Untoward Children's Veronika and Brian Process the New Album's Time and Effort


Dark, post-punk, psychedelic, goth, rockers, Untoward Children have released their debut full-length album called "Hunt", and have got a whole lot more in-store for this year alone. Frontwomen vocalist, organ, 12-string bassist, Veronika Sorrow and drummer Brian Schreiber discuss the album's progress and how it came about, and what they got lined-up for this year.


1. Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Untoward Children, and how long the band has been together.

B: My name is Brian Schreiber, I play drums for UNTOWARD CHILDREN. We have been together for the better part of two years.

V: This is Veronika Sorrow, I sing. I also play a 12 string bass, organ and percussion at various times for UNTOWARD CHILDREN.

2. Can I get a backstory on the band/ band biography?

"It all happened so quickly..." After not seeing her long-time friends Tim Thayer and Brian Schreiber for years after booking their band (Babylonian Tiles) at her club FUNERAL, Veronika Sorrow planned to meet up with them in December of 2010 for a jam - something they'd never done together. Originally, the night was slated as another famous gathering at Brian's "Rancho de Jocko", where a dozen or more artists converged and swapped instruments to create sonic wonder. In a weird twist of fate, the only 2 musicians to show up with gear in hand were Veronika and Tim. Despite the lack of no-shows, the trio immediately plunged headlong into a jam that carried on well into the night. The result was an exalting musical experience that took them uniformly by surprise. Veronika's dark, Gothic and post-punk sensualities meshed perfectly with the boy's psychedelic 60's & 70's rock influences. Her past musical projects included The Chaste, VSoRRoW/SORROW and Nocturna: Homage to Siouxsie & the Banshees.

"I remember looking up from the mic at one point and couldn't stop smiling - it really was one of those perfect moments", recalls Veronika. The trio continued to get together to jam. On about their third encounter together, and with Veronika's urging and prodding, they decided to create a new band and begin seriously writing music together.

With various instruments strewn about the large room they practiced in, Tim remained on guitar and Brian on drums as they had in the Tiles - leaving Veronika to sing and grab up different sounds at times including a 1960's Roland synth and a 12 string bass guitar. The sound progressed and remained heavy, but they all agreed they needed a "bigger bottom end". Innuendo aside, they tried out a few different friends on bass guitar, but to no avail. They'd have to carry on as a three-piece, sans-bassist, just like the boy's former band had for 20 years.

Being caught up in writing together, they realized in 2011, a band name was needed. The names "British Teeth" and "No Prisoners, No Children" were serious contenders, but "Untoward Children" would prove the final choice. It suited these 3 well. With as varied as they were in age, they agreed adulthood had eluded them: they refused to grow up. Somehow, they met on common ground with common interests and a common sense of sonic aesthetic.Thank goodness.

"Ya know, this all started as an impromptu jam session, I hadn't even touched a guitar in 3 years. As often happens, things took on a life of their own and Untoward Children were born. You never know when music will sweep you up, bid you follow and say "This is gonna be a blast, let's spray." With these people and this music, I have never been more inspired as a musician. Cosmic events abound..." muses Tim.

It wasn't til after their max-capacity debut show (folks had to stand outside on the sidewalk and watch from the shop windows) on June 8, 2012, at Veronika's vintage rock n' roll shop "MEOWMEOWZ!", had they acquired their missing piece: and he was standing right up front filming. Adriel Mederos officially brought the thunder in August of 2012, solidifying and adding a much needed depth to their already pensive sound. A seasoned guitarist by design, Adriel was handed Veronika's old practice Squire and told "You'll make a radical bassist." As expected, he took to it like a duck in water. After his audition, neither Tim nor Brian said a word regarding whether or not he could join the fold, so Veronika spoke up and asked "So- do you think
 he passed the test?" At which the boys chimed with an enthusiastic affirmative. It was a no-brainer: the line-up was complete.

Untoward Children continued to play out all over Los Angeles, even taking their 7 song set on the road to a music festival in TJ, Mexico. Gaining fans and attention from the Goth subculture via club Funeral and from the BabyBoomers in Long Beach and beyond, interest in UTC was waxing. Late after one of their shows, a fan adoringly referred to them "Siouxsie Floyd". Brian describes their music as "An ever changing eruption of textures, rythyms and voices which take you on a high voltage musical excursion to the shadows
 within."

One year after their debut show, in June of 2013, "the Kids" began recording their debut album in an independent Los Angeles studio called Laundry Room. They believed their tribal, 9-minute epic "Hunt" would best summarize the overall emotion of the album. The other tracks on the album include: Halfsister - a jolting Spanish fling that takes you piggyback riding on a Whirling Dervish, Call the Police - a quirky ditty hammered out on a vintage Roland with a long mid-song tempo and temperature change, Hadu - a post-punk whirlwind of trills with another signature tempo change out of left-field, Minimonolith - a heartmelting, black anthemic piece, Things We Had - pure classic post-punk featuring a strange 12 string bass, and End of Days - a gorgeous doomsday song that fans of the Cure will certainly grasp.

7 months later, 'Hunt' was independently released on January 14, 2014. The CD was designed by Veronika with the front cover featuring an eerie, highly-saturated depiction of a Huntress with blood-thirsty eyes peering out from under shadows. The four eagerly anticipated the physical manifestation of their brainchild, like the expectant parents of a future prodigy. Adriel concludes "It is the nature of this band to strive for continual transformation and expansion. I believe that the best is yet to come."

Keep your eye on the Kids of Untoward Children - they're definitely alright.

3. Where is the band based out of and what is your music scene like there?

B: Half the band is from Long Beach California but we have members from Pasadena, California as well. As for Long Beach the music scene is thriving here. There are many places to play and the music here is quite varied.

V: Pasadena on the other hand (where Adriel and I are from), is almost devoid of music. There's basically one last true venue bands can perform at. I have a shop called MEOWMEOWZ in Pasadena that hosts live music once per month under the radar. I'd like to see the rock n' roll music community thrive. Untoward Children have played quite a few times at my shop.

 3.1 Are there any local bands you could recommend?

B: Well it really depends on your tastes now doesn't it? Bands out here that I personally like include slushbox, the Atomic Sherpas and many others. But we have it all here.

V: We've had some great bands pass through here, tiny, obscure totally underground projects like HHHHHHHH, Ghost Noise, In Tents, Kool Skull, and Ovideo.

 4. Why did you want to go and call yourselves Untoward Children?

This pretty much answers that and describes us: UNTOWARD CHILDREN

un.to.ward adj.

1: difficult to guide, manage, or work with : unruly, intractable

2: not favorable : adverse, unpropitious

5. How would you describe your style?

B: Untoward Children is a conglomerate of many styles. That's why it seems to work so well. If pressed I guess I would describe our music as a highly energetic gypsy beatnik dirge. Just kidding. That's the beauty of what we do. At times our tunes are dark and haunting. Other things we play hearken to gypsy dances and wild abandon. We were just interviewed. Brian and I answered. Here's an excerpt!

5.1 Which bands influenced your music?

B: There are so many. Once again, we all have such different tastes. Ones that come to mind are Pink Floyd, Siouxsie and the Banshees, GONG, The Who, Jane's Addiction, Frank Zappa and so many others.

V: What's wonderful is even though our individual tastes in music are wildly varied, we ALL share strong appreciation for many of the same artists - we all share favorites. It's a large, amalgamated color sphere. All sides and shades are represented within our music. We've left no rock and roll stone unturned.

 6. What lyrical theme do you guys use in your music? What message do you want to send?

V: I vocalize. Meaning, I do not sing lyrics. Oftentimes, most of the words are made-up. There are some words in there, but strung together, really don't have a definite meaning. I would love for the listener to come up with their own definition. The music itself is going to be the messenger. My vocalizations suit the theme of each song's sound.

7. Do you write your own songs? Can you discuss the songwriting process in detail?

V: Yes, we all write our own music. All our songs are birthed from well-fed jam-sessions. As our guitarist Tim says "Chow, then spray." We write best when we're relaxed, focused, watered and fed.

8. What can you tell me about your debut album "Hunt"?

B: I can tell you that it took a long time and a lot of effort to come about. There seemed to be this weird cosmic flow to everything that happened regarding the album. In a way, we all kind of had a sense of being a part of something that was fed by mysterious forces from beyond.

V: It appeared to come about on a very deliberate path that seemingly was out of our hands. Like following a light source through the jungle, during sunset, in visibility zero fog, uphill.

9. How would you describe the overall sound of the new album?

V: Manic-depressive.

10. Did the band have any definitive goals they were shooting for before the recording process began for this album?

B: We did some pre-recordings at my home studio prior to recording at The Laundry Room Recording Studio, so we kind of had a good idea of what we were faced with. We wanted to make sure that we put out a recording that was very representative of our live sound. When dealing with a limited budget it's also important that you proceed into the studio well rehearsed and ready to go. We did that very well which ultimately enabled us to put out an album that we're very happy with.

11. Are you using any new instrumentation you've never used in the recording process before?

No it's all pretty standard.

12. When did you start writing for this album?

B: All music on Hunt is taken directly from jams which have taken place at my home studio. If I recall it all began around early 2011. At that point we seriously began recording the jams. We would analyze the recordings and come up with material based on those recordings.

13. Did you feel any pressure whatsoever about writing and recording for this release?

B: Not at all as far as the writing goes. We generally immerse ourselves in a rather festive atmosphere of food and frivolity, so the only pressure really is when we have to turn off the music, so the neighbors don't call the police. (V: which is a name to one of our songs). Recording on the other hand always has the pressure to be the best you can be.

14. How was the vibe in the studio for everybody?

B: There's always a fine line in the studio between tension and elation. After putting in a good 8 to 10 hours listening and playing the same song or two, or parts, there's always a tendency to be a little batty, but I think we all held it together admirably. In fact, it was quite a bit of fun most the time!

15. Who produced "Hunt" and what was it like working with them?

Hunt was produced by Untoward Children and it's really great working with us. LOL.

16. "Hunt" is the title of the album but is there a concept to this album or does the title fit a concept or storyline to it?

V: I named all the songs....all except for Call the Police. I can't remember how that came about, but it was a working-title that stuck: it's a line from a cartoon we all love. As for the song titles, it was whatever words came about from the song. Hunt. The idea of a hunt is primordial, sexual, urgent. So is the song...and the album as a whole.

17. Who did the cover art for "Hunt" and how much input did you have on it?

B: The cover art for Hunt was conceived and produced by Veronika Sorrow, our singer. The back cover photo was by legendary photographer Edward Colver.

V: It's an image of me, taken by our bassist Adriel.

18. Can you go into one or two tracks on the new album? If so, can you give us the track title and brief description of how the track sounds and how it came about?

(See above answer for #16)

19. What other plans do you have for the future as a band?

B: We plan to take our show on the road as soon as feasible. Now that the studio time is behind us, we can concentrate on doing far more gigs outside of our region. In the meantime, we continue to jam and come up with even more exciting music so future recordings are definitely in the works.

20. Where can we listen to your band and where can we buy your stuff?

B: You can purchase our CD's at CDbaby, iTunes, Amazon, Bandcamp and numerous other locations. It's also available in digital form from those places as well as many others. You can listen to us for free on ReverbNation as well.

V: Just search Untoward Children on any of those websites.

21. Anything else you'd like to add or care to say?

"Now you're halfway there and you hear no sound...though you recognize everyone around. And I said Hunt someone, Hunt someone, Hunt someone..." - Hunt, Untoward Children.

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