founded June 27, 2004
Trip Hop trio UNA formed in early 2004 around the edges of another LA trio, Elephonic, sharing members Jennifer Nice and Eddie Barajas. Producer Richard Larsen, with KCRW alum Kevin Lincoln of The Blueprint show, produced an EP for Elephonic and later Richard demo'd a song for Jennifer called Hate. Within a few seconds hearing her magnificent voice, Richard knew he discovered something very special.
They started working on their first EP, The Rain is Over and Gone, in late 2004. Soon turntabalist Eddie B joined them and a full length release followed, entitled "one", in mid 2007. Several songs were favored by influential radio station KCRW (several tracks on Morning Becomes Eclectic) and swept the LP to the top position, debuting at #1 in the US for unsigned bands (Mediaguide, ASCAP).
Using mostly downtempo jazz inspired grooves and Wurli electric piano, UNA proceeds to deliver profound pop with turntabalism, lending their vibe to what is called electronica but would otherwise be described as a new form arising in the aftermath of giants Portishead and Massive Attack. While not re-hashing those ideas yet remaining openly positive and spirited, UNA is moving into new territory with musical references to 50's sci-fi, exotica, soundtracks, and classical music.
Jennifer Nice is from Bakersfield, California, and studied film and drama from an early age. As her Colombian mother was an accordion player and flamenco dancer, Jennifer (as keyboardist!) started Elephonic, a trip hop band, in LA, with Anne Montone, lead vocalist, and DJ Eddie Barajas on turntables. Appearing at the Conga Room they were discovered by Kevin Lincoln from KCRW and brought to The Mighty One Studio, where Richard Larsen and Kevin produced their first EP. Later as the band moved in different directions, Richard and Jennifer got together to record a song called Hate.
Richard is a refugee from the eclectic Chicago scene and came to Los Angeles to work as a producer at Quango Records. Later working with Kevin Lincoln as co-producer for his show The Blueprint at KCRW, Richard was careful to first release his tracks under the name The Mighty One, and, once the tracks got "legs", Richard revealed himself as originator. Delphine Simonis of LA's KPFK calls The Mighty One (Richard's Inspiration), "a cross between Mark Farina, Amon Tobin, J.S. Bach and Anouar Brahem, all in one".
Eddie Barajas is a first generation Mexican-American, and had an obsession with music since his first recollections, thanks to his family's love affair with mariachi. His high school years were blessed with the inception of an electronic music show 'Illicit Groove' on KXLU radio hosted by DJ Sonic, now Jason Bentley. Schooling him in underground music, Eddie played alongside Doc Martin, DJ Heather, Marques Wyatt, Andrew Macari, and Slater Hogan/John Larner. Deejaying in San Diego, San Francisco, New York, Miami, Los Angeles, and Hawaii, Eddie B is currently holding two residencies in Los Angeles, spinning deep and techy house as well as smoothed out downtempo in the vein of Mark Farina's Mushroom Jazz.
The name comes from a number of inspirations, one was looking at a map of Brazil and noticing that there was a tiny village on the tip of that country where it sticks way out into the Atlantic Ocean, the town of Una. The other inspiration was the movie The Fifth Element, where the holder of the stones was an opera singer, Diva Plavalaguna. Finally it was curious no one had taken the name, this band was the first UNA, and the word itself in Spanish is only used to infer the singular feminine aspect, to such as water, freedom, earth, house, door, light, moon, cloud, hand, picture, chair, and music. The first LP the band put out was called "one" and proved the point by debuting at #1 (Mediaguide, ASCAP), apparently it was the right choice.
The Rain is Over and Gone, EP2, released July 25, 2006
one, LP1, released July 24, 2007
We Are the Lonely (single), S1, released July 30, 2010
The Laughing Man, EP3, to be released March 5, 2013
The Laughing Man Remix, LP2, released May 21st, 2013
The Laughing Man Remix, Vol. 1, SV1, May 21st, 2013
The Laughing Man Remix, Vol. 2, SV1, May 21st, 2013
The Laughing Man Remix, Vol. 3, SV1, May 21st, 2013
RIYL: Massive Attack, Portishead, Zero 7, Amy Winehouse, Anouar Brahem, Morcheeba, UNKLE, Weekend Players, Grantby, Everything But the Girl, Astrud Gilberto, Goldfrapp, Hooverphonic, Imogen Heap, Nightmares on Wax, PIXIES, Sia, Tricky.