(Interview by Gareth Postans aka Girth, introduction by Mano)
With two superb EP's and one scorcing split 7" with Vis Vires under their belts, Ultra Sect instantly became a force to be reckoned with! Therefor it took us long enough to get an interview with this Bay Area outfit on the page, but thanks to Gareth (for the interview) and Bryan (for answering the questions) it finally happened - enjoy!
First of all...who the heck are you?
We're Ultra Sect from the Bay Area, California. Bryan is Guitar/Vocals, Ian is Bass/Vocals, and Eric on Drums.
I know a few of you have been in Those Unknown and some are still in Suede Razors - how do Ultra Sect differ to these bands?
While elements of those bands might seep through, Ultra Sect is its own thing. Bryan and Ian started the band to try to create our own Oi! sound from the classics that influenced us. Eric is a great fit on drums and takes a different approach than he does in Suede Razors.
You have a lot of war imagery in your artwork and your songs are very much like battle cries. Is this the kind of sound you were looking for? Are you big history nerds? Do you watch Sharpe?
Nothing about our band was contrived other than our initial goal of writing a four song EP which became the 'War of the Roses' release. The music was a combination of our biggest Oi! influences while putting our own twist on it. Bryan and Ian grew up in Santa Rosa, CA (meaning Saint Rose) and to give a nod in a subtle way to our roots we used imagery from a battle that was part of the 'War of the Roses'. When we decided to do a follow up record we named it 'Final Conquest' to have it coincide with our previous release. Ian's father is from the Shetland Islands (once inhabited by Vikings) and we used that as inspiration for some of our lyrics. Eric is particularly big on history, especially World War I & II.
Your band logo looks a lot like the old Leeds logo. Are you massive football fans? Have you ever been to Leeds?
Football is gaining more traction in the states. Ian and Bryan have seen matches in the UK, Europe, as well as MLS games. Ian supports Liverpool and Bryan enjoys the game but is not a supporter of any club. None of us have been to Leeds but would love to one day.
Corona has put a halt on gigs etc but things are starting to improve. I know in the US gigs have been going on for a while - have you played to any/been to any? How's it been?
Things have only just started opening up in the Bay Area. There have been some select shows across the USA but I think as a whole, live music and DJ nights have been pretty sparse until recently. We are starting to see a lot more tours and shows being planned for late summer and fall. We have not played or been out to any scene related events just yet, but Bryan will be playing with The Beltones in August.
Has corona helped you create your music and focus on writing etc. or have you missed crowds and mates? Or both?
Corona has been hard on everyone. It didn't help us create persay as times were rather dark, but it did give us a social outlet and something positive to focus on. We have definitely missed our friends, going out, traveling, and of course playing shows! There hasn't been much relief here for small business owners but it is good to see that some of our music venues have made it through.
'Class Hate' - absolute banger. Would you say this is your favourite song? What are your favourite songs you're really proud of and love to play live?
Thanks! 'Class Hate' is definitely one of our favorites. 'Built to Last', 'Power Through Victory', and 'Turn Up the Oi!' are some of the songs we really enjoy as well. We are also looking forward to putting 'Blood Laws' in our set.
What influences go into the Ultra Sect mixing pot? Anything leftfield or unexpected?
Our biggest influences are British Oi!, French Oi!, as well as some select American Oi! As for unexpected influences that naturally find their way into our music; for Bryan it's his blues/rock n roll foundation and some viking rock, for Ian Black Sabbath and Iron Maiden influences, and for Eric it would be mod and power pop.
I know you're highly rated by The Templars and Vis Vires. In terms of new(ish) bands you're both putting the power back into that raw Oi! sounds with meaningful lyrics. How's your friendship with these bands being on the left coast?
We've known Phil for a long time from going to Templar's gigs over the years. He's always been good to us. Templars are a big influence of ours and we appreciate the foundations they laid for American Oi! The Vis Vires guys are solid and our friendships have only gotten tighter over the course of Covid and doing the split with them.
Being from the Westside...do you listen to much hip hop at all? Can you see how Oi!/Punk and Hip Hop messages crossover in some sense? What are your thoughts?
Oi!/Punk and Hip Hop/Rap are similar in that they were created as counter culture messages and individual expression - often created from oppression. Ian still listens to Mac Dre and other Bay Area artists.
Which five records would you take to a desert island?
The Business - Suburban Rebels
Jook - Different Class
Blitz - Voice of a Generation
The Who - My Generation
The Pioneers - Long Shot
What is THE essential piece of skinhead/Oi! clothing in your opinion?
Are you guys record nerds or are cds/tapes coming back? Do you prefer digital stuff?
We are definitely record nerds, one reason why we enjoy making records so much. Digital is convenient but nothing beats dropping the needle and listening to your favorite tunes the way they should be listened to!
What does the future hold for Ultra Sect?
New music and some damn shows! We are at the mercy of the vinyl production bottleneck so realistically look for a new release from us in early 2022.
Any final words?
Thanks for the interest and your contributions to the scene! We appreciate everyone who has bought a record, merch, and supported us in one way or another.