The weather this summer may have been as cheery as a Morrissey album, but if The Ukuleles had their way, all the sun you ever needed would be coming out of your stereo.
The duo are set to release their debut album next Monday, a self-titled sun soaked collection of ukulele tributes to some the charts biggest hitters over the past couple of years.
We grabbed a quick word with Martha from the band to talk about the album, how the duo got together and her affection for the tiny instrument in question.
So how excited are you about the debut album?
Oh yeah, really excited! I kind of haven’t really thought about it though because it’s happened so fast that it doesn’t actually seem real!
You’ve been doing things like BBC Breakfast to promote it, how’s that all been?
Yeah, it’s really crazy. It’s such a good experience and it’s hectic. My schedule is really hectic, but it’s so much fun.
So how would you describe your sound then?
I’d describe it as fresh, young, happy. Quite chilled out really, that’s what we were going for.
Why the ukulele though?
Well, I played the guitar already and I just wanted to try my hand at something else. Then I saw Jack Johnson playing a ukulele at a concert and thought ‘Hey, I’ll give that a go’. I really like its portability too, I took to Asia with me last summer because I couldn’t take my guitar. So I just travelled around with it for two months and it’s really nice to have an instrument with me.
So how did you and Logan get together then?
Well, I was playing at the Great Escape festival in Brighton and I was doing a few songs on the ukulele and Logan came up to me after I’d finished. He’d had this idea in his head that he wanted to make some sort of ukulele duo because he was playing the ukulele too and he thought it would sound really good with a female vocal as well. So we just got together a few times, started playing and it sounded really good, so that’s how it started.
Who’s idea was it to do the album?
Well, it wasn’t really our idea. We never would have thought of doing an album, it was just fun. It was the people who found us who thought we should make the album and we just thought ‘OK, why not?’
How do you go about choosing what songs to cover?
Well, to start with, because we were doing a bit of busking together, we were just doing songs that were popular and we know people liked, like Cee Lo Green and Adele. We decided we might as well do those songs on the album, we already know people like them and we’ll get a good reaction. We also wanted songs that people could learn too. The album comes with a book that you can teach yourself the songs that we’re playing from, so we chose songs we knew people would want to learn.
Is it imposing taking on songs by artists like Adele and Ed Sheeran?
It is, but at the same time, I think we’re doing them in such a different way, I don’t think you can compare them. Obviously the originals are better but that’s why we tried to do them differently so that we weren’t trying to copy them.
The album features some original tracks too, was that something new for you?
Me and Logan already write our own original songs, but I didn’t actually write any of the songs on the album. I was mainly in charge of the covers really this time around.
So we know about the ukulele, but are there any more underappreciated instruments you have a soft spot for?
I really want a banjo! I guess that’s really only popular in America, but I’ve always really liked the banjo.
How many Hawaiian shirts do you usually get at the shows?
None really, I only ever really see them on Logan when we’re performing.
So, to finish up, what’s next for you then?
Well, I’m just taking it as it comes really. I mean, I’m still at university and Logan’s got a full time job, so it’s a little difficult. We’re going to try and play a few shows, but at the moment we’re just going day by day.
The Ukuleles debut album is out on September 3rd.
FemaleFirst Cameron Smith