Their first gig was Glastonbury, their second to 5,000 people on the main stage at The Big Chill. Urban Myth Club are one band that don't do things the traditional way...
Having been discovered in North America before anyone in their homeland had heard of them, Urban Myth Club is now a name on the lips of every music industry bod who has a finger and a pulse. Booked on the strength of an album sampler for last year’s Glastonbury, Urban Myth Club continued to hit headlines after gate-crashing the top 30 with their debut single “I Feel It” and recently claiming the “Top Artist” slot on MySpace.
The forthcoming album “Helium” is already being hailed a classic by the press, and its release precedes a manic festival season, where Urban Myth Club have exclusively told us they are confirmed for The Glade and Secret Garden Party. Virtual Festivals caught up with Dezz, core member of the collective and wannabe cloning scientist…
Virtual Festivals: Tell us a little about yourselves…
Urban Myth Club started a couple of years ago when I hooked up with Stephen Barton, Hollywood film composer, who had been working on blockbusters such as Gladiators. He returned to the UK pretty much burnt out from the huge pressures involved in writing massive film scores. Quite soon into the project Stephen got lured back to Hollywood with the offer of writing the music for Shrek II, and most recently Narnia. We decided to try working remotely and the idea of a collective was born.
Soon, legendary producer Ian Sanderson was on board and we were writing track over the Internet – fizzing music files back and forth. It was mental! One day I’d write a hook or string sections and send it off. Two hours later I’d have it back with a funky bassline, along with a kicking breakbeat to work with. The first three album tracks were written before I’d ever met Ian face to face!
VF: What’s the weirdest urban myth you’ve heard?
Where to start! You’ve probably heard the one about the chicken sandwich with mayo from the fast food restaurant… I guess the one that freaked me out the most when I was a kid was the ol’ chestnut about the guy and the girl who drove to the woods one night to make out. You know, scratching on the roof, boyfriend gets out the car to see if it’s a tree branch on the roof…
VF: What’s the relevance of the name?
If I told you wouldn’t believe me…
VF: How would you describe your overall sound?
We usually get labelled as Electronica, sometimes Dance, sometimes Indie, as the music crosses over quite a few genres. The core of the music is Downtempo and we’re often compared to the likes of Massive Attack, Zero 7, Royksopp, Air, Lemon Jelly and recently Goldfrapp, Lamb and Portishead. We don’t mind that so much – you could keep worse company!
A lot of people pick up on the cinematic feel to the music – one review said something about “epic orchestral soundscapes” which was a good way of putting it. There are also a lot of organic sounds as we all play our own instruments and sample lots of weird stuff ourselves (which ended up with one of us in casualty once). There’s lots of electronica too. It’s just great fun messing around and playing with different sounds and as a result we ended up with tonnes of subtle detail in the music. Even our bass player was finding new stuff in the music after the tenth rehearsal. We love it when people simply fall in love with the Urban Myth Club sound. Based on the reactions were getting, everyone seems to be listening to it on different levels.
VF: How did you find playing Big Chill as compared to Glastonbury?
A lot less muddy at The Big Chill – the wellies were gutted as they didn’t even see the light of day! Our stage got hit by lightening at Glasto which was very exciting. Fortunately not while we were playing, but it would have been a great visual effect if we had been.
They are such difference festivals, which makes them both so great in their
own right. The Big Chill has a more intimate crowd – if you can call 35,000
people intimate – but there’s more a sense of people being happy to just
relax (I guess the clue is in the name?). Glastonbury is more like a mad
music trolley dash – everyone is trying to cram in as much stuff as
possible, with a constant feeling that you are missing so much!
VF: What was your highlight of the festival other than playing?
It was fun kicking around back stage bumping into all sorts of characters.
One minute you’re chatting with Norman “Fat Boy” Cook, and the next minute
some bloke saunters past in a huge wasp outfit, complete with wings and
stinger. It makes for surreal conversation. It’s always great fun camping. I
love being in a tent when it rains so Glasto is always a good bet for that.
At Glasto I was doing radio interviews during the massive storm and
apparently the noise of the rain hitting the tent drowned out my voice on
air! Sleep was pretty much out of the question as we camped in the
backstage area which was only 50ft from the West Coast Dance tent…
Oh, and the pies.
VF: What’s so great about playing festivals?
Just the sheer scale of them – the stages are usually huge, which is great
as live we are seven people with tonnes of equipment. Quite a contrast from trying to squeeze into a radio studio big enough for a gerbil and their suitcase. It’s great playing to big crowds, some of whom are hearing your music for the first time. I love looking out into the sea of people and seeing them enjoy themselves. At the Big Chill I was a bit concerned early on when I noticed some people leaving, but we later found out through the message board on the Urban Myth Club web site that it was because our vocalist had announced there were a limited number of pre-release albums in the Big Chill shop, and a load of people did a temporary runner to get a copy! Mad!
I also DJ’ed at Glastonbury which was a very different experience to the live set. Playing live is a huge monstrous operation with tonnes of gear, roadies, leads, masking tape, gerbils, plugs, ramps… it’s like going on a safari holiday. In comparison logistically, DJ’ing is like nipping down to your newsagents for packet of crisps.
VF: Future plans?
We’re really busy promoting the new album “Helium” at the moment and are dead chuffed by the reaction it’s getting. We’ve got a really busy festival season coming up with both live gigs (a couple we can confirm are the Glade and the Secret Garden Party) and DJ’ing. We’ll then be off to warmer climes to promote the album in Europe, Far East, Oz, the US where it is being well received. We keep getting offers for remixing other artists tracks and have also been approached to do some film soundtracks which are two areas we’ll be doing more work in, alongside a second album. Just need to work out how we can clone ourselves first!
Urban Myth Club’s album “Helium” is released on 17th April. Hear an album sampler at www.myspace.com/urbanmythclub. They are confirmed to play The Glade and Secret Garden Party, with more festivals to be announced. For more info visit: