A chill soundtrack for a late night reverie (+ a crazy cute cover art). Uto Paradise need to be under your radar! Read our interview with the Swiss band below.
Describe your sound in three words please!
How did you meet and start making music?
We have known and valued each other on a musical and personal level for a long time. Two of us, Michel Spahr (g) and Maxime Paratte (dr), have been playing together for nearly 20 years starting out in hard rock bands doing Guns n’ Roses covers (things you do in your youth). We met Severin Graf (b) around 2009 while we were all three enrolled in the Bachelor of Music degree program in jazz studies at the Zurich University of the Arts. Ever since then, we’ve been a rather in demand rhythm-section for major pop artists in Switzerland. But over time we really began to feel the sidemen-weariness and decided that we had to follow our own creative urge. That is how ‘Uto Paradise’ came into being in 2019.
Is the absence of vocals an extra challenge when it comes to promotion?
We think it’s gotten easier than it was 10 years ago. There are currently various instrumental bands that are quite successful – we’re thinking for example of ‘Khruangbin’ or the collaboration called ‘What Kinda Music’ from Yussef Dayes and Tom Misch. Maybe that’s just a trend right now since the 70s are back in fashion.
Nevertheless, it is certainly true that it is more challenging to promote instrumental-music than vocal-music (even if we bluntly call the vocals a « qualité négligeable »), but the contemporary promotion tools, the streaming services and social media really allows niche bands to find their corresponding listeners all over the world.
In Cheap Drinks the first half is driven by its beautiful chord progression while the second half emphasizes the atmosphere of the song without the use of any distinctive melodic theme, but once again with some superb chords. An unconventional structure indeed. Tell us a few things about your creative process.
Oh, thanks! 🙂 At the beginning we just start jamming. If we get stuck on something that feels good to us, we make a brief memo of it. In a next step we try to shape the ideas and look for the right sounds. But it all happens very intuitively. If it feels good, it’s good. Sometimes our guitarist also brings some song ideas to the rehearsal, which we then process together. But honestly, at the beginning it was a rather tedious undertaking since we’re used to just sit there and wait for the bandleader/songwriter the come up with a good song – we’re sideman after all. 🙂
In what state of mind do you imagine your audience listening to your songs?
We think our album has songs for different moods but the common denominators are definitely groove, smooth harmonies and distinct sounds. We can very well imagine enjoying the album while having a bath and sipping a cheap drink. (:
How do you relate to the music scene of Switzerland? Is there something you think is currently missing?
Well, since we are living and working here and playing the bulk of our gigs in Switzerland, we obviously relate strongly to the Swiss music scene, which is actually – although this might be a little known fact abroad – really diverse. What is definitely missing, is more open-mindedness from the Swiss towards all the interesting music that is actually happening here. But when developing our sound, we don’t ask ourselves whether it is something specifically that Switzerland is missing. We just do what we like.
Do you have an album in your short-term future plans?
Yes! Our homonymous album ‘Cheap Drinks’ will be out on 3rd September 2021 as vinyl and on all digital platforms.
Has the pandemic affected the way you make music and your creativity? Where do you seek inspiration during this period?
The current situation has definitely influenced us – but not only negatively. We had planned concerts for autumn 2020 that were all cancelled and we won’t be playing gigs at least until autumn 2021. The pandemic has also slowed down the rehearsal and recording process as group meetings were not recommended. We miss the exchange with other musicians and people in general but we think that the deceleration also has its positive aspects since, for once, we were able to really concentrate on one thing during a longer span of time without getting caught in the daily grind.
How would you prefer to become famous? Through a Spotify list, your song being chosen for a film, you were discovered in one gig, something else?
Well, all at once! 🙂
Thanks Uto Paradise!
Listen to our Spotify Playlist “Dark Chocolate” feat. Uto Paradise and other artists we feature in Secret Eclectic.