Hailing from Warrington, UNO MAS are latest addition to explode onto the ever-popular indie pop scene. The band fuses the talents of Olly Thornton (lead vocals/guitar), Dan Whitelegg (guitar), Tom Pearson (bass), and Lew Roberts (drums/backing vocals) to create a contemporary sound with catchy lyrics and memorable melodies influenced by multiple genres including pop, indie, and rock.
I’ve been a huge fan of theirs since I heard there ever so catchy single ‘Bored’ and I cannot wait to welcome them onto the Northern Exposure ‘Bring It on Down’ stage in April when they play for us in Sheffield at Sidney & Matilda. I caught up with Olly to chat about all things, Uno Mas, the dreaded lockdown and new music!
First, how have things been for you over the lockdown/tier fiasco? What has been the most challenging as a band?
We’ve been productive which is great. It’s had its difficulties don’t get me wrong, it has for everyone, but we have remained as productive as we can be.
We have made a podcast, we covered loads of tunes over on our Facebook page and we recorded 3 of our own tracks this year! The latest one set to be released this year (2021). It’s hard because as soon as you feel the ball roll again it swiftly gets shut down as we enter a different tier or lockdown. But the key is to stay positive, see the light at the end of the tunnel. I guess the hardest part about it all is not being able to spend time together as a band, that makes it harder to finalise new tunes we have in our back pockets and developed that band energy and soul that you only get from being together. But we still talk to each other pretty much every day!
Oh, and gigging, GOOD GOD we want to gig again! The sooner we get back on stage the better. That’s where the magic is. That’s the biggest part of any bands fan base building plan or money-making or song promotion. Without gigs we all really struggle.
What are your feelings about the current situation and its impact on live music and venues?
As I was saying it’s the beating heart of any band. Gigging is how bands grow and progress and get to the top. It’s where the joy is, where you can see the reaction to what you’ve created it’s the pinnacle of why we do what we do.
Not to mention the countless jobs the live sector creates and the money it makes for our country. Until gigging comes back no one can truly progress and develop as much as they would like. We’ve all just got to do what we can on our social media pages and create other content for now. But the live industry is one of the most important parts of what we do, and it needs to be looked after!
Do you think there has been enough help for the industry throughout the crisis?
I mean I’m not all to clued up with the ins and outs, but it has been a struggle to get the funding it needed last year, with venues closing left right and centre and people being made redundant from all walks of life that relate to the live sector so clearly something isn’t right otherwise none of this would happen. The fact we need to petition and march for more (the right amount of) funding means that it’s not good enough and it should be taken more seriously by the government, this isn’t the time to retrain thank you very much. Everyone is struggling, but the live sector was the first to go and will be the last to come back! They need to make sure it’s prioritised for when things return to normality.
Tell our readers a little about UNO MAS, how did get together?
Well, I (Olly) have been in a few bands over the years and i was looking to start a new fresh one from scratch. Build a strong foundation from the off. I had crossed paths with Lewis our drummer in his old band across the Manchester & Warrington music scene. The last time i had spoken to him he was filling in for another band, and I asked why. He told me his band had split up so was looking for another.
Not so long after that I said do you fancy being in a band, I’ve called UNO MAS and I had a song demoed and he loved it!
From there I said right, all we need now is a bassist and a lead guitarist. Lewis said not to worry as he was jamming with exactly that and they were looking for a singer/song writer! The rest is history as they say. It felt kind of like it was meant to be, just easy and we all got on instantly!
How would you describe your sound? Who influences you?
I say our sound is like indie rock/pop. We aim to write catchy riffs and melodies that are indie pop, easy on the ear but with element of stong guitar involved too. My influences are from classic rock like Led Zeppelin to Black Sabbath to the likes of Catfish & Oasis and all the in-between, i like anything really but i come from heavier beginnings which I think shows in our music. Our bassist Tom he was also a bit of a metal head when he was younger whereas Dan our Guitarist is more indie and dance music and Lewis our drummer has a massive range of influences from Jazz to pop, but he prefers his indie pop. There are so many influences throughout the band so it’s great when we get in the studio to apply all our differentiations of what we ultimately want as a collective.
Tell me about your latest/most recent single, what’s it about?
Our latest single is called ‘Don’t You Know’, it’s available across all major platforms! I wrote it a long time ago actually and kept going back to it before I finally showed the lads. We made it into something new together and took it into the studio where we then developed its proper sound! It’s fast, exciting, catchy and it talks of falling in love when you’re out on the bevs, realising there’s no one out that you’d rather go home with!
It’s has such a top drum beat running throughout the tune that just gives it that drive. Makes you want to get up and get out (not ideal for these current circumstances like).
Not to mention the catchy main lead guitar riff that hooks you in from the start!
I really like the lyrics too, like I say “I feel so down. You really sort me out” and I think that is fundamentally how that one that really means something to you helps you in mind and body even if you’re in a dark place.
Anyway, go check it out, make your own minds up, go stream the hell out of it. Nice one!
Have you found hard to keep busy during the pandemic? What sorts of things as a band have you done to keep things going?
We have tried to keep ourselves as busy as we can and recently that’s been very!
We recorded a new tune in September/November, and we have worked tirelessly to make sure the aesthetic looks as good as the tune sounds. Trust me when I say this is the best thing we have done so far! Everyone says it, but I mean it!
We’ve been busy getting the music video ready, doing press shots, all the bits and bobs that go with a tune. I really enjoy this bit it brings it all together visually as well as audibly!
Expect that coming at you in the next couple of months! It’s BIG.
We’ve also done a podcast that’s 7 episodes long called The Mas Cast over on our Facebook page where we’ve dressed up, played games, told jokes and drunk a lot of beer! We have also covered Drake and Shakin’ Stevens (for Christmas) and done acoustic versions of our own tunes which are also available on our Facebook and our Instagram! We did some Facebook live full band performances too.
I also did a Facebook live stream doing covers and that every Saturday during the first lockdown for about 12 weeks!
Apart from an incredible gig lined up with Northern Exposure in April… What else can we look forward to from UNO MAS in 2021?
New music! That’s our main priority now, it will be coming very soon! We are also starting to book gigs towards the middle & back-end of this year like the lovely Sheffield gig with you guys! You can expect more dates to arise on our social pages! We will be doing some more covers on our Facebook. We are also working on so many new tunes, so this year is going to be mega! With or without Covid-19, we’re going to absolutely smash it.