LOUDER PRESENTS: Mixtape Medley with The UMA
Welcome back to Mixtape Medley - our tour through the record collections and Spotify playlists of your favourite upcoming artists! In this addition, we are joined by Shropshire-based pop rock trio The UMA. From their infancy in the worlds of disco and pop punk, through metalcore, and by-passing some alt pop along the way, this trio have channeled their breath of musical influences into their own infectious brand of upbeat ragers.
All the tracks mentioned below have been compiled into this handy playlist - listen along here:
Which bands or songs do you remember surrounding you growing up?
Ben: I grew up listening to disco music because of my Dad. I remember singing bangers such as ‘Ladies Night’ by Kool And The Gang whilst we drove around. Still to this day I have an incredible love for 70’s disco music! Throughout school as I simultaneously progressed through my guitar grades, I discovered my love for rock and pop-punk such as Green Day, Sum 41, Avenged Sevenfold, Blink 182, Three Days Grace etc…I was the typical long-haired skater kid in the school band.
Phil: I remember music absolutely captivating me from a very early age and even if I think back, I can remember nursery rhymes really striking a chord. But to put my finger on a few which really impacted my early love for music - Black Sabbath – ‘Paranoid’. It was one of my Mum’s favourite songs, and I always remember it being on in the house; Ozzy in general to be honest, but that band and that particular song are huge tunes in my life. Also Phil Collins when he was in Genesis - ‘I Can’t Dance‘ absolutely grabbed me as a kid and I remember wanting it on continuously. The next would have to be ‘Yellow Submarine’ by the Beatles was another one my mother was massively into. Last, but not least, Mötley Crue's ‘Girls Girls Girls’ - seeing the video to that and hearing that song was certainly an eye opener; I mean, motorcycles are cool now but to a young lad watching this band just act so cool, it’s again something I tended to want on continuously.
Dan: I always remember music being a massive thing growing up, never so much in the realm of playing an instrument but we always had a good time just dancing around to it. I grew up on a range of different music, stretching from The Smashing Pumpkins and The Who to a load of underground house/dance music. That probably explains why I listen to absolutely anything now. When I think back to the first song that I can remember loving as a child, it’s 100% “U Sure Do” by Strike. We used to have this patterned circular carpet in the middle of the living room (god bless the 90’s) and I’d just run laps of it with this song on full volume. I’m sure my neighbours didn’t share the same level of enthusiasm towards it as I did but, what a song! I also remember ‘Mr Blue Sky’ by ELO being a big song, as well as ‘Lonely Boy’ by Andrew Gold. I still listen to them now and they’re such feel-good songs. - Dan Jones
Is there a song/band/album that inspired you to want to write music?
Ben: The ’American Idiot’ Album by Green Day was released when I started writing my own music for my band in school. It was a big inspiration with the power chord riffs and punk rock drum beats. As well as this, Paramore’s ‘Riot’ was also a massive inspiration to me. Me and my school friend Becca would write music together to accompany her voice and we were both huge Hayley Williams fans.
Phil: Sum 41 – ‘All Killer, No Filler’. I just remember hearing it when I was maybe 14/15, and every song was about having good times. I then stumbled across 'Harder To Breathe' by Maroon 5, and that entire album (Songs About Jane) actually, made me see another side to it all. Busted’s first album as well; can’t forget that pop/rock written gold! And, to finish, 'How You Remind Me' by Nickelback.
Dan: I don’t think I could pin point it to just one song/ band/ artist but there’s a definitely a string of bands that influenced me to get started. I remember that we had to start a covers band in school as part of our first music project, and I was just a bit like ah, well this is great, because I couldn’t play an instrument and nor had I discovered that I could use my voice at that point haha. I remember absolutely butchering ‘I Bet That You Look Good On The Dancefloor’ by Arctic Monkeys, in front of about 50 people with two of my best mates. It was definitely up there as being one of the most dissatisfying sounds you’d ever heard in your life, but it motivated me to want to get better. We started branching out and working on stuff like ‘Numb / Encore” by Linkin Park & Jay Z. It was at that point that we signed our first unofficial, handwritten, label agreement that we’d decided to make at home. I’d always loved listening to music but I guess it was that point where I showed an actual interest to want to make it. I started getting into a lot of emo/pop-punk music throughout school and was listening to the likes of You Me At Six, Madina Lake, Fall Out Boy etc, and it was that genre of bands where I was like right, cool, let’s do something. I’ve been in bands ever since! So yeah, although I just said I don’t think I can pin point a song… it’s probably “I Bet That You Look Good On The Dancefloor”, which is a little bit annoying in hindsight because I don’t even like the song, haha!
Do you have any songs that you once loved that have fallen out of your favour? And are there any you used to be cynical of that you now enjoy?
Ben: To be honest, as much as I respect it, anything indie I’ve really fallen out of love with over the years. I went through a stage at college where indie music was everything, such as The Wombats, The Libertines, Arctic Monkeys etc, but I haven’t found myself listening to anything Indie in years. I wouldn’t say it’s cynical, but I suppose I never used to appreciate film scores. As I get older I really enjoy popping on YouTube and playing a Hans Zimmer playlist for example, in the background as I work.
Phil: To be honest I don’t think there is. I mean I’ve never been afraid of liking something especially with music. I remember being in college and people would have their guilty pleasures and such, but I always just figured if I liked it I like it and that’s that. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced falling out of love with a song. I mean, every piece of music you hear is relevant to some degree in a moment of your life. You can’t switch that off, it’s so powerful.
Dan: I don’t think so! I mean, to answer the first question… maybe “Virtual Insanity” by Jamiroquai. He was another artist that I was surrounded by growing up. I still LOVE the song, and ‘Travelling Without Moving’ is still one of my all-time favourite albums, but the concept of the song sits a little negatively with me now, because I agree with him! When you think about the time that that song was written, it would have felt like such a futuristic notion and that demonstrates how far JK was ahead of his time. I think as I’m getting older, I’m learning to love the internet and the idea of future less and less. It feels like the world, and the internet, is developing at a rate quicker than we can process and what was sparked as an idea to drive connectedness has quickly turned into something that has a huge dark side. It takes one step outside to realise how attached people are to their smart phones, the internet and other technologies and it does sometimes, to me, feel like we are living in this idea of “virtual insanity”. The worst part for me is when you’re out having dinner and you see another couple sat either end of their table glued to their devices. It feels like people have mastered talking to each other through something that doesn’t exist and have forgotten how to have a real conversation. It’s kind of a love-hate relationship for me because the internet has been great for us a band and we couldn’t manage without it but, on a personal level, I kind of just wish that we could take a step out of it from time to time. We’re all guilty of not doing so though.
What is the best song to listen to on a rainy autumn evening?
Ben: Well this depends what mood you’re in but I am going to say I Prevail – ‘My Heart I Surrender’. The production is so crisp and the guitar and lyrics are beautiful. A perfect song to relax with the sound of rain in the background.
Phil: I have a few that I go to but one that has sat with me for a long time is ‘It’s Not Your Fault ‘ by New Found Glory; it’s just got something about it that assists with that mood.
Dan: Ooo, good question! In the last few years I’ve loved listening to ‘Malibu Nights’ by LANY. Especially in that time of the year when the weather’s bad, and the trees are full of really nicely coloured leaves. I know that sounds really hippy but it’s just so nice! I’m not sure why it is but around that time of year I always find myself feeling really reflective, and it’s those sorts of nights that put everything back into perspective for me. That album in particular makes me feel really grateful for everything that I have in my life and for the things I have surrounding me. Even if you’ve got a lot of bad stuff going on or you’ve just had a really frustrating day, for me those sorts of evenings allow me to complete reset and spin my mood. I value them a lot! So yeah, thanks LANY x.
What song is guaranteed to get you pumped up before a night out with friends?
Ben: Pendulum – ‘The Island’. What an absolute classic. Guaranteed to get me doing some upside-down shots!
Phil: Mötley Crue's ‘Girls Girls Girls’. When Ben, Dan, and I are together it always comes on especially before we get our drink on! It’s just the perfect anthem haha.
Dan: Haha it depends where I’m going to be honest! If we’re going out to a standard sort of club it’d probably be something along the lines of ‘17’ by MK. I love house and dance music and anything with a good set of dance-based keys will get me bopping. Ben and I are really into bassline as well – there’s a song called ‘Not That Guy’ by Macky Gee and Tempa T. That’ll take you from 0-100 pretty quickly haha! If we were going to a rock club though it’d definitely be ‘Everybody’ by Don Broco. That song’s just got everything right going for it.
What is your go-to song that inspires you to get writing your own material?
Ben: There are many songs and artists to inspire me too get writing but 5 Seconds Of Summer – ‘Youngblood’ is a good go to song to get me pumped up. The production is incredible on this song and it proves you don’t need loads of stuff going on to make a good song. Sometimes less is more and this song proves that. A catchy vocal, steady riff and great production.
Phil: That is always different depending on my mood. Our own stuff is a big help though, because you always want to write better and better I think that’s important where growing as an artist is concerned; it’s good to have some of YOU to pull from. A lot of Country music too! Luke Combs for example what a guy!! The country saying is “for a great song all you need is 3 chords and the truth”.
Dan: It changes all of the time depending on what mood I’m in really. I never really set out to write a particular genre of music and my interests are changing all of the time. When I was younger, I always tried to conform to writing the same style of music so would listen to the same sort of artists to inspire me. Now though, I’m kind of in the mind set of just writing anything I want to because it represents how you were feeling at a specific point in time. Recently, I’ve been pretty inspired by the likes of Joan, DNCE and The 1975. Each of those artists are doing something completely different at the minute, and they fuse so many different genres of music. I love that! If I’m really struggling to know which direction I want to head in, I’ll go to the Spotify New Music Friday playlist. The playlist usually has something of everything and I love seeing what recent artists are doing.
If you could choose any artist to feature on one of your songs, who would it be and why?
Ben: Hard question as there are loads, but currently I would say Matthew Healy because his music has always inspired me, and I think some of the demos we have written as a band would really suit his vocals.
Phil: This would have to either be a guitar solo by Joe Perry from Aerosmith because that man is a legend, and also Steven Tyler; he’s one of my ultimate idols so either of those guys would be a great one for me.
Dan: It would probably be Jamiroquai. I love seeing completely different concepts come together and actually working. The guy just hasn’t something so cool about him and his music – I’d love to see what we could do when putting our heads together. I imagine the music child would probably come out somewhere between Justin Timberlake and Thirty Seconds to Mars. I dunno about you, but I think that sounds sick haha!
If you could take any song and claim the rights to it, which would it be?
Ben: One of the best songs ever written in my opinion is Avenged Sevenfold – ‘Seize The Day’. I will always remember the City Of Evil album being played over and over by me and my sister when we were just young teenagers.
Phil: ‘I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing’ - Aerosmith. Written by the great Dianne Warren it’s such a timeless classic belter.
Dan: Can I pick more than one? I’d love to take the rights to ‘Love It If We Made It’ by The 1975. That song is definitely up there in being one of the recent songs that has taken me back a bit. I remember first listening to it and was just blown away. It’s so simple, so powerful and encompasses so many different messages within it. The lyrics are so political, and that’s always something that I’ve tried to stay away from when writing, but I agree with everything that’s said in that song.
I’d probably want to take the rights to ‘Bow Down’ by I Prevail. In my opinion, that song is the best song to come out of that genre in the past 10 years. It blew my eyebrows off my face when I first listened to it, and I remember feeling like I needed to sit down at the end of it haha! There are many songs where you feel like you’ve just been through an experience but that’s definitely one of them.
I’d also pinch anything from Queen, just so that we could perform a straight 10 minutes of DEYYYY OOOOO’s.
If you had to choose one song to play over the opening titles of a movie about your life, what would it be?
Ben: Haha I like this question. I think it would have to be Blues Brothers – ‘Can’t Turn You Loose’ because I’m always up to mischief just like the Blues Brothers. The first Blues Brothers film is also my all time favourite film! Now the song just reminds me of myself and Dan running around Brighton very drunk. Yes that has happened, multiple times.
Phil: I mean I have one hell of a story to tell about my life and it will be a book one day so I love this question. Right now it would have to be ‘Ordinary Man’ by Ozzy Osbourne featuring Elton John. Because I don’t want to die an ordinary man.
Dan: Jesus, haha! That’s so hard! This has taken me a good 20 minutes to answer haha. If I’m being honest, it would probably be ‘In Bloom’ by Neck Deep. I think especially in the last couple of years, that song has helped me through so much. Both in the direct sense of what the song actually means Vs. the interpreted meaning that I’ve taken from it and applied to some of the situations that I experienced growing up. It’s the song I feel creates the best picture of my thoughts towards the stuff I’ve been through and overcome.
Which is the song you are most proud of writing?
Ben: I’m proud of everything we’ve written but as we haven’t released everything, I will have to say ’Wake Up’. This song really got us pumped and ready to finally launch the band to the world. We were very proud of this song when we released it before we went on tour with WSTR and very stoked to play it live.
Phil: This has to be our next single ‘Fire’. It’s the first song we wrote as a project and Dan and I knew it would be special and it is. Can’t wait for everyone to hear this.
Dan: Probably ‘Fire’. That was the first song we wrote as The UMA and it’s the song that means most to us in regard to our journey so far as a band and musicians. I love all of our songs for very different reasons but ‘Fire’ just feels, to me, like the song that made sense of everything in regards to this band becoming a band. It was so seamless and so much fun to write. It came together so nicely and I think that was when the penny dropped for us.
'Fire' has just been released - check it out here: