popular political messages to sell merch. For them it’s a game they are trying to win. It’s asshole like them I started to listen to punk and hardcore in the first place. And I have the feeling, that this is not a problem in the Ukraine. Everything seems more pure.
What impressed you the most while visiting Ukraine?
Christian: With all the problems the country and the people have right now you still organized the Mayak Fest and made the other shows for us. I guess there are more important things to deal with at the moment than making shows for a german Hardcore band. But all the people involved in the shows made their best to make us feel comfortable and have a great time. I have so much respect for that. Thank you to everyone who was involved!
Flo: I was really impressed by the Eastern European unity. Despite all the political shit going on there, the people we met just didn’t care and stuck together, helped each other out, etc. I mean we were just an Eastern German band with a roadie from Moldova, playing a festival in Ukraine together with bands from Russia, Poland, and Ukraine, but it never really mattered where you were from. If you needed help, you got it.
What social issues do you face the most?
Christian: Envy, intolerance, racism, sexism... so many things I think about and which piss me off. The older I get humanity makes me more sick, it seems no one learns anything out of history. We still have nazis after all what happened in the second world war. People are still thinking about which gender you are and which gender you love. You are only someone when you are successful in school or your job, when you earn a lot of money and drive an expensive car. I could live very well without all that bullshit.
Flo: Stupidity and fear, fear of poverty, fear of the unknown, fear of losing your possessions, your social standing, your wealth. All this racism, homophobia, fascism, sexism in Germany boils down to people being afraid of what they don’t know or what they might lose.
You often mention hatred in your songs. Is it the main emotional component of your creative work?
Christian: It is not the main component but I wanna talk about things that piss me off and which I hate. It is a release to say what’s wrong in the world or in my social surroundings. It is difficult for me to write lyrics about positive things. Negative things stay in my head and need to get out by writing. But Flo writes most of the lyrics nowadays, he might has a different perspective.
Flo: I think we carry as much love in us as hatred. But while we can channel our love in our everyday life it’s harder to get out the hatred. And we didn’t start a hardcore band to tell everybody what’s right with the world but the opposite. I never really noticed, but hatred really seems to be the main emotional components of the songs.
The song Defect is full of despair. Please, tell a bit about this song and about what influenced your outlook the most in the past?
Christian: There was a time, when we were writing the songs for the album “Transit”, when I wasn’t that happy with my life. I was angry with the world, with myself and often my friends or family had to eat shit because of it. Nothing serious just personal things a young person goes through to find his way. Job, girlfriend and so on. “Defect” is about that rage inside me. Some friends describe me choleric, maybe this is also what the song is about.
I really like your song Home is Where the Hate is. I started listening to your music from this song. Please, tell about this song. What made you write it? Why home is where the hate is?
Christian: I think the lyrics were teamwork of Flo and me. For me the song is not about my parents or something in my childhood or whatever people might think of. It is more about the reasons why I left my home village after school because it was full of Nazis, all my youth I had problems with them. So that’s why home is where the hate is.
Flo: There are different aspects to this. First, it’s a song against the romanticization of the term “home”. It’s widely used and in most cases positively. Patriotism and racism always start with somebody defining the term “home”. It’s even worse in the German language. The German word for home is “Heimat”, and though there is a positive side to it (The place you were born or the place you feel safe), it’s also used to draw a line (or even better, a border) between people from here (home) and people not from here. And where this leads is obvious. It’s also about the feeling when you’re coming home after a tour and you are falling into this deep pit of depression and resignation.
Looking at the fact that you are traveling a lot and playing abroad, would you like to live in a world without borders? And so you believe that it will ever become possible?
Christian: Sure we would love to live in a world without borders, imagine, we could go on tour from Germany to India and everywhere in between. But furthermore a world without borders would also mean a world without war, where everybody lives in peace and can go wherever she or he wants. Sounds pretty hippie, I guess. But the future or let’s say the present doesn’t look that good when it comes to borders and wars. The EU seems to fail, nationalistic stupid motherfuckers are on the rise in so many EU countries and every day refugees die trying to enter the EU. So the need for a world without borders is bigger than ever but the political situation strives for the opposite.
Flo: I am an optimist, but I doubt that we will live to see a world without borders. I just hope that when humanity got all this shit figured out, borders will just disappear. There is no real need for borders. There are assholes and good people on both sides.
Are you planning to record any new songs? If yes, when will we be able to listen to them and what will they be like?
Christian: We try hard to finish a new album this year. We found a good way to record which matches with our personal time schedules and Flo has lot's of new songs written. I am never motivated for recordings but this time I am really looking forward to make this album.
Flo: We are probably the most lazy band there is. It’s not that we don’t want to write new songs or that we don’t hate playing the old stuff over and over again. But somehow it takes a long time for us to write songs. But right now we are at a point where a new album is in the realm of the possible and I’m sure it will happen this year. In summer 2015, when we released the first new song since 2011 “days of innocence” we all felt so good and proud to finally release something new that didn’t suck. We have a bunch of finished new songs and a few ideas. I don’t know what they’ll be like. I hope they’ll be more finished than the songs on “Transit” though the ingredients will be the same: Mosh, 2step and heavy parts.
Could please each of you advise one song of a German band and one song of a foreign band.
Christian: “04277” from the German band “Full Speed Ahead”, it is about an area in Leipzig, an East German city, which is known for its left wing alternative inhabitants. I lived there for one year after I graduated school because of this song.
“Driving this car head first into a wall” by the American band “Until The End”. It opened my ears for the heavy and simple mosh sound and was a big influence for UAS.
Flo: Skeptiker “Deutschland halt’s Maul” (“Germany shut up”). I was 7 when my parents listen to the tape on our family trip to Hungary shortly after the wall came down. This song laid out the road for me. Favorite quote after all these years: “Those who’ve got the money, got the power, - that’s what the fat pig thinks, but when the bombs go off under your car, it doesn’t save you being rich.”
Rancid “Olympia WA.” - When I listened to this song as a young punk, my only goal in life became hanging on corner of 52nd and Broadway in NYC. I did this last year and I can die happy now.
Bianca: There are not that good bands in Germany. I can advise Scooter with the song „One (Always Hardcore)”. On the other side there are so many good bands from all over the world, Hardcore and other genres so I can’t advise a special one.
Shitboy: Ton Steine Scherben „Ich will nicht werden, was mein Vater ist“ (I don’t wanna become, what my father has become) Is for me about the pressure of society to go to work and go with the flow.
Throwdown „Raise Your Fist“ - no explanation needed!
Please share a couple interesting/fun stories connected with your concerts/tours.
Christian: We were on one of our largest tours which brought us from Russia down to Turkey in 16 days together with our Brazilian friends “Questions”. After we played a nice show in St. Petersburg we did some sightseeing and went to sleep in the venue. Before leaving the next day in the afternoon to Pskov, two of us went to the supermarket to get some food. I moved the car just a few meters from the venue in front of the supermarket. When they returned the engine didn't start. On tour the worst thing is when the van breaks down. So in my mind the tour was over. I saw my self canceling the rest of the shows. I am totally paranoid about those things. But we tried to push the fully loaded van in the middle of the day on Nevsky Prospect in St. Petersburg. Nothing. Didn't work. So I called the German breakdown service/insurance, they told me they send a Russian service partner. I don't know how many times someone calls from Russia to the German service and the lady on the phone didn't seem to know what will happen neither. After many hours of waiting a friendly Russian guy arrives and knows what to do. During those hours of waiting the Brazilians kept walking around and coming back after every 30 minutes to see what's up. So the service guy got the engine started and we were happy as fuck! We offered him some money but he just said: “no money, just friendship”. Good guy! The engine was running and we were ready to leave to our next show to bring the mosh to Pskov but the Brazilians were gone. They didn't return for the next 90 minutes. We were all pissed but I was more than pissed, I went through hell waiting there for the service and now we had to wait and search for Questions and time was against us because it was a 6 hour ride. When they arrived I got really loud, yelled at them and told them to sit down and shut up, I closed the door so hard because of my anger, you could hear it in whole St. Petersburg. They didn't say anything. We called Pskov, told them we are leaving although it was nearly to late to make it to the show. I drove like crazy, overtook every car. We made it, people waited for us and we played a crazy show. Definitely on of my favorite stories to tell and definitely one of my worst days on tour.
Flo: I can’t decide. It’s either the moment where I brushed my teeth in a small shitty apartment in Murmansk, Russia, 300km north of the arctic circle in a dirty flat. We drove through the night just to get there. The fridge contained raw meat and wodka, nothing more. Everybody was smoking heavily and somehow just ignored us. And while I was standing there, just doing my thing, a guy came into the bathroom and started to take a massive shit. Or the countless times we drove through Romania in pre GPS times. Chris was driving and I was reading the map and i knew we were lost but I never could admit it so i tried to find the right way without Chris noticing and it worked every single time. But my favorite moment is still the Monday morning our van broke down right in the middle of a big intersection in Berlin. We drove 7 hours home from a show, it was 5 or 6 in the morning and I had to be at work at 10. We just pushed the van to the side and took a bus home to get 2 hours of sleep.
Bianca: To be on tour can be so hard. Sometimes we hate each other. But mainly we have fun together, of course. I love the story when we were in Brazil in Cabo Frio, I clogged the toilette and we could only fix it working all together. But details are too disgusting.