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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Urban Bleu: Boldly Breaking Out The Blues

"Forged from the blues and cleaved with equal doses of jazz, rock and soul…Urban Bleu is carving out a path from Utah, in their quest to take the airwaves by storm. The unique sound of Urban Bleu centers on a progressive blend, more city than bayou country, and is balanced by great harmonies along with a kindred blend of instruments."

Urban Bleu recently answered a few questions about how they began, their early influences and just how the musical magic happens. This interview first appeared on Additional pictures, video and links have been added to this post.

Urban Bleu is: Aaron Fowler (Lead Vocals, Lead Guitar, Blues Harp), Django Lachlan (Bass Guitar, Vocals), Dan Robbins (Drums)

Kat’s Theory (KT): Right out of the gate let me tell you, when a band lists their musical influences as ranging from Stevie Ray to Deep Purple to The Beatles to Johnny Cash to Earth, Wind & Fire to The Rippingtons…you instantly get my attention.
KT: Aaron, I know your dad first turned you on to Stevie Ray Vaughn at around the age of 10…that’s like starting your music education on a college level. Was it Stevie Ray’s extraordinary ability or was it his depth of soul that first spoke to you?
Aaron Fowler (AF): The way he could make that guitar talk is what really attracted me, and that takes a combination of depth and ability to pull off.
KT: After Stevie Ray, who was the next musical influence?
AF: There were a lot that came after. Like Hendrix, Clapton and Page, but Stevie was always my main influence.
KT: Django, You’ve said when you and Aaron got together, you decided to play what you felt and break some rules. How do you manage to find the right balance between straight blues and the jazz connection of your past?
Django Lachlan (DL): Jazz and blues are very similar anyway. It just works
KT: Although the two of you have been playing together for over eight years, the band suffered a life-altering tragedy in 2009 when your tour van crashed into a semi, instantly killing Django’s long-time love. You’ve said Carmel’s spirit helped drive the band into a more focused vision. With some passing of time, does it seem the early path of the band has changed or just become more defined?
AF: It has definitely made us stronger and has allowed us to see that life is too precious and too short to give up on our childhood dreams. In her life and after her death, Carmel has been part of the spirit of Urban Bleu.
Aaron Fowler
KT: I know Aaron placed an ad in the paper for a bass player, and that’s how you two met. I was just curious if there were other applicants?
AF: Ha ha, I remember a bass player named Julian that auditioned before Django. He told me that we would never be anything more than a good bar band. Needless to say I never asked him to come back.
KT: This sound of yours, call it fusion, a blend, whatever…if you close your eyes and listen, traces of all those musical influences come through. Blues is the frontman, but the urban feel licks at its heels pretty good. How do you manage to stay true to the blues while firing up the city feel?
AF: Most of it comes naturally and I don’t usually try to force it. We all come from similar but different musical backgrounds and try to let the music organically happen.
KT: What is the music scene like in Utah? It’s hard for me to visualize it being a big blues area. Am I wrong in that?
AF: You are right, the blues scene in Utah is a bit sparse, but I think it is growing one fan at a time. Thank God for the World Wide Web (laugh).
KT: I’ve always felt when a band writes most of its own songs, it sometimes has a more difficult time developing a following, as opposed to a band that does some covers, where the audience has some recognition to the sound. The one exception I feel to that, is the blues. To me, once you hear that blues beat start, if it’s good, you’re gonna take notice. Was there any resistance to your sound when you first started out?
AF: Oh, (there) has been plenty of resistance but we always let that motivate us to do better. We play our music to make people feel better, like the Blues Brothers once said “We are on a mission from God.” Just kidding, but seriously, we are.
Django Lachlan

KT: Django, you whack on that bass pretty well. Listening to “What Do I Gotta Do”  the bass is so solid, when Aaron steps in with the crying guitar, it’s a seamless blend. How would you define your approach in developing your bass line?
DL: I really wanted to show my skills in this song but on the same hand, give Aaron his chance to shine as well.
KT: Aaron, you and Django have been a team for a while, but it seems being a drummer with you guys is not the most secure position. What’s behind all the changes on the skins?
AF: You tell me! I don't know, they all left for different reasons...but they get better each time we get a new one. 
KT: Aaron, your voice is perfect for the blues…raspy as hell…like you’ve been down in the dirt and just crawling out to sing. Was life that tough or are you just lucky to have found the right vehicle for your voice?
AF: I would like to tell you a really cool story about how my voice was forged by some great adventure, about me going to hell and back, and some of it would be true... though my voice was a god given gift.  
KT: Django, why the bass? Did you start on guitar and switch or just always feel the rhythm?
DL: It’s always been bass, I love the power.

KT: In writing your songs, how do you go about it? Do you work together or start separately and hook-up up a certain point?
AF: Usually one of us writes either a guitar or bass melody, and/or lyrics and then we work together until the song is complete. There really isn’t an exact formula to it.
KT: Is Dan (Robbins) involved in the writing at this point?
AF: Since Dan has been with us, he has been writing all of the drum parts.
KT: Now that Utah is Urban Bleu nation, what’s the plan for the rest of the country?
AF: Shhh… Stay tuned….
Urban Bleu continues to push the limits of their live performances, adding an army of devoted followers along the way. With their unique sound and masterful skills, Urban Bleu is on a road where singing the blues will only be about the music.
Many thanks to Urban Bleu for their time.
Check out Urban Bleu at:
Urban Bleu Website
Urban Bleu Facebook page
Twitter @UrbanBleu

Listen to Urban Bleu's Music at:
Urban Bleu on Myspace
Urban Bleu on ReverbNation

Watch Urban Blue Videos:
"Alley Cat"
"Worst Enemy"

Article first published as:
 "Urban Bleu: Boldly Breaking Out the Blues" on

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