SFM: Your label made quite a name for itself with its first two releases (Birth A.D. and Besieged). How did you find out about these two bands?
UAR: Besieged I had been following for a long time. Someone recommended their 2-song original demo "Visions of Pain" (again this was on Metal Archives, I used to hang out there a ton). I checked them out on MySpace - look it up, kids! - and loved it. That kind of hyper-aggressive death/thrash is my main love. As for Birth AD, Matt knew Jeff Tandy somehow, because he knows everybody, and Jeff needed someone to release or distribute "I Blame You." Style-wise it was an awkward fit for Dark Descent, but when Matt heard I wanted to start a somewhat thrash-oriented label, he suggested I talk to Jeff and do the release. Happy I did - it ended up being our first out of the gate and was just great.
SFM: One thing I really appreciate about UAR is that although many of the releases are in similar subgenres (thrash, death, etc.), no two releases of yours really sound alike. For example, Birth A.D., Besieged, and Overcharge, among others, all play thrash in completely different styles. Is this an important factor when signing new bands?
UAR: Not really. I think it just happens naturally from the way I pick bands to listen to and sign. For one thing my personal tastes are diverse, so even though everything with the label starts from a foundation of thrash and related styles, I like all kinds of things that at least in my mind are tangential to that. I think the lines between Metallica, Possessed, Death and Repulsion are kind of blurry, and I like all of the stuff that exists in that big, messy area of music. And I also like song-oriented and riff-oriented bands, and bands with a strong identity. I'd gravitate more toward signing a really kickass grind band that can write a memorable tune rather than signing a third-rate thrash band that sounds like Besieged but worse.
Be sure to check out and like Unspeakable Axe Records on Facebook!