“UBLU IS ABBA FOR GOTHS ~ UBLU DON’T BELIEVE IN LOVE AFTER CHER ~ UBLU IS A BAD ROMANCE BETWEEN FUTURE AND PAST! “ – this is how UBLU describe themselves on their Facebook page. If I had not been convinced by their music already, these references to glamour pop idols would have done the trick.
UBLU are four people playing queer dance rock. Adam, Andreas and Marie had played together before, and met Martina in a Danish high school. Their debut single “The Light” came out in 2020 and featured a unique style of rough guitars, hard rock references and glam pop vocals. Now, UBLU lead us further into their world with a brand new track “AG”. Lyrically, it references passionate sequences of several queer love stories. But what does “AG” mean? According to the band, “AG is the beloved receiver of the praise and agony of the song, a symbol of that specific kind of infatuation that has left a mark on everyone. Maybe AG is the initials of the person. Maybe it’s the initials of multiple people. Or maybe it’s just a display of the chords of the verse.“
We hear a very interesting mixture of acoustic guitar and electronic drums, which reminds me strongly of some early 2000s bands. Linkin Park, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Placebo are just a few that come to mind. I could picture UBLU’s music in movies like Matrix, X-Men or The Butterfly Effect. “We’ve all listened a lot to the loud-quiet-loud rock of the ’90s, such as Pixies or PJ Harvey, but the playful electro pop of the 2000s has also played a big part in our lives, especially icons like The Knife. Apart from that, we are all committed fans of Lady Gaga,” the band explains.
UBLU is so much more than nods to different eras of pop culture. They self-identify not just as a dance rock band, but a queer dance rock band. Openly stating this in our heteronormative society is still a revolutionary act. “For us, being queer means taking another path than the one carved out by the traditional model of heterosexual wholesomeness,” they say. “This is a path we take together in UBLU. Individually, we come from very different experiences, but fundamentally telling queer stories is incredibly important to us.”
As a fellow queer person, I feel empowered and supported by these words. This is exactly what UBLU aim to do. “Whenever we play, we feel a really strong connection with the queers in the audience,” the band explains, “and creating such rooms of encouraged queer expression is very valuable to us. It gives us the power to go out in the world and fight the battles that aren’t fought exclusively on the stage.”
There are indeed still a lot of battles to fight for the queer community. It takes incredible strength to not lose hope. Still in 2021, homosexuality is a crime in 69 countries. Transgender athletes are excluded from international competitions due to their hormone levels. In Western society, queer representation has slowly risen in the past years, even in mainstream media like Netflix or Disney. On the other hand, nationalist parties all over Europe are working on restricting LGTBQ+ rights. How does it look like in the Danish music industry? “Luckily, queer rock is slowly bubbling to the surface here in Denmark,“ UBLU say, “but depictions of queer life in music, as well as in every other medium, is still in short supply, especially when it comes to queer people taking centre stage. So that’s what we’re here to do.” Taking into account the discrimination queer people face every day, this young band are on crucial mission. Representation, safe spaces and possibilities to connect are helpful measures for queer and non-queer folk alike, and bands like UBLU provide that.
UBLU are taking a break from playing live for the rest of 2021 and focus on new music, meaning more unapologetic sounds and powerful shows next year. In fact, this is exactly what the band stands for with their name. The Danish “ublu” does not a have a direct English equivalent, but it roughly translates as “shameless” or “careless (for another person)”. According to the band, “it kind of balances between empowerment and villainy, which is a balance that fits well within the UBLU spirit of taking on dark and glamorous personas to feel empowered.“