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NAS 10 Questions with Spoon of Ukobach

[Interview Number 65]

This time, we get to know Spoono f Ukobach. Their track "Trial by Fire" is featured in the New Artist Spotlight Family of Playlists. The following interview was conducted with Nick, their lead vocalist.

Link To New Artist Spotlight Playlists:

𝟭. Where are you from and what is your hobby?

Aside from music, I'm into video games and baseball. I'm an avid fan of the New York Mets; I pretty much always have MLB Network on in the background. As far as games go, I absolutely love horror. I'm a huge fan of the Resident Evil series and other horror franchises. Honestly, I'm most fond of the PlayStation 1 era of gaming. The classic Spyro, Crash, and Resident Evil trilogies from the 90s will always be my favorite games of all time. I still go back to them to this day, and I do it quite frequently.

𝟮. How did your get into music?

When I was in elementary school, I would find my mom's old CD player and pop in whatever records she had lying around. She had everything from Brittney Spears to Slipknot. I think it's pretty obvious that I gravitated more towards the latter. The one record that really stood out to me was "Hypnotize" by System of a Down. There was something about that record that just really clicked for me and inspired me to really get into music. A year or two later, I got my tonsils removed. I was bored, sitting around at home for the better part of a month while I recovered. I had been begging my mom to buy me a guitar for the longest time, and she finally caved, buying me the cheapest guitar at Walmart. This thing could barely hold tune, but you better believe that I immediately threw it into Drop C tuning and started teaching myself SOAD songs.

𝟯. Who are your biggest influences?

There are several bands that have been a huge influence on my writing and musicianship. As far a vocals go, I take heavy inspiration from Cave In and The Dear Hunter. Those are two vocalists and styles that I have definitely tried to channel and emulate in my own writing and performances. For guitar and songwriting, my two biggest influences are Between the Buried and Me and The Contortionist. The way that both of these bands seamlessly blend and intertwine such different styles of music into their pieces is inspiring. You can definitely hear their influence on "Spoon I", especially BTBAM's.

4. What are you goals in the music industry?

I think everyone in the band is one the same page about this: First and foremost, music is supposed to be fun. We all know how incredibly difficult it is to generate a livable income doing music. So my goal in this world of music is really just to have fun with it and put out the music that I want to put out. If we get lucky with our marketing and gain a substantial enough following to start doing this kind of thing fulltime, then we would certainly explore that possibility, but for now, I would say that we're all happy enough with doing this purely for fun; I won't hold my breath and sit here and pretend like I expect us to "make it". Most of us are in school and we all have jobs. We're realistic in our outlook.

5. If you could choose a location to perform at, what would it be?

Wow, to be honest, I'd play literally anywhere at this point, given what has happened to live music COVID and everything. As far as a dream concert spot, I'd probably have to say somewhere in NYC. I've played a show in Philly, and it was definitely my best show to date, but I'm yet to play in NYC. I know that the rest of the dudes in the band have played there before with other projects. One venue I've been to that I really liked was Gramercy Theater. I saw After the Burial and The Acacia Strain play there a few years back, and I was an awesome show and venue. So yeah, I'll go with Gramercy. I think playing there would be sick.

6. What is your all-time favorite song?

Wow; tough question. Right now, I'd go with "Reanimation" by Cave In. There is just something so beautiful about the changing moods throughout this song. It begins very slow and meloncholic. The main guitar hook is quite dissonant, but it always resolves. The lyrics are build with the music to the final crescendo at the end of the song, this big release of tension, this grand resolution. It is just such an inspirational song, and the lyrics really hit-home for me.

7. Most embarrassing moment?

My most embarrassing moment in the context of music would probably have to the first live show that I played a few years back. It was with another band of mine. Basically, it was a mess. None of us really had any clue of how to sound check or set up our gear properly. So, I basically could not here myself for the first half of the set, and our overall mix wasn't great. The vocals and guitar were super quiet, and the bass amp was cranked. We seemed to put it together a bit better in the second half of the set, as we basically adjusted levels on the fly, but yeah, the first few songs were pretty brutal to get through (and listen to).

8. Proudest accomplishment?

To date, the proudest accomplishment for me personally would be the release of "Spoon I" late last year. That album was in the making for a very, very long time. I'd say I finished writing it around late 2017, but clearly that was only one step in the overall process. A lot of the riffs and progressions on the album were written years prior, with Josh. Some parts that made it to the album were created in the practice space when we were still in high school and playing with a different band. It can't be understated just how long it took to get all of these songs together. After everything was written, it was time to find a lineup, and I knew exactly who to call, as I had previously worked with Josh, Kenny, and Marcus in other projects in the past; I knew they were the right guys for the project. Then it was time to rehearse and refine the songs, which included a lot of trial and error in the practice space. Next, we began tracking, and this took awhile; which took over one year to complete. Given that we all work and go to school fulltime, it took roughly three years from the time i wrote the last song to when the album was actually released. So yeah, being able to follow through on my vision and put this music out for people to hear made me super proud, and it also made me hungry to work on new music.

9. What is something about you that might surprise someone who knows you the best?

Well, to be completely honest, I can still get quite nervous when I sing in front of people. I've been playing guitar for over a decade now, but I'm still relatively inexperienced at performing vocals; it's a pretty new instrument to me. I can go into the studio and nail a guitar part pretty quickly, but sometimes it can take me an hour to scream or sing one phrase and be satisfied with the take. So yeah, I'm still working hard to refine my vocals, and because of that, I'm not always super comfortable doing it in front of others. As with anything else, though, it gets easier with practice, so I'm not too worried.

𝟭𝟬. What is your dream collaboration?

You know, I saw something the other day that got me thinking about a similar type of question. Last week, Heavy Metal themed talk show Two Minutes to Late Night held a livestream event on Bandcamp that they called "Splitsville". Basically, two bands appear on the livestream and they cover each other's songs. So for the event last week, my favorite band, Cave In, covered an Every Time I Die song, and vice versa. This was one of the coolest things that I had seen in awhile. I have always loved the idea of covering songs and putting my own spin of them. so, I'm not sure if I have a specific artist that I'd like to collaborate with, but I think that doing something in the vein of "Splitsville" and releasing an EP of covers would be so much fun to do in the future.

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