With their eclectic take on modern pop music, ULTRAS have a range of different influences and hope to impress audiences with their sound on their upcoming debut album. We got the opportunity to catch up with the trio to find out a little more about their music, aspirations for the future and more…
For those who may be new to your music, how best would you describe your sound?
Violent pop for the patronised! But hopefully it's difficult to sum up, and that phrase doesn't do justice, something that's easy to sum up must be uninteresting I think.
What challenges have you faced in the music industry so far?
Nothing too bad, just the daily grind of ritual humiliation and pot noodle dependent poverty while everyone around you is getting paid, you know, the usual.
How difficult would you say this career path is in terms of making a name for yourself?
It's absurdly difficult, no-one in their right mind would do it. It's massively over-saturated and everyone is told they are special and it's happening for them and they are going to win in life's big competition. But they aren't. So you can't go into this trying to make a name for yourself, you've got to do it because you believe in what you're saying and you love to do it. That way when good things happen it's a bonus.
How important is it for you to have creative control over the work you produce?
There is literally no other reason to do it other than having a creative vision that you believe in, so I wouldn't bother if I didn't have that. There is no money in this except at the very top, and pursuit of fame and adoration is unhealthy (and I really mean that when I say it's unhealthy, it kills people.)
Where do you draw influence and inspiration from for your work?
Everything around you ends up informing what you do I think, your politics, your community, your childhood, your football team. Every song on the album addresses violence in one way or another, which is something I was terrified by and grimly fascinated with as a child. So there are out and out anti-war songs in there and stuff that has a far more complicated relationship with feelings like trying to stand your ground and not back down. If you grow up in working class central Scotland like I did, there's a weird sort of praise for our violent past and present. There's a lot of psychological trouble to mine there!
If you could collaborate with anybody going forward, who would you choose and why?
In ridiculous fantasy land I would like to work with a great hip hop producer like Timbaland, but really I loved working with the 5 other producers that are on the ULTRAS album, it was a wishlist for me of people making music in Scotland, folk I've worked with before or have been meaning to for a long time, and I was delighted that everyone said yes. Jonnie Common, Ben Hillman, Julian Corrie (Miaoux Miaoux), Joe Cormack (Pictish Trail, The Massacre Cave), Paul 'Gal' Gallagher. Legends all of them.
Tell us a random, funny fact about you that not many people know.
I have spewed in every car that my dad has ever owned except his current one. There's still time.
Do you have definitive aims or goals for your career?
No I think that would be bad for your mental health. When good things happen, like nice people writing nice things about us or playing us on the radio, that's amazing, but you'd be surprised how unplanned all of the best things that have happened in my career were. You can just plan to continue to release good stuff and the rest takes care of itself.
Where do you hope to be this time next year?
I will be married by then! I also hope to have finished writing the play that I'm working on, and to have written another album.
What should we expect from you in the coming weeks and months?
The single Team Handed is out on 10th March, then that'll be followed by another single and the album, which is out on 28th April on vinyl and download. We're playing up and down in support of that, so come along and see us! It's a very busy time but it's exciting that there's lots of new stuff to share.
ULTRAS new self-titled album is released on April 28, 2017 via Hello Thor Records and Instinctive Racoon.