The Upbeats: Inside the Ritual

The Upbeats: Inside the Ritual

Rituals: you have to imagine the title looming at you in some backstreet grindhouse cinema, hopefully preceding some scratchy ‘found footage’ cannibal extravaganza set in the deepest part of the Amazon.

Or, it could simply be a case of ‘Toms, distorted bass lines, distorted synth lines, smashed drums and some haunting melodic sequences ‘n stuff. A bit of a rowdy one.’ As they themselves describe the title track.

How can something so primal be produced by ones so laid back? So I prod The Upbeats a bit further about the new ep…

This is a big, raw ep: sounds like you’re in a live room, a room warm with electricity crackles and machines buzzing… how does that sit with you?

That sits great with us! We’re definitely more about getting stuff to feel vibey and raw over being meticulous and polished. It’s definitely the feel we were going for with Rituals – like the wall of noise and fizz you are hit with at a heavy rock gig.

Why the ‘Rituals’ as a general name? Is this an ‘ancient’ comment or is it a comment about all to familiar modern mediocrity? Is it about humanity? Or… ?

I wish it ran a bit deeper than how it came about, ha ha – it’s just an aesthetic thing really.

We normally sit through a tune and try and have it evoke some inspiration for the name, and with Rituals the primal style of things and the middle breakdown really got us thinking about some sort of ritualistic fire dancing war chant kinda business, so hence the name.

One thing that occurred to me… it’s one thing to START a tune, how do you guys go about arranging and progressing the tune once it has started?

It really depends on the song – sometimes we write from the start and as we go along it develops itself almost.

The next parts always feel like a logical progression if it’s all going well, but this way always leads to the most unfinished ideas as, sometimes, nothing really works out as a satisfying drop or whatever. Which can be pretty frustrating if you have a killer intro or idea.

If we start with a loop from the middle of the tune then we normally continue the rest by writing over the loop and then taking those ideas and fleshing them out in the intro and end. But there’s never a rule to how we do things, just grinding away at a tune until something inspires you and the magic starts happening.

The cover art is wicked… sort of old, sort of new, sort of pagan, sort of high tech, sort of something on the back of a biker jacket… what inspired it?

Thanks! Yeah we’re always keen to do things that try to push some boundaries for us, musically and otherwise, and Jeremy found an interesting designer in the Netherlands when he was living there who we got onboard for the project. She took the music and the name for the EP plus some cues from our aliases ‘wolf & snake’ and came back with the cover.

How would you describe Black Sun Empire, are they good to work with? Are you on same wavelength?

We’ve been friends with the guys for quite a while now and they are amazing to work with and super cool dudes to boot. I think when we first met them maybe it wasn’t the best first impressions of us wiping our pie left overs up on their hotel room curtains, and cheekily serving them other peoples drinks we found at the bar, but the relationship has blossomed into a fruitful one ha ha!

Back to the music can you talk us through ‘Corposant’? Holy cow that is ugly!

That one has a real old school vibe to it – like really inspired by tunes like ‘Sugar crashing’ remix by Konflict, with that grinding monotonic bass line and pretty rigid drums. We were super fan boys back in the day and I guess this is sort of a nod to that era and those tunes.

OK, thought I would ask for a few percentages about the D&B ritual…

What percentage do you care about technology? 80%
What percentage do you just want to deliver live? 100%
How healthy was D&B in your native NZ 10 years back? 90%
… and now? 80%
How important’s good food? 110%
… good coffee? 150%

Got a good road story? Power cuts mid set, food poisoning disappearing promoters, sex and violence please.

So many ha ha … well, quite a few years back we were playing a festival and ended up getting pretty rotten and I ended up in the room with the confiscated punters alcohol and also what ended up being the festival organisers’ breakfast food.

So this led to that and ended up firing up all the cookers and making a massive feast in the kitchen for us and our drunken cohorts… but for some dumb reason I decided to eat it straight off the grill.

I woke up the next day with red blistered lips and the sorest burnt mouth – was not a happy camper. We got told off & I certainly got my comeuppance with a scolded face.

Any good films to watch on the road? This is a hugely important topic and reflects on the touring unit completely. Any you’d recommend?

We both tend to watch series when we are on the road – an episode here and there to pass the boredom. Lately its been ‘Workaholics’, super lowest common denominator stuff, but perfect fodder for sitting in an airport and zoning out. The Big Lebowski and Life aquatic we definitely both agree on.

And your personal film connection?

Ummm. Jeremy is in the ‘Lord of the rings’ movie – if you watch the elves closely in one of the battle scenes you might just see him scrapping with some orcs & doing some deejay gun fingers!

Rituals on full release from next Monday.
The Upbeats

You can follow Damian B on Twitter, @DAMIAN___B
D&B for some time now; studied at institution of Fabio & Grooverider.

The Upbeats

The Upbeats’ unique and organic take on 170bpm+ bass music has seen them make their home in the highest echelons of dance music worldwide. Known ...