URock was established in 2010 and their first album was produced by the legendary audio engineer Alan Parsons who produced music for the Beatles, Pink Floyd and the Alan Parsons project as well as the Godfather of grunge, Jack Endino who is the former producer of Nirvana and Soundgarden. URock deliver an eclectic mix of alternative British rock and punk, taking influence from Deep Purple, ACDC, Led Zeppelin to name a few. They have performed over 100 shows internationally and have finished their second album which will come out next year.
TPN: Could you please introduce your band URock?
Umberto Sulpasso: “URock is kind of unique in the sense that it is not really a band, it is a community of musicians. There is guitar player, Alastair Greene, who has joined us from America, we have Italians, we have people from the UK and a bass player from Portugal. We are a mixed-up combination and over the years sometimes our guitar player has to work and cannot do a tour or a gig so we call someone else but we have always kept in touch and there is a lot of friendship. Our headquarters are in Portugal because our drummer, Vieri and myself live in Portugal now. We are a community of people who enjoy making music free of what goes on in the market, we make the music we like.”
TPN: Could you please share your connection to Portugal?
US: “I have an African-Portuguese girlfriend and a few years ago I came to Portugal and I absolutely loved it. I arrived at Santa Apolonia train station, I came by train from Italy and I had my money stolen and it was not a nice trip but I arrived in Lisbon and I felt peace. Then I came to the Algarve and I started to appreciate it more and more especially because Lisbon became overcrowded over the last couple years so I found a lot of peace in Algarve and to live close to the Ocean is fantastic. I think it could be the European California, I really believe a lot in this region and thanks to this region, I was able to meet Ian Gillan so it is destiny to be here! It’s a beautiful place and I appreciate it more every day, it’s difficult to extract me from the Algarve these days!”
TPN: How did you get into music and where did this interest in rock music come from?
US: “It is kind of a mystery, no one in my family is a musician or sings but they love listening to music so I had the chance to listen to good stuff. It is really strange, since I was a child, music had a very special effect on me, if I listen to something, it gives me goosebumps and it is something that touches me inside with an intensity that is not common for other people. I feel like my soul gets completely involved. The magic, enchantment that music has to me is hard to define in a rational way, it is something so strong that I had to follow. To create music and work with a band is the greatest thing in in the world. I was born in Los Angeles which is a Rock and Roll City so I think that had an influence and my mother also used to sing me a lot of songs like the Beatles and Bob Dylan. I think the defining moment was when I was in high school and a friend of mine invited me to his metal band rehearsals and when I got into the room, that mix of drums and electric guitar and bass touched my soul. It was not the music, it was the rock and roll feeling that guitars, drums and bass have when they hit you. I would be around a drum or electric guitar and I wanted to start to sing which was horrible at the start. I would listen to myself and think man what are you doing? That is a part of learning and then you start rehearsing and learning from other people that are better than you. I will say that I have learnt a lot from listening to Ian Gillan, he is a singer who I had a special connection with and I think it did help me to become a better singer.”
TPN: Could you please introduce the second album to our readers?
US: “In the first record, there were songs in Italian, Spanish and English and this record is entirely in English as we have different influences. We were helped by the fact that two great producers, Alan Parsons and Jack Endino who appreciated our honesty and produced our two records. We are going to launch our new record sometime next year and both producers were both heavily involved in that process. It was an incredible feeling especially when you look at the names Alan Parsons has worked with, the Beatles, Pink Floyd, The Alan Parsons Project. He had a huge career, to have him on stage performing at our show was quite incredible. Jack Endino is the producer of the grunge movement, who discovered Nirvana and produced their first record. They helped us to develop and become better musicians so we are very excited for this upcoming record.”
TPN: What can our readers expect from this new album?
US: “I would say that URock talks about freedom in this album and freedom is rock and roll. This is a record where we have matured artistically since the first record and this is also a record that has the influence by performing live and performing live abroad. This record works really well live because we have performed it and it also was born through testing everything live, we would go in the studio and rehearse and write a song and then we would test it the next gig and we saw the reaction and that was an important way to do it. We want people to have a great time and really entertain the crowd which we really saw when we did our last gig which we sold out as headliners at o2 Islington academy in London. It is a huge feeling to entertain an audience with your own music, it’s a very rewarding feeling.”
TPN: How does the band feel about opening for Deep Purple at Campo Pequeno next year?
US: “We are completely blown away and I am especially blown away because Ian Gillan was the greatest inspiration for my singing. When I first heard Made in Japan, I thought wow, I can really learn from Ian. I was struggling and not able to find my way and when I heard him, I thought I have to start from here. Then Deep Purple as a band have been very important in my life, first of all, there is such a positive energy in their music, I am not ashamed to say that like everyone I have had hard times in my life and Deep Purple was an important factor to overcome those times and find strength. The other great lesson that Deep Purple as a band represent is exactly what we are talking about, they are probably the greatest live band, their most famous record is a live record which is Made in Japan and when you see them on stage, they are giving everything and there is so much love for music doing that, it’s not just the concert it’s something much more intense. That was a huge lesson in my growth as a musician, to see them live is a really special moment. It is a dream come true and such an honour and we will do our best, they have been very generous to give us this opportunity.”