The arrival of Up Late has been one of my favourite things to happen in the dumpster fire of a year that 2020 has been. Initially peering out into the world with “Like This”, which featured solely on Triple J Unearthed #DIYSupergroup competition, the project of After Touch‘s Max Pasalic swiftly gained steam. The later release of singles “Friends” and “u left me on read” attracted further attention. As if to cement the ‘proper’ arrival of Up Late, the act is now signed to UNFD!
“Alone” is the newest release, inspired by Max’s upbringing as an only child, and very fittingly, the release comes along with the clarity/change that Up Late is a solo effort (as opposed to its original five piece configuration). Where some of us may struggle with being alone, Max has had to come to terms with being surrounded, and now he’s going back to those solo roots. Max says “It’s easy to lose yourself when you’re dealing with stress, anxiety and pressure. You can party and distract yourself for years until you need to face reality. Sometimes you need to re-learn what it’s like to be embrace loneliness. Sometimes you need to be alone.”
“I don’t even know myself sometimes”
Where Up Late was initially a ‘guilty pleasure’ kind of band for me as a heavy music fan, the music that the project has produced has shown it to be a side-stretching of the genre as opposed to something in contrast to it. Max gathers inspirations and ideas, as well as using what he’s learned through his efforts in Easy Life and After Touch. A continual refinement, Up Late goes down smoothly, while still carrying an aggressive fire and meaningful themes.
“Alone” starts calmly yet defensively, before opening up into a more vulnerable state of mind about how disconnected the protagonist is from themselves. The extension of this is seeing the patterns they have in their connections with people, and not wanting for this to continue blindly.
Describing the approach to creating the dynamic song, Max explained, “I wanted to create a song that was equal parts smooth and somber as it was harsh and aggressive. It’s a metaphor for how my mind operates. It’s a crashing of worlds, one moment I can be relaxed, and in-control and the next moment anxiety overtakes me and I become a different person.”
For me, “Alone” shows Max’s singing sounding better than ever, and it peaks at the song’s end; where all the layers combine and the pressure-cooker world feels as it’s about to blow up, or at least hit upon a turning point of change. Listen to “Alone” now HERE or via YouTube below.