Interview with Ucan2

September 21st 2015

Ucan2 are instrumental rock quartet from Brno in Czech Republic. Their most recent release is a single titled "Pompeii" which announces the next big thing for the band, after the debut full length album "Air" was released in 2014. Guitarist Petr Bartonek talked with Perfect Prog about this. Read the interview below.

Describe the music of Ucan2.

Our music is instrumental and that in many ways is a big plus and also a big minus now a days. We think that we belong into the rock - progressive category. Most of the time we have a leading guitar that speaks instead of the standard singer singing, but we think that the melodies are easy to follow and to understand and the band plays together in the songs feel. Some of our songs are heavier and some just light and more about the flow, there are no words to give you the path so everyone can imagine something different to each song and that´s something of which we are proud of, ''the freedom of imagination''.

Tell me about the complexities of creating your debut album “Air” released in 2014, and your newest release - a single titled “Pompeii.”

Each of the recordings were done in a completely different way. 

Album AIR was recorded mainly in the studio, at David´s home studio where he does his work for the movie industry. We were looking for a studio with good acoustic properties but we couldn't find a good one in Brno so we decided to record the drum tracks at the Canadian wood log house of Petr's boss. We took all the recording gear there, prepared it and recorded for one whole day basically non-stop. Guitars and bass were added at David´s home studio in Brno. The guitars were plugged into the mix line in and then recorded without any effects, no distortion and no delay, these were added later. That´s how we made AIR.

For our second record, including the single Pompeii, we recorded the drums in a studio and with the use of the Positive Grid app, the rest of the guitars and the bass was added. The mix was done in a studio by Dusan Soucek. We all sat there and just experimented with the songs. Once we had like 3-5 versions we gave our selves a break for a while. Once we got together we all had our favorites so we picked the one that had the most likes.

 

How long did it take you to complete the work on “Pompeii,” and what was the creative process like?

The recording went quite fast but the creative process of the particular track took about a month to figure where we want the song to lead and what it should feel and mean.

Are you satisfied with how the promotion of the single is handled?

We never thought we could do so well, we are very surprised of how the promotion helped the song but mainly the band to be where we are now, for us just great, thank you all for help and support.

Which bands from the scene influence your work with Ucan2?

Each of us like different bands so we are a mixture of all what we heard during our lives, starting from Peter Gabriel and ending with Pantera.. it would be a long list.

Have you ever thought of introducing a singer to the band’s line-up?

We have a surprise on our second record but there will be more time for that after the release of FIRE. We all had bands with singers and there has always been a problem, either they had cold or their English wasn't too good or they had no idea how to write a proper Czech text. It is pretty clear that music speaks for itself through notes - tones, and to be more out there we decided to go for something out of the mainstream but feeling that it is time to do it without a singer and everyone in the world will understand our music.

Where do you draw inspiration from?

As we travel a lot and get to see places together, therefore we have the same experiences and during sound checks we jam a lot and most of the ideas come from what we saw and see around us, the culture, nature, people and situations.

What do your studio and live set-ups look like?

We record only the drums in the studio. For drums we have the Yamaha stage customs, for both of the guitars we use the Marshall quads and valve 30WATT heads to get the sweet juicy sound and a lot of different analog pedals. For bass the Glock box and a SWR valve head to be more punchy and to cover the space between guitars and drums.

Name five albums that had huge impact on the musical direction of Ucan2.

Peter Gabriel - So, Pearl Jam - VS and Ten, Kings X - Dogman, Extreme - Waiting for the Punchline and Steve Vai - Sex and Religion.

What is the future for Ucan2 like?

Right now we'll finish off the gigs we have this year planned already and meanwhile we are already planning what we'll do next year. At this point we thought we did a lot of touring but next year it looks like even more. We are very glad that Pompeii caused such interest, we can't even say how happy we're about that. We'll release our next album FIRE and start touring Europe.

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