Houston Calling

SXSW preview: Ume

March 5th, 2009 · 2 Comments

Photo by Anthony Rathbun

Photo by Anthony Rathbun

Ume, an underground rock band formed in the Houston area in 2002, quickly established a reputation for its powerful live performances and over the past few years has refined its sound. The Austin-based band — the mesmerizing Lauren Larson, along with bassist Eric Larson and drummer Jeff Barrera — recently released Sunshower, its second EP that continues to garner critical acclaim.

Gearing up for a string of performances during the week of South By Southwest 2009 (including an official showcase), Ume guitarist/vocalist Lauren Larsen recently answered some questions for Houston Calling.

Houston Calling: What are you most looking forward to doing at SXSW?

Lauren: We’re very excited to be meeting some folks and labels who’ve expressed interest in the full-length. Free shows and free drinks…doesn’t get much better.

HC: Sunshower is getting positive reviews. Are you pleased with how the EP turned out and the response from fans?

Lauren: The response from fans has been really encouraging and we’re super grateful for everyone who’s stuck with us. Frenchie Smith was awesome to work with and we feel like this recording was the first to capture what we were going for.

HC: You guys started out in Houston, right? After being involved in both music scenes (Austin as well as Houston), what do you think many bands do wrong when trying to get their music exposed? Any advice or pointers to new bands?

Lauren: We did start in Houston. It really helped us early on to tour. Not saying we saw much success from touring, but we did make connections and it gave us perspective. We’ve driven over 500 miles in one day and then played to one person (our merch guy). But we continued playing because we’re driven by the desire to make music. I think a lot of bands give up too soon.

HC: How has digital technology changed the way you record and/or write your music?

Lauren: We did the tracking for our EP on tape and will probably continue recording in analog. For Sunshower and our new songs since, we go over parts and I write vocals using our 4-track tape machine (though it’s getting harder to find cassettes!). Digital technology has helped us share our music, but it hasn’t played much of a role in the songwriting. I did just compose a string quartet score using Sibelius and might be using this program to compose parts for some new songs.

HC: What are the band’s plans for 2009? Are you planning a full-length?

Lauren: We’ve been writing lots of new music. Our goal is to record the full-length by this summer, get it out, and tour.

HC: What are some of the bands you’re looking forward to seeing at this year’s SXSW?

Lauren: We haven’t really had a chance to go over the schedule, but we are excited about Echo & the Bunnymen and Devo. Our drummer just mentioned he wants to see Radio 4.

Ume plays its official SXSW showcase Wednesday, 3.18.09, at 7:30pm at Maggie Mae’s. Ume also plays some day shows during South By Southwest: Saturday, 3.14.09 at Mohawk (ATX Emerge); Monday, 3.16.09, at WOXY Radio Session (1pm); Thursday, 3.19.09, at Ace’s Lounge (6th and San Jacinto, 1pm); and Friday, 3.20.09, at The Parlor (4pm).

Download Ume’s “The Conductor” [mp3].

Watch the video by Paul Raila here:

Visit Ume online at www.umemusic.com or on MySpace.

Tags: Interviews · Music · Show listings · SXSW

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Williams // Mar 6, 2009 at 4:51 am

    One of two unforgettable bands that really blew me away @ SXSW 06. The other was Maps & Atlases.

  • 2 weekly music addtions | compendium of cool [dot] com // Mar 15, 2009 at 2:29 pm

    […] Ume – Sunshower EP [via a heads up from Houston Calling’s SXSW preview list) […]

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