To begin, I am interested in the classical history of UNBEATEN. What was the reason for starting the band in 2016? Shortly after debut MCD „To co istotne“ (2017) was released, which was in Polish.
Eliz: Our band was formed accidentally, because I always dreamed of playing in a band and Langi, without prior arrangement, arranged for us to have a first rehearsal with a potential drummer, that's how UNBEATEN was created.
Langi: Exactly, I was previously involved in local, not widely known bands from the hardcore and metal scene. It was a moment when I didn't play in any band, for some time I was only involved in organizing concerts in our city. I figured if she wanted it, why not try it. And that's how it all started.
Then there were changes in the lineup. And also change to English. Even so, „Fight Your Fears“ came out soon after that (2018). First as a one-sided 12“, later as an MCD and then as a split CD with GOOD LOOKIN'OUT. Why so many versions? By the way, the GOOD LOOKIN'OUT material also came out as one-sided vinyl, so why isn't it a split LP?!?
Eliz: We were still looking for musicians who would like to play regularly, and not just as a side project. At the beginning, it was difficult to find someone willing to stay in UNBEATEN for a long time.
Langi: As for the issue, the topic is quite simple. GOOD LOOKIN' OUT released their vinyl before we recorded „Fight Your Fears“, so there was no way to do a split LP, but at the same time they didn't have that material released on CD. When Onesided 12“ came out, we received an offer from Swell Creek Records to release this material as a limited CDEP in Germany, which we took advantage of. Our CDEP was released in the USA on a similar basis by Kingside Records.
Eliz: Music videos allow you to expand your audience with new people, it is a pleasant way of promoting music and getting to know the band.
Langi: We had the opportunity to collaborate on the music video for „Fight Your Fears“ with a local producer and at the same time record a guest appearance by Mike from ONLY ATTITUDE COUNTS in our EP, and the whole thing was shot at Hardcore Tattoo studio, our publisher. In addition to promotional activities, clips are also a great way to preserve certain memories, e.g. the clip for „Love Means Loyalty“ is our performance at the Kharkiv Hardcore Fest in Ukraine.
Then you recorded song „Odpowiedzialność“, a cover of SCHIZMA for a tribute album. What does this band mean to you and the Polish scene, is it a legend, the greatest? And a video clip was also created.
Eliz: SCHIZMA is truly a legendary band for the Polish hardcore scene, probably one of the longest running still active bands. Their influence on our hardcore punk scene is undeniable. This is also one of the first bands that we had the opportunity to see as teenagers because we come from the same city.
Langi: Yes, SCHIZMA is one of the bands that shaped subsequent generations of the hardcore scene. Especially at the beginning of our playing, she was a strong musical inspiration. UNBEATEN's first bassist was Mlody, who is SCHIZMA's drummer for many years already. We also shot the music video for the cover of SCHIZMA in Kharkiv; this song was recorded as part of the „Fight Your Fears“ recording session.
„Schizma Is Fuckin State Of Mind“ was released on LP by Hardcore Tattoo Records from Krakow, as were your last two records. How does the cooperation work, is it a cooperation, do you participate or does the tattoo studio cover it with its name and you have to take care of it? I'm guessing something in the middle and it's a DIY collaboration.
Langi: Hardcore Tattoo Records is a record label powered by Katarzyna – owner of Hardcore Tattoo Studio. She is the one who carries the publishing matters on her shoulders and the fact that the material was released on the LP is thanks to her. For each of our releases, HCT Records is not just a name, but an actual entity cooperating with the band.
One would have expected that the next recording would be a full-length album, but after a five-year break, „Violence On Demand“ was released as the MCD again. Why did it take so long? Has Covid slowed everything down and you too?
Eliz: Releasing a full album involves high costs, both recording and pressing. It's true that Covid slowed down all work on this release. It was only this year that the vocal recordings for previously prepared instrumentals were finalized and the material was released.
Langi: The pandemic has cut our wings a bit, the inability to perform inevitably led to the suspension of work on „Violence On Demand“. In the meantime, the drummer was changed and after a year of playing together, we decided to finish it. We hope that the next material will be a bit longer and will meet the expectations of those who are counting on the LP.
What are the lyrics about and who writes them?
Eliz: Langi is the one who wrote all the lyrics so he should speak about that.
Langi: Our texts concern social problems, pathologies in the world around us, values that seem to be forgotten, but are still important and relevant.
What about the graphic side of things? You have enough merch and it feels a bit like a boutique at a concert. Merchandise in many colors, 5 motifs of t-shirts, caps, beanies... No offense, isn't the fact that there is a girl in the band who must have 50 caps at home etc., responsible for the many cloths? :)
Eliz: We try to have a lot of merch color options and interesting patterns because it is an important way of raising funds for the band's activities. With this number of concerts, which often do not cover travel costs, we have to rely on money from merch. I certainly take an active part in choosing colors and accepting patterns.
Langi: There is practically no way to raise money for recordings, pressing or covering the costs of trips in any other way than through a merch stand, and since we attach a certain importance to it, the stand attracts more attention than other bands. Usually, contrary to appearances, we do not have large amounts of merch, 1/2 t-shirt patterns, and what is more, these are leftovers from previous batches. However, if we are to order 20 T-shirts, we can expect that there will be 4 of 5 colors, not 20 black ones. How many black T-shirts can you wear?
Bydgoszcz in the north of Poland is roughly the same size as our Ostrava. How do you live there, what should a tourist see if he visits your town?
Eliz: We have many beautiful places in our city. It is definitely worth starting from the old town and the Mill Island attached to it - it is a pleasant place for walks along with the Rother´s Mills, a post-industrial facility that is now a kind of cultural center, a place for exhibitions and events. Also on the island itself, outdoor concerts and various cultural events are regularly held.
Langi: An interesting place for military fans.
Warsaw is just as far away as Berlin, but you also play in Germany quite regularly. Is this location ideal for traveling to concerts or does it present any complications?
Eliz: Germany is a very good place to play, especially for the hardcore scene, which is much more extensive there than in Poland. We like playing there and meeting many new bands that are formed there all the time. The only problem is the distance, because each concert in Germany is at least 4 hours one way, but it's definitely worth it.
Langi: Yes, we love playing in Germany and whenever time allows we try to perform there as often as possible.
What about HC bands from Poland. I like to remember old Silesian bands like C.S, H.N.D.M. and HARD WORK. Of the current ones, last year played in our city Ostrava for example NIC ŚMESZNEGO, FAUL TECHNICZNY, AFRONT. Which would you recommend?
Eliz: We have three fresh bands worth to mention! First is the DYBUK a mix of raw hardcore with black metal vibes runned by Kamil from legendary polish Oi! band THE ANALOGS. Also new in HCT Records label band – TERRIFY if you like oldschool hardcore with hip hop vibe it's something for you, and HOLLOWMAN also great new stuff just released. If You like heavier stuff you should also check EMBITTER – punch straight into face.
Langi: We know each other well with FAUL TECHNICZNY and played already together some time ago. As for the bands we could recommend, it would definitely be CF98, a californian style punk straight from Krakow. When it comes to heavier climates, my No. 1 discovery is SEROTONIN ZERO, which we had the pleasure of seeing last year at 161 Fest in Warsaw. Punk and heavy black metal are a perfect combination.
What do you do besides music, your hobbies etc. I noticed Eliz and the cat in one photo. What about you and animals? Are you personally involved in the fight for their rights? I read in one interview that you are vegans (all?), for how long? What led you to this decision?
Eliz: Yes, I have been vegan for I don't know how many years. My decision was made for ethical reasons. Every day I try to support non-governmental organizations such as Greenpeace, Open Cages, and local organizations supporting animals. We have a cat ourselves, which we adopted after it was abandoned by someone sick and we cannot imagine life without it. We were also a temporary home for abandoned kittens this year who have already found a new home. I am glad that I can take an active part in helping animals and I think this will never change.
Langi: I'm also a vegan and so is our bassist Rob. The fight for animal rights was an important element of the hardcore punk scene for me and one of the things that made me an active part of it. As Ela said, we support various organizations on a daily basis, we try to make decisions in our daily purchases based on the ethical aspect of the products and not contribute to the suffering of animals, but to prevent it as much as possible. We try to provide help when we encounter animals in need, feed homeless cats, collect money, etc.
And I also read about sXe (again – everyone?). Why did you choose this way of life? It is quite a contrast to most people not only in Poland or the Czech Republic, but also in the whole of Europe, where alcohol is more than a normal part of life.
Eliz: not everyone in our team is straight edge, just me and Langi. I don't drink or use any drugs and I don't need them to have fun. Even when I didn't define myself as an alcoholic, alcohol was not a frequent or important element of my life.
Langi: For me it was the other way around and I drank alcohol frequently. As you say, alcohol is built into our culture and drinking is not unusual. I have seen how many loved ones it brings to the bottom, how it destroys health and makes people stop being who they were. For me, the decision to change my lifestyle was not easy, but it was a fight against myself. Fighting for the life I want and the life I reject. Thanks to a sober life, I have much more energy and enthusiasm, I feel better, I can be a better person. If you want to change the world, you have to start with yourself.
Thanks for the interview and at the end I will ask about future plans. In addition to concerts and promotion of the new record, also for the longer ones…
Eliz: In the coming months we want to play a few more concerts, including at 161 Fest in Poznań.
Langi: Yes, we hope that preparations for further recordings and, of course, further concerts will start in full swing next year.