“I have listened to a lot of Children of Bodom” – interview with Downupright

Author Benedetta Baldin - 4.4.2024

In music, boundaries are often blurred and genres seamlessly blend. This is where emerges Downupright — a visionary artist set to release a groundbreaking project that transcends the conventional. Brace yourself for “We’re Doomed We’re Dancing,” an album that navigates the end of the world in sixty distinct ways, each manifested through an eclectic array of genres. We chatted with them about music, their project and their upcoming masterpiece!

Hello Downupright and welcome on Chaoszine! How are you doing at the moment? 

I’m all right. I’m riding high off of sending the album early to the Kickstarter backers, the initial reaction is positive! Last night was Belt Promotions night at Brazilian jiu-jitsu class. I got to see somebody earn their black belt, they had been in it for 19 years.

You are about to release a magnum opus called “We’re Doomed We’re Dancing”: how do you feel when your work is ready for the audiences to be enjoyed?

A mixture of elation and relief! It is definitely satisfying to know that my work is finally ready for the world to hear, and this should be one of my bigger releases. But in this case, also relief- this was more than your average bear. It went 10 months past due, cost a couple thousand more than I budgeted, and just so much wrangling of contributors and releases and session musicians. Lots and lots of ducks to get in a row. I will be taking it easy on music for like, at least a brief period after it drops, probably. 10 minutes? I don’t know, I’m incorrigible.

Are there specific genres or musical influences that were particularly challenging or exciting to incorporate into your magnum opus?

Yes! There were great differences in the levels of challenge to familiarize myself with the different genres. Some I had ready to go because I’ve been experienced with them my whole life: techno, industrial, pop, drum and bass, etc. For opera and the atonal chorale, I had to dig way back 20 years to my formal music education. For some stuff, like black metal, I leaned heavily on the wisdom of my contributor- I don’t know that anything less than a lifetime of study could have prepared me to write black metal, but code_pig has that, and he delivered! It was a lot to learn how to mix it though. How do you combine ten distinct distorted guitar tracks without noise? I think I got there. The one genre that probably took the most study before I was prepared to work on it was probably dub reggae.

The concept of blending so many genres can be seen as a musical experiment. What do you hope listeners take away from this innovative project?

I really want people to understand that every genre of music is redeeming in the right context. I want people to realize they stepped outside their comfort zones and then be surprisingly pleased. You know how many people are like “Oh, I listen to everything! … but country”. And I want them to start the album and be like okay, here you go, you really are listening to everything! … and now here is some country. You still okay? Was that so bad? Was it even a little bit fun? And then rinse and repeat across sixty genres. Honestly, the only reaction that would really disappoint me, love it or hate it, would be if somebody came back and said they liked the three tracks that are from genres they already liked and didn’t care for the rest. That’s not what it’s about! I want people to leave saying to themselves, you know, maybe I should look up some more hyperpop, or progressive house, or jam bands, or crust punk.

Since Chaoszine is a Finnish online magazine, are there any Finnish artists that you look up to or that you admire? 

I can’t say I am a total expert on what members of individual bands I might like are Finnish, but I listen to a LOT of metal. It isn’t immediately apparent to me from over here across the world the finer points between the different Scandinavian metal traditions, and I am sorry for that. I know I have listened to a lot of Children of Bodom when they come up on my playlists, and of course, as you might hear in the Eurodance-inspired track on my own album, the Bomfunk MC’s are a lot of fun.

What are your plans after the release of “We’re Doomed We’re Dancing”?

Take a brief break from ambitious Kickstarters before I do 100 tracks in 100 seconds or something like that. Or the world’s longest song (coming for ya, John Cage). Or a song made out of planets. Or an album where every song is written on a different continent. I don’t know, I have a lot of these. I usually make myself go through a six-month waiting period to make sure I’m not having a manic phase. This is my third drink at the “Weird Kickstarter” well, I have a drinking problem. In all seriousness, I will focus on getting my DJ library up to date post-pandemic and playing at clubs again :)

Do you sing in the shower? If so, which songs?

I wrote “Tree & Book” from this album in the shower!

Have you ever dealt with performance anxiety?

Surprisingly, no, outside of sports. On stage, whether I’m public speaking for work, or performing music, I know I am up to the task. I do get pretty bad anxiety before a big racquetball match or (new to me) jiu jitsu lesson.

I wanted to play a little game with you, if that’s alright. If you were an animal, which one would you be? And why is that? 

I mean, all dogs are good. It would be nice to be a dog. But what breed? I own a West Highland Terrier, Norman, but he is a total grump and kind of a real curmudgeon of a dog, even though I love him so much. He has big cranky old man energy despite just being 7 years old. I am an enthusiastic silly-happy big clumsy idiot so I would probably make a good lab, tbh.

Thank you so much, Downupright, for taking the time to do this interview with me! Is there anything else you’d like to add to Chaosine’s readers?

Thanks for reading! We’re Doomed We’re Dancing: Sixty Apocalypses releases everywhere April 4th, 2024 on most streaming platforms, as sixty individual tracks and in continuous mixes too! Expand your horizons and let me know if you discover any new genres while you’re in there. Shout out to Buffalo NY USA! Also, the best board game right now is Century: Golem, and I also like Beer vs. Bread. Okay, I’m done. :)