Loud and Prrroud, Baby!
Untitled Musical Project
It’s calm amongst the multi-shaded grey walls of Holborn and I’m waiting in a cosy boozer, for three down to earth lads who decided to form a band. I’m excited to meet them just before they’re appearance at the manic Durrr club night @ The end and they seem raring to go. As acquaintances are made and we casually relocate outside to enjoy a pint of central London’s finest ale (and smoke), it strikes me like a backhand to the chops that UMP really are just lads who want to make music on their own terms. And by god, it is THEIR music.
Utilising the great opportunity to the maximum, I’m here to natter about the band and their goals, their aspirations and critiques of the music scene, and why they insist on doing things their own way.
As I take a gulping mouthful of tasty alcohol, I presumptuously ask about the bands beginnings in the Midlands. But Andrew, the witty, relaxed and out-goingly hilarious drummer quickly informs me that the band hail from as far a field as Carlisle and Leeds and not all from Birmingham as I thought. But I find out that the Midlands remains as the tenuous link between the bands formation after all.
‘We all went to University together In Stafford, and did various student things together” he jokes. “We met Kieran (the guitarist) down the Pub, and the same with Jim. We thought we’d form a band from the ashes of an old outfit that Jim and I used to play in.’ explains Andrew as he munches on a portion of chips (that kept me waiting in the freezing cold!), “We just did it for a laugh really, and actually started to love what we were doing; I remember us all thinking ‘This is the best band we’ve played in before” beams Andrew, giving the impression of a man that’s finally found peace within his musical endeavours.
With a comment like that however, you would be forgiven for thinking they couldn’t play particularly well, something the band has stated themselves previously. But according to this pint sipping, avant-noise lover, fluency remains within the rhythmic and jerky nature of the music to which Kieran, the quieter, more thoughtful guitarist states “I haven’t played guitar for several years since I started, but I’m getting better now.”
“The reason we started is because I used to play in this band with Andy, and then we started moving into a heavier band’ settles Jim, “When that came to a head, we all found ourselves sitting around bored y’know? Kieran hadn’t played Guitar for ages and ages, but he just went out and bought one which was amazing
“It was cool” reminisces Andy, “We were all friends and shared very similar tastes in music. It’s a small place and there wasn’t much else interesting to do except form a band.”
The tastes that brought these disaffected youths together at the time of boredom are clear in the music. Inspired by The Pixies, The Jesus Lizard, Mcklusky and Ikara Colt, the band reveal that its more than just the gel the brought them together physically; it helped them to create original music.
“We just started to use some of the elements from the bands that we love” reveals Andy, “I think it worked. It’s a good method to use when writing music; find a few bands and just get inspired by them. Jim reiterates the point much more metaphorically however, to the amusement of all at the table.
“It’s a bit like cooking I guess. Take different ingredients; stick ‘em in the melting pot and out pops a nice brand new sound” he infectiously laughs
Anyone who’s checked out UMP will know that their sound is abrasive, loud and no holds barred. When I ask if this is why they’ve called themselves that particular name, I’m told a very different story, one that’s got diddly squat to do with representation of their ethos or any great artistic irony.
“Originally, back then, I played in this more metally band, and I didn’t want to piss those guys off too much by starting this thing” reveals Jim “We couldn’t call it a band, so we joined battle of the bands as a band with no name. And then we called ourselves manner of things such as untitled and musical project. It then pieced itself together really” he shrugs.
Although the band peddle spiky, angst fuelled lyrics and a sharp musical presence, they don’t feel that they’re music’s nature symbolizes any strong views or angry chastising
“We’re all reasonably angry” quips Andrew, “but I don’t really want to express my views in the music” he states, once again provoking the image of a band that make music for its sonic appeal rather than its highly stylised, political meaning. Something that’s refreshingly rare in the majority of bands today.
“If things are to obvious then it makes me cringe, I like to be obscure” agrees Jim
After a pause for thought, Andy rounds off the topic. “We’re quite outspoken but we don’t want to push and force our view onto other people” he sighs. “We don’t want to convince anyone of our beliefs. We don’t want people to believe it because they were told, as that’s the most stupid thing you could do, having it rammed down your throat” he tells condemningly
It not like they’re devoid of any meaning at all though. UMP create more of a polemic musical piece; you can either listen to the lyrics and couple them with the brash music, such as retro-centric baiting ‘Why Isn’t Paul McCartney Dead Already’, or you can rock out, have fun and appreciate it simply for what it is.
When I ask if any of their creations last longer than three minutes, I receive a collective response of ‘No!’ from the band, followed by Jim stating:
“If songs are required to be long then that’s cool, but it’s the pointless 24 minute guitar solo’s that I’m not into”, to which Andy agrees. “It’s just about how bands go about it. I mean, Radiohead’s ‘paranoid android” wouldn’t sound as good if it were any shorter. It’s still a great tune, just not over indulgent. We just feel comfortable with a wall of sound behind us”.
“I think that listening to 5minutes of our music would lose my interest” says Jim light heartedly, “One of our songs lasts 1.min 16, and it feels like a complete tune!”
The aforementioned track is one of eight sharp shocks delivered on the new self titled mini album which lasts 17 minutes in total, including snarling numbers like ‘Endless Deodorant’ and ‘A Popular Music Composition’ .
“It really is a mini album, but if it were a full LP, then it would be 25mins at a push. We originally blitzed the old stuff and made it really noisy, but then picked out new ones when closer to recording. It would have seemed rushed if it was recorded by another band, but we recorded it well. We spent a lot of recording time in the pub!” Answers Andy (laughter)
“In fact” shares Jim, “it was suggested by our producer that we did spend time in the pub! We’d go down, chat about the day’s entertainment over a pint or two, and then go back to the studio and go for it.” “Yeah, Recording was very pleasurable” smiles Andy
As we share a communal box of matches to light up, and finish the dregs of our expensive bevies, one question remains upon my lips; their opinion on the contemporary hum drum of modern music. Surely such an exuberant and vigorous band, full of vitality and creative freedom must have strong feelings towards the less integral side of music
“There’s loads of great, smaller bands out there man, but its just that no one knows about them and they don’t get noticed” says Andy regretfully, “its difficult for us to make an impact because of music being so sceney. Bands have to be the complete marketable package. How good you are seems to be determined by how fast you can churn stuff out. You feel worthy and realise what you’ve got if you do the toilet seat gigs (laughter) before you make the big time. You don’t demand stupid things on you’re tour rider and stuff”.
“Yeah!” blurts Jim in fits of giggles, “like carrot sticks and fresh dips” he sarcastically laughs. “We had rider specs in the other day and Kieran decided he’d be much happier if could have pre cooked carrot sticks, and a small pot of houmous weighing approximately 250 grams” he reveals to fits of laughter all around.
To be honest, never mind the homous, UMP have delivered us a fresh slab of noisy, raucous rock music, that’s more like 250 pounds of rock smashing into your head. The bands unintentional but driven attitude against the banner of stereotyped ‘indie’ music make them more than just interesting; more like fucking electric.