Interview with Ursus

Sep 16th 2015

UK prog metal youngsters, Ursus recently came up with their debut EP release titled "The Migration," which is a great opening for the band's future. Read below what they have to say about the EP and the future plans.

Ursus - The Migration

How would you describe “The Migration”?

The Migration is heavy as hell and it also grooves pretty damn hard! We took a lot of influences from progressive music and then just went heavier from there. For our first EP we wanted something that would hit the listener hard and The Migration does just that across the board, in the mix, in the songs and in the vocals. It sounds fairly technical without pushing too hard for odd time signatures and disjointed rhythms which ensure that anyone who is listening to it is banging their head from start to finish.

Are you satisfied with how “The Migration” turned out?

Musically these songs had all been in the works for at least 6 months before any recording was done which gave us the opportunity to spend a lot of time honing in on each track and making them all sound exactly how we wanted. Therefore we were extremely happy with the EP musically. Also considering how low budget the actual recording process was we were all thrilled with the production quality of the EP and we feel that this was especially important since the quality sets us apart from a lot of bands releasing their first EP’s. So overall we couldn’t be happier with our first EP however it is still the first one and we are a band that is looking to improve with every release so there is definitely room for improvement.

The EP was recorded at a home studio. What are the drawbacks and benefits of working in such surrounding?

The great thing about working in a home studio environment, and having our guitarist record and mix the whole thing, is that you get to spend as much time as you want on each part. It allows you to be incredibly picky and only allow the best takes through into the finished product. Lots of bands that opt for a studio have to get everything recorded in the space of a few days because of the cost but we could take our time and make sure that everything was exactly how we wanted it before we released anything. 

The big drawback of this though is having all this time can lead to you being too picky which is as much as bad thing as it is a good thing. The perfect example of this would be our first single Scavenger. Our guitarist mixed and mastered this at his school and spent hours working on it before it was done. Then he went home two weeks later and made a better mix on his laptop with apple headphones in one hour with the TV on. Just because he wasn’t thinking about it as much it ended up just coming together much better and we ended up remixing the entire EP before it was even released. So some advice from us for anyone using a home studio would be to be picky but not too picky. It sounds easy but it really is something to be careful about.

What are the themes you explore in your lyrics?

The lyrics in the EP cover a wide range of things from self improvement, love and facing your demons. Although the lyrics can be dark and violent they are actually quite positive, some of them talk about some pretty bad times, but through the band and the songs it was possible to move on from the bad things and use those bad experiences in songs so that people who understand them could perhaps be helped, if they were struggling with a similar situation. Our first single 'Scavenger' has the line 'Disguised by myself, I am the one true hate' the whole song, but this section in particular talks about problems with alcohol at a certain point in life, like I wouldn't call it addiction, because it definitely wasn't as bad as that, but I was certainly drinking more than I should have and it came to the point where I was ashamed by what I had become, I realised I needed to do something about the situation I was in.

Can you say that your personalities reflect on the sound of Ursus? Is the sound reflection of your characters?

I wouldn’t really say it reflects our personalities much because the whole band are all really relaxed individuals. It definitely is a good reflection of all our musical tastes mixed together but everyone in the band is very chilled. Not to say we don’t work hard at our music but the practices are always a huge laugh and it’s a very relaxed environment. None of us are really sure how we go from that to the aggressive music that is Ursus but it works for us. It’s probably more of an outlet considering how calm everyone is usually. It’s important to get those emotions out somehow and its probably better to do it through music instead of getting in fist fights.

Ursus is a young band. Are you satisfied with your current position, and what would you love to change and improve?

We are happy with how we are doing but we would definitely like to spend more time gigging and possibly touring. Being such a young band means that everyone has commitments like school and jobs that we struggle to get away from and this has really cut into our gigging time. It also means that we have been prevented from having any proper tours because no one can get away from college for long enough. 

Saying that though after our last few gigs we definitely feel like Ursus is moving forward. Our last show at The Victoria in Swindon was our best yet and we’re playing alongside a lot of experienced musicians which means that we get the opportunity to learn from their mistakes before we make them ourselves.

Is there any new material you are working on at the moment?

We do have some new music in the workings at the moment. There are two singles that will be coming out in the near future that we are just waiting to re record the guitars and bass for as well as sticking to vocal tracks on. We just needed some material to bridge the gap between The Migration and our next EP whilst we are writing for it so people can expect a new song in the near future.

Do you believe that music serves the purpose beyond music? Have you ever experienced those moments when a song, or an album can change your views on something?

We believe very strongly that music serves a much higher purpose than just being something to listen to, music is inspiring beyond words I feel like it gives people to ability to voice their opinion on something and have a greater effect on the listeners rather than just talking about it normally.

Probably anybody who loves music as much as the members of this band do has had more than one moment where music has made a difference. An album or a song can definitely change your mood or your feelings towards certain things so who’s to say it can’t change your life a little bit as well.

What do you guys do in your every-day lives?

When we’re not doing Ursus almost all of us are students which can be challenging to try and work around in order for gigs but I would say we are doing a pretty good job so far. Three of us are actually starting performance degrees this year, and our singer is starting a music journalism degree, which is great because it gives us the ability to focus a lot more on our music as we aren’t going to be doing anything else for the next few years. Which means more music for all of our fans!

What is your message for people who yet have to discover the Ursus world?

For anyone yet to discover Ursus; If you like insane shows and heavy as hell music get our EP and get down to a show to see what you’re missing!

You can follow Ursus at their official social networks listed below: