“But in general we try to be more than that. Pop punk has its moments, but at times it can be pretty cliche or cheesy. We want to write catchy songs, minus the cheese. We want to freshen things up.” -Issac Luedtke
Pop-punk is a fairly succinct genre of music, stylized with nostalgic lyrics that have an underlying sense of dread for a mundane life in the Midwest — I can say that because I’m from the Midwest — and uptempo melodies.
After recently signing with No Sleep Records, Unturned released their third EP, Sunk in March.
Upon first listen, Unturned immediately follows the same vein of modern pop-punk with a sound reminiscent of State Champs and The Wonder Years, with a little bit of the 2000’s Blink-182 that everyone knows and loves. When you dive a little deeper the comparisons can still be made, but the quintet differentiates themselves with their grungy guitar riffs and themes of moving forward.
Moving past the standard for pop-punk is precisely their goal.
“But in general we try to be more than that. Pop punk has its moments, but at times it can be pretty cliche or cheesy,” said Issac Luedtke, guitarist for Unturned. “We want to write catchy songs, minus the cheese. We want to freshen things up.”
Unturned is a five piece band from Minneapolis that started in 2014 with drummer Sam Kuchera and vocalist Parker Toyne. According to Ledtke they are the “heart and soul” of the band. They met bass player James Goranson at local shows around Minneapolis and roped Ledtke in shortly after with fellow guitarist Will Leach.
Ironically, Luedtke is inspired by Blink 182 and The Wonder Years, however his inspirations reach beyond just those two bands.
“So many different bands influence us, there’s always something I take away after listening to a band for the first time,” he said. “While we were writing Sunk, I found myself listening to a lot of Citizen and focusing on the leads that their guitarist played.”
Sunk was brought about mostly in the way it’s tracked on the EP. Writing “Comedown” last, the song was not one of Luedtke’s favorites at first.
“I remember coming into practice one day and they had most of the track mapped out,” he said. “I felt so far behind in comparison to the rest of them and as a result I wasn’t very fond of the song.”
It wasn’t until Luedtke took time with the song on his own that he changed his mind about the song.
“Once I sat down on my own time and hashed out all my parts, I realized what a cool song we had and after jamming on it together I really found the groove,” he said. “I think the rest of the boys would disagree, but this is the best song we’ve written.”
Unturned’s writing process stems from an idea and is a wholly collaborative process that involves everyone’s input. This cooperation during songwriting has allowed the band to grow as a team and as musicians.
“Writing together as the 5 of us has worked so well because we all respect each other as musicians so criticism is never taken poorly, but rather as an opportunity to grow together and to grow the song,” said Luedtke.
For Luedtke shows are an outlet for the work from writing, recording and practicing the songs that he and his bandmates have done. “Swimming,” one of the first songs written for the new EP with some of the most complex parts, is his favorite to play live.
“The groovy first verse is such a good time to play and rock out to, and as the song continues all the parts become more anxious and it builds up to that final section where Parker sings my favorite line on the record ‘Losing confidence in my consciousness’,” he added. “We’ve played that song so many times and it never gets old for me.”
Stream Sunk on Spotify and follow the band on Facebook to keep up to date with what they have in store.
Watch the music video for “Headrush” below.