Sunset Concerts 2015: UNRB: Collateral Jammage = So. Much. Fun.

Sunset Concerts 2015: UNRB: Collateral Jammage = So. Much. Fun.
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Who: UNRB
What: Sunset Concerts (ska)
Where:
When: 2015-06-25
The next Sunset Concert band wants to provide the soundtrack to the summer mood you should already b
Leah Williams
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The next Sunset Concert band wants to provide the soundtrack to the summer mood you should already be enjoying.

Saint Petersburg’s UNRB rocks Thursday, June 25 at the Turley Park Gazebo as part of the long-standing summer series. The ska-fusion band from the Sunshine State mixes different genres to create a cocktail of mellowed-out, horn-tinged happy. Their latest EP, Collateral Jammage, just hit stores June 17.

For more information and UNRB, check out the band’s website at <http://www.unrbmusic.com>.

Nightlife recently chatted up the band’s lead singer and electric-ukulele  player, Noel Rochford, to find out more about making immediately danceable sounds from the most unconventional instruments, incorporating inside jokes into songs, and getting psyched for the group’s biggest tour to date.

Tell me a little bit about the band. How did you start and is your name initials for anything?

UNRB started in 2010 when [bassist] Nic [Giordano], [drummer] Eric [Allaire], and I were music students at Saint Petersburg College. We were studying jazz and classical music but wanted to play rock, so we started a band on the side for fun. Nic and I had played in a ska band together back in high school and I was still fascinated with the genre, so we found horn players on Craigslist and the band was born!

As for the name, it happened by accident— we needed a working title for the new project until we found the perfect name that defined our band’s sound and style. Nothing seemed to fit, so we ended up jokingly referring to ourselves as the “Untitled Noel Rochford Band”— and it stuck!

Your band incorporates a lot of unique instrumentation, like the electric ukulele and the horn section. How does it all come together to produce your sound? Your music is so fun-sounding.

We’ve been complimented a lot on the tightness of our arrangements, but we write that way because of our unconventional setup. The ukulele basically plays the guitar role in the band, being the only instrument capable of producing chords. But since it lacks low notes, we need the horns to fill in certain spots in the music, and the bass does extra work to compensate as well. The rhythm section locks in so well that it’s very comfortable to fit vocals and horn lines on top. Our goal is to have every instrument complement each other and blend well. With seven guys it’s very easy to do too much.

When you are writing songs and music, what sort of things inspire you?

Almost anything can become a song. Sometimes it’s based off of true stories— “FUBAR” from our first album and “The House on Lime Street” off our new EP are both pieces of band history set to music. Other times an inside joke turns into a song, like the title Collateral Jammage becoming reality. We never meant for that to happen.

Often one part of a song will hit me— the melody and lyrics for the chorus, or a chord progression, maybe just the title— and the rest of the song gets built around that one idea.

The great thing about thinking creatively is you never know what’s going to spark the next great idea. It could be a cup of coffee or a bulldozer or a lady walking down the street with six chihuahuas that are all wearing tiny sweaters.

You are coming up on an EP-release party later this month. What can we expect from this latest album?

So. Much. Fun. Collateral Jammage is the sound of a band that has figured itself out and is ready to share its sound with the world. Our first album was a trial by fire, so we walked into the studio this time with great songs and a wealth of knowledge about the recording process. We worked with great producers and tracked much of the album in groups, so you get the live energy of UNRB with a professional polish on top. I know people will love listening to this album because I love listening to this album. It’s high-energy dancing material that just screams “fun!” from beginning to end.

Ska had a heyday in the late nineties. Do you think it could make a mainstream comeback like that again?

Absolutely! Ska and reggae have had a hard time in the U.S. compared to other countries when it comes to popularity. It flares up for a few years at a time but doesn’t have much sustaining power on the radio. I’m noticing a change in that trend lately— lots of reggae bands have been getting on the radio and are only getting more popular instead of fading out. I think that bodes well for ska, too. Plus we incorporate many other elements and genres into our music, so ska isn’t a perfect definition for us. Our music is lively, upbeat, carefree, and practically begging you to crank up the volume and rock out like nobody’s watching. Who wouldn’t want to hear that on the radio?

What do you hope someone gets from coming to an UNRB show?

I hope someone who sees UNRB for the first time leaves our show with a reminder of why they fell in love with music in the first place. Everybody remembers that first album they fell completely in love with and couldn’t stop listening to. I still remember those live shows I went to that blew me away and reaffirmed my passion for music. I firmly believe a UNRB show will not only entertain you, but remind you of the effect that a great performance can have on you. We want people to lose themselves in the concert, to scream at the top of their lungs and pump their fists in the air. We want people to jump as high as they can and clap their hands and leave their reservations behind, if just for a few moments. We want to exhilarate people with our music. That’s what I hope someone takes away from a UNRB show— and a copy of our new EP wouldn’t hurt, either.

Is there anything else you would like to say?

I know that the whole band is over the moon about this tour— we’ve travelled around the southeast a bit and play Florida very heavily, but this is the biggest thing we’ve ever done by a long shot. I’ve never been to most of the states we’re playing, and I’ve definitely never played a six-thousand-seat auditorium overlooking Lake Michigan on the opening night of the world’s largest music festival.

When you put it together with the new EP, it marks the beginning of the next step for UNRB. We’re already planning big tours for 2016 and figuring out how to outdo ourselves on the next full-length album. When we get to SIU we’ll be riding a wave of positivity so big we won’t be able to help sharing it with you, onstage and off. If someone gets half as excited about what we’re doing as we are about the fact that we get to do it, then we want to meet you and give you a high-five.

UNRB is all about having fun, playing music and making friends— and I know we’ll be doing all three at the Sunset Concert Series.

who: UNRB

what: Sunset Concerts (ska)

where: Turley Park Gazebo

 

when: Thursday, June 25