You might say we have been waiting since October, 2013 for Seattle’s Ubu Roi to release the follow-up to their Help Yourself Records-released Nice Dude EP. Staying true to the cause of making monster shred fests (as featured on the rough and rugged drafts of their demos), Ubu Roi premieres the video for their freshly recorded single, “Monster Song”, made by the band with Sam Bovarnick. Behold the grand guignol that features a DIY-staged slice of performance theater, with a horror thrill camp that leans toward the programming one might find at 3:45am on cable access or publicly sponsored channels.
“Monster Song” begins like an ordinary day with the alarm clock buzzing, the hellish red digital display of 6:55am glowing, followed by improvised snooze-smashing tools that include a hammer, a knife, and eventually, the awakening of the monster from within. Waking up on the wrong foot, blowing smoke, and brushing teeth with beer; Ubu Roi takes you outside with a comical-mischievous look in the eyes and a trail of destruction. The oddball series of episodes and incidents create a collision course between lyrics about “danger in mind, I want to hear some fucking glass shatter.” Stealing skateboards from band-mates, Mario Kart matches turn into devil-rock shred fests, and unsuspecting kitchen break-ins (interrupting some questionable culinary decisions that combine onions, cigarettes, cheese, etc.) bring in the buckets of fake blood courtesy of the “drunken monster.” Donning a ridiculous blue haired bob wig, the monster stages the beaten up, and maybe dead, band with their respective instruments. The finale rages to a dramatic end with the propped up performance piece, complete with projections of suspense films displayed over the band. The now-blue haired beast conquers over all, as “Monster Song” makes a mean go for it about what happens when a band-mate takes over in the spirit of horror camp films doused in some heavy, heavy rock and roll. The Ubu Roi dudes joined us for the following interview:
I have always wondered, what is it about the historically important, Alfred Jarry play that inspired you all to take on it’s name for a band title?
The first word of the play is ‘shit’ and people supposedly rioted during the first performance. Plus Jarry was a nutball and a drunk; this tiny little French guy who carried a loaded revolver and practiced target shooting in his apartment. So ya know, it seemed to fit.
What has it been like recording the much anticipated follow-up to the Nice Dude EP? We’re very interested.
“Monster Song” was a huge learning process for us. We wanted to figure out if and how we could record our music on our own. It took a while, there were a lot of revisions, recording and re-recordings, but it turns out we can totally do it. We recorded the drums at a friends studio, then tracked guitars, bass and vocals in the ghetto studio, aka a shitty three bedroom apartment in the central district of Seattle.
What bestial behaviors were behind the music, that is the monstrous “Monster Song”?
We’re all monsters when we drink, Sjimon. Without naming names, someone bricked a frat house bay window a while back. But really, the song is just celebrating debaucherous behavior.
How the hell did “Monster Song” get transformed into b-movie horror magic with Sam Bovarnick? It’s sort of like your own Rocky Horror on a budget show, or slasher-skateboard performance art.
Sammy found a camcorder in his girlfriend’s apartment, so it was clear we had to make a music video. We tossed around a lot of ideas, but we knew we wanted lots of gore and blood. I think the magic you’re getting on screen is how much we enjoyed pretending to kill each other.
What has summer been like for Ubu Roi?
Lots of writing and practicing and not enough shows. We finished up the video. Probably didn’t get as much sunlight as we needed, either. Shit, did you see Colin in the video? He’s so pale he glows in the dark. Not much melatonin for that boy.
What can we expect from you all this fall/ winter?
West Coast tour, baby. And recording. We’ll probably all get fat too.
What are you all listening to right now?
Zig Zags, Dio AND Rainbow, Maiden, Sabbath, Hickey, Uncle Acid, the new Stickers record, the Byrds, Crooked Bangs, Buffalo Springfield, Roky Erickson, Hot Lunch, Alice Cooper, Yngwie Malmsteen. If it rips, we’re listening.
What should we be listening to right now?
See above. And also the Help Yourself Records’ discography is pretty tight!
The current state of the Seattle indie unions?
Is there a union we can join? The scene in Seattle is super cool; a lot of really nice and supportive people in really great bands. Our one complaint: NOT ENOUGH GUITAR SOLOS PER CAPITA…
Parting words of wisdom, advice, what to expect next from Ubu Roi, etc?
I got some wisdom for ya, Sjimon: Rock n’ Roll ain’t about reinventing the wheel. It’s about taking that wheel, strappin’ it on to your motorbike, and takin’ yourself for a GD ride
Stay tuned for Ubu Roi’s upcoming release for Help Yourself Records.