Band of the Day

2013.04.08

Umatic

Sleek urban lounge beats illuminated by sparkling electro-pop vocals
Shame on me, shame on you, nobody has to know. No matter what we do, this love must never show.
lyrics from Out Of Control

A cold winters day in Copenhagen 2010, the siblings Mathilde and Lukas decide to embark on the musical experiment Umatic. They soon discover that Mathilde's soprano like vocals chime perfectly with Lukas's heavy and dusty production. And as the project takes shape, a stream of hypnotic electro pop starts to flow from their soundlab in the old industrial area in northern Copenhagen. As a taster of what is to come, they soon release the EP Desert Nights on the graphic label Horror Comfort. Now 2 years later, Umatic have released the critically acclaimed debut album Ashes & Diamonds and won a award for Best Electronica Act at the Danish Underground Music Awards. Mathilde has sprung from the Indie scene, having previously been the lead singer of the band Lovebites, with whom she has released 4 albums in Scandinavia and Japan. Lukas is well known on the Copenhagen hip hop scene. He has produced a string of hip hop albums and has performed as a hype man for the critically acclaimed and Danish Fight Night winner Pede B and Benal. Umatic is a mutation of these two opposites – an electronic popmonster.

So why the sudden change off musical direction - songwriter Mathilde explains: “I wanted to try something new - I have been in several bands, releasing records and touring a lot. I had written some new songs and wanted to try an electronic approach - Lukas is a brilliant producer, and though he has focused mainly on hiphop productions, he took on the challenge. And after several months of musical experiments we found a formula - and Umatic was created. I come from the indie scene and write all the songs on piano, which must be a nightmare for a hiphop producer like Lukas, who is used to build up a beat and then have rappers and singers to add a top-line. But in Umatic we do it the other way around. We have a melody and build a soundscape around it. I think that's why our music sound different than most electronica and electro music?”

The album Ashes & Diamonds sets off with the shimmering electro beam Desert Nights. It has become a signatur-song for the band. Mathildes incredibly light, high-pitch vocals combine with Lukas’s heavy melodious productions, brings night and day together like a flash of lightning across a night sky. Electrons spark, synthesizers pump while a rogue choir and geisha girls chant in - a sound that has been compared to Grimes and Austra. The song led to a normination for Best Electronica Act at the Danish Underground Music Awards. A price Umatic won.

But how is the teamwork between siblings, really? Lukas says: “At times we fight and it can be hard sometimes, but we get along most of the time. I think the hardest thing about making music as siblings is: compromising. For some reason that is easier with people you are not related to... Out of Control was the first song we experimented with - a real monster! It's gone through countless versions, arrangements and productions and was just about to kill us off before we even got going. It's written in a Danish folk song tradition that omits the chorus, which proved pretty damn difficult to combine with a modern production. So along the way a few more elements were added, but never the redemption of a chorus, which match the songs storyline of unfulfilled love.”

However the hard work has payed off, as Umatic have already enchanted many hearts, with their tiptoe extravaganza hybrid pop experiment - with many more to conquer.