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Q & A with Post-Rock Trio Ursus Colossus

Ursus Collosus interview, Ursus Collosus, phoenix music, phoenix band

Photo by Julia Romano

Roddy Nikpour, Austin Reeves and Thomas Bross are the men behind Ursus Colossus, a post-rock band from Arizona. If you’ve never heard of them,  you’ll get your chance at this year’s PHX FMLY FEST on Dec. 28.

The Spec had the opportunity to interview the trio. Read below to learn more about the band’s interesting name, plans for the future, and what members would like you to take away from their music.

TS: Who or what inspires your music the most?
UC: There are many bands that influence our style, both mellow and loud. We are also inspired by the unconventional methods we implement in our playing, and the genre of post-rock, as a whole, allows us to be creative and really stand out.

TS: Do you think living in Arizona has any effect on your music?
UC: We all agree that it does. Tempe has a fairly prominent music scene, as bands easily gain notice from playing at some of the local venues. We also are fortunate to be in touch with organizations and promoters who heavily support local music, such as Tempe Starving Artist and The Underground Foundation at ASU.

TS: Where did your name come from? Does it have any meaning to the band?
UC: We were formerly called Anchors, but after about a year and a half, we found difficulty promoting our band due to the evident popularity of the name “Anchors” for songs and bands alike. Because of this, we knew that we had to change our name to something more unique. Previously we had joked about naming our band Bears Scare Me, but we also thought that name fit a more aggressive style of music, like hardcore. So, after listing plenty of names all corresponding to bears and/or Latin, Austin suggested a combination of the criteria–hence, “Ursus Colossus” (which loosely translates to “giant bear”).

The name did not necessarily stem from any real meaning to us, but it has connotations we can relate to. We already have a few classical references in our songs, so it just seemed to complement what we already had going. We also have been told that, even though there are only three of us in the band, we produce an immense sound that surprises people.

TS: What are some band aspirations for the future? Do you wish to tour with this music outside of Arizona?
UC: We are currently getting our second album mixed, and we plan on releasing that in 2013. We certainly hope to keep writing music and prepare for a third album, but as of right now, the main focus for us is to tour. All of our shows thus far have been at local venues in the Valley, but we are always eagerly talking about touring outside of the state. Even now, we are in talks with another local band, Cassiopeia, about touring up and down the West Coast, so hopefully that happens next year.

TS: What musicians have the most influence on your music?
UC: Explosions In The Sky, And So I Watch You From Afar, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, The Album Leaf, This Will Destroy You, Joy Wants Eternity, Russian Circles, and certainly others.

TS: What’s the best part about performing live?
UC: Hearing people’s reactions when they have not been exposed to post-rock before is always pleasant, and it lets us know that we are doing something right. Additionally, since the songs don’t have lyrics, it is easy to apply a song’s meaning to whatever is relevant to us on stage as well as to the listeners. It’s a way for us to communicate raw emotions and ideas that we have manifested into the songs that could not be done otherwise. That very opportunity–and for us to express it on stage– is what drives us to play for an audience.

TS: What, if anything, would you like your fans to take away from your music?
UC: Enjoyment is really all we strive for, whether that’s in listening to the music and appreciating the instrumentation, or finding some way that a song connects to the listeners’ own lives.

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