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L.A. Beat

USS put on their “work shoes ” to succeed

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Things are starting to pop for Toronto based duo USS (Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker) who just released their fourth CD “New World Alphabet ”on Jan. 13.

USS returning to headline Lethbridge show. Photo submitted
 They return to Lethbridge to play Pulse with Repartee, Feb. 6.
The duo including vocalist/ guitarist/ erhu player Ash Boo-Schultz and turntableist/ hype man Jay Parsons aka the Human Kebab, have high hopes for the CD. The first single “ Work Shoes” is getting constant airplay on radio across Canada including the Bridge in Lethbridge, and they have high hopes for the other three singles “Who’s With Me,” “Domino” and “California Medication.”

Unfortunately the show had to be cancelled due to Ash being diagnosed with a throat infection. Tickets will be refunded at the point of purchase.
“It’s just amazing. We‘ve been spending the week doing press for the album and we did a crowd funding campaign for this album, so we’ve hand delivered 11 copies of the album to people in the Greater Toronto Area. And we’ve been doing bowling parties,” said Jay, adding it has been fun delivering crowd funding rewards, especially the personal delivery of the albums.
“Unless you’re invited, how often to you get to see how people live? And Ash and I know the Greater Toronto Area very well and with GPS, it’s really easy to get around,” he said adding the hand delivery is one of many ways USS connect with their fans.

“We were pretty strict about where we delivered, so people invited their friends from out of town to come and meet us when we delivered the albums,” he said, from Andrews Hall in Detroit, one of a pair of American dates the duo are playing in support of the new album.

“It‘s funny, the last time we played a bar in the basement of this building, which is where Eminem got his start and we told the promoter how much Eminem meant to us, and he said next time we’ll be playing the big room and here we are,” he said, adding they enjoy playing American dates, but have no plans for an American tour — yet. They did an American tour last December over Christmas.

“We’re waiting for the right opportunity,” he said adding they already get positive response in the U.S.

“In the border cities like Detroit and Niagara Falls, New York, the fans are overzealous. They want to be part of your lives for everything, the meet and greets, the show and the after shows. You come into town and you’re the cool kid in town for the next 24 hours,” he enthused.
“And all of the people we talk to tell us they like Canadian music better than American music, which is strange because the American Top 40 charts are the charts of the world,” he said.

“I was in Morocco last year and I was in a cab that must have been built in the 1980’s and the driver was switching between Arabic music and American music, and he was singing along. He could barely speak English, but he knew all the words to these American songs,” he said.
“That’s the power of melody.”


USS are starting to make headway in Europe as well, though they haven’t finalized a European tour.
“There is talk of Germany,” he said adding they are working on a tour of  Europe with their team in Germany, where the new album will be released shortly.
“And there has been some interest in Australia too,” he said, adding it has been a slow build for the band and an enjoyable ride.

The success of “Work Shoes” has been an important part of that. It was one of  four songs the duo wrote in Los Angeles, in between sessions in Vancouver and Toronto.
“It‘s already reached number two on the charts, though we haven’t been able to crack that elusive number one yet,” he said.
“It’s been beautiful. We wrote it in Los Angeles and brought it back to our producer Tawgs Salter. It’s always a gamble when you release new music. You’re rolling the dice every time,” he said.

“Ash and I get together with a bunch of different sounds and ideas and I make some beats and put them into the laptop. But you never know how people will react to it,” he said.
 They stepped out of their comfort zone and went to Los Angeles  to write the music for this CD.

“We wrote with songwriters from Santa Monica to West Hollywood. There is a Southern California feel where anything is possible. And it helped us to get out of our comfort zones,” he said, adding the Southern California sessions were fruitful.
“We wrote ‘Work Shoes,’ Who’s With Me, ‘Domino,’ and ‘ California Medication’ down there and those ended up being the singles,” he said.

“ We rolled the dice and brought them back to Toronto  to our producer Tawgs Salter. And here we are on release day,” he enthused.
They have played Lethbridge several times — at the University of Lethbridge for Frosh week and with Mother Mother at Average Joes back in 2015.

“I remember it was a Tuesday night and it was sold out, it was important for us to play in front of an alternative audience,” he said.
“Before that we played the university for Frosh week. And the police came because they were getting noise complaints from the other side of the coulee. So we always enjoy playing Lethbridge because it is always interesting. Lethbridge has been on our radar for a long time,” he observed.
“We never want to play the same show twice,“ he said.

 They are excited to return to Lethbridge as part of their own headlining tour.
“Surprisingly, we haven’t done that since 2011. We’ve been trying to play the right festivals and get the right opening slots and keep building our fan base,” he continued.
They are always excited to play live.

“We’re a high flying, over the top maelstrom of positivity. We play every show like it’s Wembley Stadium, every broken guitar string, every drop of sweat and every scratch on my records. We leave everything on stage, because we live for this and we want to share it with everybody,” he said, adding the duo will be joined by a live drummer to complement the cornucopia of sounds, synths and keyboards from his laptop and Ash’s voice and guitar.
“It’s a different experience than a four or five piece alternative rock band with two guitars, bass and drums,” he said.
“We love playing southern Alberta. There’s no other place that looks like it. It has that wild west feel and coulees. We’re getting play on the Bridge, so we’re excited to see if that translates into fans. We’re grateful for the opportunity,” he said.
 USS and Repartee play Pulse on Monday, Feb. 6 at 8 p.m. The show has been cancelled due to Ash being diagnised with a throat infections. Tickets will be refunded from the point of purpose.

 A version of this story appears in the Jan. 18,2017 edition of the Lethbridge Sun Times/ Shopper
— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Monday, 06 February 2017 16:13 )  
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