We had the good fortune of connecting with Ugly Side Up and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ugly Side Up, we’d love to hear what makes you happy.
Happiness is something we strive for every day in different ways. When it comes to the band and to music, immense happiness comes when you finish working on a song, playing to a crowd no matter the size, and talking to other musicians about their love for music. The greatest feeling of happiness comes when we feel a connection to what we are doing. Seeing a crowd sing the words back to you, or dance along to the beat is a feeling that few get to experience and we’ve been lucky enough to see this. But sometimes happiness can be as small as writing a song in 10 minutes and feeling so excited about it that you have to start recording it then and there. I’ve stayed up late into the night tracking songs that excited me to the point I couldn’t sleep until I finished it. I think happiness is feeling grateful you’re able to experience a smile, a moment of rest from a tiring day. But it all revolves around music. The happiest moments are when we’re able to just sit back and enjoy the music.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Ugly Side Up started in a studio apartment in Austin, Texas with nothing but a guitar and a MacBook Pro. What makes us different from other bands and artists is that they tend to create music with commercialism in mind, and there’s nothing wrong with that! We create the songs that are in our heads, the words that we feel at particular moments in time, and we don’t sugarcoat our feelings. I can’t remember the number of people that have come up to me and asked why we don’t write happy songs. I actually think we do! We have a song called “House Party” about finding love at a house party. The chorus describes how both people in the song are scared and lost but they find that same feeling in each other’s eyes, which is a powerful feeling that makes someone happy if you ask me. Knowing you’re not alone in the world and can find comfort with each other. Our music is all about finding the positivity in difficult times, coming to terms with how you feel, and ultimately feeling release when you’re able to move on. As the primary songwriter, I only write songs from personal experience so none of our songs are fabricated, fake, or inauthentic in any way. We have a long way to go professionally and are only beginning to play shows again, but we are positive that we have an impact on the crowds that we play which makes it all worth it. The biggest challenges now are finding venues to play and finding time to rehearse with each other. But we’ve met so many other great bands and musicians in the scene here that we work together on making shows happen.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Los Angeles is such a huge place with so much to do! One day will definitely be dedicated just to the beach, either Santa Monica or Venice Beach. Going to the pier and eating a concrete at Pier Burger is a must as well. Other places to go are Won Kok in Chinatown, grabbing some dim sum, and then heading over to Los Angeles State Historic Park to eat and picnic. Up in the Valley in Van Nuys is Beep’s, a classic burger place with some of the best malts I’ve ever had. Making a lunch and then spending all day at the Getty Center is always a great time as well, immersing oneself in the unique art collections there. Last but not least, getting a waffle at Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles. Best in the world.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
We want to thank everyone that listens to our music, booked us for shows, supported us by coming out the shows, and everyone that was there along the way! Without the encouragement of friends and fellow musicians, Ugly Side Up might have ended years ago. Many of us moved to Los Angeles away from home for the opportunity to play music and pursue our dreams, so everyone back home deserves a huge thank you for years of support and understanding. The Austin and Los Angeles music scenes have been very kind to us and deserve all the love and respect in the world for fostering new music and nurturing the arts.
Mason Aiken, David Pacheco, Spencer Mathesen, Dominykas Bytautas