Booking for North America:
The full-length debut from Billy Uomo, Nosotrosferatu takes its title from a portmanteau of the Spanish word for “we” and Nosferatu, the German Expressionist vampire movie from 1922. “For a while I was on a reverse schedule where I was staying up all night and sleeping all day, and I felt like I’d become an almost vampiric person,” says the Los Angeles-born singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist. “I was in a relationship at the time and it didn’t work out, and I came up with the name Nosotrosferatu as a way of saying how together we created one singular fucked-up creature.”
Self-produced and mostly recorded on his own at home, Nosotrosferatu arrives as a glorious beast in its own right, constantly changing form to accommodate Uomo’s most outlandish impulses and the dazzling scope of his musicality. “The only rule I follow is to push the music as far as I can take it,” he says. “If a song sounds good with me singing in a particular style, I’m going to go ahead and do it without worrying what genre it’s in.” Uomo’s first release for Lepel Records, the 16-song album expands on the untamed imagination and DIY sensibilities he’s brought to a steady stream of EPs in recent years (and to previous projects like the beloved indie-pop band Babes). But whether he’s delivering existential doo-wop or apocalyptic punk or psychedelic dream-pop, Uomo approaches each song with equal parts tender emotionality, daring eccentricity, and fun-loving joie de vivre, wholly fulfilling his vision of “making something sad that also feels like a weird little party.”
A prime showcase for Uomo’s sweetly expressive vocals, Nosotrosferatu opens on the lovestruck daze of “This Could Be Heaven” before drifting into the celestial textures and kaleidoscopic rhythms of “Touched By An Angel”: a sublimely heavy-hearted track inspired by the theme song to Disneyland’s Main Street Electrical Parade. “I wrote that on guitar with all these crazy chords so that I could make it into its own little journey like the light parade song,” says Uomo. “I liked the idea of starting the record with something sweet and nice and then spinning out of control into some sadder concepts.” Next, on “Let’s Go,” Uomo shares a strangely euphoric breakup song built on jangly guitar riffs, bouncy basslines, and lyrics that simultaneously echo his oddball humor and unguarded sincerity (e.g., “You turn me to jelly/A charged-up celly/I’ll love you until I go dead”). “During the breakup my ex and I were stuck living in the same place, and being that close but knowing it was all over was a pretty intense experience,” he says of the song’s inspiration.
Naming shapeshifters like Prince and David Bowie among his most crucial inspirations, Uomo warps and merges genres with undeniable ease all throughout Nosotrosferatu. On “I Need You Now,” his raw meditation on longing and loneliness unfolds as a lilting piece of doo-wop, graced with girl-group-esque harmonies and a gorgeously sprawling guitar solo. Several songs later, on “We’re Going to Die,” Uomo leans into impending doom with absolute abandon, offering up a darkly explosive track powered by furious guitar shredding and wildly thrashing drums. “I wanted to write a rock song where I could sing funny things like ‘ripped up my mail’ or whatever,” he says. “A lot of my lyrics are partly a way for me to tell jokes.” On “Love Slave,” with its Auto-Tuned vocals and hypnotically pounding beats, the album takes on a haunting precision as Uomo reflects on certain self-destructive tendencies. “It’s about how I’m so susceptible to flattery and sweet talk, and how that’s caused a lot of problems for me in the past,” he says. And on “Dreams Come True,” Nosotrosferatu closes out with a slow-burning and starry-eyed track that perfectly encapsulates the album’s unabashed romanticism (“Why can’t we live in a world where dreams come true?/Falling in love because dreams are real/And dreams come true because we’re falling in love”). “I was going through a really tough time when I wrote that song,” says Uomo, who created “Dreams Come True” by reimagining a track he’d discovered on the vocal-effects app Voloco. “I was dealing with my breakup, and my roommate’s friend died, and a friend of mine had died a while back. It was a very sad time in both our worlds, but it ended up being my favorite song on the record.”
A lifelong singer who plays guitar, bass, drums, keys, and synth on Nosotrosferatu, Uomo first began writing songs around the age of 11, soon after getting his hands on a cheap acoustic guitar he picked up at a flea market in downtown L.A. By age 13, he’d joined a punk band and started playing shows all around the city. “I never felt too good about anything, but music always felt good,” he says. “I always had a studio of some kind at home, and I’d make music with whatever guitars I had and whatever equipment I could get for cheap. At some point I got a fake ID and I’d go to bars to meet other musicians and show them my music, and sometimes I’d end up playing in their bands.” After spending much of the past decade playing with Babes and building up his catalog of solo material, Uomo linked up with Lepel Records thanks to a connection from his neighbor Brian Canning (an L.A.-based artist and former member of indie-rock band Irving). “I knew Brian was in a band, so I’d ride my bike over to his apartment and throw my demos through his window,” he recalls. Over the years, Uomo has also made his name as an endearing live performer, continually creating new contexts for the exquisite intimacy of his songs. “Sometimes it’s just me and sometimes it’s as many as eight people up onstage, singing harmonies and all that, depending on which of my musician-friends are around to support me,” he points out.
In the making of his first full-length effort, Uomo brought a profound attention to detail to every aspect of the process while endlessly relying on his intuition—an element indelibly shaped by living a life immersed in music. “I think about every little thing when I’m writing and recording, but at the same time I just try to let go and focus on what feels right,” he says. “You have to be sort of a lunatic to work like this, and all the songs on the album were challenging for me in their own way. But the whole experience taught me that I’m capable of creating something like this many more times. It showed me that I can keep making music exactly the way I want to.”
Billy Uomo - Nosotrosferatu LP
Billy Uomo - Looking Through Tears
Billy Uomo - All Trash No Love
Billy Uomo - Hello?
Billy Uomo - Wasted