The Scottish Swedish pairing of Andrew Montgomery and Leo Josefsson released their debut album ‘First Contact’ in 2019 under the two letter moniker of US.

Extending their name to UNIFY SEPARATE, their excellent second album ‘Music Since Tomorrow’ looks at the future in an uncertain world, shaped by Montgomery’s own relationship breakdown and the worldwide coronavirus pandemic.

A record of conflicting emotions, other topics include environmental issues, social media and the disconnects of life. Augmented by more guitars than heard on ‘First Contact’, a denser sound is presented on ‘Music Since Tomorrow’ to document a period of personal struggle that many can relate to. Josefsson’s machines battle with six string contributions from Christian Persson and SUEDE’s Richard Oakes while Montgomery tests his vocal range with lots of emotive falsetto.

A darker, more indie sounding album than their US debut, despite the midlife sorrows, UNIFY SEPARATE have provided a collection of glorious pandemic pop to savour. Andrew Montgomery and Leo Josefsson chatted with ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK and reflected about their ‘Music Since Tomorrow’…

‘Music Since Tomorrow’ documents a period of personal and existential upheaval, this can’t have been an easy album to make?

Andrew: It really wasn’t! Like everyone in the world, we struggled with the strangeness and sadness of the pandemic, even though Sweden didn’t go into actual lockdown and we were both lucky not to lose anyone due to it. But there were also personal things in the background which cast a bit of shadow over the album process. It’s fair to say that coming to the studio to work with Leo was personally a bit of a refuge for me at a time when I was wee bit lost, and to know that we were creating something special was a bit of a light in the darkness.

To also see just how much artistry Leo put into the production and song composition inspired me to give my utmost and rise to the standards he was setting. But ultimately, like so many other artists, there’s also the situation of being a band that needs to do other jobs to get by – that’s not always easy either, as many musicians know. We made it to the finishing line, though, and we’re lucky that we are both blessed with good health and good people around us.

Did the creative dynamic between the two of you become affected as a result?

Andrew: Sometimes it got a little tense, but Leo, in common with most Swedes I know, seems to have a very long fuse! I’m much more inclined to get het up over things. He is better at just getting on with it, I think. But we’re still friends. Right, Leo? … Leo????

Leo: Andrew has days where I simply just have to drink even more coffee and everything will be ok.

Have you managed to get your ‘Closure’? Where did the trancier influences on that track come from?

Leo: 🙂 We see what you did there! Actually it’s a result of Andrew introducing me to loads of current electronic music such as MODERAT and FLOATING POINTS, as well as Kelly Lee Owens, Nicolas Jaar and Jon Hopkins. It also re-awakened my previous fascination for EBM and darker-tinged club music such as NITZER EBB, UNDERWORLD and FRONT 242. There was also some inspiration from the ’28 Days Later’ theme in there.

‘Solitude & I’ can be appreciated on a number of relatable levels…

Leo: We hope so! That’s a song about staying the course despite everything that’s being thrown at you. It works as a personal anthem and a collective one, especially in this day and age…

‘Embrace The Fear’ can be considered a product of lockdown but nearly a year and a half on from its single release, it still stands up and is a cornerstone of the album…

Andrew: That’s great to hear, thanks. We’re really proud of that one and it was indeed an important step forward in the way that we were expanding our soundworld. It builds on some of our shared musical foundations and influences, such as NEW ORDER, DEPECHE MODE and indie-dance music from the late 80s / early 90s, but it also has its own particular flavour that belongs to us. It’s a strong message allied to a strong and memorable tune. And who hasn’t wondered about embracing the fear in the last few years, if only just to get through the bloody madness we are being faced with on a daily basis…

Andrew: Yeah, okay, the Swedish guy was right. Again… 🙂

The vocals on ‘Way To Love’ capture an emotive weariness, what had been your mindset at the time of recording?

Andrew: Oh, you know, relationships… 🙂 Like, why the f*ck do I get myself into these situations when I know it’ll end in tears?!

There are more prominent guitars than on ‘First Contact’ with ‘The Void’ and ‘Waiting Game’ featuring the talents of Richard Oakes Of SUEDE, how did his involvement come about?

Andrew: Richard is an old friend of mine from the days when the band I was in, GENEVA, was on the same record label as SUEDE. We reconnected about a decade ago when I was working on my solo album with Sean McGhee, who is in the band ARTMAGIC along with Richard. Richard is in Sweden quite often and it was a natural step to invite him to Leo’s studio to play him some tunes and drink a few beers. He was really happy to play on a couple of tracks, and so I guess that confirmed the guitar direction, though we’d already been going there because both Leo and I wanted to broaden the reach of the record and our sound.

As a song, ‘The Void’ really hits a nerve… what was its genesis?

Leo: It began as a sort of soul-inspired track that Andrew was convinced was a winner from the off, whereas I felt it needed more work (I’m usually right 😉 ). I had a vision for it based on Giorgio Moroder-meets-Morricone, with a bit of Phil Spector Wall of Sound too. I had this flash of inspiration and decided to record the voice of one of my daughters, and it led me to produce the track in the way you hear it now.

It’s a sort of angsty, new wave track that was just begging for guitar. Luckily enough Richard loved it and was happy to contribute. He elevated it onto a different plane and it was a brilliant experience watching him play along to it.

Technologically, how has your sound developed since ‘First Contact’? Have there been any new toys brought in?

Leo: During the pandemic I went a bit mad and became obsessed with technical perfection in the studio, and upgraded both my equipment and recording, mixing and mastering skills. I learned a lot, but it was an extremely intense experience (and expensive too!). But I had to go through that process to capture the sorts of sounds I was hearing in my head – more instrumentation, bigger production, a more in-your-face approach that left nothing out. I invested in the Dangerous Music ecosystem (that was a hallelujah! moment) and high-end equipment from Wes Audio and Tegeler Audio. It was crazy, but it was worth it! I’m happy now 🙂

Andrew: I don’t think Leo’s bank manager is very happy, though…

What is ‘Dying On The Vine’ referring to?

Andrew: It’s about social media addiction and people who solely derive their worth from likes and comments online. There’s a bit of a play on words because Vine was that short-lived video promo tool that got swallowed up Twitter and (essentially) spat out again, a bit like people who play the social media game. It’s a mixture of anger and pity and ends up trying to be compassionate for the SoMe obsessive, who’s really the victim at the end of it all. And let’s face it, we’ve all been there…

If you don’t mind me saying, ‘Radio Waves’ has echoes of GENEVA with its chopping strings… coincidental?

Leo: We don’t mind you saying that at all! No, we just wanted to go for a big arena sound that suited the epic nature of the song’s subject matter. And who doesn’t love a good string section?

‘In Over My Head’ eerily has elements of Philip Glass and Jean-Michel Jarre?

Andrew: Thanks. Both of those guys are musical touchstones for us so we’re delighted that you think so! And yes, it’s a bit of an eerie subject matter, I guess, so hopefully it all fits together.

‘Music Since Tomorrow’ works very well as an album experience but do you have any particular favourite tracks for any particular reasons?

Andrew: Thank you! My favourite is ‘In Over My Head’ as it was fun to create, despite the dark subject matter. And I really, really love Leo’s production on it.

Leo: Hey! Now you’re asking me to choose my favourite child and in Sweden that is illegal!! But, if I may divide it into songwriting and production, I am very proud of my production on ‘In Over My Head’ and that I dared to stay with my original idea for the arrangement. ’Closure’, ‘Embrace The Fear’, ‘Visitors’ and ‘Dying On The Vine’ are other personal favourites.

What’s next for UNIFY SEPARATE, will you take this record onto the live stage? Did opening for SUEDE fire you up to do more gigs?

Andrew: Supporting SUEDE was an honour for us, and we have had some interesting enquiries since then. We love playing live and what the SUEDE gig confirmed for us is that we and our music belong on big stages in front of big audiences. We are absolutely ready for taking this album out on the road and we’re always happy to hear from promoters wherever in the world they are.

ELECTRICITY CLUB.CO.UK gives its warmest thanks to UNIFY SEPARATE

‘Music Since Tomorrow’ is available direct from

Text and Interview by Chi Ming Lai
Photos by Mehdi Bagherzadeh
8th November 2022