Union Made are a fantastic hardcore band out of Quebec with some of the best lyrics I’ve read in a while. Here’s an interview from Winnipeg’s Nerve Magazine, but first, here’s a review of the band’s debut CD “Hard Grace” from Hard Times Zine…
And, for your listening pleasure…”Long Road Ahead”…
Union Made’s debut album, Hard Grace, is a much-needed breath of fresh air.
Simply put, this album rules. Chock full of thirteen tracks of Quebecois hardcore goodness, this Montreal four-piece combines old school Oi-inspired tough hardcore with angry, lyrical righteousness with a left wing, pro-working class tilt. Definitely for fans of Sick Of It All and Ramallah.
Union Made is made up of members of previous members of Montreal veteran acts, Street Troopers and Fate 2 Hate, who are in turn veterans of the street-level anti-Nazi political scenes: in other words, true, 100 percent real hardcore, dudes who mean what they say and can back it up.
Do yourself a favor; get your hands on Hard Grace, see these guys when they come to your shit town, or better yet, book a Union Made show in said shit town.”
Here’s a recent interview with the band, from Winnipeg’s Nerve Magazine:
Ever walked out of a hardcore show feeling more than a little cynical? Sometimes it’s the clued-out homeboy who mistakenly thinks he’s part of DMS, while other times it might be the closet fascist who spouts off about commies, immigrants, and gays, but “hates Nazis”. Once in a while, thankfully, a band comes around to re-affirm your faith in the genre. Hard Grace, the debut full-length from Montreal’s Union Made, combines thunderous hardcore with hard-hitting, intelligent, class-conscious lyrics that amazingly match the band’s sonic fury. Formed out of the ashes of Fate 2 Hate, Union Made’s brand of “revolutionary hardcore” was born when Nic (ex-Street Troopers) brought his politics and voice to the table. Here’s an abbreviated version of an interview I did with him. Nerve: Aside from your involvement, how is Union Made different from Fate 2 Hate?
Nic: Musically, an original guitarist (Rich) came back and the two previous ones that were truly into metal left. ‘80s NY hardcore is now our main influence. Our band is finally stable around the four of us. The vocals and melodies are much closer to early Cro-Mags. Lyric wise, it is more political and I am more at ease writing in English.
Nerve: It seems you really embrace politics, or at least aren’t afraid to confront them. Is the band united in what you try to convey?
Nic: We agree on the grand scale of things. We are not all politically active, but… The band is strongly anti-capitalist and promotes collectivist values in every aspect of society. We promote a working class consciousness.
Nerve: On “Left Standing There” you talk about the difficulty in persevering within the skinhead and hardcore way of life. Have there ever been times you’ve felt disillusioned?
Nic: Of course, it is bound to happen to anyone that has been in the scene for a while. That song was written a while back when Montreal SHARP (Skinheads Against Racial Prejudice) faded out. Either adapt, or stay bitter and get off the train. The recipe to hanging in there is to expect the worse from everyone but hope for the best. It might seem cynical, but it works. Hell, it’s allowed us to start a new hardcore band, and we’ve now got the most solid crew (RASH – Red and Anarchist Skinheads) Montreal has ever known.
Nerve: On “Back It Up” you talk about hardcore bands that claim to be apolitical, to get away with saying things without being held accountable. Do you think this attitude has always existed in the scene? Do you think it’s getting worse?
Nic: Wow, I wish I could have stated that so clearly. It probably always existed, especially south of the border, but at different levels. I think it will get better. For a while, Earth Crisis was the most popular political band in hardcore. Then apolitical flag-waving bands with borderline racist lyrics became tolerable. The latest stuff is about tough guy attitudes – Throwdown for example. People are bound to get bored with it and look for bands talking about broader issues that affect their lives as working class people.
Nerve: What’s the Montreal scene like? My impression is always that it’s somewhat divided on a number of fronts. How have things changed since your Street Troopers days?
Nic: Actually, it is pretty united right now in the skinhead scene. Redskins are the majority, and the rest are deeply anti-fascists and everyone hangs out together. The hardcore scene has all these different crowds for different bands, but that is not necessarily a problem to me.
Nerve: Do you think music can be used as vehicle for socio-political change? What compromises do you feel bands should be allowed in terms of getting their message out?
Nic: Culture in general has always been a vehicle for social-political change. Theatre was the main progressive cultural political vehicle for a long time. (It’s) a good question because reality will often kick your holy principles into the gutter. Bands like Rage Against the Machine didn’t compromise their message. As for the major or independent label dilemma, every band has to make a decision they can live with. Bands like System of a Down didn’t change their music. In fact, it got crazier.
Nerve: Hardcore dancing – do you see a lot of this at shows? Is ninja-core the next frontier?
Nic: Yeah, we do see kung-fu fighting demonstrations at shows, but skinheads are not into that dancing and that is half of our crowd. We are too old to start learning those moves without putting our backs out live! That would look great on a DVD.
Nerve: What are Union Made’s plans in the foreseeable future?
Nic: Tour as much as we can with our new album, Hard Grace, and hopefully inspire HC bands to sing about broader issues instead of making alternate breakdown versions of the popular classic “Hangin’ Tough” from New Kids On the Block.
For tour dates, check the band’s label Insurgence Records