Ursula Rose and Bear Hands’ Dylan Rau team up for Ursa Major Revelation’s debut EP ‘Big Baby,’ a seductive futurepop trip down lover’s lane.
Stream: “Widow’s Glow” – Ursa Major Revelation
My life is a map of the men I’ve loved.
Three songs, three loves, one life.
Ursa Major Revelation’s debut EP Big Baby is a dazzling trip down memory lane – a journey of the heart’s adventures, soaked in tender psychedelics, cool synths, and the warm tinge of nostalgia. It’s an intimate record of connection and catharsis, passion and reflection, loss and yearning – all wrapped up in under nine minutes of compelling, emotionally charged electro pop that drenches the ears and engulfs the soul.
I don’t wanna rock it
but the boat I think it’s catching fire
I don’t wanna keep on keeping on
I think I’m too tired
I don’t wanna know where do we go
where we are free to be?
I don’t wanna see what’s waiting there
what’s left of you and me
– “Widow’s Glow,” Ursa Major Revelation
Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering Big Baby, the hypnotic debut from Los Angeles-based duo Ursa Major Revelation (out October 17, 2023). The brainchild of Ursula Rose (vocals) and Bear Hands’ Dylan Rau (production/guitar), Ursa Major Revelation is a vessel of sonic and emotional exploration; one in which cherished moments are exposed and explored for all their worth, as Rose comes to a deeper understanding about three “eras” in her life.
“My songwriting career started when Dylan and I first moved in with each other,” she tells Atwood Magazine. “He was making his next Bear Hands album Fake Tunes and asked me for some writing help. That is the origin story of our song ‘Blue Lips’ and a few others on that album. I guess after experiencing the sensation of performing ‘Blue Lips’ for crowds with Dylan while touring with Bear Hands, we started to believe that Ursa Major Revelation could be a thing. When our lease was up on our apartment, we rented a 1 bedroom cabin in Joshua Tree for a week. Because our car was already packed with all of our stuff, Dylan was able to set up a music studio in the kitchen area. For that 1 week we didn’t have any WiFi, just a bunch of books, the Lord of the Rings trilogy on DVD, and some music gear, and obviously a bunch of food supplies, weed, and maybe some psychedelics.”
“We would write music all day and then reward ourselves with dinner and we were only allowed to watch half of each LOTR movie a night, so after 6 nights we had watched the entire trilogy and finished writing the Big Baby EP. As far as the pie chart goes for combining mine and Dylan’s talents, he would hand me some of his instrumentals and I would churn out the lyrics/vocals. He would usually tweak some of my word choices or melodies and then he would write the rest of the instrumentals. A year later we were working as farmers and living in an old house on the Oregon Coast, which is where we recorded everything on the Big Baby EP. During that time we roped in our friend and fellow musician Chris Chu to help produce, and he added his own flavors to each song.”
For Rose, these three tracks delve uncompromisingly deep; writing them, she explains, was its own form of therapeutic release.
“Before we decided to start a band, there was this one day when I had just left a therapy session and was stuck in traffic on the 110 freeway,” she recalls. “I was feeling super reflective and raw. I began picturing my life as a book of paintings or a series of tableaus when this combination of words popped into my head: “My life is a map of the men I’ve loved.” At first I thought it would make a great title of a memoir or song or the name of an album or even just a lyric somewhere. I never ended up using that specific phrase anywhere, but it did become the overall theme of this EP. It became the writing prompt I used for each song which ended up being about the three most epic relationships of my life.”
“Dylan and I both love pop music, so we knew our first EP was going to reflect that,” she continues. “We enjoy the irony of sad lyrics combined with peppy beats and wanted to lean mostly on synthesizers for Big Baby. Dylan has been the singer in Bear Hands forever but with this project he really insisted that my voice and narrative remain the focal point the entire time. The final product ended up featuring both of us 50/50 which as a Libra, I love. Moving forward I want to start layering our voices and create some folksy harmonies together.”
Instead of describing the EP with words, Rose opts to describe it in three numbers: 16, 25, and 32 – each one representing a different age and a different love.
The title, she says, speaks to one such experience. “At first ‘Big Baby’ was only going to be the title of the second single, which was written about this kid I dated when I was 16 years old,” she explains. “We were both children at the time and our relationship was way too serious and completely unsupervised. Somehow we were allowed to become engaged which I didn’t want but went along with it because he threatened suicide if I were to ever leave him. We were definitely addicted to each other.”
“The whole thing ended in flames with me getting expelled from the high school we were both attending. I still have nightmares about the experience. Of course I was responsible for some of the drama that went down but once I started seeing a therapist I realized that I had just spent two years off my life in an extremely abusive relationship with a very damaged person. Yes, we were both babies, but he was the bigger baby. Hence Big Baby.”
The EP’s middle track, “Big Baby” is accompanied by “Tar Pits” on the front end and “Widow’s Glow” on the back. All three of these songs hold special significance to Rose, who cites the first verse of “Tar Pits” as a personal favorite:
“One lucky junkie
You were just a puppy
Trading tricks for treats
Until you met me
Drive down the freeway
Thinking you were ok
Collision with a cloud
You’re nowhere to be found”
“These lyrics are about falling in love with a super sweet and innocent heroin addict who was trying to get sober,” she says. “Despite his struggles, every single day together was pure bliss. But every now and then we would be experiencing the perfect day, like driving back home after surfing and eating tacos, and all of a sudden I could feel him mentally disappear. I’ve always been a hyper observant person and in those moments I witnessed the voices of his addiction (intrusive thoughts) invade his psyche. He’d be silent and just felt very far away. These moments taught me a lot about the disease of addiction. When he quit heroin, he basically had to re-learn how to enjoy life, and it was a crazy experience to be a part of.”
Meanwhile, Rose affectionally calls “Big Baby” a tragic dance song; “it feels the most empowering,” she beams, saying of the relationship itself: “I loved him out of fear and I followed him like he was my cult leader. I spent so much time listening to his screaming that I forgot the sound of my own voice. This song is the wakeup call that I wish I could’ve heard at the time, and it’s a reminder to never date a baby.”
So much crying
While I’m trying to ignore it
As you’re beating down the door
It’s like white noise
Now I’m hearing voices (voices)
The EP’s finale, “Widow’s Glow,” is perhaps the most visceral and vulnerable of the three tracks; for Rose, it was the most painful to make. “It was written about watching the love of my life die when we were 25 years old,” she says. “He battled cancer for 2 years and I was his main caretaker. It was a gruesome and epic saga that only one of us got out of it alive and at times I still struggle with feeling like part of me died when he did. So out of the 3 songs on this EP I would say that was the gnarliest to write and the most painful to hear.”
Big Baby may be the story of Rose’s love lives, but its music – and its takeaways – reverberate far beyond the confines of her own heart.
Whether you’re in it for the emotional reckonings, or intoxicated by Ursa Major Revelation’s spectacularly seductive futurepop sound, this record marks an exciting debut for a dynamic duo we can’t wait to hear more from.
“Like a tasty meal, I just want people to enjoy listening to the music, digest it easily and return for more,” Ursula Rose shares. “I listen to a lot of music about stories that don’t resemble my own but somehow I’m always able to relate. Creating this EP has allowed me to turn the drama of my life into something I’m proud of. This EP is a map of segments of my life, and now it exists outside of me which feels very cathartic.”
Experience the full record below, and peek inside Ursa Major Revelation’s Big Baby EP with Atwood Magazine as the duo take us track-by-track through the music and lyrics of their debut EP!
:: Inside Big Baby ::
“‘Tar Pits’ is a story about falling in love with someone who is trying to escape a 10 year long heroin addiction. It’s about being obsessed with their health and safety at all times. It’s about needing to be their savior. My biggest takeaway from that experience is that junkies deserve love too, as do I, and as do you.”
“I was engaged to be married by the time I turned 16. Like a natural disaster, this relationship started abruptly and no one in my life saw it coming. I loved him out of fear and I followed him like he was my cult leader. I spent so much time listening to his screaming that I forgot the sound of my own voice. This song is the wakeup call that I wish I could’ve heard at the time and it’s a reminder to never date a baby.”
“The Odyssey is an ancient epic poem about this one warrior dude and his insane journey (saga) trying to return home after fighting a war a million miles away. The trip ended up taking him 10 years and everything that could go wrong did but eventually he made it home. His life was forever changed and he was never the same. This happened to me when the love of my life, Evan Scofield, literally died in my arms when we were 25 years old. He was majorly sick with cancer for 2 years and I was his main caretaker. His amazing family supported us throughout that time but as you can imagine this experience changed me forever. Even though I wasn’t the sick one, after he died I felt like I had just survived the most dangerous journey of my life. I was never the same. I swear that my face was permanently changed from all of the deep crying I did during that time. People at his funeral kept telling me how beautiful I looked. This song is obviously about that 2 year period fighting by his side but it’s also about this huge beautiful glowing light that exploded out of my broken heart once he died. No one ever talks about the beauty of grief, how raw and open and wise it can make you, like a superpower. When Dylan and I sat down to write this song together it felt like he was meeting my past self, it felt like time traveling. It’s painful to listen to now but this story is a permanent part of my identity and you can’t know me without knowing Evan.”
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© Ursula Strauss art © Sara January Price
:: Stream Ursa Major Revelation ::