Interview by Danny Coleman
“We all met in a composition class at NYU and we wound up writing a couple of tunes together and that’s where it all started,” says bassist Nick Katz of the New York based band Upright Man as they prepare for their November 19 show at The Stanhope House in Stanhope, NJ.
A cornucopia of influences make up the group and they credit various genres, musicians and family members for their development as a unit. “The Beatles are the reason that I started playing guitar,”says guitarist Aidan Dolan. “I had to play, “Here Comes The Sun” in the sixth grade talent show and from there I started playing more and more. I started getting into Pink Floyd, Radiohead and then mostly trying weird ways to work on different country tunes and see where that took me (Laughs).”
“My dad is a bass player,” explained Katz. “As a bass player I like McCartney, Roger Waters, some of the newer British guys and thanks to my father; Little Feat is my favorite rhythm section.” “For me,”adds drummer Max Yassky, “Ben Folds. I used to cut class and teach myself his songs on the piano but also bands like Radiohead and Wilco.”
The band formed in, “Late 2014 or early 2015,” and recently put out a 10 track self titled CD, their first, which according to the band was rather easily accomplished. “We had so many songs written that an EP wasn’t an option and that was even after we cut the ones that didn’t meet our final approval. We had like 20 songs written and a producer came to my home out on Long Island and we put it all together,” recounted Katz.
The band’s sound has been called, “Psychedelic” and they’ve been compared to Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and the aforementioned Little Feat; something they embrace but do not rest on. “We try not to be political with our music,” says Yassky. “But as individuals we’re all opinionated and we skirt around the issues of today.” “We don’t want to be provocative but we are human beings and we’re not going to shy away from things going on around us,” added Katz.
Individually the trio all share the common goal of success by creating a product that reaches a vast audience with longevity and resonance and not, “A flash in the pan” sort. “All I want to do is make my livelihood off of this band,” stated a confident Dolan. “I want to show up for every show with pyrotechnics shooting off of my boots (laughs) and to be at a level of really trying to be a musician, the best musician that I can be.”
Katz echoed those statements, saying that he and the band are, “Striving to be renowned artists with staying power” and for him personally he says, “I want to be the best musician and songwriter that I can be and that should translate into the band.”
Yassky seemingly views things a bit more traditionally perhaps than his other two band mates but none the less has the same focus. “In terms of success for this band? If we can generate interest, go outside our comfort zone and branch out into different areas and get people curious about our music, getting people we don’t know to like our music and want us to come back to their home towns; I think that’s successful. We need to build and continue to grow our fan base and that’s how we’ll grow as a band.”
Katz may have summed it up perfectly when he surmised, “I don’t think I or we can expect anything from anything. By doing this we are putting ourselves out there, we’re vulnerable. This is the only thing that matters to us though.”
Upright Man takes their name from a line in the song of the same name and promises that their show in Stanhope will be one for the ages. “Oh it’s gonna be a good one,” laughed Dolan. “We’re not using any acoustic guitar so it will be more electrified so more rock ‘n’ roll for sure!”
To discover more about Upright Man, please visit www.uprightman.band.
Danny Coleman (Danny Coleman is a veteran musician and writer from central New Jersey. He hosts a weekly radio program entitled “Rock On Radio” airing Sunday evenings at 10 p.m. EST on multiple internet radio outlets where he features indie/original bands and solo artists.)