Stewart from Bad Owl Presents had a chat with &U&I bassist, Rich, in the lead up to the band's headline performance at StrangeForms.
BAD OWL PRESENTS: The last time we saw &U&I in Leeds was supporting Adebisi Shank at The Brudenell in April 2011 - has it really been that long!?
RICH: Just had to google this to check and you are correct! Leeds has always been good to us and one of our favourite places to play so we can only apologise for leaving it so long and I can't really come up with any valid excuse as to why! We'll make up for it we promise.
BOP: Your debut album 'Lightbearer' seemed to run with the concepts of horror, hell and dreams at its crux - does your upcoming new material follow a similar vein in its inspiration?
RICH: Generally we're quite a happy and positive bunch but for some reason when we get together and write songs they end up taking a slightly dark and angry theme. We've all been influenced by heavy music and aren't really fans of doing things by halves so when we write I guess this comes out when we are in a room together musically. We've come from a background of playing fast and heavy riff based music and we've tried to carry that on with &U&I but in a more mature manner, you can have the odd crazy section but we try and balance that out and not let it ruin the whole song just for the sake of it. It's about making heavy music but with a bit of thought put in to it.
The new EP incorporates all of that and probably does come across a bit dark but if you listen to the lyrics, in one of the newest tracks for example, the subject matter is actually pretty positive!
I've asked Thom a few times about his lyrics and he assures me that they're not aimed at anyone or anything specifically but he's probably lying and, deep down, very emotionally troubled.
BOP: Talking of the new EP, when can we look forward to it being released and will you be treating us to some new material during your set?
RICH: We've just finished up making a video for one of the tracks on the EP which we're hoping to get out just before your festival and get the new songs worked into our set. The whole EP is set to be released around the middle of May and will be available at all good internet based music retailers and hopefully on vinyl a bit later on.
BOP: &U&I will be headlining the Saturday at StrangeForms - are you planning on sticking around for the day or weekend and, if so, who are you looking forward to seeing?
RICH: We're very humbled to be asked to headline, especially with the amount of decent bands playing over the weekend. The plan is to enjoy the whole day in a responsible fashion so we're still in a reasonable state to play later on in the evening. Looking forward to watching our mates Alright The Captain and Waking Aida and there's also a few bands I haven't checked out yet like Worriedaboutsatan who I like the sound of. I feel a bit out of the loop sometimes so looking forward to having a few beverages and educating myself.
BOP: &U&I are asked to curate their own gig - what four bands, past or present, would you have on the bill?
RICH: Poison the Well, Colour, Meet Me in St. Louis & Tool (to shift a few tickets!).
BOP: And finally, other than StrangeForms, what are &U&I's plans for the rest of 2015?
RICH: Well it's looking quite good already! As I mentioned earlier we're planning on releasing our EP 'Merci' in the middle of May and we're already confirmed for a few more festivals. We're playing in Brighton on the 16th May at the Pavilion Tavern and 2000 Trees in July with a few more gigs yet to be decided. We've been a bit quiet recently so looking forward to getting about a bit and showing our faces.
&U&I headline StrangeForms on Saturday 4th April.
Weekend tickets cost £15 and can be purchased from Jumbo Records, Wharf Chambers or online at https://badowlpresents.bandcamp.com/merch
Day tickets cost £9 and can be purchased online at https://www.wegottickets.com/f/8765