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Psychedelic, raw and untamed, The Upsidedown's latest record, Trust Electricity, has a sound that is just that: electric. Imagine a Northwestern remake of the psychedelic 60's sound with more darkness, harder drugs, and louder amplifiers and you have the gist of what The Upsidedown aim to achieve.
Famous emailed with Upsidedown members Jsun and Tristan about some of their road experiences, their take on Trust Electricity, and their friends and neighbors the Dandy Warhols.
How long has the Upsidedown been around for?
Two years on this Fourth of July. Bang!*Pop!*Sparkle*
Is their some sort of initiation rite involved for people who join the band?
We all made it through the glass eating, the fire walking, kissing the bridge, drinking the hot sauce, licking the boot. The one step people don't usually make it past is having to sing a song and have us all guess it using only three magic words. I can't tell you the rest until you pass the rest of the tests.
Who writes the songs? One guy, collaboration?
It's an exciting time for us right now, a renaissance of sorts, we have moved into collaboration and I've never been as sure about anything as the beautiful new record that we began recording in August.
You're stopping Fresno on this tour, have you guys done a lot of touring before?
America last summer 5 weeks. New York and back. We also do west coast as much as possible.
Did you meat any New York celebrities while you were in NYC? Donald Trump? The Olsen Twins?
A friend introduced us to Moby at Katz's deli. Brooke Shields winked at me (then she got the eyelash out of her eye). We saw Roseanne Arquette desperately seeking someone other than Susan. Later in the tour we did Graceland. Collaborated with David J from Bauhaus/Love and Rockets at our CD release party and were his backing band for a rendition of "Who Killed Mr. Moonlight." Drove past Dollywood. Stayed in the Smokey Mountains for 3 days... got attacked by dogs...some saw their first firefly. Bought umbrellas and played street hockey with a tin can near the Staten Island ferry, like [the movie] the Warriors. Laughed a lot.
The new album is called Trust Electricity, why should I?
For me, it's not really a question of something that one would choose to do. Trust Electricity is the thing that happens when you trust in the value of your own experience...that is when one feel's the Trust Electricity. Its an electricity that is rich and we all strive for and appreciate, it's that one song that you love, or when you laugh really hard with your friends, or you have a vibrant way of going about the art of life itself. Or it is however you interpret it. Electricity is nothing or it's not there but we believe in it. Oh but it is there, and we go back and forth and smile and have a cigarette or whatever.
Who recorded the album?
Opal recorded it and Tony Lash [Dandy's first record, Sunset Valley, Elliot Smith] mastered it.
Had you guys been a lot of bands before The Upsidedown?
Between the six of us, I think not per se, some of us were in other bands for fairly long stints.
You guys were invited by the Dandy Warhols to perform at the "Portland Tsunami Relief" ... are you tight with the Dandys?
They are beautiful, they make music that has high interest and makes people want to connect and move about. Courtney is a genius craftsman, and Peter, Zia and Fathead complete the dream band. Truly one of the best and smartest bands in the world, and they love rock'n'roll and they support people in the same sort of vein doing what they love. They actually are part of us getting to Fresno. A mutual friend and Portland pop icon, Mattress, has been letting everyone know what a great town Fresno is to come play. I heard the new Dandy's stuff that is coming out in September and it is truly amazing.
There are a lot of bands up there in the Portland area, which are your favorites?
Dandy's, The Planet The, The Village Green, The Out Crowd (Matt Hollywood's band), High Violets, the Shrills. In Seattle our brethren are an amazing group called Hypatia Lake.
I've heard your music described as "glammed-up, drugged-down guitar rock" -- how would you describe it?
Yeah, what they said; or if I were to get all Thomas Dolby on you I'd say, "It is the sound of an eye. Like listening to sight."
If you guys could enforce a dress code for your shows, what it would it be?
Gym socks are hot, no sports sandals, more t-shirts with wolves on them, jeans with a great cut, loud pants, always love seeing great haircuts, the studio audience for the Lawrence Welk show could be there too.
Do you still get nervous before/during shows?
Butterflies, but as Shantideva says "If you can solve your problem, then what is the need of worrying? If you cannot solve it, then what is the use of worrying?"
The Upsidedown will be performing July, 1st at Gardenside Studios with No Cello.