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The Unicorns: We spent an hour with these dudes and didn't find out dick

Interview: Part One Of Two

Modest Mouse, despite being on a major, has sat upon the throne as kings of indie rock for the past five years. Before that, Pavement kept the seat warm. The Mouse should release a new record this March, but you can expect a new hand on the king's spire this year.

Alien8 Recordings released last November one of the most exciting and most talked-about albums that has graced the indie scene in quite some time.

The band was a trio of weirdos from Canada called the Unicorns. It was formed a few years back in Campbell River, British Columbia by Nicholas "Niel" Diamonds and Alden Ginger and has since been incubating, with the help of drummer Jamie Thompson, in Montreal, Quebec. The album is Who Will Cut Our Hair When We're Gone?, comprised of quirky, off-kilter sounds and creative lyrics.

The result is some of the catchiest, freshest music released in years.

Prefix isn't alone in that opinion. Vice Magazine called The Unicorns "the best band in the world," and Insound.com's top-selling album in December was the Unicorns, not the Rapture, the Strokes or the Mars Volta.

Prefix's Steve Bittrand sat down with the hottest band in the universe before a show at New York's Mercury Lounge recently and ended up with the most absurd interview in the Web site's short history.

 

Prefix Magazine:
Have you guys been doing a lot of interviews lately?

 

The Unicorns: Part 1:
Jamie Thompson (drums): Not as much recently.

 

PM:
Apologies if you guys have heard some of these questions a million times.

 

The Unicorns: Part 1:
JT: We're obsessed with originality, so if we hear the same questions forty times ...
[Interview interrupted by someone. Talk about the opening band. Totally sidetracked.]
Dan Seligman (manager): Did you guys call Metric (new wave-influenced indie pop trio) tonight at all?
Nick Diamonds (keys, vocals): No.
JT: No. They know that they're supposed to be here tonight.
DS (manager): I know, but you plan on staying with them.
JT: Yeah, they're gonna be here.
ND: We're staying at Josh's.
JT: I got their addresses. So even if they don't show up ...
DS (manager): I got James's phone numbers.
JT: I actually have both Joules's and Josh's cell phones.
ND: All right!

 

PM:
Ready?

 

The Unicorns: Part 1:
JT: All right. Was that a question?

 

PM:
I don't know exactly what the question is.

 

The Unicorns: Part 1:
JT: Are we staying with Metric? I don't know. They're coming here. We'll find out when they get here.

 

PM:
OK. The first question is, Are you guys staying with Metric? Second question is, Are you guys gay?

 

The Unicorns: Part 1:
JT: Um ... one of us is gay, but we're not gonna say which one. [Laughs.]

 

Bill the Roadie: Is that really your question?

 

PM:
No, but ... What should our readers know about you guys?

 

The Unicorns: Part 1:
JT: People who are unfamiliar with the band should know that we're actually their favorite band. They just don't know it yet.
[Diamonds starts making weird tocking noise.]
[Another interruption.]

 

PM:
What about you Nick?

 

The Unicorns: Part 1:
ND: Is each of us supposed to answer these questions?

 

PM:
Not necessarily.

 

The Unicorns: Part 1:
ND: Um ... I don't know. Sorry, can't think of anything clever.

 

Alden Ginger (keys, vocals): That one of us is gay.

 

PM:
What do you think about that quote from Vice Magazine calling The Unicorns the best band in the world?

 

The Unicorns: Part 1:
ND: Yep.

 

JT: That felt good when I read that.

 

ND: Good but true.

 

JT: I mean, finally somebody gets it. [Laughs.] After years of being a really good band. These guys are awesome, one of the best bands in the world. One of the best?

 

ND: Best band ever. [Laughs.] Thank you Vice.

 

JT: Thanks for setting the record straight.

 

PM:
How old are you guys?

 

The Unicorns: Part 1:
AG: 17.

 

ND: 28.

 

JT: I'm, uh, 35.

 

PM:
How's touring with Hot Hot Heat? (The band hails from British Columbia, Canada.) Good, bad, crappy?

 

The Unicorns: Part 1:
ND: You said it. Hot Dog Meat.

 

JT: We're up like $70 gambling with those guys. So I'd say the tour's been going pretty well.

 

PM:
They're shitty gamblers?

 

The Unicorns: Part 1:
JT: No, they're pretty good gamblers. We're just better.

 

ND: Better pool players.

 

AG: All of them carry dice with them.

 

PM:
Really? Well, they're getting really big ...

 

The Unicorns: Part 1:
JT: Yeah, well Paul (Hawley, drummer) is getting really big. He's like 6'6".

 

ND: I think he's grown. I think he's done.

 

PM:
If you guys had a three-on-three wrestling match with Hot Hot Heat, would you take them?

 

The Unicorns: Part 1:
JT: Well, do we get to pick who it's against?

 

PM:
Yeah.

 

The Unicorns: Part 1:
JT: I think we could take Dustin (Hawthorne, bassist), Dante (DeCarlo, guitarist) and Steve (Bays, vocalist, keyboardist). Paul's pretty big. Paul actually beat the crap out of Nick and Bill (aka Max Grody American Roadie).

 

Bill the Roadie: No way. That's not true.

 

JT: It is true. He totally did. He totally smoked both you guys. I was there.

 

Bill the Roadie: I was ... Delete that from the record. He ran away when I started to choke him.

 

Friend of the band: Who's taller, the guy from the French Kicks or Paul?

 

JT: I think Paul. Paul's like 6'6".

 

PM:
But you guys are pretty tall too.

 

The Unicorns: Part 1:
ND: Thank you.

 

AG: Thank you very much.

 

ND: We're the tallest band ever!

 

JT: Finally, someone gets it!

 

ND: They're a pretty tall band. They're one of the tallest bands in the world. Now it's finally coming to fruition. We're the tallest band ever.

 

PM:
OK, back to Hot Hot Heat. Do those guys get tons of girls or what? Aren't they the big shots in Canada now?

 

The Unicorns: Part 1:
[At the band's request, the answer to this question will remain unpublished. Just know that it included the following topics: hot dog meat, crack and the merch man's penis.]

 

DS (manager): Let's get into the Stills. Then we can really get into it.

 

ND: We got to save that for Pitchfork. Ah, might as well start now.

 

JT: Fuck the Stills!

 

PM:
So that's the band you guys hate?

 

The Unicorns: Part 1:
JT: They used to be in a ska band. Think about it.

 

DS (manager): Undercovering the Stills.

 

ND: They used to be in a ska band called the Undercovers.

 

JT: To all you people that thought they were cool, they were in a ska band.

 

ND: They were a ska band.
Click here to see the Undercovers...

 

PM:
There are no good ska bands?

 

The Unicorns: Part 1:
ND: Nah, there are some. Mighty Mighty Bosstones.

 

PM:
What if you guys wrestled the Stills?

 

The Unicorns: Part 1:
JT: [Scoffs.] I'd take all those guys on my own.

 

PM:
I like that album, I won't lie.

 

The Unicorns: Part 1:
ND: I hate their record, I won't lie.

 

JT: They're the worst pieces of crap ever. Vice Magazine says ...

 

ND: They're the worst band ever. Why'd we do this?

 

PM:
For me it's one of those bands -- I don't like why I like them, but it's catchy.

 

The Unicorns: Part 1:
DS (manager): Wait 'til you see them live, that's all I got to say.

 

PM:
I was supposed to see them play at the Vice party, but I left early.

 

The Unicorns: Part 1:
DS (manager): Yeah, they didn't play.

 

PM:
So Vice probably likes you guys better than the Stills..

 

The Unicorns: Part 1:
JT: [Scoffs.] Did they call us the second best band in the world?

 

PM:
What's up with the artwork you find on the album and at the Web site? Who does that?

 

The Unicorns: Part 1:
JT: We got a team. We have a pretty solid team that does the art.

 

ND: Slaves.

 

JT: There's about six of them at the top.

 

ND: Malaysians. It's all slave labor.

 

JT: I've never actually seen our artwork. It's the picture of the girls in the bikinis wrestling?

 

ND: Bending over. Parental advisory.

 

JT: Bending over. That's the album cover?

 

ND: And we're called Zebrahead.
[I was told later that Diamonds does all the art.]

 

PM:
What about clip art? Is that shit cool or wack?

 

The Unicorns: Part 1:
ND: Wack.

 

PM:
Not viable?

 

The Unicorns: Part 1:
ND: It depends on the content.

 

JT: Just like anything else: some of it is good, some of it is wack.

 

AG: Well, clip art can basically be anything.

 

ND: "Get Your War On." That's kind of good. "Red Meat." That's kind of wack. I don't like that comic for the record.

 

PM:
So far for the record, Hot Hot Heat is ...

 

The Unicorns: Part 1:
JT: Kinky.

 

PM:
The Stills are bad.

 

The Unicorns: Part 1:
ND: Yeah, they're mediocre.

 

PM:
So who do you guys like?

 

The Unicorns: Part 1:
JT: Toy Band. They're from Indianapolis. They'll be the next big shit.

 

ND: I don't know.

 

JT: You'll feel it. You didn't hear the whole album.

 

AG: You haven't listened to it enough.

 

PM:
Do you guys still live hundreds of miles away from each other?

 

The Unicorns: Part 1:
JT: We actually haven't lived far apart in a long while.
[Someone is talking about death in another conversation.]

 

PM:
Can I start the rumor that one of you died or something? That would be sweet.

 

The Unicorns: Part 1:
AG: That happened.

 

ND: Not one of us. The other guy. We had a bass player.

 

JT: He's gone. We don't talk about it much, but for you ...

 

PM:
So you guys aren't cool with him anymore.

 

The Unicorns: Part 1:
ND: No, he's dead.

 

PM:
No he's not.

 

The Unicorns: Part 1:
ND: He's dead. Rob Bowman.

 

JT: Depressing.

 

PM:
Next question. More lighthearted ...

 

The Unicorns: Part 1:
JT: Can you ask us something about balloons or kitty cats?

 

ND: Clouds.

 

PM:
The next question is for the ladies ... Whoa, what's that noise?

 

The Unicorns: Part 1:
ND: Rats.

 

PM:
OK. Although one of you is gay, how many of you have girlfriends?

 

The Unicorns: Part 1:
JT: I've got a few.

 

ND: Nothing that uh, nothing ... Oh, I don't want to answer this question; it's going to get me in trouble.

 

AG: I have a special friend.

 

ND: I have people in my life. I have good people in my life.

 

AG: Do they let you play around with their genitals? [Laughs.]

 

ND: This interview is over.

 

PM:
Did you guys do any good interviews today? Or who have you interviewed with lately?

 

The Unicorns: Part 1:
JT: Pitchfork.

 

ND: We got Hillary doing a piece on us. [Points to girl who's also in the room.]

 

DS (manager): Strut Magazine.

 

ND: We've got The Fader tonight.

 

DS (manager): MTV as well and CBS.

 

ND: Yeah.

 

PM:
When did you guys do Pitchfork?

 

The Unicorns: Part 1:
JT: When we played Chicago.

 

PM:
We gotta get this interview up before them.

 

The Unicorns: Part 1:
ND: You will. You will. It'll take them forever.

 

JT: Those guys don't have their shit together.

 

ND: They're corporate.

 

PM:
I like their site and I heard the guy that runs it is a nice guy actually.

 

The Unicorns: Part 1:
AG: Yeah, yeah.

 

JT: No, they were actually really nice to us.

 

PM:
You're saying that because they gave you a really high rating.

 

The Unicorns: Part 1:
JT: No, we're saying it's because they laughed at our jokes. That's why we think they're awesome.

 

ND: Their rating was fucked up though.

 

JT: We were actually supposed to get a 9.2.

 

PM:
I think our review was better.

 

The Unicorns: Part 1:
ND: The review was sweeter. Thanks.

 

PM:
The review was better, but the score was lower.

 

The Unicorns: Part 1:
DS (manager): The writing was ...

 

PM:
You didn't like it?

 

The Unicorns: Part 1:
DS (manager): No, the content was good. But grammatically there were errors ...

 

PM:
Well, that's the editor's fault.

 

The Unicorns: Part 1:
JT: We're real sticklers for grammar.
[Ed. Note: Ryan Duffy, who reviewed Who Will Cut Out Hair When We're Gone?, spells, as a matter of style, dudes with two Os. Doods. As in, "Either way, these doods are definitely smarter than me " It's his thing. Poetic justice. Read the review and e-mail brandon@prefixmag.com if you find any fuck-ups.]

 

PM:
Back to Pitchfork. Their interview won't be as good as ours because they won't have the photos.

 

The Unicorns: Part 1:
JT: Also, we weren't drinking during their interview. Also, I don't think we answered any of their questions.

 

PM:
I don't think you answered any of mine either. I think interviews like that are great though. This interview could rival most rap interviews we've done.

 

The Unicorns: Part 1:
JT: We actually are all rappers. We met at rap camp. [Laughs.]

 

ND: My specialty is wrapping presents. So I do wrap technically. Christmas is a big time for me. [New guy enters the room, says "What the fuck is goin' on up there?"] Is tonight gonna be pretty bad?

 

Friend of the band: No, tonight is going to be amazing. They're stuck on some band with this manager that ... not that managers are bad or anything.

 

ND: Managers are bad. We can do it ourselves.

 

DS (who is, again, the band's manager): We've already had this conversation.

 

JT: I gotta ask you this. Who brings a grand piano to the opening spot at a ...

 

DS: Bands that think they're going to the big time.

 

ND: Steve, sorry. Your question was what?

 

The Anniversary - On the road again The Unicorns Unicorns: We spent an hour with these dudes and didn't find out dick (Part 2)
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