The Upbeats have never been shy of ambitious and far-out projects throughout their career. Whether that’s making their earliest heavyweight material in a tin-roofed shed (and still making it bang hard enough for Bad Company and Renegade Hardware to sign them) to their recent cosmic beat mix Fangs by way of writing Dead Limit on a beach; they’ve consistently done things in their unique way… And consistently found a unique sound as a result.
This month they’ve launched a new project do things entirely differently again… And they need a little help on this one. They’ve decided to take a selection of artists who you might not expect them to collaborate with to Japan and Iceland to push themselves out of their comfort zones and see how their environment affects their music. The end result will be two EPs and a documentary plotting their creative and explorative escapades. Obviously trips like this cost a bit more than a standard online collaboration. Armed with funding from Creative NZ, they’ve taken to Kickstarter to raise the remaining funds. As you’d expect, their rewards are as singular as everything else they do and include writing your Tinder bio, sending a personal postcard from their travels and even doing a personal mixdown for you.
Their video explains the rest….
With just under two weeks remaining on this ambitious project, we sent them a few questions…
Another big project eh? When did you start cooking this idea up?
This is something we’ve been toying with the idea of for about the last two years. We just really wanted to come up with an idea and a project/product that was different from what everyone else was doing, and that will hopefully be really fun and exciting for people to follow. Something more than just the music, or a cool music video.
Why Japan and Iceland in particular?
They’re both countries known for their amazing landscapes, and both quite different to the places drum & bass DJs/producers would normally go. We thought it was really important to choose locations that were both visually exciting and going to appeal to our peers so we could entice some exciting people to come along and join us on this project.
When will you reveal the artists you’re taking out and what was your selection criteria?
We’re still working all of this out. But we’re hoping to start releasing a few of our collaborators details in the next week. As for the criteria, we’ve just been trying to think of people that are likely to be able to deal with the two of us for a week without going crazy, and who create music we find exciting. We definitely want to get a few collaborations going with artists who people wouldn’t expect us to work with.
What type of adventures do you have in mind when you’re in these locations and not writing music?
A big part of this project is to push ourselves out of our comfort zone. So it’ll be all about pushing ourselves and our guests to try things they haven’t already done. Whether it’s extreme sports or crazy foods or snuggle hotels, we shall have to wait and see!
Can you think of times when an environment has inspired your music?
Yeah when we were both still living in Wellington we had a little tradition of packing up our studio and hauling it to an isolated beach and setting up in a little holiday home and seeing what comes out. It was how we started the initial ideas for our Big Skeleton album and also how a couple of the ideas from the Dead Limit EP came about.
What is a bigger worry: eating poorly prepared fugu because you’re on a tight budget and dying, or not being able to nail a mixdown?
If you’re not worrying about dying from every meal we eat on this mission then we’re not doing it right!!