This featured was posted on Highlight Magazine in April 2019.
As one of the bands spearheading the new age of emerging pop-punk acts, Minneapolis-based outfit Unturned is a band to keep your eye on. Reminiscent of the emo pop-punk we all grew up listening to, Unturned has managed to take old elements from the genre and combine them with their own interpretation, creating a fresh and new sound that features hints of grunge mixed with gritty pop-punk vocals and unfiltered emo lyrics.
Forming after Parker (vocals) and Sam (drums) decided to take the acoustic demos they recorded in Parker’s basement and do something more, Unturned has emerged from a music scene many are unaware of. Although it may be tucked away in the Midwestern United States, the city of Minneapolis has a underground music scene that has been home for a number of bands over the years including Molly’s Worst Enemy, Infinite Me and Household, all bands Unturned credit for influencing their sound.
“The Minneapolis and Midwest music scenes have influenced us in huge ways. We love the community and are very lucky to have such a strong music scene with the truly talented bands we have. There were a lot of bands that we saw when we first started going to shows who really influenced us and still do.”
While Unturned play regularly in Minneapolis and in the Midwest, they have managed to transform themselves from being a Midwest basement band to sharing stages with the likes of Hippo Campus, Tiny Moving Parts and Seaway.
Most recently, their latest EP, Sunk, that was released last month on No Sleep Records has created a buzz throughout the scene, Unturned further integrating their unique and gritty sound into the world of pop-punk. Featuring five hard-hitting tracks that discuss real-life problems we all face each day, the songs on the EP represent a group of musicians maturing into their sound, none of them being afraid of throwing out their unfiltered thoughts for the world to hear. However, while the process behind Sunk was rewarding and helped Unturned evolve as a band, the months leading up to them entering the studio were anything but simple.
“The writing process was long. We had just added two members and released an EP to promote that and it took us a long time to figure out what kind of sound we were going for and creating songs we were happy with.”
Juggling the member change and the gruelling schedule that comes with touring, Unturned managed to confidently cultivate the direction they wanted to take their sound in for this third EP, the release ultimately pushing them in the studio while also allowing them to reflect on how the past few years have been.
“Sunk is the culmination of two years worth of writing and touring. Through those two years came a lot of doubt and anxiety, but these five songs have kept us together and kept us pushing forward.”
The band travelled to Hopatcong, New Jersey this time last year and began working with producer Gary Cioni (Grayscale, Sorority Noise, Free Throw) at Barber Shop Studios. While Sunk is a reflection of a two-year period for the band, the recording process for the EP took about a week, Unturned pushing themselves creatively in the studio especially when it came to songwriting.
“We changed the way we worked as a band and how we wrote songs. Writing songs became something that made us all very anxious for a long time. Once we had written two of the songs, we had found a comfortable way to work with each other, crafting songs the way we wanted.”
As one of the five tracks that made it onto Sunk, “Comedown” was a particular song Unturned struggled with in the studio. Wanting a track that would end the EP on a high, Unturned used their new found way of writing to create one of the strongest songs on the whole release.
“We tried to make it unique and wanted it to have that heavy end. We really wanted it to hit hard as we kind of knew we wanted it to be the end of the EP. The process was mostly in the studio as we tried to make it sound massive and gross at the end.”
The end result of that week in the studio is a five-track EP that shows both progression and maturity. Each song features tell-all lyrics of thoughts and emotions we sometimes don’t like to admit to feeling, “Shake”, the EP’s third track that is about addressing one’s relationship with substance abuse, being a perfect example of the EP’s overall direction. Above all, the process of creating Sunk was therapeutic and helped Unturned accomplish the goal they had set out to achieve long before entering the studio.
“The meaning behind Sunk is how we felt while writing and can be a general idea of the songs as a whole. We wanted to make an EP that didn’t just sound like every other pop-punk release and we personally felt like that was accomplished in a way we were happy with.”
Since the release of Sunk last month, things have been on the incline, Unturned continuing to play gigs around the area they call home to the passionate and dedicated music listeners that come out of the Midwest. The EP has even received personal praise from fellow musicians in the alt-rock scene including Sleeping With Sirens vocalist Kellin Quinn who recently praised the EP and Unturned on his social media.
As Unturned continue on with this new chapter Sunk has brought them, the basement band from Minneapolis are looking forward to seeing where the future takes them, drummer Sam sharing that he is just fortunate of what they have managed to accomplish so far.
“Just playing shows and touring with my best friends and getting to create music with them is something I’ll always appreciate and be happy I got to do.”