Interview – USS

By: Amanda Hather

Toronto band, Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker, otherwise known as USS, consists of Ash Boo-Schultz and Human Kebab. They describe their music as “like a campfire after-party with a jungle-rave vibe, progressively two-stepping their way to a dance folk cuddle”. They released their album ‘Approved’ back in 2011 (you can check it out here:https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/approved/id434403445) and they recently released their single “This Is The Best”, which you can purchase here https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/this-is-the-best-single/id652363445, along with a lyric video for the song http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o6LGi2Y9GYk.

USS has acquired many awards, including two CASBY Awards for Best New Artist and Favorite New Single, a Canadian Independent Music Award for Favorite Group of the Year, and two consecutive Canadian Organization of Campus Activities Awards for Best Emerging Artist.

So you may be asking yourself how you get to know more about this amazing band. Good question! You can check out their websites:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/USSMUSIC
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ussmusic
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/USSofficial?feature=watch
Website: http://ussmusic.com/home/

And, as always, just continue to read this interview.

What inspired you to first start playing music?

USS: Djying. Literally standing on a stage and entertaining total strangers. As a band, we have always experienced music through our concertgoers. Making people happy for an hour and a half every night is why we first started playing music.

What comes first when you write music (i.e. lyrics, music, etc.)?

USS: Melody and lyrics. Ash holds down the fort on these two key preliminary ingredients. Music may or not be available during the initial stages of song composition within the creative context of USS.

What kinds of things inspire you to write new songs?

USS: For me it’s the sounds and rhythms that will move people on every different level of consumption. To speak for Ash, I feel that he spawns ideas out of experiences as they are happening to him. Lyrically he is in sync with his best and worst of times as a person. This is the true essence of a USS song: living it.

If you could work/tour with any band or artist, alive or dead, who would it be and why?

USS: Carrot Top, Nazareth and The Trews. Dream lineup created by the one and only B.A. Johnston. Impeccable touring package right here.

You have the lyrics, “I’d been feeling so inspired” in the chorus of “This Is The Best”, so, what inspired this song? Why did you make it a single?

USS: Lyrically and melodically this song was crafted over the course of a decade and a half. The depths of hell juxtaposed with the lofty heights of hedonism inspired “This Is The Best”. We made it a single because it took us a day and a half to write and track start to finish with our colleague, producer and co-writer Tawgs Salter standing there saying, “well, here’s the first one”. As a team we were that confident.

Have your fans reacted as you had hoped to “This Is The Best”?

USS: This is by far our most successful song to date. We could not have anticipated the reaction from fans, old and new. They have gone above and beyond to share their wonderful words and thoughts with us. It is truly humbling.

If there was one thing that you could change about the music industry, what would it be and why?

USS: The politics. Politics in radio, politics in touring. I could write a thesis on the politics of music and its effect on independent artists.

A lot of bands and artists are connecting with fans through social media. Do you think this is an important tool for musicians?

USS: It is absolutely 100% the most important tool for any business, let alone musician. Now more than ever, the world wants to watch your every move or at least feel validated. Artists have the opportunity to interact with their fans on their smartphones with the push of a few buttons. These are people who will support your career for the rest of your life if you do good by them with your social media.

Out of all of your songs, which is your favourite to perform live?

USS: Damini. We noticed early on that people react to it with the same conviction that we had in producing and writing it. In a live setting, it is chaos through elephants on a trampoline of willingness.

What comes next for you?

USS: More random shows all over the place. Complete our latest recorded efforts and see the world all throughout 2014.

Now a few fun questions.

What is the first song you remember listening to?

USS: Every giant single by Phil Collins, courtesy of my father.

What was the first CD that you bought?

USS: Public Enemy – Fear of a Black Planet.

Any guilty pleasures?

USS: Catching up on Twitter for 20 minutes on any given toilet around the world.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be?

USS: Chechnya

What is your favourite childhood memory?

USS: Discovering hip hop music in Grade 5.

Favourite flavour of ice cream?

USS: Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

Favourite TV show/movie?

USS: Walking Dead / Terminator 2

Favourite book?

USS: The World’s Most Dangerous Places

Do you prefer Twitter or Facebook?

USS: Twitter

Do you prefer dogs or cats?

USS: Dogs

I’m a Toronto girl born and raised but have been living in Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick since 2010. Music and writing are my two passions, so what better place for me to be than a writer with Canadian Beats? I have been writing for the blog since May of 2013 and have had so many great experiences because of it. I listen to almost every kind of music but my favourites are pop rock, rock, indie, folk, and any other combinations of them. Concerts are definitely my favourite place to be, especially when you’re right against the barricade and can feel the energy from the band and the crowd, everyone singing the same lyrics and moving to the music. I also have a college degree in Business Administration and hope to one day be able to publish a novel.
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