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Meet The Artist: Ultraviolet Communication

Updated: Aug 16, 2023

I wasn't kidding when I told Ultraviolet Communication they're going to save rock 'n roll. While it seems the genre is fading out here and there, there's small beacons of hope I stumble upon every so often (I quite literally stumbled upon them in my Instagram feed). I just knew I had to step in and get an interview because they'll be a household name soon enough, just you wait and see! Here's what the band and I talked about.

Introduce yourselves and tell me what instrument you play.

Matt: I'm Matt Morgan, I play bass, and I'm the lead singer as well.

Lee: I'm Lee, Lee Pickett, I play drums.

Josiah: And I'm Josiah Rodriguez and I play guitar.

Awesome, so how did you guys all meet? How did the band form?

Josiah: We formed via Craigslist. I put an ad out and they responded to it.

Matt: Domino effect!

Where did the band name come from?

Josiah: It kind of happened altogether, once we finally decided that we're gonna be a band, we were like let's do names. Every time we'd leave for practice we'd throw out a name, and say "cool, that's not cool". I think one day both of us threw out names and part of it was ultraviolet something and someone else threw out communication. On their own they were pretty whatever, but we combined them and it was pretty cool.

That's awesome, it came together very organically. Describe what the creative process looked like while working on Paper Tiger.

Josiah: We spent most of the writing process during quarantine when covid kind of hit everyone and we were locked down for several months. We had a bunch of songs that we'd started but never finished and we couldn't play shows, so we just hunkered down and started writing more songs. We threw away some songs and settled on what became Paper Tiger.

What was the first single released for that album?

Josiah: That would be Moon Man.

When you all were making a song, what did the composition process look like? Did you all bring something different in or make it at the same time?

Matt: Every one was different.

Josiah: Yeah, each one was different.

Josiah: It kind of depends on the song, most of the time it's one of us bringing an idea to the table and then we'll flesh it out together and then come up with a small portion and write it after that. Other times its like 'this is the whole song, it's done, let's just learn it together'.

Did the lyric writing process come after the music had already begun?

Josiah: It's about half and half, depending on the song. Matt tends to write songs with lyrics already done, um, I don't do that so usually whatever songs he wrote, ideas that he'd bring to the table that had lyrics with them, and whatever I had, we'd work them out.

This question came from 'Ape & Essence' specifically, what are some of your musical influences? I personally hear a lot of Velvet Underground in that song.

Josiah: Oh wow!

In the first five or ten seconds I definitely got a Velvet Underground vibe, I was wondering if that was an accurate assumption.

Josiah: Yeah, we (him & Lee) love The Velvet Underground, he (Matt) isn't really a big fan, but that's one of the beauties of our projects, we all like different things. I wouldn't have really thought of that as an influence for that song but I can totally see it, it's a cool one.

Is there any other bands or artists that filter into your music?

Josiah: Yeah tons, all the time, we're always so varied. I mean, Matt has his influences, Lee has his, and then I have mine. There's overlap between them, but most of the time it depends on who's writing the song, that's gonna have the biggest imprint. So for like 'Ape & Essence', I think at the time I was listening to a lot of Black Sabbath, so that seeped in a little bit, and we took another idea that was a Radiohead idea.

Matt: Yeah, I listened to 'In Rainbows' and the songs on there are really cool, I wanted to do something similar to that. It turned out to be something completely different, but it was still implemented into the song.

I love Radiohead, hearing all these different things and then going into the songs and noticing it will be cool. I'm sure I'll pay attention to that now that I know. Who would be a dream collaboration for the band?

Matt: I've never thought about that

Josiah: Yeah, I haven't either.

Matt: That all three of us would agree on?

Yeah, or separately.

Josiah: Individually it can kind of vary, and like, it just depends. A dream collaboration is tough, 'cause those are people we kind of admire but don't really see ourselves on the same echelon. It'd be tough to say 'hey I'd love to collaborate'. We love collaborating with local artists and friends. Any musician that is someone we can look up to and inspires us to be better, we'd love to work with.

You guys are from Phoenix right?

Lee: Yeah

What are some of your favorite songs to perform? That can be individually or as a group.

Josiah: We'll start with Matt

Matt: Okay, on the spot (laughter). Usually the new ones, I tend to get bored pretty easily, so the newest songs are always the most fresh and the most challenging. We have two new songs we're playing, one is 'Drugstore Cowboy' and one called 'Paranoid Skullchatter', and those are definitely my favorite to play right now.


Lee: Well, I personally never really get bored with them, um, I don't know, I enjoy the new ones as well, but I like them all for different reasons. At the moment, I would have to say a newer one, we're calling it 'Matter of Time'. That's been a fun one. We've been expanding the older songs with new jams.

That's really cool.

Josiah: For me, I think Ape & Essence is probably my favorite at the moment. I really enjoy playing that song live, been having a lot of fun with it. On the record, the latter portion of the song, at the end is an improvised jam we did in the studio.

That's awesome, the song is so intense in the best way possible.

Josiah: Yeah and we'll do that live as well, it's different every night, sometimes it's similar to the record but different, um, yeah we like to see where it goes. We feel comfortable enough with each other now as musicians in a band that we can watch each other and make something happen in the moment for the people that are sitting out in the crowd.

So it's different every show, that's great. It's not something that a lot of artists can do successfully.

Lee: One more thing about that song (Ape & Essence) I wanted to throw out, I was listening to Jimmy Chamberlin and The Smashing Pumpkins as far as the drumming goes, I was doing a lot of that.

I love The Smashing Pumpkins! But yeah, I saw your tour flyer come up in my Instagram feed, and I listened to the Paper Tiger album and I thought 'these guys are going to save rock 'n roll'. I'm not joking.

Lee: That's huge, thanks!

Matt: We appreciate that

There's no way five years from now this isn't going to be something huge.

Lee: Very kind.

It's very true though, I was sending the album to all my friends and was like 'these dudes are legit, listen to their music'. So, what's next for you? Obviously you mentioned playing new songs, is there an album on the way as well?

Lee: Yeah, absolutely.

Josiah: We're constantly doing something new. We're either writing or in the process of recording, uh, and at the beginning of the year, January and February I think, we were writing a record that was primarily studio cuts, mostly Matt's songs, ones that weren't primarily suited towards our live set. They're still great songs. I feel like we could take them to a place that's still us, we decided to go in and just get them all done. We're sitting on a record right now, just finishing up. We want to start playing more on the road, this is our first time really getting all the way up here. We want to do that more consistently, get up the West Coast more and wherever else the road takes us.

If you ever come back, please let me know and I'd love to take pictures again.

Josiah: We'll definitely be back around, we're loving Eugene, it's beautiful here.

Yeah, it's a pretty cool town, there's a lot to look at and a lot to do.

Matt: The West Coast has been a pleasure the whole time.

Lee: We live in the desert, and when you're living there so long, there's only so much to see.

Josiah: It's beautiful, but at the end of the day it's nice to get out and see the coastline.

You're playing Portland after this, right?

Josiah: Yep, we're going up there tomorrow. We're super excited.

Well congrats on the tour, I'm looking forward to hearing the live set.

Josiah: Thanks, glad to be here!

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