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Ugly Winner Celebrates New Album Saturday at Black and Brown

In Clubs, Music
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A four-piece comprised of Takashi Makino, Maxewell Borkenhagen, Todd Flanagan and Nick Lopez, Ugly Winner’s latest album Inside Your Wave will be available on 180-gram vinyl, a testament to the band’s commitment to sound.

The San Jose-based band celebrates the release with a record release party at Black and Brown this Saturday, July 21st, with Dinners, Hazel’s Wart, and Breathing Patterns. We checked in with Takashi for an interview before the show.

What’s this new album about? What were you major influences when writing the songs?

I tend to tell myself that this album doesn’t have a specific meaning or influence, but that’s not true. The meanings/ideas are scattered and so vaguely documented/written down that it took me a while to understand mostly what this album’s general meaning would stand for.

Inside Your Wave, for me, is about what has happened or is happening to me and what I’m surrounded by, specifically in the past few years until present. The most personal of personals is what this album is written about, and also the changes and growth any person can go through. Being truthful and understanding, whether it hurts feelings or you end up being alone. So the meaning is vast, from heartfelt aches, health, not partying and holding the door open for a stranger.

I think for everyone in the band this album means something different and unique. This doesn’t concern the instrumentation side, just the words. Instrumentally, we all have are own influences that shapes the way we play as individuals. It ranges from old folk to punk to classical and old Reggae.

Where did you record the album?

The record was recorded entirely at home sweet home.

Did you stick with your sound on your new album or did you guys experiment with different setups and sounds?

We did stick with our band sound, for the most part, but tried to sound bigger for this album. There is some minor usage of melodica and organ synths for a couple songs, but all and all we stuck with our usual set up. We also acquired a second guitarist, Maxewell Borkenhagen to play lead parts and share rhythm.

You’re doing a tour in early August. What’s that going to look like?

Our tour in August is starting off here in California and going through Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and consists of 18 shows. Playing in different cities is one of our favorite things to do as a band. It’s definitely a refreshing way to travel and see the country. Hopefully we’ll be able to do a second tour in late fall/early winter further out East but we’ll see.

You guys are the band most associated with the Gingerbread House.  Where is that 7th Street sound going? Starting with the Unit Breed, up to you guys now and everything that came in between, that little block south of Keyes has produced a lot of quality music. Why do you think that is?

I think we’re most associated with the Gingerbread House because our bass player Todd Flanagan lives there and curates all the shows that are thrown there. Timing and location has been the main factor of why these shows have existed.

In one house, Joe Demaree threw shows at a rehearsal space for a handful of years where Unit Breed practiced. Some amazing shows have happened with bands coming through on tour from all over the country/world. After Joe moved, Todd began doing the same thing in the house next door as an alternative to going to bars and clubs to see a live show, and it kinda just continued form there.

It really just came down to them willing to open up their home for bands to come in and express their craft. San Jose has been really lucky to have it as a venue. As far as where that 7th street sound is going, not sure, but it’s going to continue to make some noise I’m sure.

Where do you see the SJ music scene heading?

The indie music scene only has room to grow in San Jose and I see it doing tremendous things in the years to come. There’s some awesome music around, musicians seem pretty motivated right now, bands are taking things into their own hands, and that’s when things get interesting. We can only wait and see what the future will hold for this little big town.

You guys play some unique venues, Do you see the idea of a standard “music club” diminishing, or will traditional venues always play an important role in live music?

There will always be music clubs and traditional venues and there is nothing wrong that. As far as us playing at unique venues, we enjoy that side of it because we like playing for all ages and there is a lot of freedom and creativeness that comes with playing at DIY events, galleries and houses that are based more on supporting each other’s projects.

Our record release show is being held at Black and Brown. They’ve always been very supportive towards artists and musicians, local and touring, and we love what they’re doing as a business & gallery. We want to support them as well, and so for us it’s the most ideal space to host this show.

Ugly Winner performs Saturday, July 21st, 2012 for a record release party at Black and Brown 7:30pm. Admission is $5.

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