With their recent headlining of Egefest and their Casby Award nominations, is really is the “Year of USS”! While at the Niagara Craft Beer Festival, Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker’s Ash Buchholz sat down with AMBY to talk about their slew of highlights this summer, upcoming tour with Mother Mother, and what he does with his time off while on tour.
AMBY: Hey! Thanks for chatting with me. Want to introduce yourself?
USS: Hello, my name is Ashley Buchholz, that’s what my English name is. I have a Pleiadian name, but it’s in a language that doesn’t involve sound. I’m the singer/ guitar player from Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker.
AMBY: …and where did that name even come from?
USS: Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker is a reflection of man’s ability to make simple things extremely complicated. That’s why we go by USS most of the time.
AMBY: You guys have had a busy summer festival season, what have been some of the highlights?
USS: I’d say it’s been a collage of different coloured highlighters all over the calendar. [Xprime’s Beatles cover of I Want To Hold Your Hand plays in the background], Imagine this was their own song and no one had ever heard this before? Everyone would be like, “wow, you guys are going to go to India and meditate, be on acid, play crazy music and come back to St.Catharines and hate each other”. But, the highlights! The two things that really stand out, that were kind of full-circle experiences… We headlined our own Edgefest this year.
AMBY: I saw that! That must have been fun.
USS: Yea, that was extremely surreal. Thinking back to 2008 when our first song Hollowpoint got picked up by The Edge and we were the next big thing for the concert, which is amazing, these guys [Xprime] are in the Next Big Thing tonight. But, in 2008, we opened Edgefest and now in 2014 we’re headlining Edgefest. So that show was just a beautiful moment of vindication. Nobody owed us anything, but it’s just a moment you talk to yourself and just go “way to go man, way to go, like good for you”.
The other moment was, when we played in Peterborough, we played a big street festival. They closed off Hunter Street, the main street and there was babies! Like, 6 month old babies and like 10 year olds in the front row. It was beautiful, it was the full moon, the super moon, and there was kids and teenagers and babies, the whole demographic was covered.
Peterborough, Ontario, Canada, was actually the first place that Jason and I played a show. Right before Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker, we were called Team of Captains, but we played a lot of the same songs. So our first show, it was in this tiny little venue opening for Final Fantasy, which was Owen Pallett and we were all, “oh my god we’re opening for Final Fantasy” and they didn’t talk to us or anything and it was like, oh man, we’ve got to make sure we talk to the other bands! You just look so forward to it. So yea, it was another one of those beautiful, vindicating, full-circle completions. Like Leonardo Da Vinci could draw two perfect circles, one with each hand, at the same time. So those two events, Edgefest, then Peterborough with our first show ever to the biggest show on the street, playing for the whole town- thousands of people.
AMBY: One of the first times I had ever seen you was at The Red Dog in Peterborough so seeing you play there again even brought make great memories for me.
USS: Aw, really? Jason is actually a Trent University Alumni and his first ever performance was doing stand up comedy in Peterborough, so the city means a lot to us. We’ll be back there in the late fall with Mother Mother, which is going to be an incredible tour. The band came out to our show in Vancouver so we got to meet them. I can say this tour is going to be a lot of things and fun will be one of them.
AMBY: USS always brings the crowds such a high-energy set. Do you feel any pressure to do something bigger and better with each performance, or is consistency key?
USS: I have many life philosophies that rotate from day to day. One of them is simultaneous opposites, so I feel that that question warrants that fortune cookie to be opened. One answer that is overlooked a lot in life is both- it’s a beautiful word, both. Like, we could do both! It’s not my way or your way, we’ll just do both and make a little extra time. So for that reason, I’d answer that question, both. Definitely both.
AMBY: You’ve got a lot of different sounds on the recorded material. How do you transition that into a live set?
USS: Well, my original intention with this band was that I imagined a campfire after-party. An acoustic guitar player, at a campfire, but in the middle of a dance club. So with that intention, Jason, my band mate DJ Human Kebob, if you go to a rave or to a dance club, there’s a DJ with turntables, CD’s, a laptop and they’re there playing the music. That’s what our band is. It’s like going to see a DJ, but there’s a campfire and someone’s playing the acoustic guitar.
AMBY: It’s a very unique dynamic.
USS: Yea, so that’s exactly how we transition it to our live performance because that’s what we record. It’s like a DJ playing your favourite dance tunes at a rave.
AMBY: When you’re on tour and you have a day/night off, what do you like to do to pass the time? Do you have certain intentions to explore the city, look for the best food joint, etc.?
USS: I have an agenda. It normally involves finding a green space, like in Vancouver, I rented a bicycle, a cruiser 7-speed, and I rode to Stanley Park. I try to find a swing-set because it’s fun to swing and not have it be a mood swing. Those were like our first drugs as kids; swing-sets, rolling down hills, spinning in circles. I’m returning to that state of grace of all-natural fun. We are here playing at the beer festival and I don’t drink, and that’s just a choice I make to experience life as it is. I have no negative opinion of anybody who chooses to drink alcohol, go for it, relax, have fun. You know if it’s something you have a problem with or it’s not right for you or you’re avoiding something in life. Regardless, after the swings, I did some yoga in the sun in a big field, and some meditating under a 1500 year old Redwood Tree that was like 200 feet tall.
AMBY: They’re beautiful in Stanley Park!
USS: I imagine them as transmission towers and when you sit under one with your back straight you kind of connect with it. Then, I went swimming in the ocean and found a juice bar, then found a library to read some scientific-America and National Geographic.
AMBY: Sounds like you had quite the day.
AMBY: Playing a craft beer festival, even without being a drinker, if the band had a USS beer, what would you call it and what would it taste like?
USS: We would have a beer called Shipwreck and there’d be an editable ship in the bottle. It’d be a delicious disaster, that’s what it’d taste like.
AMBY: Lastly, what’s next for USS?
USS: What’s next for us, is an equation that I came up with, a linguistic equation that has to go in this order. It’s based in intention, which is a very direct confidence that exactly what it is that you are thinking and feeling, it will rub the genie lamp of the universe and create that for you. So when you say what’s next for USS? I’d say to fill hearts full of joy, faces full of smiles, passports full of stamps and bank accounts full of money. And it will happen in that order. The first two, the hearts full of joy and the faces full of smiles, that’s the primary directive. As a result of those, the direct side effect will be passports full of stamps and then the secondary direct side effect, without even asking for it, without expecting anything back, all of a sudden, we’ll have fanny packs full of Canadian Tire money.
AMBY: I think you’re well on your way. Thanks a lot for sitting down with me.
USS: [laughs] You are extremely welcome. Thanks for your patience.
Thank you USS, for giving us your answers!
Interview by Shannon Bryan |