Back on track with our Weekly Discoveries, today we bring you Unknown Land. A Synthpop duo collaborating from 2 different corners of the world. A perfect balance between Lucia Ponticas (Chile) and Rob Bryant (Australia), two musicians on opposite sides of the earth, making music through satellites in space. Two musicians who are on an extreme and futuristic mission, to create dark and beautiful music, without physical limits.
The project was conceived in 2015 after Lucia and Rob met on Twitter, promoting their respective solo projects Lucia Fenix and Bare Island. Very quickly they realized their styles complimented each other perfectly, and Unknown Land was born.
One of the things that cought us off guard was that they have never met each other in person, but as they dreamed of the same music, with the same passion, They've been able to work this project out releasing several EPs.
I contacted them via Twitter to conduct a Q&A for our blog. I was very happy and delighted when they accepted. It's an honour for us to promote their beutiful dark music.
After the success of Unknown Land's debut album 33° and follow up the REDLINE EP, Unknown Land presents UNO. "A complete original journey to a parallel world"
How will you describe your sound?
We describe our sound as “beautiful sounds and dark rhythms from another world”, since our general aesthetic is futuristic but somewhat obscure, created in a parallel world in which this Unknown Land exists. Our sound is essentially electronic, but we focus on finding a musical idea without specific style. For that we use all our resources including voice, guitar, bass guitar, drums, etc. We do not limit ourselves by distance, so we do not limit ourselves to the resources we use to express ourselves.
Our sound has echoes of the past, but we always strive to be creative and unique, we always push each other in that aspect. We work closely together on production and bring elements from all over time and space, from goth to trip hop, post punk to electronic.
What can you tell us about your musical influences?
This is always such a hard question to answer. Obviously we are standing on the shoulders of giants, and we have many, many influences! But they have all become blurred into something different. I think if you were trying to understand our sound in terms of references I would start with artists from the early 80s like Cocteau Twins, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Depeche Mode and Japan, go back in time to Isao Tomita, Jarre and Vangelis, fast forward to Radiohead, NIN and Massive Attack, on to Lorn and Fever Ray.
What is your main goal as a band?
Our goal is to keep creating music and pushing our creativity as far as we can, developing our own sound and artistic point of view. We feel we have something very unique to the two of us that is tangible and easily identifiable when you hear it. All of our work strives to develop that point of view without compromise. We would love to reach a larger audience, but that is always a secondary consideration to being true to ourselves and our art.
What drove you to become musicians?
We both grew up surrounded by music, with musician parents, but over time our love for music became our way of expressing ourselves and communicating, and finally our passion. In very different realities, the goal was the same.
We both started in bands, playing synthesizers, playing live and recording and then expanding to other more analogous veins such as voice or bass, to finally experiment in our solo careers, to return to the essence of what led us to become musicians: express ourselves freely and communicate our way of feeling and understanding the world.
How do you approach the challenge of being musicians in 2018?
Both of us feel that now is one of the greatest times to be a musician, especially for electronic producers like us. Semi pro audio software is truly powerful now, and it is possible to create professional quality recordings in a home studio if you work hard and are patient.
With the rise of social media it has become easier to reach niche audiences. In all the years we spent making music on a four track tape deck, it never got heard. Now we know the music we are making is reaching a small audience that really understands us, it is inspiring.
What can you tell us about the highlights of your carrer?
We have developed careers in music in our respective countries, we have participated in bands and in our solo projects, we have recorded and interpreted music for many years, but for both of us the most significant milestone has certainly been to meet each other online. As soon as we met we were immediately attracted by the sound and sensitivity of the other, and that has led us to an intense and very rewarding level of artistic development, which is just beginning.
Each release has been a big event for us, we have learned to be honest with ourselves and trust each other and leave behind our egos. That has led us to push ourselves to overcome our limits, so each new production is a new achievement for us, of which we are always very proud. So we are really excited about our new EP coming out at the end of March. It's a landmark change in sound for us, it's still our essential character, but the style has evolved into something new.
What do you use to produce your music? Any special gear you can tell us about ?
For the first release “33°” we were working almost completely in the box with VSTs, plugging guitar directly in and using amp sims. By “Redline” The guitar had moved out of the box and we were using an outboard effects pedalboard and two guitar amps in stereo.
We started incorporating more hardware on “Redline”, with a Moog Sub Phatty featuring on “Qualia”, and this marked the start of a switch to hardware for us on the latest release.
Both of us have started using analog synths in production and on UNO almost all the synthesizers are hardware. We used the Sub Phatty, a Korg MS20 mini, a vintage Oberheim Matrix 1000 , Korg Minilogue and a Yamaha TX218, basically a rack mount with the sound engine of 2 original DX7 synths on board.
Both Robs guitar rig and Lucia’s vocal booth have evolved a huge amount leading up to the latest EP.
We are both using Studio One and find it powerful and intuitive with a very streamlined workflow.
You can stream their latest EP UNO and all their albums here. All Unknown Land music is available in BANDCAMP
Stay tuned to Modulator Records for our weekly updates on new discoveries, album reviews, and video premieres.
Join me and help Unknown Land to push the boundaries of dark electronic music.
Don't forget to check out Unknown Land social network and share if you like! Music is freedom!