Interview: Lucera’s vocalist Unholywar
Formed in Cali, Colombia in 1992 by guitarist Buziraco, Lucera has been a force to be reckoned with in South American extreme black metal. Relocated to Miami since, they’ve been gaining notoriety and enjoying a resurgence of creativity that has culminated in a few releases of note.
Co-headliners of this weekend’s Black Kvlt Fest 3, we had a chance to speak with lead singer Unholywar, a relatively newer member of the outfit, but one who also grew up in Colombia’s turbulent ’80s and the metal scene.
TuffGnarl.com: Tell us about Colombia’s underground music scene and, more importantly, about metal in the ’80s and how you got involved in the genre.
Unholywar: The music in Colombia’s underground was and is a big part of my life since I started listening to metal back in 1986 when I was only 11 years old thanks to my brother who was a metal head and my high school mates. In the beginning when I was growing up we had a genre called “Ultra metal” with empiric musicians and also rudimentary equipment.
It was extremely loud and brutal and I liked it and it was the start for a lot of great bands nowadays. There was also heavy metal, rock, punk and all kinds of music, so we were lucky to be in a country with a metal scene and we had the other side, the popular music around us too. It was a little hard, but not impossible and here we are now, talking about the great sounds of metal!
What difficulties did you face as a metal band in Colombia? I know about the punk rock scene in Colombia but I’m a little in the dark when it comes to metal – tell us about performing, setting up shows, etc…
like I mentioned to you before, it was a little hard to get good equipment because it was too expensive and we are a poor country so you had to work really hard so you can get really good instruments; also I remember when I start to play in my other bands, we used homemade instruments which weren’t the best but we made the noise that we liked to create.
The shows were really good, and right now even better. There was a lot of bands and I had the chance to be playing a few times in really good shows as an opening act as well as a closing act and we also had promoters and organizers though sometimes we organized the shows, like in bars or venues that we used to rent.
From ’92 to ’98 you guys launched the one demo that I know of. After reuniting in 2005, you’ve come back strong with numerous releases. What prompted the increase in activity?
I’m from Lucera’s new era. I started with the band in 2005. In 2001 I was introduced to guitarist Buziraco, one of the founders of the band in 1992 and we were talking about Lucera and I ended up screaming vocals for them since ’05. He asked me if I wanted to record for them. I like the music and the lyrics so Hell yeah! So far we have three full length CDs and one split CD with the band Sabbat from Japan.
How has it been since you’ve relocated to South Florida?
Personally, we have a good life, we live well and the band had been in the underground for a long time, we never had played a live show, we were not interested in doing it, but Ira the promoter of The Black Kvlt Fest in Florida invited us to be a part of this fest on Oct 17th and we decided to make it.
Tell us about your lyrical content. There’s a lot of humor in it but there’s also a lot of realities about Colombian violence. How has that shaped your work and you as a person?
Well as you said it, we have a lot of humor and realities that we went through in our childhood. Colombia supplies all of our hatred and music.
Colombia is one of the most violent countries in the world. Nowadays, Lucera is located in the United States but the memories and experiences that we lived in Colombia left us marked for life. Colombia is a country of chaos and evilness and we can’t cover the sun with one finger by denying its cruel reality, we felt obligated to show a little of that reality to the world in our music.
We were close to a lot violence but we had a good education and also were involved in the music which gave you a state of mind that takes you somewhere else, so instead of having guns or weapons we had our guitars and bands.
What’s next for the band? Recordings? Tours?
Headlining The Black Kvlt Fest 3 in Miami, maybe a new album in 2016; we are not sure if we are touring or not, that depends in too many factors.
Black Kult Fest 3 featuring Lucera, Acheron and others at 3 p.m. on Saturday, October 17 at Churchill’s Hideaway Pub, 5501 NE 2 AVE, Miami. 18+. Tickets cost $15 advance and $20 at the door. Visit churchillspub.com.
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