FROM: SHROPSHIRE, ENGLAND | FOR FANS OF: THE 1975, DON BROCO

WORDS: PHOEBE MESSENGER

Becoming The UMA was “not something that happened overnight”, says guitarist Dan Jones of the blossoming UK pop-rock outfit. Since meeting through mutual friends, they’ve been collectively writing together on various projects for ten years, and Jones says playing in different bands with each other over this timespan helped set them up to form the trio. 

everything we have been working on individually or collectively for the past 10 years has gone full circle and led to this

Other projects had slowed down, and Jones and singer Phil Marsh saw that they had had an opportunity to have full control and take a different route. Writing new material came with ease to the pair, and an initial setback of not having a full band led them to asking bassist Ben Degg to join. “Ben was the first person we thought of and he jumped at it” says Jones, adding “everything we have been working on individually or collectively for the past 10 years has gone full circle and led to this”. 

Discussing the dynamic of a three-piece, Jones jokes “it makes everything way more expensive!”, but adds that the more people you get involved, the harder it is to make decisions. Having known each other for a decade plays into it too. “We just have such a tight, genuine bond and we worried that the 4th member could feel a bit disconnected”. 

We try to capture the meaning and metaphors of the song in a way that doesn’t really make sense until it’s pointed out

Their recent music video for single ‘Wake Up’ garnered positive feedback, featuring a vibrant pink backdrop and other garish features. “Pink has definitely ended up as our main colour”. “Each of our songs have completely different meanings so, whilst we’ll continue to use pink and abstract imagery, it will definitely alter in each music video that we do”. “We try to capture the meaning and metaphors of the song in a way that doesn’t really make sense until it’s pointed out.”

“I think in terms of music, you can definitely hear elements of The 1975, Don Broco, PVRIS and The HUNNA”. “In terms of our song writing influences, I don’t really think I could give you a definitive view of what influences us exactly. I think there’s a tonne of meaning, whether that be personal experiences or topics that we want to get off our chest, that we try and craft into one thing that makes sense”. 

Sometimes you just have to stop and take a minute to realise what’s going on around you because it certainly isn’t pretty

Regarding the current global lockdown, things haven’t been too different for the trio, who all live in different areas of the country. “Pre-lockdown, we’d make sure that we spent at least 1 weekend a month meeting up and just solidly writing but the time in between then we’d all be doing our own thing! Whether that’s producing ideas and sending them back and forth between ourselves or toying with lyrics/concepts in a WhatsApp group, we’ve just rolled with it”. “We’ve just kept that going throughout lockdown and, if anything, it’s probably enabled us to write more because there’s not really any other distractions!”

Reflecting on the growing situation surrounding racism and brutality, Jones says “Speaking on the behalf of all of us, I just can’t come to terms with the world we’re currently living in. Sometimes you just have to stop and take a minute to realise what’s going on around you because it certainly isn’t pretty. It’s hard to recognise that we’re all living through 2020, which is supposed to be a year of acceptance and change, and still having to witness racism, brutality and an obvious divide in stance on those matters. 

“In terms of everything that’s going on, I think it will definitely influence in an indirect way. We’ve never really felt the need to be a political band or to dive into topics that could create division in a way that’s explicit”. “I just think we naturally take a slightly separate approach without even realising it”. 

On what we can expect from The UMA for the rest of the year, he says “We’ll be putting out as much new music as possible for sure. I think now is a time when people need something to relate to and to pull them back down to earth… For me, there’s nothing better to help you do that than music and I’m sure there are so many people out there who feel the same”. We can’t wait to see what comes next! 

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