Ultra Magnus
Gig Seeker Pro

Ultra Magnus

Band World


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music


"Ultra Magnus Self Titled"


Afrobeat. It’s a style of music as firmly rooted in west african rythyms and early 70s James Brown era funk as it is in the fight for human rights and the struggle against political oppression. It’s the ferocity and passion of these battles combined with the rythym and sexual energy of the music that’s what is taking hold over a growing number of listeners and shifting the focus and popularity of dance music from DJs back to live bands. Toronto via Mississauga’s Ultramagnus are at the forefront of this movement. Brilliantly displaying their incredible musicianship on their self-titled debut E.P., this 10 piece afrobeat orchestra are quickly making a name for themselves as the force to be reckoned with when it comes to popular Toronto afrobeat. Ultramagnus craft their hypnotic grooves with skill and intensity, utilizing a full horn section, multiple guitars, inescapable basslines and a percussion section that includes bongo drums, marakas and other rythmic treats to compliment rock solid beats. If you’re a fan of loosing yourself in layred rythyms, let Ultramagnus be your guide through the groove.
- Inside Mississauga Nov-Dec 2004

"Meet: Ultra Magnus"


No -- but this Magnus is no less strange: an eight- to 11-piece (depending on the day) Afrobeat juggernaut that's awakened Toronto's indie hordes to the charms of the Black President, Fela Kuti, and his polyrhythmic fusion of jazz, rock and tribal music. Led by formidable guitar-slingin' conductor Chad Paulson (whose actual first name is Magnus), the all-white combo plays their eight- and nine-minute groove epics with the force of a punk-rock band; get too close to their buoyant stage show, and you're liable to get spritzed with a drop or two of Afrosweat. This week, you have two chances to see them showcase their repertoire of finely tuned Fela covers, along with a few original tunes that prove Africa is really just a state of mind (and booty).


Sure can, if they're this kind of ambitious music folk. Most Magnus members play in other bands, including The Meligrove Band, Lee Van Cleef and Little Clever.

"Something we all have in common is that we're dying to learn new music," says Paulson. The band rehearsed extensively before playing their first show, to tune into the almost spiritual approach of Afrobeat, which melds the repetition and drone of Krautrock, jazz and funk elements and a revolutionary spirit.

"It's so culturally and socially related to what was happening at the time when it was popular, that for us to just kind of jump into it with our listeners' impression of it wasn't enough," Paulson says. "We had to learn to be like that."

"It wasn't so much that the music was hard to learn," says bassist Andrew Scott. "It was more being in a band of that size, and being OK with only playing a two-bar line for 15 minutes -- but really locking it in, knowing your role and sticking to it."


"Oddly enough, we've never played a hippie crowd," says Paulson, "which is what a lot of people think we're about." The band shuns novelty status and pretense, preferring to let their personalities shape the dynamic of the band into something unique and honest.

"Someone said that we should dress up," Paulson says. "But I think it's odd enough that 10 white guys are playing this kind of music. For us to get up there in dashikis.... One person suggested I get dreadlocks. No fuckin' way."

"Obviously we're not pretending to be exactly like [Fela] -- that's not the point," says Scott. "But there's not that many people doing it, and I think it's a music that should be heard by more people. Yes, we play things in the style of Afrobeat, but it's invariably based on who's playing it, so it's gonna sound a little bit like us. Which I don't think is bad." JOEL MCCONVEY - Eye Magazine


Ultra Magnus (self-titled) 2003-3 tracks: Arise, Original Kuti, Puddles.
Our tracks have been heard on CIUT 89.5FM (U of T), CBC Radio 3, www.newrotation.com.


Feeling a bit camera shy


Ultra Magnus began more as a school project more so than a musical venture. In the late nights of winter 2002, roommates Chad Paulson and Andrew Scott spent their evenings trying to unravel the many rhythmic layers of "FEVER", a song written by afrobeat songwriter Jingo. Once realizing how much they loved this style of music, Chad and Andrew decided to put together a group of musicians who, like them, would be interested in learning how to play afrobeat. This group of musicians spent over a year learning the properties of afrobeat, studying not only the music, but it's history and the people and artists that made it popular in Africa throughout the 1970's and 80's. The band compiled together a large repertoire of afrobeat standards before they attempted at writing any of their own originals, believing that it would be ignorant to think they could write a similar style simply by imitating what they heard. By summer of 2003, the band had their first showcase in Toronto. The band was named after a nickname Chad had gotten when he was a kid, on account of his first name being Magnus.
Ultra Magnus is like no other band today. The music resembles that of the afrobeat originator Fela Kuti. Like Kuti, ultra magnus uses "music as weapon", creating music that carries strong political and social messages and is delivered in a celebratory fashion.
Although very danceble, Ultra Magnus is more PUNK than FUNK. With eratic pulses, and blazing soloists, Ultra Magnus are professionals of the 'live show', never dropping in intensity.
Ultra Magnus is a celebration, and all are invited.