Up Late describe themselves as a “boy band with distortion pedals.”
Given that level of concise articulation, it’s hard to imagine that we could do a better job at writing about their music than them. With that in mind, we asked the Aussie outfit to fill us in on their new single, ‘u left me on read’, in their own words. Frontman Max shared some fun facts with us below.
1. OUR NEW SINGLE ‘U LEFT ME ON READ’ WAS WRITTEN IN AN OLD BROTHEL
Most Up Late demos, videos, photos and cover art is either written, shot or created in my bedroom. I live in an old brothel above a gym in an industrial estate so there’s a certain energy and intimacy that plays into how the band looks and sounds.
‘u left me on read’ was no different. We first wrote the song in my bedroom, it was more rocky – if you listen to the track even now you can still hear and feel that rock energy – especially the chorus. We re-worked the demo with our producer Nat – we were trying to fix up the chorus lyrics and I couldn’t articulate the feeling I was trying to explain. Then I said “You know that feeling you get when you send a risky text and you’re waiting for the reply? That feeling when every minute feels like an hour? When you see those three little message dots pop up but then they disappear? That’s what that song’s about.” and he turned to me and said “you left me on read…”
2. I FELL ASLEEP IN THE VOCAL BOOTH AFTER FINISHING THE VOCALS AT 4AM AND THAT’S HOW WE FOUND OUR NAME
So we tracked our first single, ‘Friends’ back in March of this year with our close friend and producer Nat Sherwood – it was our first time working with him and he has a penchant for starting sessions in the afternoon and then going SUPER LATE into the next day. When we tracked ‘Friends’ we still didn’t have a name for the band. We brainstormed for months, throwing names around – no one could pick anything they loved. We would always say “would you wear this name on a t-shirt? How will it look on cover art?” I know that’s superficial but the visuals of the band is deathly important to me and and the rest of the band.
So one night, we’re working together in the studio, still no name. I’ve been tracking vocals for HOURS at this stage. I lay down in the vocal booth to stretch my back out and boom. I fall asleep. I wake back up and walk into the studio. Most of the guys are either on their phones or asleep. Jack turns to us and says “man I can’t work when we’re staying up late” (maybe that’s not a direct quote because I’d just woken up) and then he says “Up Late… what about Up Late?” And I think it all clicked for us.
3. WE HAVE 5 ALBUMS WORTH OF RECORDED DEMOS (NO SERIOUSLY, THERE’S 60 UP LATE SONGS)
Okay so we’ve recently shared this with some people and they think we’re lying.. but ahhh, we’re not! We’ve known each other for nearly 8 years and have played together in a bunch of different bands. We came back together more formally 18 months ago and we wrote song, after song, after song, after song… We have an album’s worth of music that sounds almost like The 1975, we have another one that’s got a modern pop rock, Bring Me The Horizon feel, and then there’s another that’s a lot more industrial and edgy – that one kind of sounds like the drop in ‘Friends’ for 45 minutes.
That’s how we got to the Up Late sound. We’re always asking ourselves how do we make the chorus BANG, how can we make you FEEL the bass more, how can you resonate with the lyrics in a deeper way? We’re definitely genre-bending, we spent a long time working out how we can collectively take our wider influence and form it into something all 5 of us could be proud of. I mean hell my favourite artist is Kanye, Jordan’s is probably The Neighbourhood and Jack’s is Daft Punk. We’re bipolar, and we don’t shy away from that. When we took all our influence and mixed it together, Up Late’s what came out. Pop music came out. Tough pop music.
4. WE STARTED OUT PLAYING HARDCORE AND METAL SHOWS WHEN WE WERE 14
Although we listen to Lil Durk, and The 1975 now, we’re still massive hardcore and metal fans. That’s how we first met each other. Jordan and I were in music class together at high school. In year 7 I remember seeing him cover The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus in music class and think “damn I wish I was that talented”. I was screaming in a hardcore band at the time, I was playing pubs and clubs across Western Sydney – we were all pretty young but that ethos and culture of the hardcore and metal scene was probably the most important part of our teenage lives. We’re still the same 5 kids stage diving to Parkway covers at a youth centre – we never want to shy away from our roots. All that energy in ‘u left me on read’ comes from hardcore – it might not sound the same but if you listen hard enough, it’s there.
5. JACK DRANK THE STORY SO FAR’S RIDER ON TOUR
In an unlikely series of events, one of our previous bands was fortunate enough to go on tour with The Story So Far. Being the young (and extremely dumb) band we were – we requested a RIDICULOUS rider for each show. Of course, we never got it.
One night in Brisbane we’ve just come off stage. The room was packed, we were super nervous. The Story So Far are casually hanging side of stage, we don’t say much besides a few “thank you’s” and “thanks for having us”. We head outside to catch our breath, cool down. I turn around and see that Jack’s missing. So I go back inside to find Jack has snuck into The Story So Far’s greenroom and proceeded to fill cup, after cup, after cup with all their spirits. Jack turns to me and says “hey don’t worry there’s plenty, I think they’re cool to share with us”. So that night Jack and I stood side stage and partied (very drunkenly) to The Story So Far. And it turns out, they found out. They were cool with it.