One of New Zealand's most notorious connoisseurs of drum & bass, the super production duo The Upbeats have had a pretty incredible journey thus far. Now a decade or so in the game, their arsenal of music has been supported by a veritable range of respected imprints from Renegade Hardware, Virus to Nosia's Vision Recordings with whom they released their much loved studio album Primitive Technique in 2013. Their production work aside, the guys are also recognised as, what you could call, members of the drum & bass scene's DJ elite. Notorious for their high octane but equally pristine sets, 16 years into their prolific career it's fair to say they've hit the world's most prestigious club and festival hot spots a few times over with us having regularly recruited them for our own Friday night programming since day dot. It seems apt then that for their next date here with us, we'd get to grab a few minutes out of their busy schedule to catch up and find out how almighty their journey has been thus far...
What are you enjoying most about this whole experience and journey as of late?
The Upbeats: We’re still loving the fact we are making music as our day jobs during the week and performing it for keen people at the weekends! Being able to travel and experience new places, new foods, meet new people. We’re extremely grateful to be able to do what we do.
Can you give us a five tracks that you feel have truly defined your journey thus far?
‘Sacrifice' with Noisia; it was the first tune we wrote with the guys in Groningen and the start of a great friendship and many more collaborations.
‘Thinking Cap’; this tune really helped establish us within New Zealand.
‘Lick-A-Demon’; signing to Virus opened a lot of doors, and led to us establishing a lot of lasting relationships (both professionally and personally).
‘Beyond Reality’; our album Primitive Technique really changed things for us, and ‘Beyond Reality’ was a very key part of that.
‘Dead Limit’ also w/ Noisia; we had to include this, the track has been going down a charm this last 6 months, and I think it has to be one of the biggest tracks we’ve written!
What do you feel have been the greatest moments and the biggest challenges?
There have been a couple of really amazing moments. The two highlights that stand out to us would have to be when we were first signed by Bad Company to their label BC Presents. They were our idols, so it was literally a dream come true to get a message on the phone saying they wanted to sign us exclusively to their label. Releasing Primitive Technique would be the second highlight. It completely changed the game for us, getting the Noisia stamp of approval definitely made a lot of people pay attention and the album really helped us connect to a huge new fanbase. In the three years since then the shows we’ve been playing have been amazing, and the amount of support we’ve received from our fans (who we fucking LOVE btw!) and our peers has been amazing. So big love to both Bad Company & Noisia for adding us to the family!
As for challenges, the last two years, while absolutely amazing touring wise, has presented a very big challenge in the form of finding a good balance between touring and getting in the studio together. After Primitive Technique was released, we spent almost 18 months basically on opposite sides of the globe. And we had always worked together in the studio, so it was a bit of a change going into writing separately. Thankfully in the last 12 months we’ve been together, so there's loads on the boil....
How do you feel you’ve progressed as artists? Do you feel you approach things differently than when you first started out? Do you feel your approach to production has changed?
Yeah we’ve grown a lot as artists. One of the main things, that it has taken us far too long to realise, is that you definitely see the rewards for putting in the work. Our work ethic has definitely changed a lot, we used to surf and play a lot of video games, but we’re definitely taking things a lot more seriously now, and really trying to progress what we do in the studio and put in the hours to come up with music that we’re happy with.
Rumour has it you have a new project on the horizon – can you tell us a little bit about that?
We are constantly looking forwards, and trying to push ourselves as musicians. So, to answer your question, yes. We will be announcing something special very soon forthcoming on Vision Recordings. We can't wait to share it with you!
You’re in Farringdon in a couple weeks. What can we expect from your set?
It's no secret that London sets are special. With that in mind, we definitely will be bringing our A game. We may even share some secrets….