We converse with Alvaro from the ancient death purveyor Unholy Lust.
BM: Give us a brief run down of Unholy Lust’s existence.
Alvaro Sancen: The band’s existence! Well, it’s been a good minute. Seems like forever, but I stopped counting at some point. 15 plus years, wow. A lot of good times and some rough ones. The early days would have a lot of drinking and a lot of skateboarding and not so much rehearsal time. Los Winoes, our name at the time, was the life of the backyard scene back then. We got along with just about anyone and we always had a 40oz or wine bag in hand. Around 2005 or so, we decided for a change. As for the name, it came from one of my favorite Possessed songs Holy Hell. About 33sec in “Holy hell, Death to us, Satan fell, UNHOLY LUST” and the rest is history haha.
BM: The name Unholy Lust came from a song by Possessed and that’s when the Unholy Lust that we see today started. Possessed’s music obviously has made an impact on Unholy Lust, what other bands have left their mark and shaped the Unholy Lust style?
Alvaro Sancen: Yes, I kind of touched on that already, but that is correct. The end of Los Winoes and the beginning of Unholy Lust. Possessed is one of many bands that have influenced Unholy Lust. So many great bands. I’ll name a few; Slayer, Mayhem, Sadistic Intent, Morbid Angel, Dissection, Mortem, Napalm Death, Unleashed, and the list goes on.
BM: The band has been consistent on releasing material, demos, live recordings, vinyl Eps, and full lengths. Seems like you don’t sit around much. What should people new to Unholy Lust check out first?
Alvaro Sancen: Well thanks for being kind, but we have lagged with some releases. A new album is in the works and some talks about releasing an album with special guest vocals as well. I won’t say who or when, but 2020 and 2021 expect some good shit haha. If you’re new to Unholy Lust, I’d recommend starting at the beginning. Give a listen to Satan’s Church from the Taste the Sin Through the Fire album. After that, make your way to the title track for Banished from the Light and finally, move to the current release of Humanity and Its End.
BM: Unholy Lust has made pacts with the labels Blood Harvest and Iron Pegasus, how is it working with these labels, many killer releases have been unleashed by both labels. Totally Indy labels with their hearts in the right place. How far will these alliances go and how did it all come about?
Alvaro Sancen: We’re really grateful to have had the opportunity to work with these two true metal labels. Hats off to them for the support and for their hard work. Our alliances will always be there, but like all things, business is business. So if they ever decide not to work with us for whatever reason, we won’t get butt hurt, that’s just how things are and we’re grateful to have had the opportunity to work with them. Our friend Anal Jeff from Anal Funk Records was in contact with Blood Harvest and Jeff was the one who approached him with our music. Somewhere down the line we just took over the negotiations and came to a deal. To make things quick and sweet, somewhere down the line after a few years we just transitioned into being under Iron Pegasus.
I think the second album will kill.. so you better Pray for Life mother fuckers!
BM: How is the current incarnation of Unholy Lust doing, seems I recall you’ve employed fill in members in the past. Who’s in the line up and are they also part of other bands? How much alcohol and mind altering substances are consumed at an Unholy Lust rehearsal?
Alvaro Sancen: Our current line up has Alex Tombstoner of Tombstoners on lead guitar and myself Unholy Al on guitar and vocals. As for bass, we’re currently using session musicians and as for drums, we rotate between Emilio M, Danny Walker, and Luis Cisneros. Oh man, rehearsal mayhem has come to a halt. With age comes responsibility, haha. I mean we have our occasional beers and smokes, but if the walls could talk….let’s just leave it at that.
BM: Let’s talk “Banished from the Light” and “Humanity and its End” Explain the conceptual elements and differences between these recordings. Also the artwork, how tight to the recording’s concepts are the cover arts and who are the artists?
Alvaro Sancen: One may say these two releases follow each other into the gates of Hell, where no light dwells! Truth be told, these two releases should’ve been one album, but I wasn’t ready to put 100% of my focus into writing a second album. I felt it would be more appropriate to put out two quick 4 track head bangers and save some fire for a full album. Another reason was that some of these songs came out right after the first album and still had a taste of sin haha. Not to blow smoke up my own ass, but I think the second album will kill.. so you better Pray for Life mother fuckers!… Just like any other album, the artwork reflects the music as so the music reflects the art .. it’s always best to have the album art in hand when listening to the music if you want the full experience. On the Banished from The Light album you have the Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah painted by John Martin. On Humanity and It’s End, you have Heather J Sancen’s (of Everything Decays) vision of that theme.
BM: Every time I talk to someone in Unholy Lust, it seems they are about to go into the recording studio. Adrian Villanueva of Dungeon Studios has been handling the Unholy Lust recordings for a while, how is it working with Dungeon Studios?
Alvaro Sancen: Yeah, it almost seems as though we live there at times, haha. Well we’ve worked with Adrian for all Unholy Lust releases, minus one live release I think. He’s easy to work with..well 90% of the time haha. Jokes aside, he won’t bullshit us and he’s a true metal head, so it’s a no brainer. Oh, and he also works within our budget.
BM: Wannes Gubbels of Pentacle fame has made his presence known in an Unholy Lust recording. How did this happen? And who else has Unholy Lust conspired with in recordings?
Alvaro Sancen: Well, this all came together due to Wannes and Pentacle touring the US. I’m a big fan of his vocal style and the band so I’d figure “Hey what the hell, let’s ask and see if he would be willing to work with us.” As you can see, he agreed and his vocals appear for the song Ancient Times. Emilio of Possessed is also featured on drums for that track. We look forward to collaborating with other musicians in the scene for future recordings.
BM: The Los Angeles metal scene is huge, but fragmented. Trends are abound and infiltrative. Tell us of your experiences playing and being part of it? Who stand out in your opinion?
Alvaro Sancen: They say Los Angeles is the mecca of music!? Maybe, who knows. So much goes on every night it’s hard to keep track. I’m kind of glad I live 20 or so miles from down town. It keeps me fresh and from being hungover every day. Well, experiences playing haven’t always been very pleasant and most are due to inadequate sound. Seems like that’s been changing. For the most part, a lot of the promoters we’ve been hired by have been top notch. It could come from the fact that they’ve played in the past or are currently in a band. So they know what’s up and can sympathize with the preforming bands. One big time that stands out to me was when the LA thrash scene had that second big boom of bands around early 2000. Something like that. Seemed as though a gig was going on every weekend. You could drive from one show to the other. So much partying and irresponsible drinking and driving! Everyone and their mother was out and about. In my opinion, I think the scene has somewhat died down, but the bands have gotten way heavier and much more brutal. I’d hate to miss a band, so I won’t name drop, but just attend a local underground gig and you’ll see what I’m saying.
BM: How important is playing out of Los Angeles for Unholy Lust, what other markets have you concurred and what are the plans for live 2020 performances?
Alvaro Sancen: Oh man, that’s all we want to do at this point haha. No offense to the home town crowd. It’s different playing in front of your local people in comparison to strangers who haven’t heard or have ever seen you live. You can say you’re on your toes a little more. It awakens a different beast. Other markets we’ve conquered.. hmm well we’ve played some parts of Europe like England, Belgium, and Holland. Our plan for 2020 is to finish and release our second full album with another trip to Europe. Let’s see what happens.
BM: The times have changed and many bands have chosen to change with them. The digital age has been here and growing, making it easy for people to find new music with digital music platforms..has Unholy Lust embraced these newer ways of putting the band out there or have you stayed away. How important do you think it is for bands to adapt to this new way?
Alvaro Sancen: To each their own. I mean, I don’t think there is a right or wrong way. I guess the point would be to get exposure for your music. Shit, I still have some vinyls & cds from the last two releases in boxes, maybe they’ll increase in value sitting here ha.. who knows. I guess we’re open to it. In the end, it’s what the band really wants to achieve and in my vision, our music will hopefully plague all of mankind..
BM: I’ve seen continuous evolution of Unholy Lust in song writing and stage performances. What makes you stick to your guns and continue with this style?
Alvaro Sancen: Well thanks for noticing \m/ The goal is to always push forward and continue to evolve our style, yet staying on our path. Its’ a way of life and it isn’t for everyone. The founding metal heads before us sparked the flames of ancient darkness and we try to keep it lit for future warriors of death.
BM: Thanks for answering these questions. Any last words to the Bulldozer Mag readers?
Alvaro Sancen: A big thank you to Marco Van Empel, Evil Joe & Alex, Appie & Clout, Marc, Stephen Moss, Costa Iron Pegasus, Heather J Sancen, Bulldozer Mag, Adrian at The Dungeon Studios, Emilio el Sadistico, Danny Walker, Luis Beastlos, Pepe la Muerte Haro, my band members of current/past line ups, our Euro friends/fans, our local friends/fans, family, and to our deceased. Cheers and may we live for ever..unholy death metal.
Interview by JS
Live photo by Marcos Garcias