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September 21, 2014 | by  | in Arts Music Online Only |
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Interview with Dylan Jones of The Upbeats

How are you?

Good! Good! A wee bit groggy after celebrating the EP release last night.

What was working with Shapeshifter like? Have you done stuff with them before?

We have kind of worked with them in the past, on their last album, Delta, we were kind of brought on as producers and engineers for that. It was back during those sessions that we came up with the idea that maybe we could do a 50/50 kind of Upbeats/Shapeshifter thing. So then a few months later we got in the studio and made it happen.

So it is a hang around in the studio together thing? Not like a Postal Service sending tracks to each other dealie?

Yeah, everyone just brought their ideas into the studio, then between us we went through things over a week and whittled them down, but yeah all in the studio.

Right, because this release comes pretty soon after your Rituals EP, and that seemed to come pretty soon after your last album – are things just going very fast?

Yeah it feels like there’s a lot on about, all just kind of flying through. It’s been hectic but awesome, you know its great to be busy.

Y’all have been around forever, as have Shapeshifter – I guess it makes sense that you would work with the dinosaurs of NZ electronic mus-

Dinosaurs? [Laughs]

Giants, giants is the right word. But you guys are not exactly the same wheelhouse – was it weird working with a group that’s a bit more mellow.

Yeah we’re definitely more on a more heavier dancefloor kind of thing, but we can get pretty mellow.

How do you think Drum n Bass is doing? There was a time in high school where everyone I knew was either thrashing Pendulum or hating on Pendulum and thrashing Binge Drinka live at Dargaville –

Wicked.

– but then other aggressive electronic music kind of took over, and it seemed to fade from the public consciousness a bit.

Yeah there was definitely that moment where things blew up a bit, and there was a lot of commercial crossover, then it died off a bit and things went underground again, but that’s kind of the ebb and flow, like it going down a bit produced a whole lot of interesting music produced a lot of interesting stuff and different flavours. Then lately I feel like it’s on the upswing again, you know guys like Rudimental and DJ Fresh pushing something that’s a bit more drum-and-bass-like, well pop. Then like worldwide for us touring Europe right now it seems so strong, it’s awesome, then the States it’s always been a bit of a struggle, no one quite understands it, but it’s picking up momentum, then in New Zealand it just never seems to die. It’s the cockroach of dance music, it just keeps going.

Have you got a New Years tour planned?

Yeah we’re doing Northern Bass and some other things I can’t remember right now.

There’s a nice kind of summer circuit for NZ electronic acts.

Oh yeah it’s warm, everyone’s stoked to be off, it’s a great time.

So how did The Upbeats start?

Right back in high school, me and Jeremy used to surf together, kind of buddied up doing that. He was really into his drum n bass, and was kind of pushing that onto me although I wasn’t really having a bar of it to start off with. Eventually I came round to it, we started writing tunes, sneaking into parties when the drinking age was still 21 or something like that.

How has your songwriting process kind of changed since then?

We still jam out and have fun in the studio. Nothing’s too serious. But of course we’ve stepped it up a little bit.

On the drinking age – there’s this little debate in NZ right now that Blink’s book just spurned, about the paucity of underage venues in New Zealand. Do you guys find yourself playing to under-18 crowds very often?

Unfortunately not. I mean it’s kind of hard with what we do, it’s not hard, but it’s really kind of tailored towards the late-night club scene. We’ve done a couple over the years but we’ve got so many younger fans that we don’t really cater to, yeah.

Thanks so much for your time man!

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