Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker
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USS (Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker) is a Canadian alternative rock 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.
|Also known as||Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker|
|Origin||Toronto, Ontario, Canada|
|Genres||Alternative rock, drum and bass, electronica, indie rock|
|Instruments||Guitar, Erhu, Turntables, Electronic instrumentation/programming|
|Labels||Coalition Music Records|
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."
USS hails from 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. The band then parted ways to pursue different avenues; Kebab travelled to Alberta to work on an oil pipeline and Ash went to the US on a pilgrimage. A friend of Kebab's later called him to say that Toronto radio station 102.1 The Edge had begun playing their first single, "Hollowpoint Sniper Hyperbole". The duo then returned to Toronto to shoot a video for the song, which was later added to the MuchMusic channel.
Shortly after the destruction in Haiti took place, Toronto's alternative performers came together on February 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. (USS later performed on stage with Maestro Fresh Wes at Wakestock 2010, in Collingwood, Ontario.)
In March and April the band emabarked on their 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 "Be There" campaign for the Nightlife Exchange Project. The countries that participated—Canada, United States, Great Britain, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Germany, India, Ireland, Lebanon, Poland, South Africa, Thailand and Venezuela—all exchanged their culture with another country, and on November 27, the world partied "together". USS were named as the Canadian curators, to deliver Canadian nightlife to India. In October, USS flew to Mumbai for the campaign.
In December USS released the track "Mavericks", a collaboration with Canadian fiddler Ashley MachIsaac. The single's lyrics reference Jeff Clark. Clark is famous for surfing the wave for 15 years before it was widely discovered.
In March 2011, the soundtrack to MLB 2K11 Major League Baseball 2K11, released by 2K Sports, includes USS' second single from Questamation, "Anti-Venom". It was also on the Nintendo Wii and 3DS version soundtrack to Need for Speed: The Run, released by EA Black Box and Firebrand Games in November 2011.
In an interview with Eye Weekly, Human Kebab elaborated on what USS were 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 explained 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!
Approved was released digitally worldwide on May 3, 2011, the day of the release party at Toronto's MOD Club and the kick-off date for the "USS Approved" Spring/Summer Cross-Canada tour. The physical copy was exclusively released in Canada, at the merchandise booth on tour or on their official site.
On 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 Approved—"Yo Hello Hooray (Everyday)"—had begun receiving regular rotation on Canadian rock radio stations. "Yo Hello Hooray (Everyday)" is the band's highest charting rock radio single in Canada to date.
"N/A OK" was nominated in the 'Rock' format at the 2012 Canadian Radio Music Awards.
In February, USS' second single from Approved, "Yo Hello Hooray (Everyday)", appeared in episode 32 of season 11 of Degrassi. Soon after, the band's third single from Approved, "Damini", charted on the hits Canadian rock radio chart.
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.
On June 4, USS released "This Is the Best", the first single from their EP Advanced Basics.
USS released Advanced Basics in Canada on February 11, 2014. To promote its release, the band played pop-up shows across Toronto. The entire day was filmed and released on YouTube. "Yin Yang" was later used to promote the fall lineup for CTV.
The band toured Canada in March/April 2014 with Hedley and Classified.
On July 18, 2014, USS headlined This Is the Fest at Echo Beach in Toronto. The show was part of the Edgefest Concert Series, presented by 102.1 The Edge. They were give the opportunity to hand-pick the lineup, which included artists such as Ms Mr, Said the Whale, Bearhands, Wildlife, Dear Rouge, and more.
In the fall of 2014, the band toured across Canada with Mother Mother. They finished the tour with two American dates (Niagara Falls, NY and Detroit, MI).
In 2015, USS was nominated for the Juno for Breakthrough Group of the Year (Sponsored by FACTOR and Radio Starmaker Fund) and 102.1 The Edge's Casby Award for Favourite New Song for Shipwreck.
On April 8, 2015, USS signed an American recording contract with Bad Mascot Records via Universal Music Group in America.
From November 14 to 19, 2016, the band played six sold-out shows in six different venues in Toronto for over 3,500 fans, which they dubbed Six in the 6ix.
On January 12, 2017 USS announced their new album release at their new tour kickoff show that played Kitchener, Ontario prior to leaving for Michigan and New York in the United States. The official release date may be Friday the 13th or some date during their tour if not the 12th.
Welding the C:/Edit
The band's EP, Welding the C:/, was released July 30, 2008. After the video for "Hollowpoint Sniper Hyperbole" began airing regularly on MuchMusic, the band was offered a music video production grant from VideoFACT to do a partially-animated video for the follow-up single, "2 15/16", which also made the MuchMusic charts.
On May 30, 2008 the band headlined 102.1 The Edge's Next Big Thing Concert Series, to a record-setting capacity crowd of over 2600 people. The pair performed at the 2008 World Electronic Music Festival and were also the opening act on the main stage of the annual new-music festival, Edgefest, held by 102.1 The Edge. August 2008 saw the duo opening at the Cutting Edge Music Festival in Grand Bend Ontario.
On September 16, 2008 the duo performed live on MTV Canada. By October 22, 2008, USS won both of the CASBY Awards for which they were nominated: Best New Artist, and Best New Single, for the song "Hollowpoint Sniper Hyperbole". In winning the 'as voted by fans' awards, USS bested the likes of Bedouin Soundclash, Sam Roberts, Die Mannequin and Tokyo Police Club.
USS released their first full-length album Questamation, through their independent label, Smashing World Records, on March 9, 2009. For the recording, USS teamed up again with Matthew Von Wagner (Crystal Castles, Alpha Galates) for production and engineering, while Chris Davies and Charles Topping 'aided musically'. Music engineer Bob Ludwig was recruited to master the original album in Portland, Maine. James Black of Finger Eleven is featured playing guitar on "P.S. I Can Change".
Parallel to the album release, USS created the video for "Laces Out", which followed onto MuchMusic in March 2009.
USS won the award for Favourite Group/Duo at the CMW Indie Awards on March 14, 2009 in Toronto. During their performance, the duo lit up the stage with a high-energy set, complete with handstands and full-size cardboard cutouts of Barack Obama and Einstein. The duo sat down and talked to Gene Simmons of Kiss in Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern after meeting at a local radio station.
During the holiday season of 2008, USS found themselves touring the Western provinces for a second time. Come March 18 and 19, 2009, USS crossed the border to showcase in the RedGorilla Music Fest, in Texas. USS made their way to Los Angeles to play the Viper Room March 31, 2009 and continued on to New York City's Mercury Lounge on April 6, 2009. Between April 14–25, 2009, the duo returned to play Western Canada, this time performing at the TELUS World Ski & Snowboard Festival, April 21 in Whistler, British Columbia.
In honour of the Questamation album, USS hosted their Let's Get Weird concert to a variety of artists at Toronto's Sound Academy on May 1, 2009. Describing the evening, Human Kebab said, "It's our official hello to the world." The band The Good Times, contest winners from Etobicoke, Ontario, played first, followed by 15-year-old rockers from the US, Crooked X. Blackie Jackett Jr's set was next featuring James Black and Rick Jackett from Finger Eleven. USS finished the night with singing, smoothies, and a volcano.
Advanced Basics is the third extended play by Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker. The album was funded through crowdsourcing site PledgeMusic, with the project titled "#Letsgetweirdtogether". The EP was the band's first official outside of Canada. The EP was initially released in Canada on February 11, 2014 but did not hit the international market until October 30, 2015. The band toured the US following the EP's release there.
New World AlphabetEdit
|"Hollow Point Sniper Hyperbole"||2008||—||×||Welding the C:/|
|"Yo Hello Hooray (Everyday)"||—||7|
|"This Is the Best"||2013||75||3||Advanced Basics|
|"Work Shoes"||2016||—||2||New World Alphabet|
|"Who's With Me"||2017||—||18|
|"Big Life (26 Letters)"||2018||—||—|
|"—" denotes a release that did not chart.|
"×" denotes periods where charts did not exist or were not archived.
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- Mavericks (location)
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