Interview // Staying ‘Uppbeat’

Uppbeat feature for nessymon - Photo © Luccas Griffin
© Luccas Griffin

Interview // Staying ‘Uppbeat’

Uppbeat is one of the most exciting new music prospects in Ireland, with a string of radio hits, including ‘2020’ with DJ John Gibbons. He’s also an extremely likeable character. What you see is what you get. Someone proud of where he’s from, with an amazing desire to create music.

Pandemics won’t stop us, I caught up with Uppbeat, while being responsible and socially distancing.

Who are you and where are you right now?

My name is Uppbeat. I’m an alternative pop artist from a place called Clewbay in Mayo. I am currently staying in Galway.

You were in the process of moving to London when the pandemic hit, but you’ve just moved to Galway. We all know life can change at any time but how much has this made you reevaluate where you’re life and music are going?

Its been really positive for me actually. Having to come back from London was a really bad buzz for me, to be honest, but it quite suddenly made me realize that I was very lost and have since put myself back on track to work towards where I need to be going. Will be back in London as soon as this is all over though I think!

You released 2020 with John Gibbons earlier in the year. When we get to the ‘new normal’, any chance we can get this ‘Uppbeat’ track to be the anthem? (pun intended)

Would looove that! ahaha It’s nice to see some people have really found a kind of positivity and hope in that song during the pandemic. It’s almost as if it’s given some people a wee bit of hope. Which is of course all I’m really trying to do!

How did you get involved with Blindsided Records? You’ve released a couple of singles through them now.

Hahaha great question, very random actually! I emailed John Gibbons off of an impulsive decision. I have like ADHD or whatever so I get really worked up and frustrated when I’m on my own. So, I was having one of those kinda days and it made me like think outside the box and kind of pushed me to go send the email asking if he wanted any vocalists for tracks. Then I went back to feeling shit for the rest of the evening. A couple days later I had a lovely response to my email from John. When he heard my music, he responded with some of the most incredible feedback I have ever gotten. Both Andy and John seemed to really grasp what I’m trying to do without me saying very much. So because of that we kind of hit it off I guess you could say and decided to do a couple tunes together.

‘Seasick’ is your latest single, you’ve made quite a creative video, making the best of what you could in lockdown. Who did you work with on the video?

Hahaha! Yeah one of my favourite videos now I think, So my friend, Matthew Fox, who works with Exhale, shot the clips of me. Then, I asked my fans and friends to send in videos of them listening to the song etc and Nathan Sheridan edited it all together with some lovely wee illustrations from Matthew and illhippie.

Your music straddles pop, hip hop, and a little dancehall. What albums by other artists, should we check out to see where your music journey has come from?

Most definitely, I don’t see genres. Only sounds and things that need to be expressed. I think artists are scared to express who they truly are and that makes me sad really that as artists we cant empower ourselves to transcend above the social musical norms that have been set in place.

Free 6lack by 6LACK
American Idiotby Green day
Psychodrama by Dave
Mura Masa by Mura Masa
The Prodigy and blackbear in general are definitely some key influences.

Off the top of my head thats what comes to mind but I consume a very high volume of music.

‘Hold Me Close’ spoke about mental health and all your music has an element of social commentary in it. How is, or will, the pandemic effect your lyrical content and alongside your creativity?

I have very mixed feelings about the pandemic. If I could say anything it would be please prepare.. things are about to get very fooking bad. Once this ends, the recession will be tragic. I read the other day that the suicide rate in Ireland rose by 57% in 2008 because of a recession that was created by the banks.

My message would be that we MUST be there for each other once the downturn comes. We must hold each other up as we can’t rely on our government to make sure we don’t push ourselves over the edge. I pray we can pull through the recession without the lose of life we experienced in the last one. We must hold each other close and not let the pressure of the financial world swallow us.

As for my lyrical content I will continue speaking the truth of myself and the people I represent.

You’ve embraced social media and gone headlong into it. Is it all you we see or have you learned to censor what comes out? How do you stay authentic?

I pretty much just get the urge inside me to want to connect with my audience and share myself with them a lot, so thats when I post. I don’t really play by the rules of algorithms too much. As I go on, I hope to show more and more of myself to them.

Usually, the only time I would censor or think twice about something is if it will invade the privacy of the people I love or cause pain to someone who is a fan. In regards to myself, I don’t care how much I show you I am me and it’s my job to be transparent with the people who connect with me. Really, all I have is the people that connect with me so it only makes sense to put my all into them.

How do you get your hair to stand up like that? Any hair product endorsements? By the way, I know you get your hair shaped every two or three weeks, lockdown must be a killer?

Hahaahah the million euro questionnn! I’d say it’s all in the hair cut. My barber,@luccus_thubarber, does my hair and always keeps me looking interesting ahaha. He also lives with me, so I must be the only lad walking around Ireland with a decent haircut at the moment.

Tell us a secret?

I’m obsessed with Irish mythology and I’m named after the warrior, Fionn MacCumhaill. Which I think is absolutely deadly! If you look closely in all of my cover arts from Seasick onwards, you will notice a subtle Celtic theme.

Any chance of a selfie?

UPPBEAT selfie for nessymon

Find UPPBEAT Online

You can follow Mayo’s finest export on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Listen to his music on Spotify.

Feature photo © Luccas Griffin 2020