Interview | Introducing…The Ukuleles

Previously the preserve of Hawaiians and George Formby, the humble ukulele has seen a massive spike in popularity in recent years. Portable, cheap and – let’s be honest – easier than the guitar (even FFS can play one and a half songs at the time of press), the uke is perfect for evening beach jams, pub groups or just some solitary strumming. Riding on this wave of uke-mania are The Ukuleles – Logan Wilson and Martha Paton – who are set to release their debut album this September. Sunny and joyous, their cover of ‘Moves Like Jagger’ is one of the cutest things we’ve heard all year…

Hello, please introduce yourself and your music to the uninitiated.

We are The Ukuleles. I’m Logan Wilson. I’ve been a musician for as long as I can recall. I play uke, guitar, bass, mandolin, piano, harmonica, a bit of violin and anything else I can get my hands on. I love acoustic music from Jack Johnson to Paul Simon and everything in between. We’re trying to get the ukulele up the food chain and more established as the instrument of choice. It’s got a great sound, it’s easy to play and it doesn’t break your arm when you carry it. Why would you choose anything else?

Tell us a bit about your latest release?

Our debut album is out on September 3rd. Considering Martha and I only met in May this year it’s been a mad journey! It’s mostly covers translated onto the ukulele. It’s got a breezy summer feel to it and you should already be familiar with most if not all the songs.

What was you best ever gig?

Personally I’m hoping that the Bournemouth Air Festival is going to be. It’s next Thursday, (30th Aug at 7.30pm, Bournemouth Beach). Should be a load of people there. As for ones I’ve already done, that’s hard – so many different criteria to judge it on. I once played a Marshalls party at Silverstone for the Grand Prix. It was sponsored by Fosters and it was all free. The morning after was hilarious as they’d swept at least 10,000 empty cans into the middle of this massive marquee. Like a mountain of excess. I still wish I’d taken a picture with one guy lying sparko next to it all.

What’s the worst thing about being a musician?

I guess the ‘never knowing what’s going to happen’ is a part of it. As you develop you notice just how many really talented people there are out there who’ve never had a look in. You’ve got to be 110% dedicated. It feels a lot like banging your head against a brick wall trying to get noticed by the industry and the majority often end up having to downsize their dreams to stay sane. If the world was perfect then there would be a forum for all the talent and everyone would have the chance to be listened to.

What inspires you?

Anything can inspire me to write a song. I’ve often come up with ideas whilst either going up or coming down the stairs. That’s weird I know! Maybe it’s an altitude thing. Often the rhythm of walking can put a tune in your head too. Weather. Mood. Opinion. I’ve written songs about a lot of things that either annoy me about the world or fill me with hope for humanity.

If you won a billion pounds what would you do with it?

A lot of what drives creative people is the desire to be successful on your own terms and by your own efforts. I always thought that if I won loads of money it would take the point away from everything I do. I know it sounds like a cliché but I’d give most of it away – I’d keep some though, just in case!

Which of your songs is your favourite and why?

Whichever one I’m currently writing or recording is always my favourite. I obsess over every word and note until I’m happy, it’s what gives me the momentum to finish it. Once it’s done, I put it into the massive library and move on. I still love Swimming Pool which is the first track off my first solo album. I’m not sure why but I never get tired of playing it. It just has a great symmetry.

What are your plans for the future?

I take it as it comes. I’d love to see The Ukuleles album being a massive hit and do more of that, maybe get our own tour. That’d be nice!

Finally, we’re always looking to expand our musical horizons. Do you have any recommendations of bands or artists we should be looking out for?

We shouldn’t ever forget the really old stuff. I still love Louis Jordan and The Inkspots – these guys were knocking about in the 40’s and 50’s and a lot of people have never listened to them. I try to keep up with Dave Matthews too. He’s huge in The States but nobody’s heard of him over here. And of course people should check out my stuff too!

You can hear Logan Wilson solo stuff here