The Los Angeles-based 4-piece Rock band The Unwoken drops heat with their latest EP titled, 'Some Lives Matter.' The Unwoken's lead vocalist, writer, and bass player Albert Ramirez conceptualized the EP to represent a moment in time and question the notion that some lives matter more than others. With themes of blatant brutality, rage, and political fascism, it would be an understatement to say that The Unwoken has ripped a layer off society and exposed matters for how they truly are.
Jumping into the EP with the title track, "Some Lives Matter," The Unwoken instantly pours their fueled fire into the project. Opening the song with heavy rhythm guitar and whopping drum patterns, Albert Ramirez's vocals make an appearance and begin to depict the blatant oppression and racial tension that our country endures. We can feel the rage and soul that The Unwoken delivers merely within the EP's intro track, as the song acts as the heart of the entire project. The track's instrumentation blazes through with thumping drum kicks, a steady rhythm guitar melody, hi-fi synths, and Albert Ramirez's powerful vocals are closing the song with lyrics like "no lives matter, cause some lives matter."
Moving onto the EP's second track, "Last Fight," the song energetically opens with layered rhythm and electric guitar, producing scorching hot melodies. Once Albert Ramirez's gripping bassline and surrounding drum patterns kick in, the song's atmosphere is instantly drenched with heat. Not to mention Albert Ramirez's filtered vocals describing an unnerving scene of preparing oneself for the final battle between man and machine. The song's heavy instrumentals switch up to a metal-inspired approach near the hook and liven with energy while speeding up the song's rhythm. The track's entire mood and concept are genuinely exhilarating, as it's a perfect pump-up piece for any forthcoming combat.
The EP's third song, "Tin Man," steadily opens with a groovy bassline and melodic electric guitars. Once Albert Ramirez's vocals appear while delivering this narrator tone, he begins telling a story of finding a heartbeat within the heartless tin man and preparing him for the upcoming battle the world may soon encounter. The song's instrumentation is somewhat different from the two tracks prior, as "Tin Man" offers this blistering Alt-Rock approach through stimulating synths, raw vocals, and melodic electric guitar. We love the celestial and atmospheric bridge within this track, as the instrumentals show a different side of The Unwoken while still staying true to their Rock roots.
The EP's fourth song, "Just to Let You Know," opens with energy from the jump. With intoxicating rhythm guitar melodies, melodic and stimulating synths, and gut-wrenching drum patterns, we're blasted into heat within seconds of this fiery track. While Albert Ramirez begins vocalizing the devastating and disastrous events that have taken place in the US this past year, he powers through with lyrics like "we never mattered, fill the morgues with the human matter." Within the scorching instrumentals, the track ends with a bang through this naturally gripping sensation that matches the heavy lyricism. The song's incredibly quick tempo and fiery atmosphere gives us all the power and energy to fight for the rights of black lives everywhere.
Reaching the EP's outro, "Electrical System," within seconds, we're highly impressed with The Unwoken's full and stimulating instrumentals. Through blistering electric guitar, a sweet bass-lick, rhythmic drum breaks, and nostalgic synths, the song is off to a heated start. Once Albert Ramirez begins painting scenes of empowerment and justice, the instrumentals shift into this highly melodic state that swoons the listener's ears. Encouraging their audience to gear up for the unforeseen challenges that the future may bring, The Unwoken continues on this high and heavy note with their brilliantly arranged instrumentals that seep through our speakers. We love the heated outro The Unwoken delivers within the EP, as it perfectly sums up the project and gets listeners ready for a fight for justice.
Overall, we highly appreciate The Unwoken's EP 'Some Lives Matter,' as the conceptual and heavy lyricism keeps listeners engaged with the band's raw intensity. Not to mention their exhilarating instrumentals, each piece is vastly different yet perfectly sums up a true story that we're living today.
Learn more about The Unwoken's Latest EP 'Some Lives Matter' here.
We're very appreciative of the depth and texture you provided within your EP, 'Some Lives Matter.' What pushed you to create an entire EP surrounding themes of fighting for justice and doing whatever it takes to get there?
The lyrics were written in 2015-2016 essentially leading up to the U.S. November 2016 elections. The news and speculation of who would win were hanging over our heads in the studio. The thought of a slow dystopia seeped into the lyrics and storytelling especially given that white male supremacy and blatant racism were used to further divide Americans and fan the flames of racism, sexism, and bigotry just to name a few. It’s nothing new in American political history to use xenophobia for instance as a means to demonize a particular segment of the population for mere votes, we saw it with the Chinese, Japanese, and the Mexican American community. Many of the band members are activists and support efforts such as Black Lives Matter, labor union rights, immigrants, and those historically and currently marginalized. I, as a community organizer and director, working in South Los Angeles as well as other social justice movements in public education, workforce development, and progressive politics it was a natural fit to focus on justice. Moreover, each song is a moment in time. As an example, Last Fight takes place in 2064 with an epic battle that questions whether good or evil wins. Tin Man is in the year 3018 seeking wisdom from a mechanical resurrection of a righteous person to offer guidance to take on oppression. Just To Let You Know takes place in the current time and is a warning to others about people of color filling morgues in mass numbers (I wrote this in 2016). Some Lives Matter of course speaks for itself and asks the real question, is it really All Lives Matter or Some Lives Matters. We truly believe in Black Lives Matter, but this song is aimed towards light-skin privileged people/White people who say All Lives Matter but in the end Some Lives Matter. Lastly, Electrical System is the most inspirational of the songs with the hopes of righteous leaders and people fighting for a better now and future.
Seeing as frontman Albert Ramirez conceptualized the entire EP 'Some Lives Matter,' was the songwriting process merely from Ramirez or the entire band?
Short answer yes. I wrote 90% percent of the songs but my producer/engineer Les Camacho pushed me to think more creatively and critically on storytelling through songwriting. I often struggle with songwriting because I approach it with a clinical and over-analyzing lens to songwriting.
Within your EP 'Some Lives Matter,' we hear The Unwoken go from heavy Rock instrumentals to elements of Alternative through textured vocal filters and synths. What inspired the band to push the sonics outside of Rock's stratosphere?
I grew up with an array of music such as The Beatles, Queen, U2, Rage Against The Machine, and The Killers and it’s difficult to pinpoint what element or influence can be identified in each song but it’s the emotion of angry optimism, rage, hope, and perseverance that I hope can be conveyed through the music. With respect to the vocal filters, it’s to project old age, that AM radio feeling but in the future through the song Last Fight. The same concept can be used with Tin Man that the vocals and messaging are going through time. Lastly, with Some Lives Matter, the octave component is to throw the listener into the mind of the oppressed and/or the oppressor. In short, you need to decide who you are, within the song, as you listen to Some Lives Matter.
Could you bring us into the sonic creation of your EP 'Some Lives Matter?' How did The Unwoken break down the creative process between members, and is your process the same for every song?
The process for each song is essentially the same. I usually come up with a bass line, vocal melody, or something on acoustic guitar. Rough tracks are created, and the studio offers a large range of options and ideas, but the key challenge is performing the songs live. For example, my producer brought in a synths player and I usually hum the tune, or the idea and folks are able to play it and record it. However, with live shows, my friend Max Cogert, who plays drums adds his live energy and spin to the songs as well as Chris and Jonathan who offer guitar and synths support with live gigs like the ones we did at the Silverlake Lounge in Los Angeles. Overall, we add all our passion, energy, and vision for each song, and with Les Camacho at the mixing board, offering critical ideas on the songs as well as the next steps creates the sonic outcomes.
Moving onto a more personal note, within the EP 'Some Lives Matter,' The Unwoken offers this raw and primal rage through your delivery, lyrically and sonically. What does the project mean to you, and how did you channel these heavy emotions when creating it?
We hope these songs speak to people who feel that they are not being heard. Some Lives Matter really sums up decades, if not centuries of systemic oppression whether economically, socially, or politically. The EP was released in 2019 and we did some shows to promote the music and of course, the COVID19 pandemic stopped all live performance for good reasons. However, we clearly see the health disparities affect Black and Brown communities with higher death rates as well as the Asian American community being subjugated to hate and blatant racism because of a “leader” in the White House exacerbating the issue calling the virus with an ethnic title. Additionally, with police brutality with the murder of George Floyd, we saw the callousness, indifference, and the dehumanization of our fellow people, which spurred uprising throughout the U.S. and around the world. Additionally, we know that there are children in cages, parents ripped apart from their loved ones, and utter chaos with reuniting children with their separated parents. Now that we head towards the November 2020 elections, we hope that the music will be relevant and a call to action to organize, mobilize, and vote. In short, the music offers an outlet for energy that can be echoed throughout our communities fighting for justice and real equity in a moment of a slow dystopia. Let’s hope solidarity movements and music can change this moment in time.