“It’s like you’re at Nirvana Unplugged but there’s a drum and bass party and glow sticks all around you.” Those are the words spoken by Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker (USS) frontman Ash Buchholz to describe the sound of the band.
With a name equally as atypical, this Toronto duo has been excelling at confounding and delighting audiences for more than five years. In fact, it’s only recently that the duo – Buchholz on guitar and vocals and Jason “Human Kebab” Parsons on turntables – started becoming better known here in the States.
The group’s first album widely available here, “Advanced Basics,” only dropped a few months ago, but its single “Yin Yang” has already gained the group notoriety. Parsons recently talked about the band, which returns to the Rapids Theatre in Niagara Falls for a show Friday.
Question: It’s very difficult to categorize the type of music you make, but how would you define what genre you are?
Answer: Ash and I always joke about this question. We have terms like “jungle punk” and “progressive dance folk.” It’s alternative electronic generally speaking, but because we have a DJ aspect to the band, we’re not afraid to open up our own creativity and let it run wild. We’re culturally colorful people.
Q: You guys project this image of two fun loving dudes, but a lot of your songs are melancholic in certain ways. Is it tricky getting the balance of more upbeat music but more sad lyrics?
A: It really is challenging. At some points during the composition, my bandmate Ash, who’s the lyricist, went through bouts of depression and mood swings. He loves every aspect of what we do, but depending on how he’s feeling in his life, that could turn into a great song for us. He has no problem pulling from that and recording it. At times it’s the soundtrack for his own torment. But sometimes you have to snap out that pattern, and that’s how we ended up getting a song like “Yin Yang.” We generally are happy-go-lucky guys, and that’s the other side of us.
Q: From what I can gather, you guys have been around for a while but only recently made your new record “Advanced Basics” available here in the States. What’s the reason behind that?
A: We went through different revolutions in our camp. We put our first two records out ourselves and for our next one we had a team. With our fourth we had a formal label system. It took us that long to attract the right people to help our dreams come true. That’s pretty much par for the course if you do entertainment.
Q: You have played a number of shows in Niagara Falls over the years. Is there something about the place and venue that you guys hold dear?
A: I think because when we started coming down to New York, we noticed 102.1 The Edge in Toronto the frequency goes over the lake, so the people there get to hear it and appreciate Canadian music. Western New Yorkers tell us that they get to hear us on Canadian radio. The buzz you get from playing shows in the States just makes you want to keep coming back. We’ve played shows in Buffalo and Tonawanda. At the Rapids, we can pack that place and make it a real fun rock show.
Q: For someone who has never seen or heard you before, what can they expect when attending one of your shows?
A: Some of the hardest and highest levels of energy of someone on stage. We jump around so hard that I still have pain in my foot that hasn’t gone away. We try to jump through the stage.
When: 7 p.m. Dec. 18
Where: Rapids Theatre, 1711 Main St., Niagara Falls