Imagine the intersection among The Who, Pink Floyd and Suede; they´re just one of the great bands of the 90´s. Ultrasound (Andy 'Tiny' Woods, Richard Green, Vanessa Best, Matt Jones, Andy Peace) have recently released their first album "Everything Picture", and they were going to play on Benicásim´s Festival this year, but they could not in the end, as they cancelled their tour to concentrate on their next album.
begins at early 80s, when the great Tiny set up his first band;
in 1991, Tiny and Richard joined a band called 'Sleepy People',
that would leave two years after to concentrate on his own songs. The record
companies passed them by until a band from Oxford (Badge),
took hem for their guests in a concert. This way they turned to be the
most desired band by the record companies. Their first album, 'Same
Band', was released on Fierce Panda. NME gave them the
definitive push, and so they signed with Nude. We talked to Tiny
in the Sony offices in London.
-EPA: During the three days of Reading Festival we met several times looking at the concerts in the different stages. Ultrasound´s gig was really sublime, what do you think of your gigs?
They´re not our best point, because we can´t experiment as
on the albums. In our beginnings we couldn´t afford a studio and
do whatever we wanted. We could only afford live concerts, and we were
not good at them. We have never seen ourselves live, so I don´t know
exactly how we are, if we are as good as any other band or not. I try to
have a good opinion of confusion... From confusion there comes up something
-EPA: Do you think you have become what you wanted after two decades obsessed in successing with your band, spending all the time on it?
I don´t know if I´m obsessed with success. Success, what it
means, I think that we have become. By now we were obsessed by what it
was supposed to do. We have lazy plans of making 3 or 4 albums, and after
it... who knows. If we get satisfaction with those albums, we will have
got it, and I´ll be an adult in the end. By now we are happy. There
are very few concessions in what we do. We don´t like to give in.
-EPA: The story of the recording of your first demos was a bit peculiar...
We have lived in two places in London where you can live if you are poor:
End and some parts of West End. There, in Acton,
a kid of our street wanted to turn a shop into a studio, and we helped
them knocking down the walls and doing some things. He had set an advertisement
in the shop window asking for helpers and paying them in hours of studio
recording. He was nice, and gave us all we wanted.
-EPA: "Everything Picture", a 21-minute song which titles your first album, is it about the history of r'n'r?
It´s more about The Beatles´ generation. I was
born when they were becoming well-known. The pop music has always been
a part of my life. Pop music of all styles.
-EPA: It´s been said that your album is nearly a rock opera. It lasts 88 minutes, it has incidental music. It´s a double debut album. How would you describe it?
Like I try to do with "Everything Picture". I´ve tried to
take everything into an album. It´s what we wanted to do. I don´t
know if we have failed. But the failure is to see that what we want to
get is just what we wanted to communicate. It could be the longest failure
-EPA: You have ever said that Ultrasound is not only a band, but a musical community.
A band is formed and it´s never something apart from the rest of
your life. All the people you meet, you meet them because you´re
in that band, because they like it or because they´re involved anyway.
I think that you must persuade them until you get opportunities to play,
to make songs, people that releases your songs, people from other areas
of pop music. With them, you can create something bigger.
-EPA: What about your desire to experimenting with everything?
The first time we arrived the studio to record the album, the question
was draining the songs we had in demo format. We wanted to start again
to see what we would do in the studio with those songs, what we would use...
there´s the essence of experimenting. We didn´t know anything,
even we could´t play our instruments. So we experimented to get the
right sound, the suitable note, the feeling for every song... We experimented
in all senses.
-EPA: "New glam explosion", " Prog-rock", neo-psicodelia... Have you heard about it?
It´s wrong, strange enough. The media use "prog-rock" to talk
about how we sound or we don´t sound. They have invented "new
psychedelia", but no-one can label. In a certain way, it might be useful,
but a label is always poor, because it doesn´t include all the history.
Have you heard about "new grave"? It´s inventing a category
to take bands into... I really don´t know if it´s good or bad.
I try not to do it, and I´d like people not to do it.
-EPA: What makes Ultrasound special?
I think that it´s the way that each member communicates with the
band. I know a lot of bands where a boy or a girl dreamed, had the vision
of a band, wrote songs. Then he finds people that shares his likes and
then there´s only one vision. With us, I have visions, Richard
has visions, Matt... and nobody makes concessions with the visions
of the rest. We fight, push, pull, fight for something with a flash of
life. We don´t always agree with the rest. Where the differences
start, the song begins.
-EPA: You have a single ("Kurt Russell") that makes us guess any relationship between your music and cinema.
¡Oh, yes!. "Underwater love story" is based on a scene from
the film "The Abbys"; we also have "Suckle", based on "Oh
Lucky Man". There are a lot of film references. We don´t reject
Hollywood´s music as a principle. All kinds of art, the world around
us, can influence us.
-EPA: Is "Stay Young" a hymn, a statement of principles?
It wasn´t like that when we wrote it. It seems that it has turned
to any kind of affirmation, yes, but... how would I describe it? It´s
how you feel when you are 16, 17 years old... I began looking at people
around me trying to be adults, because they were at university. When you
are at school, you are treated like a child. It was not funny. I wanted
to be a child to enjoy. At university I never pretended to be a sensible
adult. What sense was not to attend classes? We were there because we wanted.
Why would I pretend to be a rebel if I just wanted to stay there? Because
just that thing: to rebel, to break the rules. There´s one key: getting
into a place where there are rules so that you can break them.
-EPA: You have also recorded Beatles´ "Getting Better", but your version seems like it sounded the contrary of what the title expresses.
In that song we seem to grovel by the Beatles´s one. On one
side, there´s the way that Paul McCartney plays it, optimistic
until stupidity, and on the other side, John Lennon behind saying
"it´s not so cool". It can´t be as positive as it is.
Besides he has always been a bit negative. I think that we stand out that
part, that kind of despair. It´s 'twentieth century blues':
saying that everything´s alright when it´s just collapsing.
We make it easier. You know, we´re in the 90s, not in the 60s. The
positive side of the 60s has died.
-EPA: "Floodlit world" had just been released during your stage at Fierce Panda. It has been the advance of the album and the video-clip shows you naked and covered in silver painting...
We couldn´t spend too much money. The best thing we could do was
to stay in a room playing the song. As we had to do that, we thought some
minutes before to do it less boring. In the videoclips someone always tries
to make the pop star role. The saddest thing is that all look like All
Saints. All wear the same clothes that All Saints. The best
idea was that we should wear no clothes, not having an image, an besides
the video-clip would be cheaper.
-EPA: What can we expect from Ultrasound?
Anyway, we´ll be in the story of r'n'r, surely.
-EPA: Do you know Spain?
Tiny: Yes. I´ve been once, when I was 4 years, and I can´t remember.