Veracious spoke with Aidan Dolan (guitar/vocals), Nick Katz (bass/vocals) and Max Yassky (drums/percussion/background vocals) who make up of Upright Man. We talked about their latest tour, and their upcoming album that will be released on August 18, 2017. You can pre-order their self-titled album now.
Upright Man on Tour:
8/16 Ocean City, MD @Coconuts
8/17 Ocean City, MD @Fager’s Island
8/21 Vienna, VA @Jammin’ Java
8/23 New York, NY @Bowery Electric
8/24 Sellersville, PA @Sellersville Theater (w/ The Fabulous Thunderbirds)
8/31 Stanhope, NJ @The Stanhope House
You guys have been hitting the road since the beginning of June. How have the shows been so far? Do you have a favorite city to perform in?
Max: Everyone’s been super kind to us all over the country, and it’s impolite to choose favorites.
Nick: The shows have been great, people seem to be generally nice pretty much wherever you go.
Aidan: We played the New Daisy Theater in Memphis opening up for Robert Randolph and the Family band. The BBQ in that city is unreal, it’s definitely up there on my favorite list.
What is one item you must bring on the road?
Nick: A gag to stop the incessant flow of humor.
Aidan: Spicy Funyuns.
All three of you met while studying classical music at New York University where you played together on various musical projects. How long were you working on those projects before you wanted to create music together as Upright Man?
Max: We weren’t all three playing in the same projects at the start. But from the first time the three of us were making music to the first time we all played sensible rocking shit, probably a little over a year.
Aidan: Though we had known each other for a year or two already from NYU, we started playing together when I needed a band to perform my crazy prog rock compositions for my senior recital. It was about a year later we shifted towards songwriting.
Individually, who are your musical influences?
Max: Yoko Kanno (with and without The Seatbelts), Wilco, Ben Folds, Steely Dan and Queens Of The Stone Age, for starters.
Nick: XTC, Zeppelin, The Beatles, The Who, Beck, Genesis (with Peter Gabriel, Phil Collins should have stayed behind the kit), Gentle Giant, Yes, Gandalf, Crowded House, Tower Of Power, Sly and the Family Stone, Little Feat, Carole King, James Taylor, The Band, P-Funk, RHCP, Richard Thompson, Nick Lowe, Ry Cooder, and everything else I’ve ever listened to.
Aidan: The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Radiohead, Los Lobos, Elliott Smith, Paul Simon, Crowded House, Emerson, Lake and Palmer, John Scofield, Jimi Hendrix, Cream, Bill Frisell, Chet Atkins. I could keep going for a while.
How do your musical influences help create your own sound?
Max: (don’t say stealing don’t say stealing don’t say stealing)…They Inspire creative choices.
Nick: It’s stealing. You just steal little bits and then sew them back together into something new, a Frankensong, if you will.
Aidan: You can draw from your influences as directly, indirectly, or subconsciously as you want, but to create something that sounds original, you still need to have a sense of how your unique personality can shine through in your writing and playing. At least that’s how I look at it.
Your self-titled album is going to be releasing on August 18th. What can you tell us about it? When did you first start working on this album, and did you collaborate with anyone on it?
Max: There are four tracks that we recorded in March 2015 for something else, which we’ve since annexed for this debut album. So in a way it’s been a while. We collaborated with our producers, Zev Katz and Marc Copely, who are better than we deserve (us being the little shits we are). We also had friends come in and track keys and synth on the record, including Daniel Mintseris who is known for being the music director of St. Vincent.
You have been releasing singles leading up to the album. How does it feel to finally release the album?
Nick: Means we can get on with the next one soon.
Aidan: It couldn’t happen soon enough. We are ready to hit the road! It will be fun to see what the world brings back to us when we put our music out there and to hear more feedback on the album.
Will Upright Man be touring more next year? Any UK or West Coast dates possibly?
Max: Yes. Stay tuned, we’ll let you know.
Aidan: I’m thinking we’ll get in the van out to the West Coast in the next year. We are planning a long tour starting in February 2018.
Nick: We shall be on the East Coast forever!
Thanks for chatting with us!
Upright Man: Thank you!
Upright Man bio:
New York City-based rock band Upright Man is Aidan Dolan (guitar/vocals), Nick Katz (bass/vocals) and Max Yassky (drums/percussion/background vocals). The group met while studying classical music composition at New York University where they played together on various projects ranging from classical ensembles to rock bands. Their strong writing chemistry spurred the formation of Upright Man. Combining elements of alternative, psychedelic, roots rock and classic rock with complex harmonies and time signatures, the band seamlessly intertwines influences like Pink Floyd, Radiohead, Crowded House, Little Feat, the Beatles, Led Zeppelin and XTC into a unique sound all their own.
Upright Man’s dynamic self-titled debut is due out on August 18th. The album’s ten shimmering tracks were produced by Marc Copely (Roseanne Cash, B.B. King, Billy Squire) and Zev Katz (Jeff Beck, Hall & Oates, Aretha Franklin) and engineered by Bruce Sugar (Ringo Starr, Joe Walsh) at Avatar Studios and Sear Sound in NYC and at Blackbird Studios in Nashville.
Upright Man has crafted an exciting, ambitious, formidable album that immediately captivates and holds tight. The magnetic songs boast the hulking riffs and spacey twists of the eponymous “Upright Man” while the bombastic tribal beats of “Animals” and “Checked Out” throw you into a hypnotic frenzy. “Three Easy Pieces” mesmerizes with propulsive piano-driven swagger, “Agorognostic” paints a lush soundscape via sharp lyrics and vibrant instrumentation and “Designer Mind” and “Say What You Mean” offer sultry distortion-drenched stomps.
(Photographer credit: Sloane Morrison)