The Upsides are a 4-piece rock act based in New York City, consisting of brothers Matt and Dan Fullam with longtime friends Matt DaSilva and Hart Mechlin. The guitars from Matt Fullam and Mechlin blend the Strokes with early ‘70s Heartbreakers tones, while the younger Fullam (drums) and DaSilva (bass) incorporate uptempo, danceable grooves that are reminiscent of the early aughts rock revival in their home city. Fullam’s vocals are a focal point in both the live and studio settings, as he effortlessly flips from a croon to a falsetto whether the band behind him is in a downtempo groove à la The Rolling Stones’ ‘Angie’ or electrifying the audience with overdriven, Queens of the Stone Age-esque tenacity.
The band’s debut EP, Patterns, showcases slick riffs, clever lyrics, and a diverse yet succinct palette of the group’s influences. The title track shows how the band can tastefully shift from Nick Valensi-esque guitar licks to meet Nile Rogers on Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories while still maintaining an identifiable sound. Fullam displays strong command of his vocals, but stays reserved and lets the melodies speak for themselves on sleek singles Gold Rush and Holy Water. Recorded at Grand Street Recording in Brooklyn, NY, the blend of vintage instruments with engineer Jake Lummus’s modern mixing prowess results in a sound that is instantly big and accessible, yet unique and timeless.
Today Glide is excited to premiere the video for the band’s debut single “Gold Rush.” With a cool groove and infectious vocals, the band layers in dreamy guitar and a bouncy beat. While there is clearly an indie rock edge to this music, there is also something that brings to mind left of the dial radio of the 90s. The band also incorporates almost surf rock-sounding guitar to give the tune a sunny vibe. The offbeat theatrics of the video also show that this band has a sense of humor and stage presence, making them an act to watch.
Matt and Dan Fullam describe the inspiration and process behind the tune:
We wrote Gold Rush in early 2021, as a way to kind of transport ourselves from a cold, quarantined winter in New York. It felt like a lot of our friends and close ones were moving out of the city either by necessity or choice (our guitarist Hart was even in LA for a bit), and there was this overall trend of people having to stay apart because of the pandemic but becoming exhausted of it. Gold Rush flipped that feeling on its head and became the antithesis of it, which is how the lyric ‘you’re moving my way’ was born. While the song obviously depicts a couple and has a bunch of true-to-life references, the idea was really a ‘gold rush’ of people coming back together. Matt and Hart’s guitars have a sunny, ‘60s surf rock chime to them, and I couldn’t help but throw in the Ringo Starr ‘double snare’ hits in the chorus to further add to that old school, playful sound. I had also recently listened to Stewart Copeland (of The Police) discuss how he would build tracks, and liked the idea of taking the snare completely out of the verses. The song feels like a proper introduction to and sort of ‘North Star’ of this new project. It’s upbeat, yet a bit wistful, and its simplicity introduces The Upsides as an authentic, 4-piece rock act.
Watch the video and read our chat with the band below…
The video for “Gold Rush” is a delightful assemblage of aesthetics. How did the design choices of the video fall into place?
Dan Fullam: Thank you! We kept coming back to the term “tastefully ridiculous” to describe how we wanted this video to look. The t-shirt outfits kind of look like a baseball team practicing, which was intentional – Converse sneakers, ringer tees, basically trying to look like Benny ‘The Jet’ Rodriguez from The Sandlot. The gold blazers needed the turtlenecks to show we couldn’t possibly be taking this outfit seriously, and they also worked perfectly well in the ‘gold room’ that shows up in the second chorus. Speaking of which, the house really spoke for itself, so very little design choices were needed other than the outfits. We just showed up and quote-unquote ‘plugged’ in. Shout out to Becks Harvey for hosting us at her amazing rowhouse in Clinton Hill!
What about the retro aesthetic appeals most to you? Follow-up question: did you get to keep all the matching outfits?
Dan Fullam: I think most of us in the band are kind of old souls at heart, and have a big appreciation for musicians and filmmakers decades back who had so much less at their disposal and were still able to make timeless songs or movies. There’s something super unique and authentic about the way things were filmed and recorded decades ago that is sort of lost in today’s instant-capture environment. Which isn’t to say that you can’t make something great using the best new camera or best new recording technology, but at least for us, our ears and eyes lean towards a bit of a throwback style, helped with modern production, when we come together to make things as The Upsides.
And great question haha! Yes everything including the t-shirts, turtlenecks, and gold blazers is sitting in our (Matt and Dan’s) apartment. We received some requests to play a show in the blazers, but I think we sweat enough without having velvet blazers on. Maybe they’ll make an appearance at a Christmas party or something.
You mentioned that “Gold Rush” was written during the quarantined winter in New York as a sort of escape. What was it like getting the crew together and filming a video for this song?
Matt Fullam: That was really the best part of filming the video, the simple fact we were able to all get together after a long period of uncertainty. We filmed it in early January 2022, and it had literally been years since all of us in the band were able to get together with Cameron and Roman who are good friends with us outside of working on film or photos. Being able to just make something completely on our own accord and escape reality for a day was extremely cathartic. We filmed right after a big snowstorm just came through the northeast (of course COVID didn’t provide enough uncertainty), so we were lucky to just get everyone there. Then the sun came out right as we started the day, which I think played a big role in how the daytime shots feel in the video.
Has New York City been a large influence on The Upsides as a band?
Matt Fullam: Without a doubt. The second single that we are about to put out in a few weeks is actually (in a metaphoric way) about returning to NYC after some time away during the pandemic. We certainly thrive off the city’s energy, and couldn’t imagine trying to write songs someplace else or about someplace else, at least for now. And of course a lot of the Meet Me in the Bathroom-era bands like The Strokes, Interpol, Yeah Yeah Yeahs are all pretty big influences on our music whether sonically or stylistically.
You’ve called “Gold Rush” the sort of “North Star” of your debut EP, Patterns. In what ways do you think “Gold Rush” will help guide your songwriting and overall sound as the band continues forward?
Matt Fullam: Gold Rush is definitely the first song we’ve written that could be deemed as ‘surf rock’, and I think the quick tempos and shimmering guitar riffs from that world have been really fun to play around with as we’ve continued to write over the last few months. I think the simplicity of it, too, is really guiding a lot of our songwriting – the instrumentation is pretty sparse but every vocal or instrumental line has a clear purpose.
We’re planning on releasing a few more EPs this year, and while some songs are certainly different stylistically than Gold Rush, that tune feels like a proper and authentic foundation to continue building upon. But there are definitely a few parts of the first EP that will keep people guessing as to where the sound might be headed next.
The Upsides is a very optimistic name and “Gold Rush” has that upbeat, optimistic vibe. Would you consider yourselves optimists at heart?
Dan Fullam: I wouldn’t say all of us are always bouncing-off-the-walls happy, but I think the last two-plus years have changed the way we look at playing and making music. We all feel super fortunate to be making music with our best friends and playing shows in our favorite city in the world. When you look at things through that lens, it’s hard not to be optimistic about what’s to come.