The Uniphonics
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The Uniphonics

Iowa City, Iowa, United States | SELF

Iowa City, Iowa, United States | SELF
Band Hip Hop Funk


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"CD Review: The Uniphonics' 'Crawl'"

This pneumatic, skin-tight combo has placed a singular stamp on the area's scene over the past three-plus years, spot-welding Derek "Animosity" Thorn's tongue-tripping rhymes to jazzified funk churned out by a sinuous, high octane quintet.

Recorded with clarity and punch by John Svec at his Minstrel Studios, The Uniphonics' first full-length biscuit offers an hour-plus of taut, hard-case jams.

Mixing populist bromides, peer/influence name-checks and general braggadocio, Animosity is an effective, percussive rapper; meanwhile, the rhythm section of bassist Ryan Casteel and tub-thumper Forrest Heusinkveld is -- like good bacon -- crisp AND greasy, and guitarist Craig Heidgerken, keyboardist Joseph McKinley and (especially) saxophonist Ben Pierce tag-team from sleek comping to well-placed solo accents.

All-world trombonist Robin Eubanks (Dave Holland, Stevie Wonder) offers dazzling, thoroughly-engaged romps on the spacious left-fielder "Land Mines" and the big-time title-track, Dennis McMurrin applies his legendary ax to the P-Funk-flavored "We Bring the Funk," and Aaron "Heatbox" Heaton adds flair to the boss, kinetic closer, "So I Say II."

The Uniphonics will celebrate their CD-release with a party Friday night at the Yacht Club, 13 S. Linn St.; Brainchild opens (9 p.m., $6).
-- Jim Musser - Iowa City Press Citizen

"Hip-hop-lifted jazz in Iowa City"

something lay amiss in the Iowa City music scene--and Uniphonics took the plunge to mend that hole.

by Ann Colwell, The Daily Iowan

How to build a band 101: Make haste, find a missing piece of the puzzle, and give it an extra dose of passion. The jazz-infused hip-hop band Uniphonics followed that formula here in Iowa City.

"The Iowa City music scene is blossoming right now," said percussionist Forrest Heusinkveld. "There's really a renaissance going on. We noticed that one thing missing was something influenced by hip-hop rapping--that was the last final frontier. We all have an appreciation for the complex harmonies of jazz and the rhythms associated with it, so it was the natural way to go."

Enter Uniphonics, five guys with a lot of jazz-theory background, one of whom lays the phat beats. The band members will bring their jazz-lifted hip-hop to The Mill, 120 E. Burlington St., Thursday at 9 p.m. The show is also a homecoming party for Mikey the Miraculous Sidecar and DJ Jose.

A lot of college bands find it difficult to coordinate schedules with school and work commitments, but things seemed to fall in place for the Uniphonics guys. They were inspired to launch themselves into the scene when they heard there was a Battle of the Bands at the end of May.

"That gave us a month to write an hour's worth of material," Heusinkveld said. "The winners would get into Camp Euforia, so we practiced pretty hard and wrote decent material, and we won."

Camp Euphoria is a two-day camping and music festival held by Euforquestra, another local band. Despite the early competition, Uniphonics has felt nothing but support from its peers.

"Unlike many other communities, the bands of Iowa City aren't pulling each other down," Heusinkveld said. "They're not critiquing each other in a negative light. They all play together. It makes the music in Iowa City better as a whole."

Those bands may all play together at weekly jam sessions, but like all bands, Uniphonics had to have something to set it apart. It found that extra spice in 28-year-old MC Animosity, Derek Thorn.

"We try to have a jazz approach toward our music," he said. "For the most part, the lyrics are the only thing that make it hip-hop. And my music is a lot different than mainstream hip-hop you'll hear. I like to be the least-common denominator, and I keep my lyrics to a limited amount of profanity so they're not provocative."

So it had a way in, a successful start, and the right amount of interest from each member. The next step for a lot of bands is a philosophy--some groups are social, others go political, but the Uniphonics members say they take a stance on neither.

"Regardless of how everyone feels about the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, two of the guys in our group are/were in the military," Heusinkveld said. Tenor-sax player Ben Pierce and bassist Ryan Casteel are both involved in the U.S. armed services. "We are all about supporting the troops [despite] our personal views. We're happy to have that backgorund in our group, but we have no agenda to push on people. We just want to make our music enjoyable for ourselves and others."

Check out the official edition of this article at - The Daily Iowan

"Unified Sound"

Iowa City's Uniphonics bring a jazzy blend of funk and hip-hop to 180 Main


One might not expect the sounds of jazz and hip-hop to sprout in the Heartland -- let alone, a funkified combination of the two -- but the Iowa City-based band The Uniphonics are all about bridging that gap.

That makes this five-piece band of guitar, bass, drums, saxophone and MC one-of-a-kind.

"Each member of the band brings in a different element," said Derek "MC Animosity" Thorn in a phone interview. "We all have different background influences that kind of ignites our sound and musical style and fuses it together."

Hitting the regional live music scene to promote their debut EP, "Truth Be Told," the Uniphonics will make their Dubuque debut June 13 at 180 Main.

The band also is working on its first full-length CD, "Crawl," to be released this summer.

The five-piece ensemble aims to connect the energy and feel of live bands and content-driven MCs.

"We want to give people a powerful show," Thorn said. "We have a really strong set of originals and a couple of covers we remix
to keep true to form to tie it all together. It moves very naturally. This music is for everyone."

True to form in their own right, the Uniphonics formed two years ago from the makings of several solo musicians who performed in an Iowa City jam night.

"For the most past, we came out of local bands and were players on the jam band scene -- just out there creating music," Thorn said. "But when we all came together, there was just something really clean and natural about the group."

Just shy of one month together, the band had put out a 12-song set of diverse original material and one cover, had won several battle of the bands contests and was growing a huge following in Iowa City and its fringe areas.

Recently, the band also won an Iowa Summer Camp festival contest, which will send it to southern Illinois for a performance.

"Most of our concert base and following so far has been in Iowa in areas like Iowa City, Cedar Falls, the Quad Cities, Muscatine and Des Moines," Thorn said. "But this summer we're hoping to spread the pallet of Uniphonics all over."

Prior to its Dubuque date, the Uniphonics have their first Chicago show, as well as playing for the first time in Mason City, Iowa.

"We're adding a lot of new towns," Thorn said. "We've won a few competitions by popular vote and judges favorites, so we've gotten off to a good start. We have a lot in our favor behind us." - Telegraph Herald

"Not your typical hip-hop band"


MASON CITY — Iowa City’s The Uniphonics will perform Saturday, May 30, at Toast in Mason City, promoting their debut release “Truth Be Told.”

The Uniphonics, a five-piece ensemble that includes guitar, bass, drums, saxophone and emcee, is not a typical hip-hop band.

In May 2007, the group formed out of Iowa City’s music scene to compete in Euforquestra’s Battle of the Bands for a performance slot at the annual music festival, Camp Euforia.

“We got together after playing in local jams,” said Craigula Heid-gerken, the group’s guitarist.

“We had a little grace period of about two weeks” after the band formed to prepare for the Battle of the Bands.

They wrote an hour’s worth of material in those two weeks and won the battle.

“We thought maybe we should pursue this a little,” he said.

They have since won nearly every battle of the bands they’ve entered, including Summer Camp and Phi Mu Alpha Battle of the Bands in 2008 and Wakarusa 2009.

The Uniphonics are Derek “MC Animosity” Thorn, lead vocals; Craigula Heidgerken, guitar; Ryan Casteel, bass; Forrest Heusinkveld, drums and vocals; and Ben Pierce, saxophone.

Innovative jazz-funk infused hip-hop combined with MC Animosity’s passionate content-driven lyrics creates a dance party atmosphere.

“We create regular jazz funk tunes and throw the hip-hop on top of that. We’re just stylistically different than any bands out there,” Heidgerken said.

Their “Truth Be Told” EP has been described as an “18+ minute slab of ice-cold jazzy funk featuring taut grooves and hip-hop sensibility” by the Press-Citizen’s Jim Mussel.

The release is part of the evolution of modern hip-hop, bridging the gap between the live band and content-driven MCs.

The band is currently recording a full-length album, “Crawl,” to be released in mid-summer.

There will be a disc give-away during the show as well as other merchandise available for purchase.

For more information, visit - Globe Gazette

"Must-See Bands"

One of the great things about living in a college town is the diversity of the music scene. Just about any type of music can be heard on any given night of the week, from hard rock to soul to blues to hip-hop to folk.

Another blessing -- or curse -- is that the scene is constantly changing. New groups come and go quickly, given the constant arrival and departure of students.

Here are a few of the most interesting bands currently on the scene. Some are new and some have been around a while. But they reflect the wide range of sounds that can be found in the area. If you're looking to check out a show, put these six on your must-see list.


Band members: Derek "Animosity" Thorn, MC; Ben Pierce, sax; Craig Heidgerken, guitar; Joe McKinley, keyboards; Ryan Casteel, bass; Forrest Heusinkveld, drums, vocals.

Web site: theuniphonics.

Upcoming local appearance: March 4 at the Iowa City Yacht Club.

What they sound like: Jazz/funk infused hip-hop.

Inside info: One of the more unique local acts, The Uniphonics has been mixing up its eccentric blend of sounds for nearly three years. The band's first full-length album, "Truth be Told," will come out this spring, and it features a very special guest in trombonist Robin Eubanks. Eubanks is a member of jazz legend Dave Holland's quintet, which headlined the Iowa City Jazz Festival last summer, and the brother of Jay Leno sidekick Kevin Eubanks. He saw the Uniphonics play on the college stage that weekend and offered his services for the new project.

"We took him out on the town for a couple days, and he really liked our music," guitarist Craig Heidgerken said.

The Uniphonics is looking to play farther from home, and are in Texas this week. Stops in Michigan, Wisconsin and Ohio also are planned this spring, but the band has made the Iowa City Yacht Club their home base. - Iowa City Press-Citizen

"The Uniphonics @ The Magic Bus"

If I had to make a list of my favorite things to do in Iowa City, tailgating would be right at the top. The Magic Bus is one of the many things I love about spending my Saturdays in the fall at Kinnick Stadium.

The Magic Bus is owned and operated by the Iowa City Rugby Club. According to their web page, they donate thousands of dollars each year to local charities. So far, they have donated over $100,000. Sadly, this might be the last year for the bus.

Playboy Magazine rated Iowa the #9 party school, citing the Magic Bus and the tailgating experience as one of the reasons why.
photo from

photo from

This week, The Uniphonics will be playing during the Saturday morning tailgate. They have a sort of jazz swagger to them with a hip-hop front man, Derek Thorn AKA MC Animosity.

If you go check them out on Saturday (dreadlocks optional), expect to pay $10 for music and all the beer you want. You might want to get there early though, because The Uniphonics are pretty popular around these parts. Luckily for me, I know people, so I usually spend my tailgates at the house one door over from where the bus is, so I will get to listen to them for freeeeeee!

I fully expect to hear their song “Iowa City.” I’ve heard it live probably 20 times, but it is always fun to hear.

“Iowa City is the city that never sleeps, black and gold and we roll on our enemies.” Lets just hope we can roll on the Hoosiers. - The Iowa Blog


"Truth Be Told" EP --released January 30th, 2009

"Crawl" LP --released Sept 10th, 2010



In May 2007, The Uniphonics formed out of the Iowa City music scene to compete in a Battle of the Bands for a performance slot at the annual music festival, Camp Euforia. Victory solidified the musical union and since then, they have been well received all across the region and have been seen as far as Texas and Eastern Ohio. The Uniphonics are quickly becoming a staple at many venues and festivals in the Midwest.
The Uniphonics have performed at large events that include- Wakarusa, Summer Camp, Mid-Point Music Fest, Camp Euforia, River-Roots, Iowa City Jazz Fest and New Bohemia. They have also performed shows with major acts such as Primus, Rusted Root, Karl Denson's Tiny Universe, G-Unit and Kidz in the Hall.
The Uniphonics continue to tour and expand on the back of a high energy show, thought provoking lyrics and infectious grooves.
They are a fluid emulsification of their many diverse parts, mixing rock, funk, hip-hop, jazz and classical elements into one great greasy stew of listening pleasure.