Under A Nightmare's Keenan Talks New Music and the Future

Pittsburgh horror influenced punk rock n' rollers Under A Nightmare, have been doing their thing since 2002. They consider their style as what you hear and see is what you get, the raw entity of our collective force bleeding and crunching out whatever noise we come up with. They are pleased with those who have stuck around all this time and will continue to do so. Guitarist, vocalist, and keyboardist, Keenan discusses about the band's upcoming releases and future plans.

1. Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Under A Nightmare? How long the band has been together.

Keenan: Hi! I'm Keenan, guitar and vocals in the band. We conjured up Under A Nightmare in October of 2002 so we'll be coming up on our 12th anniversary this hallow's eve season!

2. Where is the band based out of and what is your music scene like there?Are there any local bands you could recommend?

Keenan: Our humble abode is the city of Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, home of the Romero zombie films. The music scene is a rough life to be honest here, but it makes it more rewarding in the end of it all when you end up getting a great crowd out and other fun bands to play with. One of our longest running companions locally would be Children Of October, also a horror enthused punk rock band. Another band we highly enjoy playing with here is the local wildmen, The Cheats.

3. Why did you want to go and call the band Under A Nightmare? What does the name represent and what is under a nightmare anyway?

Keenan: We had various names kicked around in the early days as we all met in art college, but eventually just decided we wanted the word nightmare in the title and it just came to be somehow. Representation wise it's just a little cue to the horror edge/theme of the band without getting too gimmicky calling ourselves something like Rotting Mutant Toxic Nightmare or something like that, haha. It pretty much metaphorically means that there is always a darker side beneath the surface, and that's not always a bad thing.

4. What bands have influenced your band and its sound?

Keenan: There's a billion bands we could list that we're all into but when it comes down to elements sound wise that influence how we play, we generally all love the following: Samhain, The Damned,
Ramones, Tiger Army, AFI, The Offspring, The Misfits, Blitzkid, Nekromantix, Rancid, Operation Ivy and so on.

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

Keenan: Lyrically, of course there's an overall horror tone we drive from. In the early days we'd write about movies and TV shows, various horror themed things we enjoyed growing up and the ideal revenge on
evil ex-girlfriends, all typical of the horror genre. As we grew as a band and really became what we are now, those lyrics turned more from imagination to metaphorically merging things that mattered in our lives and twisting them into an arrangement that works. We just want to send the message of you only live once (or twice if you have a little help from Trioxin!) and now is the time to do what you love, we've been doing it all these years and will continue to do so.

6. Why release 2 EPs as opposed to just one release in terms of the full-length?

Keenan: Well at the time when we first spoke to you we had been planning our 6th album, and first in four years. Basically we used to release a new album every year or two with 15-20 songs on it, and at this point
in time, due to member changes and life junk, we've drawn out this release and ended up having like four albums worth of material. So we're planning on releasing a new album and also a couple EPs in the very
near future to use up all the new songs.

7. You are also going to be doing a split release with whom and why? What songs will be on this split?

We've been talking about doing a split vinyl or cd release with our friends Children Of October since around like 2005 or so but it's just never come to life. We've also been in touch with a group in Germany called Dr. Hell that have become friends and we hope to do something with them eventually. There's always plans to come to life, and we can't wait to get these out. Songwise, it'll definitely be songs we've never
released before and probably covers of vise versa bands.

8. Where are you in the recording process of the new releases?

Keenan: I've been home demoing songs for four years now. This is usually the process we take and go into a professional studio and end up spending several grand by the time the mixing and mastering process is done. I'm fine with that but the other guys in the band wanted to try to completely DIY it this go-around, and thus the long process we've taken on. In the end I know it will be insanely rewarding production quality wise
but at this point in time we're still at work recording all the tracks, I hope to have it all done in the summer for either a late summer or early fall release.

9. Who is producing these releases? How has the producer aided the recording process?

Keenan: We've always done things our own way and produced everything ourselves, although we've had a string of great studio engineers throughout the 5 previous albums, some of them have lent their backup vocal talents, such as on our 2006 and 2008 releases, Monsters '89 and Cemetery Getaway.

10. How will these be released through a label or DIY approach?

Keenan: The last 3 albums we've put out on our own after using disc maker's CD replication services and then distributed online in various stages. We'd love to have our stuff out on a label for distribution, but mainly the labels that have been interested in helping out,we'd be better off just doing it on our own as they go through the same DIY process anyhow. If the right situation comes along though we'll definitely be looking for a better partnership.

11. Did the band have any definitive goals they were shooting for before the recording process began for these?

Keenan: Me and the other guys respectively just want every time we do this to go into it thinking we'll be making the best album possible. We'll probably be branching our sound out more-so than we have before, taking into effect everyone's individual influences. For example not to give away much but we'll be bringing in Marky's love of psychobilly with some upright bass that we've never used before, and probably some more chaotic heavier material from the influence of our drummer Husam.

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

Keenan: Oops! I just gave that way in the last question haha. To answer though, definitely like before we'll be bringing in the upright bass for a more enthusiastic approach on certain songs. I always like to do some keyboard and piano parts to bulk up things so we'll be doing that as well. We had a violinist come in and do a track a while back, so you never know what may happen! A theremin or bagpipes would be epic but I don't know of anyone that would play them!

13. When did you start writing for these?

Keenan: After we toured the U.S. in the summer of 2009 and finished our album Toxic Spills and Graveyard Thrills, released in 2010. We basically began writing everything around that period, so this new release will be the most work we've ever put into and spent on anything.

14. When can we expect all of these releases to be released?

Keenan: The album will definitely come first, hopefully by late summer or early fall and then the Eps and split/vinyl releases should be coming late fall and in the winter of this year.

15. What are the plans for upcoming tours/shows?

Keenan: Tour wise in the states we still need to do a west coast run, something we haven't fully experienced yet and I cannot wait, hopefully that will be in the next coming year. I would love to get over to Germany and do at least a small trek with some friends over there as we love our fans and friends there. South America would also be amazing, but we'll have to see what connections we can get going for all that. Most of our support comes from other distant lands and the future plan is to definitely get to these areas.

16. What can the fans expect to see from you in the future?

Keenan: When the new album and other releases become available we'll also be doing some new music videos. It seems like an eternity since we did our last in 2008. Definitely look for that to come out and a ton, TON!, of touring all over. We're ready to bring our madness!

17. What should labels/zines/promoters know about your band? Why should they be interested in it?

Keenan: UAN is a crew of down to earth dudes with asylum minds, ready to come out and destroy all over. We work hard and will continue to do so as long as there's breathe and probably afterwards. We'd love to hear from anyone and work together to create the things that make life enjoyable, memorable, and insane!

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

Keenan: All of our current albums are fully streamable for FREE and available for digital download at (http://underanightmare.bandcamp.com/). We also have CDs for sale on interpunk.com, kunaki.com, Contra Light Records in Germany, and through our reverbnation page (All of these are easily findable or through our Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Under-A-Nightmare/139709342455). Get in touch and we'll hook you up! There's also plenty of free downloads at LastFM and various other outlets for review as well as through contacting us for review copies through our bandcamp site. There are also t-shirts and other merch are available through our reverbnation site as well.

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