Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker (USS) is a musical duo that began working out of Parkdale, a neighbourhood situated in the west end of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The band is composed of vocalist, guitarist and erhu player Ashley Buchholz (aka Ash Boo-Schultz) and turntablist/hype man Jason "Human Kebab" Parsons.
The USS sound is a mixture of drum and bass beats, grunge-like guitar riffs and 2-step rhythms. "We like to call what we do the campfire after-party," Ash said, "It's like you're at Nirvana Unplugged but there's a drum and bass party and glow sticks all around you."
5.1.1 Welding the C:/,
5.1.3 USS Approved,
5.1.4 Advanced Basics,
7 External links,
USS hails from the outskirts of the Greater Toronto Area, Ash being from the city of Markham and Kebab from the adjacent town of Stouffville. They met in 2004, while stocking the beer fridge and discussing music when they worked at a golf course; the pair hit it off instantaneously. A couple of months later, Ash's sister was looking for someone to DJ at her upcoming wedding and Human Kebab was suggested for the job. "It was love at first scratch" Ash said, who later moved into Kebab's parents' basement to begin experimenting musically.
The band's name came about when Ash sketched out map of exactly who he wanted to be in life. At the top of this life-plan he wrote, "Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker." Although this title was to become the band's moniker, the duo says that the name is for everyone: "It's singular -- it's the title of a characteristic, not the title of two guys", Ash said.
"Opportunity exists as a result of what you're putting out to the world," said Kebab.
By July 2008 they began to perform live, and they released their first independent EP, Welding the C:/ (pronounced: Welding the C Drive) later that same month.
They hadn't predicted the success that was to follow the EP's release. The band parted ways to pursue different avenues; Kebab went west, to the province of Alberta to work on an oil pipeline and Ash went south, to the US, on an emotional pilgrimage. Everything changed when a friend of Kebab's called to report that Toronto radio station 102.1 The Edge had put their first single, Hollowpoint Sniper Hyperbole, into heavy rotation. The duo then returned to Toronto, to shoot their first video for Hollowpoint Sniper Hyperbole which was soon featured across Canada on the MuchMusic channel.
Just before the New Year, in Nov. of 2009, USS directly supported illScarlett, on the Canadian section of their 1UP! Tour.
Shortly after the destruction in Haiti took place, Toronto's alternative performers came together on Feb. 2, 2010, at The Sound Academy, for the 102.1 The Edge sponsored Toronto Plays For Haiti benefit. USS headlined the event, alongside Choclair, The Salads, Die Mannequin, The Trews and Moneen. That evening, on impulse, Human Kebab played DJ to Canadian Hip-hop legend, Maestro Fresh Wes. (Round two of the USS/Maestro mash-up happened at Wakestock 2010, in Collingwood, Ontario.)
March/April was all about the Highway to Health tour. USS headlined Western Canada, from Barrie to British Columbia, with The Stables, a Durham Region band, along for the ride as direct support.,
USS brought home their second consecutive COCA Award (Canadian Organization of Campus Activities) for Emerging Artist, (Winner of Emerging Artist Award 2009/2010), on June 25, 2010.
In September, Smirnoff launched their most ambitious "Be There" campaign ever, the Nightlife Exchange Project. The countries that participated, Canada, USA, Great Britain, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Germany, India, Ireland, Lebanon, Poland, South Africa, Thailand and Venezuela all exchanged their culture with another country, and on Nov. 27, the world partied "together." USS were named as the Canadian curators, to deliver Canadian nightlife to India.
Human Kebab explains, "To truly experience Canadian nightlife, you need a curator that's all about its awesomeness, and we are honoured and proud to be asked by Smirnoff to accept this role. Having toured our great nation from coast to coast we have rocked hard with Canadians nightly for many years now, so we're stoked to fill our crate with every inch of our country and show our exchange city how it's done."
In October, mid-campaign, USS flew to Mumbai, India to truly experience the culture. Human Kebab spoke to Eye Weekly about the experience: "We started off by going to a few really well-known spots in Mumbai, like the Indus restaurant in the Hotel Diplomat, right beside the Taj Mahal Hotel, which of course was attacked by terrorists in 2008. We also saw the Leopold Café and Café Mondegar, which are their own version of what you might see here in North America. For the sake of the United Kingdom, we got to go to the Manchester United bar. And then we went to a club, a real hot spot for dance music called the blueFROG where you have to go through metal detectors to enter the bar, which was amazing and strange."
USS merged their progressive dance-folk flavour with eastern bad-boy Ashley MacIsaac's fiery story-telling fiddle, and in November, USS released the single "Mavericks", a lyrical throwback to the notoriously dangerous big-break wave in Northern California. The single is riddled with underlying metaphors, asking the listener to realizing their own impossible task; "Mavericks" is Jeff Clark's dream, applied to your own life (Clark is famous for surfing the wave for 15 years before it was widely discovered),.
The stand-alone, "Mavericks," featuring Ashley MacIsaac, is available on iTunes and their merchandise website.,.
USS earned two spots on 102.1 The Edge's top songs of 2010, with Anti-Venom at No. 26 and 3 Purple Butterflies at No. 74.
The wide scale audience singalongs and dancefloor pandemoniums are sure to continue. USS are singing and scratching up new storms, alongside producer Tawgs Salter (Lights, Elliot Yamin, Josh Groban). The studio's secluded sanctuary allows for frequent intermissions of wandering the woods, wishing on stars, and quiet moments of self-reflection.
In March 2011, the soundtrack to MLB 2K11 Major League Baseball 2K11, released by 2K Sports, includes USS' second single from Questamation, Anti-Venom.
USS's new single, N/A OK, released on February, 14, 2011 - Valentine's Day - across Canada. 102.1 The Edge, in Toronto was the first to jump on the trail, with legendary DJ Alan Cross once again supporting the band.
In an interview with Eye Weekly, Human Kebab elaborates on what USS has been working on:
"It's amazing. We're working with Tawgs Salter, who's done records with Lights, The Midway State and Josh Groban, and he's been helping us define what the new USS is, from a songwriting perspective. We're free to be quirky, acoustic, singer-songwriter, electronic turntable-based music, but in a bigger sounding format that has global aspirations. We've returned more to the minimal that we showed on our first EP, Welding The C:/, but we're doing it with the right producer, to make it sound as big and powerful as we can be. At the start of the year we did a song with Ashley MacIsaac, and we followed that with what's hopefully going to become our new EP."
In an interview with Niagara Music Scene, Ash explains the EP's title: "Approved, because it seems like everyone has issues of self-worth. YOU'RE ALL GOOD ENOUGH! Most of life is just overcompensation for not feeling like you are good enough. APPROVED!
The new EP entitled, "USS Approved," was released digitally worldwide on May 3, 2011, the day of the album release party at Toronto's MOD Club + the kick-off date for the "USS Approved" Spring/Summer Cross-Canada tour. The physical copy is available exclusively in Canada, at the merch booth on tour or on their official site.
On Saturday August 20, USS played at Budweiser Canada's fifth annual Bud Camp.
On September 21, USS revealed their official live drummer, Matthew Murphy, at their Kingston, Ontario show.
By the end of summer 2011, the second single from their record "USS APPROVED" - Yo Hello Hooray (Everyday) - popped up all over Canadian rock radio stations. This song is the bands highest charting rock radio single in Canada to date.
N/A OK is nominated in the 'Rock' format at the 2012 Canadian Radio Music Awards.
In February, USS' second single from "USS APPROVED", 'Yo Hello Hooray (Everyday), appears on Degrassi, Season 11, Episode 32.
The band's third single from "USS APPROVED" - Damini - hits Canadian rock radio charts.
In April, the NHL Network on NHL.com featured Damini for their XM Plays of the Week.
At the end of May, USS travelled to Singapore to play five shows as a part of Music Matters 2012.
During the summer, Damini hits number one three times in the Modern Rock Countdown on Sonic 102.9 FM in Edmonton, Alberta Canada.
In August, USS traveled to Europe to support fellow Canadian band Walk off the Earth on their sold out tour there.This tour took the band to Germany,Austria,The Netherlands,France and the United Kingdom.