Depending on what happens with [that which shall not be named] over the next few months, there’s either 150 or 199 sleeps until the hotly anticipated return of the UNIFY Gathering. UNIFY FOREVER, as it’s been dubbed, features one of the best festival lineups we’ve seen Down Under since the golden age of Soundwave – and it’s all-Australian, to boot!
Naturally, we here at BLUNT HQ cannot wait to get our mosh-starved selves back to Tarwin Lower, pitch our tents and dive elbows first into three of the craziest days and wildest nights of the year. But if there’s just one group of hardcore-loving hellions more stoked than us, it’s the artists actually playing at UNIFY. The festival has become somewhat of a white whale for up-and-coming heavy bands in Australia – it’s the gig everyone wants to play – but alas, there can only be so many names stuffed into the one schedule, so only 30 or so bands get to rule the stage every year.
If and when your band does make it onto the poster, it feels like you’ve won the lottery. You’ve won Australia’s heavy music Powerball, and the cheque you collect sits upon a stage lacquered in dust and sun-dried beer, sweat, and the memories of a lifetime.
So with just five (or seven) months to go before UNIFY 2022 – er, UNIFY FOREVER, sorry – we’ve caught up with nine of the acts we’re absolutely pining to see at the festival, to find out why they’re excited to make the trek over come January (or March)!
As a prominently heavy band, UNIFY has been on our collective bucketlist for a long time, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to be a part of the all-Australian onslaught of a comeback. We’ve been punters, we’ve been crew, but we’ve never been onstage playing our songs. We can’t wait until the day comes where we can hear our intro play as we walk out to a crowd full of friendly faces and fans we’ve made along the way. These are the types of shows we have in mind when writing, and we can’t wait to see what chaos unfolds.
– Sabian Lynch (guitars)
For us, playing UNIFY has always been such a huge goal, and it’s something we’ve wanted to be a part of since we started the band. Playing a festival in front of such a large audience is something that we’ve always dreamed about. We can’t wait to get out of this lockdown, out of New South Wales, and spend time with so many interstate friends that we’ve missed over the course of the pandemic. Only one of our members have been to UNIFY before, so we’re all pretty excited to experience it in all its glory. We’re really pumped to see Thornhill, who we had the pleasure of touring with earlier this year and we miss dearly. Getting the opportunity to go camping together and celebrate Australian heavy music? Dream come true. Bring on the gale-force winds, bring on the beers – we can’t wait!
– Jono Hawkey (vocals)
We have been admiring the UNIFY lineups for years now, I’ve always wanted to get down to one but never buy tickets in time. It’s going to be great to play alongside some of our all time favourite bands – The Amity Affliction was actually one of the first concerts I went to as a moody teen. It’ll be great to relive that, and hopefully make some new memories! We are lucky to be joined by some other friends on the lineup – Dream On Dreamer, Teenage Joans, WAAX and Wildheart. Not being able to tour properly over the last year and a bit has made it hard to maintain friendships with all the interstate mates we have made over the years, so it will be nice to catch up with everyone – and make some new mates too!
– Brock Weston (drums)
We’re so excited to be included in the all-Australian edition of UNIFY, especially to see so many talented friends taking the stage for the first time. And to combine that with the atmosphere of 7,000 fans that have been starved of festivals in Australia for too long will be unforgettable. We’re most excited to see our mates in Pridelands hit the stage with their new album. Having been on tour with them this year, it’s such a good feeling to see them get the credit they deserve – they’re such a hardworking band, with a great vibe in their live performance to back it up. It’ll just be a nice reminder, being back at UNIFY, that we can take some positives going forward, knowing there’s a great core of bands and organisers in the Australian heavy scene, working through what COVID has dealt out to bring some joy to the fans.
– Damon Bredin (guitars)
What an iconic time in history to be invited back to the UNIFY Gathering – I can think of no better way to bring artists and music-lovers from all across Australia together again, to celebrate all that we miss about live music and the community atmosphere. It’s going to be so epic to witness 7,000 people locked-in and absolutely living for every moment of the festival, as no doubt we’ll all be reminding ourselves from minute to minute to never take live music for granted ever again. There are so many great up-and-coming Aussie acts on the lineup, a lot of them appearing for the first time, so I’m eager to see what this next generation of local heavy and alternative Aussie music has to offer!
– Dale Tanner (vocals)
I’ve admired UNIFY for many years – the lineup is always insane and I’ve heard many wild stories – and somehow in about six years of tours and many festivals overseas, we still haven’t played an Aussie festival! So this will be the perfect weekend to tick off a bunch of goals. I’m especially stoked to see Ocean Grove again – the last time was when they supported Architects at the Metro in 2017, and I’m sure Amity – who I’ve somehow never seen live – will be insane. And on a much less metal note, I’m also pretty excited to check out what looks like a beautiful part of Victoria!
– Plini (like, everything)
Most of RedHook have been down in the pit at every UNIFY since all the way back in 2015, so to be invited back to perform this year, alongside so many bands we love and admire, is a totally surreal honour. I’m hyped as for Dream On Dreamer’s set, those guys are absolute OGs and since it could very well be one of the last times we ever get to see them perform, I think it’s going to be a pretty fucking special moment. This lineup is killer, but honestly I’m just as excited to reunite with the whole UNIFY crew in the campsite. I love this festival so much, I’ve made so many lifelong friendships at UNIFY over the years, and most of us haven’t seen each other since the 2020 event due to COVID keeping us apart. I think it’s gonna be a really wild, emotional, crazy, beautiful reunion for so many people who share a mutual love and bond for this type of music. My body is ready!
– Emmy Mack (vocals)
Getting the opportunity to play UNIFY means a huge amount to us, and it’s a highlight of our career. The energy and passion the festival inspires makes us feel privileged to be a part of it. I don’t think I’ve ever looked forward to playing a show more.
– Shaun Diviney (vocals/guitars)
Last time we played UNIFY it was just off the back of Butterfly, and the reception we had from the crowd was really something we weren’t expecting. Now that we’ve released our debut album and have luckily been able to tour it twice around the country, we can’t wait to see how that translates with a bigger and better live set at the next UNIFY. We might even have a new track or two to play by then, if all goes to plan, so that’ll be our own small treat for the punters who have been deprived of live music for so long.
– Matt Van Duppen (guitars)
UNIFY is something the boys and I always have at the top of our list to attend every year. Getting to play it just makes it so much more fun! We’re returning to the UNIFY stage for the first time since our UNFD signing debut in 2019, so it’s very special to us to get to come back as a better band that’s been able to experience so much, and show everyone who Yours Truly is now!
– Mikaila Delgado (vocals)
UNIFY Gathering 2022
The Amity Affliction
Dream On Dreamer
The Last Martyr
Teen Jesus & The Jean Teasers
+ More to be announced
Thursday 20 January – Sunday 23 January
Tarwin Lower, South Gippsland VIC