San Francisco based band, The New Up, have recently released their new album Tiny Mirrors (Feb. 3), and while it's politically charged, it's also filled with introspective intent, and raw emotion seared through lyrics and music. They have recently released three singles from the album, "Black Swan," "Future Is Now," and "No Fly Zone," and the duo's highlight in their music is their gritty garage riffs, and sharp electronic beats. Tiny Mirrors is some of their most honest works to date. The duo sat down with us and talked about pursuing an outside producer for the first time, the personal losses and gains experienced that influenced them, and their current North American tour.
AXS: You guys collaborated with an outside producer for your new album, Tiny Mirrors. Why did you both decide to do that, and what was that collaboration like?
The New Up: We really wanted to have an outside musical perspective from someone that we trusted to increase the quality and innovativeness of the production on the album. We chose to have our dear friend DJ Jack Frost produce because we admired his ear and his music sensibility, as well as his shear vast knowledge of music. He is the best DJ that we personally know, and makes some pretty amazing music himself, so we already knew he would produce on a professional level and come up with ideas that would compliment ours. In terms of the actual collaboration, it’s a complex endeavor and it’s kinda like a marriage where you really run the gamut of emotions, but if you work at it and you’re open to communication about whatever, it can be really fruitful. What added a certain degree of complexity to the process was that we adopted a “no compromises” kind of approach, where if we didn’t all feel that the quality of any aspect of the music - no matter how big or small - wasn’t exactly the way we wanted it, we didn’t let it fly. This made for some long nights and testy situations, but the outcome was that we produced the best quality piece of music we could have produced with the tools and money we had to work with. It was definitely grueling at times, but it was super rewarding and well worth the long sessions and occasionally hurt pride.
AXS: You both dealt with many personal losses and gains during the making of this pivotal album. How did that influence your music and lyrics?
TNU: It was absolutely crucial to the music and lyrics. Because of the way we recorded the album, where we were completely engrossed in the process for the entire time we were working on it and it basically permeated every aspect of our lives, everything that was happening to us in our personal lives crept in on the creative process, and for a while there it seems like what was happening with us personally became one with what we were coming up with creatively. The reason why the album spans the entire spectrum of emotion so thoroughly and in such a real way is because it was basically a reflection of what was going on inside and outside of us during the writing and recording process. We didn’t want to make this album about anything other than what it’s like to be alive in this time in history, from the perspective of living it out each day as just another human being without extraordinary power, wealth, or influence.
AXS: This album also explores garage rock and electronic; why did you guys decide to explore both genres?
TNU: We were really following our creative hearts. We like so many different types of music, but those two in particular feel like peanut butter and
chocolate to us. Swirling them around in a big creative pot just seemed like the natural progression of where we were headed, and Tiny Mirrors is
really just the beginning of the process of exploring that marriage for us. We plan on really going down that road over the course of the next couple of albums, until we feel we’ve perfected the art of melting them together. We’re dead-set on finding that secret alchemy that turns the combination of the two into a style and feel that finally and decidedly pulls music to its next natural incarnation.
AXS: You’re currently on tour on the west coast, and will be heading towards the east coast soon...what's the most noticeable differences when playing
on each coast?
TNU: One of the things that we notice every time we go from one coast to the other is how in your face the disparity between the haves and have nots
is. On the West Coast it’s quite a bit more hidden, and it seems like the poor have just a little more and the rich have just a little less, even though that perception is probably not correct. But in our experience on the East Coast it’s really stark sometimes, especially in certain parts of the South.
That being said, there’s a difference in the way people consume live music. On the West Coast people tend to be much more subdued when watching
bands perform. Of course, as with the East Coast this is a generalization and can’t be said about the entire West Coast, but it’s generally true up and down the coast in cities like LA, SF, Portland, and Seattle. On the East Coast, people are a little less self-conscious about dancing and showing their enthusiasm, and the diversity of people and their mannerisms is much more stark from city to city, for example from Atlanta to DC, or DC to NYC or Boston.
AXS: What do you both most love about touring?
TNU: The ability to directly connect with fans is an amazing experience. Being on stage is one of those situations where you’re having a conversation
without words with a whole group of people, and you’re literally feeding off of the energy that they’re giving you. It’s a pretty special feeling and one that is really a big part of the reason why many of us are musicians.There’s also a camaraderie that you develop with your bandmates that you wouldn’t otherwise develop, and that’s a pretty cool experience, too. It’s one of those special experiences where no one but you can really understand the experiences that you’ve had together, and you get to know each other on a whole new level.
Grab tickets to The New Up's show on May 10 at Smith's Olde Bar in Atlanta here.
Find out more information about The New Up by visiting their website here.