You’re going to need sunblock to handle the shine coming off UV Rays. The NYC indie rockers can brighten up your day and burn you at the same time.
“UV Rays really fit the music we wanted to make—bright and shiny, but sometimes painful,” Adrien DeFontaine (guitar/vocals) tells BTRtoday. “The melodies can be sweet, but maybe the subject matter isn’t.”
Their debut EP Try and Being bursts with bubbly melodies but the lyrics can get dark and intimate, with UV Rays really wearing the emotions on their sleeves. UV Rays drummer Erica Warner says their song “Flowerhead,” about allowing love to blossom, is the best song to be introduced to UV Rays. “It’s a happy song about loving someone, something literally everyone can relate to and the chorus is something you can easily sing along to,” she said.
Read the full interview with UV Rays below.
UV Rays, “Flowerhead”
BTRtoday (BTR): Where did the name UV Rays come from?
Adrien DeFontaine (AD): We realized that UV Rays really fit the music we wanted to make—bright and shiny, but sometimes painful. The sun gives life, but can burn you—that kind of thing. And even though the project completely changed, that same idea persists. The melodies can be sweet, but maybe the subject matter isn’t.
BTR: Walk me through the moment you write a song.
Erica Warner (EW):I write the most when I’m outside. Nature always inspires me. Other female musicians really inspire me as well. I remember the weekend we wrote “Flowerhead” and “Boys.” I had just seen St.Vincent on her Masseduction tour and it opened up my eyes and ears in a big way. I wanted to be as unapologetic as she is.
Tim Marchetta-Wood (TMW): The most important thing with writing for me is to get into a mindset where I can allow myself to be creative without judging what comes out.
Danny Sullivan (DS): I go through phases of listening to all kinds of music and I’m usually trying to write songs that sound like whatever I’m into at that moment. While we were writing the songs for this EP, I was listening to a lot of power pop and ‘90s rock, so like energetic songs with interesting chord progressions and surprising structures.
BTR: Let’s talk about this upcoming debut, Try and Begin—any themes that go throughout we should pay attention to?
EW: The main theme is that it’s okay to feel all of your feelings. I was going through a really challenging time last year and I remember finally understanding that I can’t apologize for the way I feel anymore. The EP talks about so many different emotions and viewpoints, but I think it does a good job at showcasing the pride in those feelings and emotions.
BTR: Are any lyrics inspired by real life?
EW: “Boys” is the easiest example since I wrote it with Tim and Adrien during a writing retreat where I was the only girl. I feel like I’ve always had to defend my musical competence around guys. The lyrics, “obscurity, they find the lesser known to better one up me/ I’m feeling illiterate, act like my thoughts and interests aren’t legitimate,” I wrote after having a conversation with one of my guy friends who kept asking me which Pitchfork band I thought was better and I wanted to talk about literally anything else.
TMW: “Flowerhead” is about being an accepting and open partner and letting the ones you love evolve.
BTR: Which track do you think is the best intro to the band for any first-time listeners?
EW: I think “Flowerhead” is the best intro to our band. It’s a happy song about loving someone, something literally everyone can relate to and the chorus is something you can easily sing along to.
DS: Yeah, it’s energetic, features all three singers and gets to the big chorus right away.
TMW: It’s pretty much a pump-up song, something to put on and feel good about life for two and a half minutes.
BTR: What other passions do you guys have in life other than music?
EW: I truly love all things aesthetic, whether its fashion styling or interior designing, it’s super fun for me to be creative in that way. I also love dancing so much and going on very very long walks with my friends to talk through shit.
AD: All of my free time is currently going to tidying up my apartment. Marie Kondo has taken over my life.
TMW: All of us have similar interest but different taste in film, video games, books, animals, etc. I love biking and audiobooks.
DS: I’m into swimming, movies, books and occasionally video games.
What should we keep an eye out for in the future of UV Rays?
AD: We’re definitely gonna do something with Existential Dread, although we’re still figuring out exactly what shape that will take. Beyond that, we have another three song EP tracked with Carlos Hernandez and Julian Fader of Ava Luna/Gravesend Recordings that will come out late spring. And we’re putting together a bunch of show dates.
Our release show for the EP is March 2 at Union Pool and the full bill is amazing. We’ve also got Elsewhere Zone One March 15 and a few shows with Everywhen and Caravela in Brooklyn and Philly in April. We’re hoping to hit a few more cities towards the end of April and May.