Meet: The Umbrellas Before Their Headline Show In London

The Umbrellas bring their jangle pop perfection to London on 13th March for a headline show at Oslo. Backseat Mafia interrupted the Californian 4 piece as they sampled an English breakfast somewhere near Newcastle. Busy with fried eggs and tea they explain their love of British indie and reveal a secret passion for Greggs! 

Where did you come from, huh?

The honourable and completely sane United States of America – more specifically – the quaint little seaside town of San Francisco. A mythical land of broken dreams and shatteringly high letting prices. 

Who are you and what do you do? 

We’re rock stars, of course, and we make lots and lots of money touring the world like we are now! 

Just kidding, we’re four friends who got really lucky in finding each other and creating stuff we genuinely share strong feelings about. We practice and record in a little garage and work day jobs at record stores and schools. 

You sound so wonderfully…”jangly” – tell us about your musical journey.

Thank you. We had the goal of self-releasing a 5 song E.P in 2019, which ended up going as the Maritime E.P and that’s really all we had planned. We included a cover of an early Strawberry Switchblade song to represent what we liked; earnest pop songs with good hooks. We all had various musical backgrounds, mainly in punk music, so that has influenced our DIY approach in creating lovely music that still has a bite to it.

You sound more London 1990s than San Francisco 2024 – who are your influences?

We have so many influences, it’s hard to narrow them down – but we can start with naming off some record labels such as Sarah, early Creation, 53rd and 3rd, K Records, Slumberland, Stiff and Flying Nun.

What’s the biggest culture shock for you whilst touring the UK?

Haha! Probably the way people greet you. ”You good? Alright?” In the U.S these questions are typically used in a sort of patronising manner; so at first it was a little confusing!

What’s your biggest career high so far?

Probably what we’re doing now! Getting to see a different country because of what we do is endlessly, unbelievably amazing.

Tell us about your dream gig…

Nick: John Coltrane quartet

Keith: Us playing with Tiger Trap and Elliot Smith somewhere in the Southwest

Morgan: The Pastels and Strawberry Switchblade

Matt: Playing with Bach

How’s the tour going?

It’s going really well. We’ve kind of levelled up and have been playing somewhat larger venues and people have been super supportive. We also have had very steady lodgings which has been super comfortable (for the most part) and we have the nicest driver/merch seller/new friend Luke with us. It’s been really fun.

What can we expect from you in London on 13th March?

A shambolic pop frenzy and maybe some bad jokes on stage.

Tell us about your latest album – Fairweather Friend.

The songs are a collection of creations from deep pandemic times to right before we finished recording in April 2023. We wanted to sound louder and faster to reflect our live sound more. We also felt more comfortable in our sonic abilities from touring and putting out our other releases, so we’re glad people have been reacting so well to it. It’s given us a lot of confidence in what we can do as a band in the future. It’s exciting. 

What’s your favourite track to play live?

Keith: When You Find Out

Matt: Same!

Nick: Toe The Line

Morgan: PM

Here at Backseat Mafia we have the power to grant you your very own festival! Naturally you’re headlining…but who else is playing?

Wow magic is real! Thank you so much. We request the following in no particular order (except us headlining, of course)

Bach, Beethoven, The Pastels, Orange Juice, Crass, Elliot Smith, Void, The Sundays and The Beach Boys

Finally, tell us a secret…and tell us a joke!

Our secret is that we love Greggs and we want the world to know. Why did the chicken cross the road? To get to the Oslo gig on the 13th of March!

The Umbrellas are: Matt Ferrara (vocals, guitar, keys), Keith Frerichs (12 string guitar, drums, vocals), Morgan Stanley (vocals, guitar) and Nick Oka (bass guitar)

Tour dates:

13th March – Oslo, Hackney.

14th March – Common Ground, Oxford

16th March – Supersonic Records, Paris.

Fairweather Friend is out now on Slumberland Records

Check out the track “Three Cheers!”, below:

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