In Search of...: The (not so) Secret Diary of a Band

Monday, 28 November 2011


It's probably best to start at the beginning. This is a briefer than brief history of the band. As a band, we are very keen to look forward, but it does seem relevant to tell a little of the Urusen story, if only so that if things come up in the blog about the past, you know what I'm going on about!

Urusen started, a while ago, as two cousins from the South West writing songs together. As it progressed to gigs and tentative moves into recording, they managed to find their way into their old school one summer to record some songs - recordings which ended up being the band's debut album Life Under Seat.

The record showed that this was something worth pursuing and plans were dreamt up for a follow up, but without a proper income external interests and commitments inevitably had an impact on the progress of the band. Pete did a Masters, Ben made his first few trips to Africa to make movies and the 'everyday life' stuff like jobs and relationships meant that Urusen couldn't always stay central and a top priority. Nevertheless, and perhaps as a sign of things to come, they still managed to build their own (tiny!) studio from the proceeds of the first record and set about a more ambitious project that would become their next release 'One Day In June'. More importantly, it saw Urusen become a five piece band.

The addition of extra musicians meant a broader sonic palette but also more lives to fit around. In Jay, the band had found (via gumtree) a full-time musician with real experience of the sharp end of the industry - having toured the world with a multi-platinum selling artist. Nick (via a mutual friend's introduction) came on board with his Cello and years of experience in bands and orchestras. Rob, an old friend, completed the line-up on drums. In addition, having been 'on the scene', the band had contacts within the industry now, as well as musicians and friends to help with the recording of the 2nd record. Recorded in Ben's converted childhood bedroom but mastered by a producer of The Who, the band self released the record on their own label, The Almighty Rooftop Record Company.

Between then and now, a new full-time drummer, Kieran (me) came on board and fittingly, the band got bigger and louder in lots of ways. A new found dynamism, a lot of hard work and the triumphant/serendipitous return of a version of 'folk' music to the mainstream has resulted in 3 consecutive summers of extensive gigging and festivals, our music used on TV and played on radio, as well as a growing, wonderful set of fans. Oh, and Nick became a Dad! A desire to make a 'proper' record after dipping our toes in with demos and twilight sessions in studios culminated in the Winter of 2010 with the band decamping to a cottage in Wiltshire, taking 4 weeks off from their lives, and recording 11 songs at Real World Studios with producer Steve Osborne; without doubt the best musical experience any of us ever had.

Just over a year to the day since we went down there, I sit writing this with the record still only having been heard by a select few people outside of the band. So what's next? A successful self release of a single and a music industry that is increasingly risk averse and development shy has lead to us making the decision to put the record out ourselves; with a little help from a variety of different people who you'll hear more about later in future posts.

So that's where we've been and how we got here. It's not intended as a full biography; I'll leave that to Vh-1. The reason I've started with this is to show that where we are now is undoubtedly at the beginning of an exciting and intriguing journey, but it is also the latest chapter in an already running story. I think this is worth mentioning because, for all bands, there is a huge emphasis on always portraying yourselves as "new", "fresh" and "breakthrough". While we will always be new to some people, and we feel like we are most definitely fresh and bringing something new to the industry, we will not ignore our history. Not only do we think it's interesting, but it's this past, and the memories that have brought us here, and make us so sure that we can make next year the best the band has ever had.

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