Interview with Ultrviolence vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Nate Jespersen | By Christopher J. Harrington
There’s an eerie chill to Calgary, Alberta’s dark wave, post-punk act, Ultrviolence. Nestled way up in the frozen North, the group’s sound has a sort of underwater feeling to it: groovy and beautiful, but perpetually icy, with crystallizing forms ruling its propulsion. Environment is tantamount, and its harsh realities are part of the reason why Ultrviolence’s newest EP, Forty Knives—released May 12 on Northern Light Records—is so damn commanding.
“I had to work real hard to find a musical community in Alberta,” vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Nate Jespersen notes. “I think it has something to do with the darkness and honesty up here; people are scared and intimidated by that. I actually think the lack of community helped me. It forced me to find my own confident voice and to not care what anyone thinks.”
Forty Knives exudes an epic quality with its overall paradigm. Jespersen’s vocals indicate maximum confidence, and the band carry a real toughness throughout each haunting gothic ballad. There’s a heavy wall that is broken on this mighty record, a strength that feels like it was cultivated over a very long period of time.
“In my 20s, I was committed solely to the creative process,” Jespersen says. “I refused to give up. Even if nobody ever listened to me, I’d still be writing songs and trying to progress. Sacrifice would be, by definition, giving something up, and I was never into ‘normal’ anyway. I’m doing exactly what I love to do.”
And the listener can feel it, tenfold, throughout each spiritual journey on Forty Knives. Never more so than on the vast and tactile, “Life Is Such a Mess,” a composition with such exact usage of totality that you drift away, a sense of beauty overtaking you.
“It took a lifetime to find this sound,” Jespersen admits. “I moved between punk and metal, wrote hundreds of songs, and experimented endlessly with the creative method. When I wrote ‘Life Is Such a Mess,’ I wanted to be as honest as possible, and I must have made 25 different versions before the right one was found.”
“Life Is Such a Mess” is the right one, and Forty Knives is endlessly good—a testament to a true vision.
Photo by Jared Jespersen