Ugly Duckling

June 3rd, 2006

Ugly Duckling

Andy Cooper of the criminally underrated trio from LA, chats to us about the making of great new album 'Bang For The Buck', touring the world, doing concept albums and signing to All City Music.

How long did 'Bang For The Buck' take to make?

We worked on it for about 6/8 months, not counting the preparation work of digging for records and writing random lyrics. It takes us a while because sample driven music can be difficult when you are trying to create actual songs with choruses, changes, bridges, breakdowns, build-ups… but we don't sample.

What's the thinking behind the album's title. Is it pretty much the same sentiment as the single 'Smack'?

The title is an advert for the immediacy of the album and the cartoon violent nature of the tunes. It's also a bit of a joke about hiphop culture considering that most of the records out today seek to make money by bragging about some kind of gun-toting.

How would you describe your new material in relation to your past projects?

More instant and high powered. It's not so much different, it's that we emphasized the up-tempo explosive approach that we've always used, especially in our live shows. This album, hopefully, will allow us to do better on stage performances because the tracks lend themselves to that venue.

So the high energy of the album will be reflected at your gigs.

I hope so. That was a big part of the whole approach. Now we just need to get people to show up.

Could you let us in on some of the musical vibes and subject's which the album touches upon?

We tried to keep it pretty light and simple but we did do one song about time which is almost deep. We discuss the concept of time proving the existence of a God or the lack thereof. Aside from that, it's a lot of crap about rocking shows and our experiences being in Ugly Duckling. Mostly complaining, but with a touch of humor.

How do you tend to create a track. Would Einstein cook the beat first and then Dizzy and yourself drop vocals?

Einstein puts a bit, a basic loop of groove, together, and he and I start building the other musical elements of the song while Dizzy and I work on hooks and lyrics. We try to make it all come together by the end but by the time you get to the end you can't tell anymore. That's always frustrating.

What attracted you to hook up with All City Music and put the album out with that label?

We have known Dan Greenpeace very well and trust him with our lives. Plus, he gave us all benzies and a trip to the jewelry store.

Do you spend much time rehearsing performances ahead of a big tour?

No, we usually just do a bad job of the first few shows of the tour. We consider those audiences practice crowds. So if you want to see us live, make sure that we've been on the road at least a week! And don't come to the tail end of the tour because we're bored and sick by then. But the middle is amazing.

Having toured the world, what's been the best location so far?

For me, home. I realize that the further you go, the more you want to be with the people you love. Either that or the show we did in Hawaii. Wait, that was much better than home. Or Byron Bay, Australia. Absolutely beautiful. And I think the show was good too.

What are your feelings on the great extent to which your music seems to be slept on?

We can't complain. We've had the opportunity and privilege to tour all around the world and perform for thousands and thousands of people. I know what it's like to get really slept on. Like, when we were begging for shows in our hometown 10 years ago and getting laughed off stage by scary, gangster groups. Well, the other two guys were scared but not me.

Do you think you'll ever do another concept album like Meat Shake?

Maybe, but it's a lot of hard work. I was thinking of doing a concept record where we attempt to start a new religion but I don't know if it would fly. There's a lot of competition.

I heard something about a DVD release?

We're presently working on a special U.D.D.V.D. that will be done in 6 or so months, hopefully.

Have you got any tips as to what artists or crews back in the US we should check out?

We doing a tour with Giant Panda and also The Procussions and they are both really cool.

Do you wanna throw out any messages to the UK public to round this up on?

Buy our record and give you a backrub.