Artist Feature: The Upbeats

Hot off the release of their very impressive “Diffused EP,” New Zealand drum and bass duo The Upbeats (Jeremy Glenn aka Snake and Dylan Jones aka Downie Wolf) are set to leave their mark on what we are sure will be a historic year for drum and bass. If you’ve ever heard any song by these two, then you understand why the release of their fourth album later this year has drum and bass fans filled with excitement.

Before these two became such prolific, innovative, and versatile producers, they came from humble beginnings and linked up with each other in school through a mutual interest of surfing, skating, music, and in their own words, “being gangly teenagers.” Originally Dylan wasn’t all that much into drum and bass and leaned towards rock music, but with a bit of work and a few Aphrodite and Mickey Finn tapes, the snake won the wolf over.

Always being two creative individuals, it was their love for the music that made them want to explore the world of producing their own ideas in 2001. Living in a nation of isolation with “heaps” of natural inspiration, these two dived in and never looked back. After toying with production software and learning how to translate their ideas, The Upbeats found their first release in 2003 on a Deep Needs Audio Compilation for their song “Deep Breath” alongside fellow kiwi’s Concord Dawn, Shapeshifter, and Bulletproof. They also found their music released on Bad Company’s BC Presents label in 2004 after a couple members of the famed group heard their tunes while hot tubbing in South America and then offered a signing while touring in Wellington of New Zealand.

After having already gained the attention of a few, The Upbeats went on to release their debut self-titled album on New Zealand’s Loop Recordings. Not being afraid to pair emotion and rawness, the self-titled album was an introduction to the duo’s ability to produce innovative and intelligent music that communicated more than just notes, arrangements, and basslines while still making you want to move.

Over the next three years The Upbeats continued to gain the attention of those within the drum and bass scene including the famed dutch trio Noisia that lead to their first of many epic collaborations entitled “Sacrifice” on Renegade Hardware. Never being one to stop producing, the duo maintained their strong work ethic and would go on to see their music released on Project 51, Virus Recordings, Human Imprint, and more.

In 2007, The Upbeats decided it was time to release their second album called “Nobody’s Out There” on Bad Taste Recordings. This time taking a more thematic approach, the duo attempted to communicate a fairytale story through their productions while exploring a variety of different sounds. “Nobody’s Out There” explored the use of synths, pads, and intricate drum work more so than heavy basslines and successfully disconnected the listener from their world while propelling them into their fairytale with the opening track “Will Shatner.” Unfortunately after the release of their second album the duo found themselves tired and without motivation from having to work within the constraints of the fairytale theme and needed to re-ignite their passion. With surfboards and sound gear in hand, they set off to the coast for a week to solely focus on letting their creativity flow without the distraction of the outside world.

That creative trip would result in three tracks that would then form the basis of The Upbeats third album entitled “Big Skeleton.” Wanting to stray away from a theme, the duo found these tracks a bit more expressive and truer of themselves while still being fun and raw in comparison to their previous album.

While producing the remaining tracks for the album, they found they had unintentionally developed another theme but one with less restrictions. “Big Skeleton” took on a b-class haunted house/horror movie them that showed a sign of maturity amongst the duo’s productions. Keeping things stripped back and full of bass this time, “Big Skeleton” explored different sounds including a dubstep tune under their alias Crushington, and unique almost broken like vocals from Kemo and MC Kardz on “Carousel” and “Ki Ki Kai Kai” that brought the haunted house theme full circle.

During this time in 2008, The Upbeats also decided to start their own label called “Non Vogue.” The label would become their main outlet to release music including “Big Skeleton” along with collaborations and individual tracks from State of Mind, Ewun, Trei, Noisia, Gridlok, Dose, and more.

After the success of “Big Skeleton,” The Upbeats continued to release music frequently on labels such as Commerical Suicide and Lifted music. The duo was also fortunate enough to join the rockstar esque “Monsters of Jungle” tour across North America playing large festivals such as The Electronic Daisy Carnival in 2009 with Dieselboy, Ewun, Infiltrata, Evol Intent, and more.

Returning from touring and riding off the success of their releases, The Upbeats decided it was time to take on a new challenge and decided to explore the idea of a live show in 2010. With themselves on keys and lead guitar, they recruited their friends Trei, MC Lowqui, and Jess Chambers for guitar, hype, and vocal duties. From there The Upbeats Live was formed.

With only the drums sequenced, The Upbeats played their first show in Perth, Australia opening up for Andy C and attempted to play as much of each song live and did so with great success. Maintaining the high energy levels their known for while balancing the softer more atmosphere productions from “Nobody’s Out There,” The Upbeats went on to perform a few more shows across New Zealand and Australia before deciding to no longer pursue the idea.

Back in the studio and still ripe with ideas, The Upbeats began to develop their next album that’s yet to be titled while banging out some more epic collaborations with Noisia on “Dustup,” Trei on “Wear & Tear,” and with Dose on “Raiders.” Also after having produced some impressive remixes for the New Zealand live act Shapeshifter, the duo was recruited to produce the live acts entire new album that’s slated for release later this year. As a result their own album became delayed, but never being ones to displease fans they would release another epic tune (for free I might add) in 2012 entitled “Undertaker” that had us all jaw dropped in anticipation of what else could be coming from these two later in the year.

Fresh into 2013 and with global anticipation of their album, The Upbeats released the “Diffused EP” on Noisia’s Vision label and further showcased their ability to produce diverse music that remains atmospheric and deep yet packed with energy. To give the release that extra kick they called upon the mighty S.P.Y. to produce a remix that’s arguably one of his best to date, along with a dubstep remix from fellow New Zealander Opiou.  Currently on tour across North America to promote the release of “Diffused,” The Upbeats are sitting on what is more than likely their best work to date and we can’t wait to hear it.

Check out The Upbeats below at last year’s Noisia Invites party where they threw down one of the best sets ever that opens with another album track entitled “Beyond Reality.”

The Upbeats on Facebook

The Upbeats on Soundcloud

The Upbeats on Twitter

Purchase music from The Upbeats

- anXietY

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