USS

Can you tell us a little about how the band got started and how the band got together? 

I suppose the bands been around in different incarnations about 10 years now. We formed out of a band called Prago, and after various line-up changes we settled on the line-up on our last album, Start / Stop. Since then its been pretty simple I suppose, we went on a tour after that and we decided we needed some strings, so we brought on Steve and Alex, and Roger, our keyboard player, and they just added a great deal. They’ve been in ever since, and that was at the beginning of the writing of the new record. So its been a long and winding road I suppose but this record has certainly been a central part of the journey and where we found our feet.

 

One of the most interesting things about the record is that it was recorded in a studio you built from scratch. How did that come about? 

I’d like to take credit myself but it had really very little to do with me. We had a studio where we rehearsed, which was at our guitarist Dan’s place, and we just decided to knock a wall down a build in a control room.  Dan, with the help of some friends, literally built the control room by hand. We sourced some gear that he wanted and got that in there and just did the whole thing from there. It was brilliant becoming self-sufficient, and it was a great environment to make a record in.

 

Everything about your latest record, To The Wolves, was recorded very independently. Why did you decide to go down this path? 

As a band we always thought that we always wanted to be able to depend on ourselves. After going through the process of having to depend on other people in the past its always a process of waiting on other people. We are fortunate enough to have skills outside playing music in the band; Casper does all the design work and Dan does all the production things. With that ability to do it ourselves we thought: “what’s the point in spending money going into a studio when we can spend less money and make the record ourselves?”.

 

To The Wolves is a lot more stripped back than your last record. What lead to this change in sound? 

We finished Start / Stop and we thought that we wanted to step away from the “rock” side of it, if that’s the right way to put it. When you’re younger you have different influences. I guess that our music tastes had changed, and I think that we wanted to move away from that and go towards the elements of Start / Stop that we all collectively really loved. We wanted to look at the “less is more” aspect of making music. On our last record I think we probably filled spaces unnecessarily, and on this record we let things breathe a bit more. I think the record we were listening to during the build up to To The Wolves was The Antlers’ Burst Apart, which is a record that has so much space. I remember listening to that in the car on the way to the studio and thinking about how brilliant it was to take that in.

 

Its interesting that both your brothers (Will and Charlie Simpson) have become musicians. Was this because of a particularly musical upbringing? 

Music’s been massively important to our family. Dinner table discussions revolved solely around music. That’s always been a common passion between us. I think there was just a point in our lives, at one point or another; we decided that we wanted to make music ourselves. I suppose we spurred each other on in that sense.

 

Do you find having 2 brothers that are out their getting noticed in the music industry helpful, or do you find the comparisons you get to be annoying. 

Probably the latter more, actually. Apart from our music being in the guitar music genre I don’t really see our music as particularly similar. I guess Charlie and Will were much more rock music then I am. I mean we all grew up listening to Deftones and KoRn and whatever else, but the side of music I’ve always been into something that they haven’t been into as much. I have always listened to 80s and 90s American indie bands like Guided By Voices, who were a big influence on me and not necessarily on them. It’s the same on the post-rock side. I mean Aerogramme’s A Story In White was the album that inspired me to start writing. I suppose I just don’t have the same affiliation with American rock music as they do.

 

Considering that your music is so different, do you think your music will go down well when you tour with him? 

Well, we’ve toured with him a couple of years ago, and it seemed to go down really well. We’re just really looking forward to going out and playing, especially with this new record. We played the last record to death and its really exciting to put this new record out there.

 

Finally, the band seemed to have a very clear direction of where they wanted to go on To The Lions. If everything goes to plan, what would you want to get out of this record? 

I think the difference between making of this record and the last record was that we had an eye on what was going on around us, like what could be achieved with the record. I think we spent so long dealing with the business side of the record that we forgot what it is to be creative. I think we needed some time out after Start/ Stop to remember why we were doing it in the first place. The motivation for recording this album was to lock ourselves in a room for a few years and come out with a record that we love and believed in. Now’s the scary part I guess. We’ve one our job, and now it’s a case of seeing peoples reactions. We’ve had some really positive responses to the tracks we’ve put out so far, and we just hope its keeps building like that.

Sean Lewis

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