Made up of brothers Matt Fullam on guitar and Dan Fullam on drums, the two siblings also recruited friends Hart Mechlin (guitar) and Matt DaSilva (bass) to round out the band.
Leading up to Patterns – which hit streaming services this past Friday April 1st – The Upsides dropped two enticing singles in “Gold Rush,” which was accompanied by a fun music video, followed by “Holy Water” in the beginning of March.
Recorded at Grand Street Recording in Brooklyn, NY, the blend of vintage instruments with engineer Jake Lummus’s modern mixing prowess results in a product that hearkens to a Strokes-era rock and roll sound.
We got to talk to the guys to learn more about their story, the new record, and much more.
Hi guys! Can you start by sharing a little background about The Upsides and how you started making music together?
Hey! Two of us, Matt and Dan Fullam, are brothers and started making noise together over twenty years ago now. Our parents gave Dan a drum kit for Christmas in third grade, which worked well with Matt picking up our dad’s old Stratocaster (they probably regretted the drum gift a few times).
Our bassist Matt DaSilva grew up right down the street from us, and has been playing with us in different capacities for almost as long – we can’t call what we did years ago a band, but we made music! The fourth and final piece was Hart Mechlin, who Dan met at college in Vermont and is one of the most important contributors to The Upsides sonically. We really came together to make it an official band a few years ago, and spent a lot of time during quarantine figuring out the direction for our first few EPs that are coming out this year.
I see you’ve had your first two singles recently released from your upcoming EP. What made you choose “Gold Rush” and “Holy Water” as the lead singles?
Both of them together kind of just felt like the birth of this project – refreshing, uptempo, and upbeat. They’re also both a bit of an antidote to the dreary few years we all just went through.
What was the writing and production process like for this EP? Did you guys do it all yourself?
Writing duties in the band are a pretty even split between the Fullams and Hart, and this EP certainly feels like it embodies that collective songwriting spirit. “Holy Water” is completely a Hart song from lyrics to drums, although we stopped short of letting him track drums and vocals. “Gold Rush” came together quickly from the Fullams, while Patterns and Lucy from Hermosa were a bit trickier to compose, but it was fun to create some unique structures in both of those with input from all four band members. We’ve never worked with a producer, but our engineer Jake Lummus from Grand Street Recording should probably have co-producing credits, as he seemingly always has the perfect idea to take a song to the next level or get us out of a little rut while recording.
How would you describe your upcoming record? Are there any central themes or motifs?
Sonically, you can say it’s Nile Rogers on Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories meeting Nick Valensi from The Strokes to go out surfing. We like the idea of combining accessible song structures and melodies with modern production on vintage, old-school gear. We hope that’s something people can latch onto quickly, while also maintaining a bit of a timeless indie sound. This certainly isn’t a ‘Concept EP’ by any stretch lyrically, but more a collection of songs that depict authentic stories from our lives over the last few years.
What about this record are you each most proud of or excited about?
Going back to what we said earlier, we’re most proud about how collaborative the whole process of putting together this EP was. While there’s nothing wrong with bands who have a sole songwriter who runs the creative process, we feel fortunate to have hit a stride where we can collaborate even with a bit of ‘healthy tension’ to ultimately create something we’re all proud of.
Is there anything in the works to follow the EP? Other releases, performances, etc.?
Yes definitely! We will have a second EP coming out in early June, supported by a release show in NYC.
What does a dream gig look like for the band?
Playing Margaritaville in Key West, opening for Jimmy. But a close (and serious) second would be Brooklyn Steel. That venue just sounds incredible and big while still also feeling intimate. Playing a hometown show there would be a dream come true.
If you could collaborate with one of your living idols, who would it be?
At the risk of being too on-the-nose, working with Julian Casablancas from The Strokes feels like it would be a super rewarding and challenging experience. It would be cool to get insight into what his creative process looks like, and where his input as a songwriter would push our sound.
What do you all think has been the most fun thing you’ve done together as a band? Any notable stories?
That would probably have to be the music video we shot this past January for our first single ‘Gold Rush’. We rented a house in Brooklyn for the day, and basically had free reign to make as much noise as we wanted to while shooting with our good friends Cameron and Roman Lao-Gosney (a directing duo who go by the name Chimera). Matt DaSilva and Dan also went sky-diving once. Maybe we’ll all go do that for the next music video.
Where do you realistically hope to see The Upsides in five years?
We would love to be on a tour hitting cities across the U.S. supporting a full-length album. There’s a lot of the heartland we haven’t been to yet, and it would be awesome to play our music at mid-size venues every night.
Photo by Colin Rogers