Singled Out: Ula Ruth's Misery

Nic James from the indie darkpop group Ula Ruth from tells us the story behind their song and single "Misery", which is a track from their brand new "Fever" EP. Here is the story:

Originating from just a guitar riff, "Misery" was a song that came together relatively quickly in the writing process. Often, we will work on a song for weeks at a time, playing it 100 different ways, but this song took form in the course of just one or two rehearsals. It was clear that we had come across something special: a new sound for us that made perfect sense. The contrast of the up-tempo drums and shimmering guitars with a moody vocal felt just right.

It wasn't until the lyrical vision began to take shape did the song really start to go through its transformation phase. As a songwriter I've always been enthralled with the concept of bad luck, Karma, or a looming darkness in a scenario where it seeks to trap an individual who rejects it all together. Imagine in a horror movie where the lead protagonist actually curses out the evil spirit right to its face at the very start of the film, rather than waiting till the end of the film where the evil thing takes away everything they love. In this song, I created a protagonist who challenges this dark force, who I have named "Misery", from the very beginning of the track and continues to almost mock this feeling of looming darkness as the song enfolds.
I think in many ways this protagonist I've created is who I want to be, but am not. I am sensitive, insecure, defensive, and easily affected by how others treat me. I have a very positive view of the world but often feel let down, and it tears me a part. It's a loss of innocence, and I wish we all world stand up and face or darkest fears to make the world a better place, but time and again we see that we are not living in a world like that.

We soon learned that this was a powerful song to play live. We would place it at pinnacle points in the set and play it with great intensity. It soon became a fan favorite and one of our personal favorite tracks to perform. When it came time to select the songs we would be recording for FEVER, "Misery" was at the top of the list.

As far as the recording goes, this one probably changed the least when we got to the studio. The live arrangement had translated very well so the real focus here was to embellish what was already a strong performance. The bridge of this song was one of the first places on this record where we figured out how to build up an elaborate arrangement supporting the core sounds of the band. The feel of this particular section took its cues from a Brian Eno track off of Apollo. For the rest of the sections we looked for ways in the studio to accent the emotional qualities of the song and overall eeriness through the use of falsetto harmonies, ambient synth pads, and shimmer type textures.

Hearing is believing. Now that you know the story behind the song, listen for yourself hereand learn more about the EP right here!

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