The Upbeats


It lives, Igor! Drum ‘n’ bass has been reanimated and heads this way for a night of murderous mayhem.

Wellington duo The Upbeats play Subculture on Saturday to promote Ghost Radio/1968, the third 12-inch release on their own Non Vogue record label.

The gig will also preview material from the pair’s forthcoming album Big Skeleton.

Dylan Jones, who formed The Upbeats with high school chum Jeremy Glenn 10 years ago, says Big Skeleton won’t follow the concept-album format of 2007’s Nobody’s Out There, which mixed music and artwork to tell a gothic fairytale.

This time it’s “more just writing music for the sake of it”.

“But we’ve gone with a small theme,” Jones explains. “It’s a spooky thing, like music from The Specials – that sort of vibe. Almost a haunted house thing…

“All my favourite drum ‘n’ bass albums are ones that are a complete piece, as opposed to bits and bobs just chucked together.”

The Upbeats returned last month from a series of dates in Europe and Japan and have a four-week-long tour of the US and Canada lined up in June.

Appearances at the Electric Daisy carnivals in Colorado and Los Angeles will be a highlight, Jones says – “They’re the biggest electronic music festivals in the States.”

The tight schedule of DJ sets has meant outings with a full band and vocalists have been few and far between for The Upbeats, but Jones says they’ve learnt plenty from the live gigs they have played.

“We definitely notice that people get into the more song-ey stuff we do, especially in New Zealand.

“Where a normal drum ‘n’ bass DJ would play a party set and try to smash it up with all the latest dubs, we’ve realised that people really do latch on to what we’re doing and will get into the slower things before we bring it up and play the harder stuff.”

He’s still pinching himself over the experiences music has brought him, Jones says. “Playing in Moscow, Tokyo … just being there and being taken care of, for me it never gets old.”

Catch drum ‘n’ bass duo The Upbeats at Subculture on Saturday from 10pm