New York City trio Upright Man takes the three musicians, Aidan Dolan (guitar/vocals), Nick Katz (bass/vocals), and Max Yassky (drums / percussion / background vocals), to bring forth their most dynamic release yet, their debut efforts in the form of a self-titled release. Hence, forth their guitarist/vocalist Aidan Dolan discloses the details of said album, band background, and further plans.
1. What role do you play in the band?
Aidan: Hello, I (Aidan) play guitar and sing lead vocals. Nick is on bass and vocals and Max is on drums and percussion. We have a few other friends that cycle in and out for live shows.
2. How did you come up with the name Upright Man for your band?
Aidan: We wrote the song, "Upright Man," and in the process, realized that it was sort of our anthem, and Upright Man had to be the name of the band.
3. What has influenced your sound and style?
Aidan: Most of our influences are related to rock music in some way. We mostly draw from the elements we love of the many decades of the rock tradition before us-- Pink Floyd, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Crowded House, Radiohead, even some prog elements like Yes, the list goes on.. We have a psychedelic, spacey sound, with heavy riffs and rootsy grooves.
4. What are your songs about? (What specific themes do they cover?)
Aidan: There's definitely a lot of variety in the subject of our lyrics, and often they take a life of their own, meaning more then we could have realized at the time of writing them. We have a tendency to take a mundane experience, like being lazy, or having a tattoo, and describing it with grand imagery, sometimes almost archetypal, and other times, sarcastic and funny.
5. Discuss the band’s songwriting process in detail.
Aidan: Our songwriting process is always evolving. In the beginning, we approached songwriting in a more compositional way, having just come out of NYU studying classical music. We still wanted to rock, but there was an element of pre-planning and intellectualism that only left so much room for spontaneity. The more we have written together as a band, the more we have realized our strengths and started to build on them together to develop a voice. Nowadays, we try to play together as a band and be spontaneous and intuitive to come up with an idea or part of a song. After that, its always a back and forth between us taking the ideas home as individuals, developing them and bringing them all back to each other to repeat the process till we're done. And we always leave room for creativity in the studio..
6. How do you describe Upright Man's music to people?
Aidan: Rootsy Space Rock. Or psychedelic rock. It's hard nowadays to label your music accurately.
7. Why did you want to self-title this release in particular, what do you think the symbolism is behind self-titling a release?
Aidan: I don't think there is too much symbolism behind self-titling a release in and of itself, but our song Upright Man had enough meaning and attitude in it that we identified with, it was the obvious choice for us for an album name.
8. This album being your debut album, what comes to mind thinking that "this is our first album ever".
Aidan: “Oooohh shit."
9. Can you tell me something about this album that has not been said about it?
Aidan: Fun Fact: After I found and bought an old 1966 Guild Polara guitar, I used it to record just about every electric guitar part on the second half of our recording the record. It has a sweet kickstand and possesses me to play and write in a different way.
10. What is your favorite and least favorite song off this album?
Aidan: Aww please don't make me pick a least favorite. We recorded a lot more songs than what ended up on the album, so no one will hear our least favorites! My favorite tune is “Ecstasy,” which we filmed an ambitious music video for it involving a space ship set that we are pumped about.
11. What can people who have never heard of Upright Man before expect when listening to your debut?
Aidan: Overall, we write tunes that we think are great. They range from being rocking to trippy, grooving, and sometimes even somber. We can't help ourselves in the weird things that we do when we write, so you'll definitely find some quirky time signatures, song forms, and more.
12. What do you have planned between now into this next year?
Aidan: It looks like we have some shows shaping up on the East Coast this November, one of them being an opener slot at the Brighton Music Hall on November 25th. The next really big thing for us is the release of our recently completed music video for our song, “Ecstasy” - we are going to announce our plans for that soon.