Circus-like party vibes come to the South West

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Pierra WillixBusselton Dunsborough Times
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Ungus Ungus Ungus will be bringing their unique sound and performance style to the region later this month.
Camera IconUngus Ungus Ungus will be bringing their unique sound and performance style to the region later this month. Credit: Ungus Ungus Ungus will be bringing their unique sound and performance style to the region later this month. Picture: Jamie Dale, Jamie Dale

Since forming in 2010, Ungus Ungus Ungus have transformed from a pub rock band to a full-blown spectacle, with their shows using performance and visual effects to bring their eclectic style to life.

The Times spoke to lead vocalist and guitarist Max Schollar-Root ahead of their performances in the region later this month.

Ungus Ungus Ungus formed six years ago when Schollar-Root met bassist Lindsay Miller while they were both studying music at Sydney University.

“We started off the band as a three-piece, but since then we’ve gone through a few drummers and musical styles and have evolved from doing funk-jazz fusion to doing progressive rock,” he said.

Schollar-Root described the band as a “carnival-esque circus party band”, which mixed folk and electronic music.

Several Australian bands have helped steer the band into their current direction, with Schollar- Root listing the Barons of Tang, the Crooked Fiddle Band, Mo Ju Ju, and Juke Baritone as influences.

“There have been a few Australian bands that have pushed us a bit in the direction we’ve gone,” he said.

The band’s philosophy of doing something a bit outside the box extends to their name, which Schollar-Root said somewhat reflected the band’s musical style.

“The band name is a great mystery to everyone, including us,” he said.

“We liked the way it sounded and it is appropriate for the way the band sounds.”

Since forming, Schollar-Root said the band had transitioned from a pub-rock band to become more of a party-rock one, and had played several festivals, including the Rainbow Serpent Festival and the Illawarra Folk Festival.

“The most exciting thing for us has been the transition into the festival circuit,” he said.

“We’d gone all over Australia playing all kinds of places but we needed to evolve at a certain point.

“What’s exciting about the show is that it mixes electronic and folk, which seem like they shouldn’t have anything to do with the other but we are mashing up the sounds and are managing to forge both paths.”

The band released their latest album, The Cosmic Carnival, last year, with Schollar-Root saying it was their best work to date.

“This is the first album we’ve done a very large part of recording and producing ourselves,” he said.

“The great thing about doing it ourselves is that we could take our own time and for that reason it’s probably been gradually coming together since 2013.”

The direction of the band’s previous album, Rumpapo, took the band in a more gypsy-rock direction and embraced world music, which was consolidated on this record, according to Schollar- Root.

The band will perform in Margaret River and Dunsborough later this month, promising a show that mixes a range of genres.

“The show is incorporating party dance-oriented music that is very world music-oriented and we will also have lots of visual elements, including a dancer,” Schollar-Root said.

“The idea of the show is to create a concept dance party.”

Ungus Ungus Ungus will play at Settlers Tavern on January 21 from 9pm, and Clancy’s Fish Pub on January 22 from 5pm.

Entry to both performances is free.

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