Toronto duo breaking new sound

Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker talk to the Journal about smoothies, ninjas and finding the reset button

USS will bombard you with low-frequency oscillation at their Sept 23 gig.
USS will bombard you with low-frequency oscillation at their Sept 23 gig.
Credit: 
supplied photo by Matt Vardy

I should’ve known with members named Ash Boo-Schultz and Human Kebab that I was about to interview an endearingly bizarre and original band. When Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker (USS) vocal and guitar man Boo-Schultz—née Ashley Bucholz—opened our conversation by asking me about ninjas in Kingston, I knew I was in for quite a treat.

Although their stage names might confuse you, the duo inspire and reach out to the public with their philosophies on the trials and tribulations of life.

“I was thinking, ‘Who do I want to be? Who do I want to become?’” Boo-Schultz said of his quest for self-realization. “I was flipping through a dictionary one day and I saw the word ‘ubiquitous.’ The band name hit me as a title of the type of person I was striving to be.”

Once he wrote the word down, Boo-Schultz said he became just that.

“All the amazing and wonderful success that’s happened in the band manifested in that day in that title, so I thought it might be handy to throw that out to the general population.”

Before the Toronto-based group took Canada by storm with their smash single “Hollowpoint Sniper Hyperbole,” they were just two guys searching for meaning and purpose in their own lives.

“At the time, I was going to Chapters everyday and raiding the self-help section, trying to find an answer, trying to find the reset button on my own life,” Boo-Schultz said.

As if the fates aligned, turntable and hypeman Jason Parsons appeared.

“It’s funny because Jay, a.k.a. Human Kebab, had just graduated from university, and I had just dropped out of music school. It was this amazing meeting in the ascent and descent of life,” Boo-Schultz said. “Without knowing each other we both got jobs at a golf course, grabbed some beakers, did some experiments and one thing led to the next.”

They didn’t originally intend to start a band, but the progression was natural.

“Jay deejayed a lot and I would go to his basement dance parties,” he said. “One time he suggested I bring my guitar over and he just started dropping amazingly great records and I played along.”

The band’s unique and developed sound is hard to pinpoint. Perhaps it’s their eclectic mix of hip-hop, rock and drum-and-bass that garnered them respect from the music industry so early on in their career.

“We’re like Nirvana unplugged at a rave,” Boo-Schultz said. “Not that we’re like Nirvana necessarily, but that sort of vibe.”

With different musical tastes and backgrounds, the guys found the ying to their yang in one another. Even Boo-Schultz can’t find the words to describe a genre for his band.

“I think we make music by combining what we’ve always wanted to hear in music, like if you put all your favourite songs in a jukebox and just hit it,” he said. “Or if you wanted a chair, but you wanted a chair that you’d never really seen before so you read books about carpentry and over time made the chair you saw in your mind.”

It’s hard to believe during the time “Hollowpoint Sniper Hyperbole” dominated Canadian radio waves the guys didn’t yet have a record. When their single was picked up by Toronto radio station 102.1 The Edge, the band took off.

“The most hilarious thing on earth is that we hadn’t even released an EP and The Edge started playing the shit out of our song!” Boo-Schultz said. “We were trying to play catch-up through the whole year with people constantly asking us when our new album was coming out.”

After the release of their debut Welding the C:/ in 2008, the gruesome twosome quickly satisfied the ears of the nation with their sophomore album Questamation a year later.

“Recording that was like a kamikaze suicide mission because things just didn’t stop, we kept surfing our way along a wave that just kept getting bigger and bigger,” Boo-Schultz said. “We had a tickle trunk full of material so we shifted into one of those 20 hours a day for 33 days countdowns and just said on your mark, get set, go!”

Talking to Boo-Schultz gave me a hint of the group’s hyper-dynamic approach to music. What’s enthralling is the connection and passion they share for their craft and the inner-peace and happiness they have found from creating their stomach-resonating, toe-vibrating tunes.

“The album name Questamation is a reflection of that, like if a question mark and an exclamation point went to a drive-in together,” Boo-Schultz said. “Springing into the quest of life, addressing and answering questions enthusiastically, rather than shying away from them.”

Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker’s upcoming gig at Ale House promises to be as energy packed as ever. All aspects of the group’s live performance are matched only by the quirkiness that sets the band apart such as their penchant for making smoothies onstage.

“We do the smoothies to encapsulate everything that is going on in the room during a show,” Boo-Schultz said. “All the enthusiasm, all the joy, all of it is absorbed into the smoothie and we ingest it taking it with us to the next town, it becomes a part of us. It exponentially grows bit by bit and it’s a truly incredible process.”

With the band a staple among the likes of Canadian indie acts such as illScarlett and Bedouin Soundclash, Boo-Schultz said USS have always felt welcome in the Canadian music industry.

“You realize pretty quickly how small the circle actually is and how down-to-earth and friendly people are,” he said. “It’s amazing to get to know other musicians who you might initially have known only as a ‘rockstar’ until you have an instant moment of understanding of what a person has been through and what brought them to where they are now. Being nice, having good thoughts and speaking good words about people is really inspiring.”

Giving advice to new bands starting out, Boo-Schultz kept it simple and to the point.

“Don’t be afraid of business and don’t be a hater.”

USS play The Ale House tomorrow night. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at Destinations, Ale House, The Brass, Sunrise Records at the Cataraqui Town Centre and at ticketweb.ca.

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