By Trevor Morelli
CALGARY – Toronto, Ontario’s USS use many different metaphors to describe their hybrid sound, but turntablist/hype man Jason “Human Kebab” Parsons may have coined the most interesting ones.
“We sort of decided that we wanted to make music that sounded like Nirvana at a rave, Bob Marley in a lab coat,” he says.
Parsons met his partner in crime Ashley Buchholz (a.k.a. Ash Boo-Schultz) while working at a golf course in 2004 and the duo has been working tirelessly to pump out danceable alt-rock bangers ever since.
“I grew up on hip hop; he grew up on grunge, ‘80s pop. We both met at a golf course over acoustic campfire songs and DJ breakbeats,” Parsons elaborates.
“It’s miraculous that in the last 10 years we’ve consistently been able to put out new music that radio, and in particular, alternative rock has embraced. We’re very, very lucky, we’re grateful, but we have a knack for it.”
It’s true. USS – which stands for Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker – struck gold in 2016 with the worldwide hit “Work Shoes,” from their latest offering New World Alphabet (2017 Coalition Music). Remarkably, the song seems to resonate just as strongly with suits in Japan as it does with oil workers in Fort McMurray.
“It’s taken us around the world. It was the first song that Germany and Austria gravitated towards,” Parsons acknowledges.
“Even our most recent trips to Japan, ‘Work Shoes’ seemed to be a song that got the Japanese going. In Canada, it really opened some doors for us on so many levels.”
It’s been nearly two years since New World Alphabet was released, but Parsons maintains that USS never stops making music and exploring ideas.
In addition to their two standalone cuts – “Medicine” and “Big Life” – already released this year, the duo plans to have either an EP or even another full-length LP ready to go next year.
“Ash and I are always working on music. We’ve got a lot of demos and partially finished songs that we’d love to see come out on an EP, or a full length, in 2019. We’ve been working week-to-week right now on getting those other songs in order.”
Fans can expect to hear “Medicine” and “Big Life” when USS hits Western Canada this fall, accented by the band’s eruptive performances and over-the-top stage presence.
“We pride ourselves on being a live act, so we really know what works for us and what’s going to maintain that level of excitement and energy that we bring every night.”
USS performs with The Elwins and Hotel Mira November 8 at Bo’s Bar & Grill (Red Deer), November 9 at The Palace (Calgary), November 11 at Royal Theatre (Victoria), November 13 at Commodore Ballroom (Vancouver), November 14 at Blue Grotto (Kamloops) and November 16 at Shaw Conference Centre (Edmonton)Blue Grotto, Bo’s Bar & Grill, Commodore Ballroom, Hotel Mira, Royal Theatre, Shaw Conference Centre, The Elwins, The Palace, USS