My job is to translate feelings to words, about music, which is meant to speak for itself. So, sometimes, I run across a band that I absolutely can not put the proper description into words. Ume (pronounced Ooo-May) is definitely one of those bands. This three-piece from Austin, TX has a captivating sound. With the beautiful, fireball of energy Lauren Larson leading the charge, Ume delivers a sound that is as intriguing, as it is unique. It is definitely guitar-driven, it’s definitely melodic, but it’s unlike most anything you’ve ever heard. If I had to sum up Ume with one word, it would simply be, refreshing. Their new album Phantoms is out now. Catch a show, fall in love, thank me later.
Today, I’m glad to welcome Lauren Larson of Ume. Lauren is the vocalist, guitarist, and keyboardist of the band. First and foremost, thank you so much for joining me today, and welcome to the Unsung Melody family. Ume is as different a band as we have had on our site, and I’m truly excited to introduce you to our readers. Let’s talk a bit about your new album Phantom. I would describe it as a bit of shoegaze, with a sweet, soulful feel. Your voice is how I would’ve imagined the sirens singing in Greek mythology would’ve sounded luring in sailors. How would you describe the album in your own words, to someone not familiar with the band?
To me, making music, there is something ineffable about it. It’s always, I think, the hardest thing as a musician, to describe her music in words. What I try to do, is I try to incorporate moments of beauty and melody, without the moments of brutality and aggression. I think that comes out more, in my guitar work I do. I never want the heavier side to compromise the melodic side. We try to combine that in new ways, and that’s the end result.
Captive is a single from the band and it has an amazing video. Tell me a bit about the concept and who you guys worked with.
Yeah, that was done by a director named Matt Bizer. We had gone out in, I think it was 110 degree weather at that time, into an old abandoned country home in Texas. We filmed that with some homemade pyrotechnics. (laughter) It was the first time for us to do, an official music video, and I think we shot 18 hours straight. To try and knock it out in one day. It was a lot of fun.
One of my favorite songs off the album is Dancing Blind. I think it is a good example of the band’s style. Tell me a bit about the story behind that one.
Dancing Blind is actually one of the older songs on the record, that we revamped to include on that record. For me, that song is about, of course I always want any audience member to make his or her own interpretation, but it’s really about letting go. There’s a line that says, no one needs eyes, kind of letting yourself take the jump I think. Which for me, has a lot of different meanings.
You played the Bunbury Festival in Cincinnati (or SinSinNasty as I like to call it). I spoke with some photographers recently who caught your set and were totally blown away. How was that Festival experience for you?
That was a really awesome festival. It was kind of a blitzkrieg for us. As far as, flying in, right when we were unloading, the big rain storm hit, but it was a pretty good organized festival. We got to share the stage with two local Cincinnati bands, Pomegranates and Bad Veins. They are also on our label. That was a lot of fun. Especially for a first year of a festival, it was so well run. Good hospitality, and a good crowd.
Cincinnati is known for it’s chili, did you get to experience that while you were there?
Yes we did. (laughter) We always try to check out the local food wherever we go. Anthony Bourdain called us one of the few bands he’s ever met that were true foodies. So, we definitely check out the local flavors. We ate at a place called Melt. We had a good Vegan chili, then we did the Dixie chili, and I learned what six-ways means. (laughter)
It was not only a fun trip, but educational it seems. So, there ya go. The band is based in Austin, TX. I’m really curious to know, how much, if any influence the South By SouthWest Festival and the Austin scene has had on the band.
We love Austin. I’m a Texan, and I’ve got to have the heat, the Lone Star, and the good food, and the music. One thing about having so many good bands in town, is it really pushes you to work hard as a band. Austin has a really supportive community here. With so much happening, it just encourages you to keep up your chops, and become a better musician to keep playing.
Alright, I always end my interviews on a random question. So, here goes yours; If you could be a real life Disney Princess, who would it be and why?
(laughter) A Disney Princess hmmmm. My favorite when I was a kid was probably Sleeping Beauty, (laughter) because she was an animal whisperer. I always thought that was really cool.
Lauren, I thank you so much taking a few minutes to speak with us today. The site and myself, wish you and the band nothing but the best. Hopefully we can catch you out there on the road soon.
Lauren-Vocals, Guitar, Keys
Purchase the new album Phantoms by Ume from Amazon below:
Check out the video to Captive by Ume below: