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Since launching the project earlier this year, Max Pasalic has gone from strength to strength and things are only set to get bigger with the release of STARS.
It’s the debut EP for the singer-songwriter and a switch up from the sound many have come to expect from his band After Touch. Ahead of its release, we caught up with the man himself to chat all about it. Read on.
Hysteria: Congratulations on the almost release of the EP! How are you feeling about putting it out in the world?
Max: Thank you, I’m feeling super positive about it! It’s kind of crazy to think I’ve only been putting out music on streaming services for six months. There’s been so much evolution in sound and production, it’s heightened exponentially which makes comparing songs like Friends and Like This (v2) really interesting.
Tell us about the process of putting it together, how was it different to what you’d do for After Touch?
With After Touch, we’d turn in a record and it’d take eight months for it to come out but with Up Late, it’s way more fluid. I originally wrote the demo for Friends in January, we recorded it in February and it was out as soon as possible. This EP isn’t necessarily a super conscious thing where I’ve put each song in a certain place because it sits well with another. This EP is just a catalogue of all the music that I thought was the best I had at the time. Instead of it being really packaged, this EP is full of tracks that I really liked, so I just released them.
It sounds like that approach gave you more freedom too.
100%. Doing After Touch is awesome, but going solo means if I wake up tomorrow and think of a cool idea, I can flesh it out with my producer and put it out the next week. There’s still some red-tape if you’re working with huge streaming services, labels or anything like that but for the most part, if I want to do something, I’ll do it.
This EP is just a catalogue of all the music that I thought was the best I had at the time. Instead of it being really packaged, this EP is full of tracks that I really liked, so I just released them.
[ Up Late ]
What were the most memorable parts of the recording process?
Friends was the first song I ever did with Nat Sherwood, he’s now my co-writer, producer and does basically everything with me. He does not sleep, the amount of caffeine he ingests is not human. Long story short, when we were tracking Friends I got into the booth to start singing at 11pm. I have lower back problems if I’m standing for hours on end and by 3am, my back was really starting to hurt. I lay down on the floor to put my feet up and I fell asleep in the booth, one of the boys had to come back in and knock on the door like ‘what the fuck’s going on’. That was super funny!
That’s probably the most memorable moment, but the whole experience was crazy. The studio I record at is part-owned by some of the dudes from Birds of Tokyo. Peking Duk has a room up the front too, I’d roll up to the studio late at night and they’d just be chilling there. When we tracked Fuck You we used an acoustic guitar and I’m pretty sure it belonged to Ian Berney from Birds of Tokyo. That was super cool.
Tell us about some of the artists that influenced this EP.
My favourite band of all time is Bring Me The Horizon, what’s cool is that I’ve grown with them. Their whole process of mashing as many things together as possible in a tasteful way has hugely influenced me. I grew up on Soundcloud and DatPiff, this mixtape service that artists like A$AP Rocky, The Weeknd and Rick Ross launched on. I’m also influenced by artists like BONES, Lil Peep and underground rap and hip-hop. Even artists like Blackbear, his whole approach to pop music and the simplicity of it really influenced songs like Fuck You. It’s super varied and that’s what I love about Up Late, it’s the first time I’ve been able to distil everything that goes on in my brain into one sonic output.
If you could describe the Up Late sound in a couple of words, what would they be?
Really fucking good (laughs). The other day I said it was pop music run through a distortion pedal, that’s what it is.
I have a bunch of new music that’s ready to go. I’m supposed to be on tour in April-May, COVID permitting. Right now, I’m working with a bunch of new artists from different spaces. I’ve established that Up Late can do a lot of different things, now it’s just about going out and finding the people I want to collaborate with.