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Music |

Interview: UMA

Wednesday 13 June 2012
Words Amy Lavelle

It’s early days for UMA- the husband and wife duo from Berlin who are combining their influences of an almost exclusively classical musical upbringing (Ella) and Flo’s passion for recording and producing, to make their avant-garde, experimental pop. So far, they’ve mainly been holed up in their home studio recording their debut EP, which saw them incorporate everything from analogue synths to the household dishwasher, capturing the high throng of vibrating mirrors with the help of a field recorder along the way. As such, they’ve only recently graduated to the live circuit, yet it’s behind the scenes at this year’s Field Day that we catch up with them for a chat before their set- not bad for a second gig, eh?

Sp: Do you find that being married has an effect on your working relationship?

Flo: It affects it in a positive and a negative way. We try to balance it out.

Sp: You’ve said before you both have strong personalities; does that ever cause a clash?

Ella: Yeah. [Laughs.] Sometimes it’s easier because we don’t have to be shy. When we want to tell the other one something, we can just go on. Because he’s married to me and I’m married to him, so we can’t just walk out.

Flo: Yeah, you can’t walk out. That’s the thing!

Ella: We have to work all our conflicts out.

Sp: That’s great.

Flo: In a way, yes.

Sp: How does playing in Enlgand compare to playing in Berlin?

Flo: It’s hard to tell ‘cause we’ve been playing here so much more.

Ella: We haven’t been playing Berlin at all. We’ve had one concert, two.

Flo: It’s hard to tell because we’ve just started playing live gigs.

Ella: We have an intense concert today

Flo: And we had our first show last night, so there’s no real comparison so far.

Sp: Given this is one of your first gigs, how does the recording process translate to the live show?

Flo: I think the main thing is the vocals. Ella’s singing a lot of different tunes, so we thought, how do we bring that to the stage, in the live sense? So we figured out we’d just use loops. So I’m looping her live. I’m recording her live and we build it up and then we can take out tracks and put them back in. So that’s the live aspect at the moment.

Sp: What are your main influences?

Flo: Music wise, it is hard to say that it is certain bands. It is more genres I say.

Ella: I grew up with classical music. I hardly listened to anything apart from

classical music until I was 18. So I’ve got all this choir stuff and piano.

Flo: Singing, it is the one person choir and I think that is the classic thing of it really. It had in a way to do with choir music, even though it isn’t. It’s experimental pop music, you might say. I like a lot of the down tempo music at the moment that is very present. I like it a lot and try to incorporate it, but I don’t want it to be dub step or anything like that. So we tried to incorporate this doomy, down-beat music, very bassy music and mix that with the choir music and try to create something new. There is maybe influences like Laurie Anderson, because she is a female performer who did a lot with her vocals and stuff, so that is interesting, but we wouldn’t call her this one main influence.

Ella: It’s more like role models, like Laurie Anderson, who just worked in a really nice way. They were really independent with what they were doing. So that’s what we try to do. We try to do our own stuff; we try to make it work.

Sp: You’ve said before that you attempt to ‘capture elusive everyday moments’ in your music; can you elaborate?

Flo: One thing sound wise is that I bought a field recorder and we had our dishwasher running and at a certain point it created a rhythm, ‘cause it had something that circulates inside. So I was holding it there and we found it interesting; we recorded it. We recorded a lot of stuff around us and then we tried to incorporate it into the music, so there’s a lot of atmospheric field recordings going on that was taken into the music, that has to do with what we hear everyday. I once had in our studio a bass running and there was a high thing vibrating somewhere and I didn’t know where it was, so I was like where does it come from? So I was walking around the room and there was a mirror on the wall that was vibrating because of the bass. It was a very high sound, so I took the field recorder and I held it there and I incorporated the very high sound that was in the room into the recording. That is stuff from the music.

Ella: The lyrics are all kind of.. I might be sat on the underground, someone would say something and I would write it down.  Then read a poem, take a word and make a lyric out of it. So I’m too lazy to write my own lyrics! Just take words and put them together.

Sp: What’s next?

Flo: An album. We’re just about to release the 7 inch and the EP and we always knew that this year would be the year to release an album.

Ella: We are going to lock us in the countryside and try to record an album.


UMA’s EP Drop Your Soul is due for release on Enraptured Records on 30th July.