INTERVIEW: THE UPSIDES
The Upsides are another New York City band aiming for new heights. Their fresh take on the hugely popular indie rock songs of the late 2000s has seen quite the uptake for the four piece, who also combine their love for 70s guitar music. The result is a crisp and clean dosage of indie that stands out from the crowd, so we caught up with this exciting band on what lies ahead, exclusively for FLEX.
Hello The Upsides! Tell us all about your intoxicating new single 'Isolated Incidents', what's the story behind it?
Hey! That one is a track our lead guitarist Hart Mechlin presented to the band back in 2021, and it immediately felt like a jolt of energy in comparison to some of the more laid-back, summery stuff we had been working on. As Hart says, it's a song of contradictions. The hook is simple on its surface but there's some interesting shifting going on with the licks of the guitars and textures of what the drums are doing. And it's interesting how our highest-energy song to date is contrasted with lyrics dealing with emotions like resignation and contrition. It was fun to put together, and even more fun to play live.
You bring a real rock 'n' roll energy with a cool amalgamated with a cool, melancholic indie vibe. Is this how you wanted your sound to be?
Appreciate that! What you’re describing is probably what we all just gravitate towards without necessarily saying it aloud. We like the idea of being a standard 4-piece rock act in 2022 and the rawness and authenticity that comes with that. Tons of bands do really cool things with backing tracks and samples, but at least for now we love that kind of throwback energy of a garage band and try to keep that aligned with what we do in the studio. In terms of that melancholy you mention there’s normally some sort of wistfulness in our songs, but we do try to keep a balance between minor and major chords so that we stay away from an overtly moody song. It’s an interesting formula to get right and we definitely lean on each other to keep it all balanced.
Stream 'Isolated Incidents' here:
There is a real Strokes resemblance here, are they heroes of yours?
They’re definitely a band, and maybe the band, that we originally gravitated towards when we first started writing music as The Upsides a few years ago. Which is admittedly a cliche as a New York indie rock band. With that said, it’s dangerous to become too attached to that sound and just keep asking yourselves ‘What would The Strokes do?’ So while they are heroes and we’ve seen them live and we like to throw in a Strokes cover to our sets, we’re trying to only borrow certain pieces of that sound to create something of our own.
Who are your other biggest influences as a band?
My brother Matt and I grew up listening to the Chili Peppers, and I wore a backwards hat thinking I was Chad Smith for probably ten years. Our first band in high school we just covered 90s songs from Foo Fighters and Third Eye Blind, so that stuff is probably in our DNA somewhere even if we’re not really trying to make songs that sound like that era. Of course the bands of the early 2000s like The Strokes, Interpol, Arctic Monkeys are a big influence. We’ve recently been listening to two bands, Night Moves from Minnesota, and Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever from Australia, who we love and do a cool job of borrowing from the past while introducing something unique.
Is 'Isolated Incidents' part of a bigger project for you guys? What's on the horizon?
Yes! That was the first single from our upcoming third EP. We’ll be doing an EP release show at Pianos in NYC on Saturday December 3rd. After that, we’re going to hunker down and start recording our first album which we are really excited about.