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Three Things You Didn’t Know About: The Upbeats

The Upbeats

POW: The Upbeats have unleashed their first new productions since last year’s massive album Primitive Technique. Surging through our speakers with breakneck badness by way of Blackout, each cut on their Rituals EP slams with classic Upbeats motifs. We grabbed the title track earlier this week:

“Some of the tracks are new ones. Some of them are older tracks which we really like but didn’t quite fit in with the last album,” explains Dylan. One half of the New Zealand-based duo, he also answers to the name Downie Wolf. “Rituals is one of the older tracks actually. It’s cool to be doing stuff with the Blackout guys, too. We’ve done heaps of shows of them, we love their stuff so it’s good to be on the label.”

Feeling it? Good… There is heaps more to look forward to in the near future. They’re already deep into another album and have two major collaborative projects due imminently with Shapeshifter NZ and a very exciting hip-hop project with Atlanta MC Armanni Reign entitled Society Of Numbers. Still hungry for more? Then check out their boundary-slapping Lost & Found project they gave away for free earlier this year.

“That’s three years of noodling,” grins the Wolf man. “We do all sorts of music. And it’s hard with our reputation to fit all of it in. A lot of this came about through our 140 Chrushington project and we just wanted to get it out there. It’s had a surprisingly good response…. I kinda thought people would be like ‘oh it’s not hard stuff! It’s not this, it’s not that!’ But instead people have been super cool.”

It’s hard not to be super cool about anything Dylan and his partner in grime Jeremy unleash. Even, it turns out, the crazy surf rock shizzle they just do for fun. Before we prise three facts you’ve never read anywhere else we have one question to ask… Do The Upbeats have any personal rituals?

“Not really,” laughs Dylan. “Although I do like to have a granny sleep before we play. A little nanny nap for about 20 minutes. It’s dangerous: If you overdo it you’re a complete groggy mess. If you underdo it you’re a complete groggy mess. You end up getting to the club and seeing all these people going mental in front of you and all you want to do is sleep!”

Wow… Living life on the edge! Here are three more aspects of The Upbeats’ dangerous lifestyle…

We had costumes made by the people who worked on The Hobbit.

Would we consider putting them on for a bit of a live action role play? You know that’s not beyond us…

If you look at the artwork on the last album [see image above] you’ll see us out in the wild in these mad costumes. They were made the costume department during downtime on The Hobbit. They came out and made these crazy things made out of animal skins and all sorts of gnarly stuff. They’re perfect and fit the theme of the album perfectly. They’re actually hanging up in the closet right now. We’re not sure what to do with them. Would we consider putting them on for a bit of a live action role play? You know that’s not beyond us…

We make stupid surf rock tunes

We even managed to get Nik from Noisia in on this crazy stuff once!

In between other projects we mess around and make really dumb surf rock. It’s nice to go back to our old instruments and just mess around. Whoever is around just jumps into the studio with us. We just play a bit of guitar and keys and drums and whatnot. I play the guitar and Jeremy is the keys man. It’s really nothing serious, it’s super rough and it’s a chance for us to just totally muck around. We’re both surfers, that’s how we met and got talking, so this is kind of full circle for us. We’ve been doing it for a few years. We even managed to get Nik from Noisia in on this crazy stuff once!

We wrote our first two albums in a tin shed

I think there’s something to be said for making the most of what you have.

Before we could afford a decent set up or studio we made all our tunes in a shed at the bottom of garden. The first album was made on a shockingly ropy set-up! We had the shed kinda padded but the actual kit we used was just terrible. I’m surprised we could make anything on it! We had a Kenwood MIDI system for the tops, and another amp down the bottom for lows and some hooky cut-offs in between. I can’t imagine how we managed to make things work using such a weird hifi hybrid monitoring set up! We also had a crusty old bass guitar and some other junk. We pretty much finished the first album before we got an advance and could afford some good monitors. I’m pretty proud of the album. It’s pretty naïve, especially now – everything is so insanely mixed down, even the new guys. I think there’s something to be said for making the most of what you have. You don’t need the highest spec computer and super fresh sound card… Although it would be nice. If you really want to make something then you make do with what you got!