Ubiquitous Synergy Seekers Are Swimming in a Giant Bowl of Jelly Beans

20 02 2012

If the name of this Toronto-based band doesn’t give you a hint about Ash Boo-Schultz’s intellectual mindspace, these answers will. A glimpse into the thoughts of the USS vocalist/producer when he had a day off from touring the country with Down With Webster. Plus, an unexpected cooking tip!

On Rifflandia 2011:

When we were walking from our hotel to the show it was really cool because there were all these fans with signs for USS.

On touring vs. recording:

I’m more productive on the road, so there’s really no separation of the two.

On his biggest accomplishment:

It’s less of one specific isolated event and more of the realization, especially in the last three months, that I’ve just written hundreds and hundreds of songs and pieces of music and I’ve always been shackled by not totally having the confidence to venture outside of a band. Almost needing the confidence of working with other people. So in that three months my entire psychological equilibrium has taken this quantum leap and I’ve been putting together all kinds of these projects and bands that are going to be able to channel all this creativity. One thing I’ve learned is that if you don’t use your mind it drives you insane. So I have to especially keep concentrated and focused. I’m feeling really successful about finally hitting my stride; it just clicked finally and I’m just loving the click!

On their new sound and new drummer:

Our music as a band is also taking a quantum leap because we’ve added a drummer into our band. Also, Human Kebab, over the course of our evolution as a band, evolving and improving, he started singing more, and he has a really low voice.  So you’ll hear me and him doing harmonies more. We got to know [our drummer] more when his band would open for us in Ontario. So when the time was right, and we knew we wanted to add that final dimension to our live sound, he was the first person we thought of. Because when you’re on the road with people 24 hours a day, in the hotel room, in the van, at the library, at the bowling alley, it’s gotta be about the person first and then their ability

On life outside of music:

I go home and I work as a carpenter and I have to use the logical side of my brain. Cause I can live in the total emotional whirlwind of life, and you can lose touch with that logic that’s especially important for decision-making. I love it, so I’m doing both at the same time. And all of the houses that we work at are in my neighbourhood so I can always go home and have grilled cheese for lunch – with really cold ketchup. Put the ketchup in the freezer while you’re making it. And you use one piece of white bread and one piece of brown bread. So, it’s like, grilled cheese on white bread is like the best thing ever but you wanna still get your whole grains in there. It’s all about balance. Life is a grilled cheese with one piece of white bread and one piece of brown bread.

On an upcoming solo project:

I have this whole series of four-song EPs and I’ll be partnering up with people that I feel is appropriate. I’m this abnormal psychologist, I basically study all these cases of music savants and all these abnormal music cases all over the world. So each cover song is a back-story of the patients; it revolves around the songs that the musicians in the psych ward wrote. It’s called Lab Rats.

Most surprising thing about the music industry:

How much love there is out there, it’s incredible. We have our love magnet turned on full blast all the time.

On Down With Webster:

I was having this huge conversation with Pat (Down With Webster vocalist/guitarist) last night because Pat is a huge documentary freak and so am I. It [touring together] just has this natural ease to it. I played with those guys when they were still in high school. I was between bands playing mid-90s hip hop covers on my acoustic guitar, and I’d open for them at some little chicken-wing restaurant outside of Toronto. I said to Bucky (Down With Webster vocalist) the other night, ‘We’re not flowers we’re roots.’ We’re not something that comes and goes with the seasons, it’s a solid foundation.

On the future of USS?

We have a couple of shoeboxes full of songs, I’m not even sure at this point how we’re gonna choose what songs we’re gonna put out, and we just keep adding more. Tons of songs are in various stages of production that will become our next album…We’re just swimming around in a giant bowl of jelly beans!

USS opens for Down With Webster, THURSDAY 7:30pm at the McPherson. Tickets at rmts.bc.ca.

– Reyhana Heatherington

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