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- Posted on Mar 12th 2010 8:18PM by Summar Ghias
Nebraska quartet UUVVWWZ (pronounced duhb-uhl-yoo-duhb-uhl-vee-duhb-uhl-duhb-uhl-yoo-zee) describe themselves as a rare bird. With a tongue twister of a name and a hard-to-pin-down sound, the experimental and blues (ish) band has been compared to Deerhoof, Captain Beefheart and Lydia Lunch. Spinner spoke with guitarist Jim Schroeder and lead singer Teal Gardner on how their moniker spontaneously originated, fellow alphabet band comrades, and what's in store for them at this year's SXSW.
Describe your sound in your own words.
Jim: It is kind of like experimental and blues rock, but it's hard to put a category on it.
How did your band form?
Jim: We formed in 2007, we all met each other through various ways, it was completely random but one of our friends told us, 'you should be in a band." Another one of our friends just said, 'oh she'd be a good singer', and we were like 'okay sounds good'. We just kind of started playing. Then we left in our tour mate Darren's mom's minivan and headed east.
Teal: Jim asked me if I wanted to try singing - I had been in one other band where I had been playing keyboards and singing with someone else, so it was sort of like a , 'let's test out and see if it works'. So in that sense the band has been instructive to me in formulating my own distinct sound as a singer.
What are your musical influences?
Jim: Personally, I'm influenced by almost everything and I'm definitely influenced by blues guitar. I think we are – hmm, its kind of hard, because we are all pretty eclectic listeners.
Teal: Let's see, for me it has been various female singers over time, it's not about emulating their songs, but they've definitely been of influence. Women like Fiona Apple and Erykah Badu when I was younger, and Lauryn Hill. I also am influenced by avant garde movements in sound generally - I don't know how to generally list names, but I guess in more recent times Scout Niblet. It's mostly about the quality, range, and diversity in sound.
How did you come up with your band name?
Jim: I had this sheet of contact paper decal with multiple letters that you can pick off and I was kind of saying it out loud. Then we realized that UVW had rhyme and rhythm and I showed it to everyone and they thought it was funny too. We first wrote it out on a brown paper bag that had drawn song structures on it and decided to go with it.
Do you ever shorten it? That is a lot of letters...
Jim: (Laughs) It's a tongue twister and it takes so much time to say, but I think we were just excited about how it looked and sounded. And one of my graphic designers who did the album was really excited too. But sometimes we go by the Double U and the Double Unit for short.
What's in your festival survival kit?
Jim: I think we were talking and joking around about bringing lots of Speed since we are playing so many shows – right now we are doing 5 shows in 6 days. But I think I'm going to bring a schedule of all the bands I want to see – and maybe a cooler with some ice. I'm excited about it.
Who are you looking forward to seeing play this year?
Jim: The Zs, we played with them on our first tour because we are letter band name comrades/friends – and its weird because there are a lot of bands we are playing with on the same showcase that we actually want to see play this year.
Who was your first celeb crush?
Jim: Madonna – she could also be a musical guilty pleasure.
What's your musical guilty pleasure?
Jim: I guess I'd say right now it's the Bee Gees and Westside Connection – I'm randomly into gangster rap right now.
Teal: Like Salt-n-Pepa, DMC, Music Factory, and Tom Tom Club has been with me for a very long time. I like Ace of Base, you know how some music turns from being a guilty pleasure to being hip over time. A lot of times I listen to one song on repeat - and it gets annoying for other people and even for myself - right now it is Good Intentions Paving Company - by Joanna Newsom - over and over again.
Beatles or Stones?
Jim: The Beatles, I have listened to all their albums and I can't say the same for the Stones.
What's the craziest thing you've seen or experienced while on tour?
We showed up to a venue right before, it was getting to around the time we were supposed to go on. But we were right outside when it got raided by drug police and the fire marshal. There was this whole team of security people showed up – we had to wait there for two hours and we weren't able to play – it was pretty gnarly.
Summer Ghias is a contributor from Seed.com. Learn how you can contribute here.