Jake Superchi of UADA—A Curse May Hang in the Balance

Jake Superchi is a musician from Battle Ground, Washington who began his musical career as the singer of Ceremonial Castings. Influential albums include Salem 1692, Into the Black Forest of Witchery, and Cthulu. They recorded eight albums before they laid the project to rest in 2014. In 2015, UADA played their first show at the Famine Fest put on by Chris Nukala in Portland, Oregon.  In 2016, UADA had their first release Devoid of Light. Come 2018, UADA released the much anticipated Cult of a Dying Sun on Eisenwald label. Recently, AQ had the opportunity to speak with Jake, and we went over songs from the new album such as “Sphere (Imprisonment)” and “Mirrors.”  We also spoke about the after effects of the Messe Des Morts Festival. Jake recalled in detail what it was like for his band to meet the secretary to the President of Mexico, who is a fairly well-known metal fan. Jake was able to share a story about his ancestor John Hathorne, who is known for his involvement in the Salem witch trials. UADA will be performing at Brooklyn’s Saint Vitus on April 12 and April 13 at the Decibel Metal and Beer Fest in Philadelphia.

I recall seeing a comment by you that you think that the strength of modern-day black metal is comparable if not stronger than the era of the 2nd wave—what do you feel like keeps this age vibrant and strong?

For the first time since the 2nd wave was unleashed, we now have a similar output in quality from around the entire world. Not only is Europe thriving as it always has with black metal, but scenes from Asia, South America, Canada, Iceland, Australia, and of course the U.S. are all contributing high quality releases. It seems there is a turning of events in the mindset of what black metal is to each individual, as opposed to following an already set and determined path.

For this new album Cult of a Dying Sun, was there a theme or concept you tried to follow?

I wouldn’t say that we tried to follow a certain concept, but that album was about “reflection.” Reflection of one’s self, today’s society, mental illness, and the misunderstandings of projections… our own past, and so on.

When viewing the video for “Snakes & Vulture,” it kind of gives off a bit of a Full Moon Features vibe, I think back on the Subspecies movies, anything in particular you were hoping for?

I never really thought about the video comparing to an old horror movie, but growing up on the horror of the eighties and nineties, it doesn’t surprise me that those influences shine through. Now that you mention it, I wonder if anyone would tie our newest video for “Cult of a Dying Sun” to the Subspecies films. 

I found “Sphere (Imprisonment)” to be inspiring with a shine of hope. What was the story behind that piece?
Art and music for me has always been my hope. Some people call it a dream but I always knew what my path was, and what was meant for me. So through my art I have gained many positive things in my life and that hope that goes into it is what comes out. Energy is the law of the universe and that energy is what has allowed UADA to do what it has done in a very short period of time.

 What was going on with UADA as you were composing the final track on the album “Mirrors”?
 A lot of internal struggle within the band as well as watching the strangeness of society through social media. Seems like in this day and age everyone is so quick to point the finger without being able to look themselves in the mirror. I am not sure if most humans are unable to see their own flaws or if inside their own mind. They have this perfect image of their own self. Either way, it’s quite interesting to see how other’s brains work and what they think truly matters. I look at “Mirrors” as a gateway that will lead us into the next album.

What attracted you to recruit two of the members of Sjukdom to join your band, and can you speak about how much they were able to participate when it came to the compositions on the album?
It wasn’t a planned out action. At the time, the drummer we had decided that touring was not for him and our bassist at the time referred us to Josiah, who was supposed to be on the next Sjukdom album. So it just kind of fell into place, soon after Sjukdom begat its own demise.

Being from New England and having relocated to the forests of Battle Ground, Washington, I wonder if you have any attraction to any mysterious or magical forests like Aokigahara, and if you desire to travel to any to become inspired for your music?

It is no secret I have much love for being in the woods and secluded from the modern world of concrete jungles. The suicide forest of Japan has always interested me and I do hope to visit it one day before my end. If given the opportunity, an overnight camping trip would be my ideal situation. I don’t think a hike through would allow one to witness the energy that place holds. One day I’ll make it there, and hopefully make it back to tell the tale.

Back in November 2017, you received an award from the Secretary to the President of Mexico, can you tell me a bit about how that day went?

Yeah, so when we first arrived in Mexico we were immediately told that the Secretary might pay us a visit, as he is a big fan. We didn’t really think much about it, thinking that maybe it was just talk. Days later he arrived at our show and was waiting back stage for us. At his request, we took some photos and signed a drum head he brought from home. A few days after that show, we were ending our Latin American tour and getting ready to fly out of Mexico City. When the promoter arrived to send us off, he came with medals and gifts from the Secretary. Of course, it was a really big surprise and honor. We hope we will see him again next time we return.

Thinking back on the chaos from 2016’s Messe Des Morts festival, what would you say is the lasting effect on heavy metal musicians as a whole?

I believe everything comes around full circle. If these groups want to try and silence artists, they one day will find themselves in the same position. It’s cause and effect. I’m not really sure if it changes any thought process of the artists, all I can say is that it didn’t stop us and it won’t stop us. We are the writers of our destiny.

Would you have any advice you would like to give musicians who may be attending or performing with controversial entertainers?

What exactly is controversial? Seems today anything can be made into an argument for offense. With that said, the only advice I can give is to follow your own instinct and do so without fear.

Do you have any antiques from Judge John Hathorne, or can you share an interesting story about him?
I do not have any antiques, unfortunately, but since we spoke of some old horror movies earlier, I can tell you that the house in the film Session 9 was his home. Hathorne Hill was the name of the place it sat on. Legend has it that one of the witches he sentenced to hang had cursed his bloodline. So, I have always lived knowing a curse may hang in the balance. If so, I see it more of a blessing than anything.

Can you tell me your five most treasured albums in your personal music collection?

Growing up in the nineties it was really hard to find Black Metal in the states. Everything had to be imported and it was very expensive to do so. In those days we ended up stumbling into some local pawn shops and realized that a lot of metalheads in the area were pawning their collections. My brother and I would go once a week and come home with some great scores. These albums were the treasures because of the lasting impact they left on us. If I had to choose five that really hit home and stuck with me through the years it would be Abigor’s Nachthymnen (From the Twilight Kingdom), Emperor’s In the Nightside Eclipse, Mayhem’s De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas, Dissection’s The Somberlain, and Lunar Aurora’s Weltenganger.

Be sure to catch UADA at Saint Vitus in Brooklyn on April 12, and at the Decibel Metal and Beer Fest in Philadelphia on April 13!