It’s not too often that you stumble across a new, alternative rock band who incorporate sounds that range from Radiohead to Pink Floyd and find that their roots were made in classical composition classes at New York University.
But that is exactly what you get when you listen to New York’s own Upright Man. The group comprised of guitarist, Aidan Dolan, bassist, Nick Katz, and drummer Max Yassky while they all lend hand to vocals.
The group started as a trio playing Dolan’s pieces, however both Katz and Yassky had a background in writing and playing in indie and rock bands. This made the change less of an adjustment for the individual members and more of a an adjustment as a group.
“I think we realized from playing together that we worked well mushing our sloppy brains together and playing each other’s music. Thus the triumvirate of brainy dudes transitioned from academic-classical to relatable,” Yassky said.
Thus, Upright Man was founded. As far as the name is concerned, it seems that the origins might differ by member.
“I think we’d all be better off with a little homo erectus in our life,” Yassky joked.
“Yep. Homo Erectus,” Katz agreed, while Dolan took a bit of a more serious answer.
“Nothing explains it better than the lyrics of our song, ‘Upright Man.’ Writing that song was a big marker for us in terms of developing our sound as a band.”
As the interview continued, I was happy to see something I usually don’t get to grab from email interviews. I got a chance to see parts of the member’s personalities. Each member brought a different degree of jokester. Yassky’s wit coming out strong in every response, Katz walking the line between goofy and serious while Dolan remained on the somewhat serious side, giving the most appropriate answers to the questions.
One area where the jokes are few and far between is the music, which just reinforces the idea that Upright Man is not joking around. As I previous mentioned, their sounds range from classic rock to a more alternative sound – something we haven’t heard done well in a while. B
“The songs are pretty fluid when they’re just getting written,” Yassky said. “The melodies and lyrics are usually free from taking on the static identities of references that later get aligned to them. But once we get to arranging and recording, we’ve usually figured out what parts of our songs we want to align to certain ideas of existing material.”
Dolan says the similar sounds are simply a natural result of accepting their influence. The group going in to write music and allows the bands they like to “shine light” on their own personal ideas.
“It’s a natural progression, but we always maintain a strong backbone of original ideas that we think sound like Upright Man and no one else.”
I’ll be going into a more in-depth album review closer to August but I feel confident enough to say that if you’re a fan of this type of music, you will love it. They have successfully accomplished bringing back the “classic rock” type of sound (Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, etc.) to a whole new generation of people who didn’t grow up on it like I did.
“We just wanted to make a good record,” Katz stated, “I’m all for bringing the concept album back to rock and roll though.”
Dolan’s goal for the album was a bit deeper than that.
“I think the real goal was to develop the band to the point that we could record a record that sounds like us. That took writing and recording many more songs than we will be releasing.”
The group is has some shows lined up towards the end of July, I highly suggest going to see them if you can get out to a show.
– 7/20 New York, NY @B.B. King Blues Club (with The Fabulous Thunderbirds)
– 7/22 Beverly, MA @Cabot Theatre (with The Fabulous Thunderbirds)
– 8/17 Ocean City, MD @Fager’s Island
– 8/23 New York, NY @ Bowery Electric
They’ll also be making some music videos for songs off their debut which is set to release on August 18! I can not stress enough how much I encourage you to pick up a copy, you will not be sorry. (You can preorder it on iTunes & Amazon now!)
If there’s one thing Upright Man wants you to take away through this album… it’s that Yassky is 5’6 but very pretty for his height.