“What better place than sunny California?”: The UpsideDown OnRecord Interview
Kunal Bambawale · August 13, 2018 · 5 Minute Read
We caught up with in-demand producer UpsideDown to discuss his electrifying rise, working with Sunny Leone, and his brand-new Artist Originals single, “Cyclone.”
1. First of all — congratulations on the amazing, quintessentially summery new “Cyclone,” which is well past a million cumulative plays in the first week! How are you feeling right now?
Thank you — it’s always a great feeling when your work is loved and appreciated by other people. It goes to show that you’re actually connecting with another individual on a deeper level, which is something that’s really important for artists and musicians. I’m feeling blessed to have shared this creation with the rest of the world.
2. In the song and arrangement, Tash has conveyed the thrill of meeting someone new, with both lightness and almost innocence. Is “Cyclone” about a specific person?
3. The song works for so many reasons — the infectious beat by you, Jaz Dhami’s voice, which has a purity to it, and then the incredible video, which features talented dancers, amazing styling by Toreno Winn, and direction by Hector Toro. Altogether, it just works. How happy are you with the overall artwork, both as a visual and auditory experience?
It’s pretty amazing to see an idea come to fruition, and executed the right way with like-minded individuals. I truly appreciate everyone involved with the project. Kudos to all of them, for all of their efforts. I think we did a great job with “Cyclone” and I’m really proud of it.
4. Tell us about how the song came into existence — from the creative ideation and songwriting, through finding a vocalist, then recording and mastering. Did you travel to the UK? Or did Jaz come to the States?
Jaz had sent me a rough idea with some melodies that I really loved the first time I heard it. I’m also a Jaz Dhami fan, so I was really excited to see how we could put our ideas together and create something fresh. I created a demo with Jaz’s rough vocals in the studio — and instantly knew it would be something. Some of the best music that I’ve created came effortlessly and organically to me, and “Cyclone” was the same. I sent the demo to Jaz, and he instantly fell in love with it.
Once we knew we were definitely going to solidify this concept, me and Jaz went back and forth on creative ideas, exploring how we could make the track unique while capturing the energy that we felt the first time we heard it. While I worked on the instrumental, Jaz and Tash were writing the rest of the track, collaborating melodically and lyrically.
Fast-forward a couple weeks, and I finally received the completed vocals from Jaz. From there, it was just a matter of perfecting what we had. Although we would have loved to record the song together, the reality of our schedules meant that Jaz had to send me his vocals online. Having said that, I had already met Jaz a few months prior, and vibed in the studio with him, so we already had some chemistry as artists.
Since the track has a fun, joyful vibe, what better place to shoot a music video other than sunny California? Jaz flew down to LA, we shot the video in one day, and the rest is history!
UpsideDown and Jaz Dhami share a laugh behind the scenes.
5. Tell us as much as you can about the shoot and production of this incredible video.
The music video was shot at a few different locations in LA. We wanted to make sure we captured the essence of the city and make it a fun, happy vibe. The track is also pretty energetic, so we got a few of our dancer friends to choreograph and perform some moves in the video. As I mentioned before, it was a one-day shoot, and we just made sure we kept it fun throughout the day, which I personally think reflects in the video.
The dancers enjoy a lighthearted moment on location at the “Cyclone” shoot
6. Since catching many people’s attention with Mickey Singh’s “Phone” in 2016, you’ve gone on to work with some of the leading global South Asian artists. You also teamed up with the The PropheC and Sunny Leone earlier this year for “Got it All” — which was another hit. Was this what you envisioned when you first began creating and performing music?
I feel absolutely blessed to be doing what I love – it is every artist’s dream, and very few actually get to pursue it. I’m very grateful for all the opportunities I’ve been given, to collaborate with talented artists, and create something that people like. I still haven’t achieved what I envisioned, but with all the support I’m getting, those days aren’t far away. I absolutely love the live show culture, and would love to be doing more of that along with producing.
7. Which artist or producer’s career would you kill to have?
8. How did you get into music, producing, and DJing? More importantly, what drives you and keeps you going?
I’ve been into music since I was a kid. My dad is an avid music listener and can play a few instruments (when he wants to show off!) My mother is into Indian classical dance and arts, so music and performance has been a part of my life while growing up. My parents bought me a keyboard when I was little, and ever since then, I’ve been more drawn to the production aspect of making music — rather than singing or dancing. The process of combining different sounds and patterns, and being able to create something that speaks to you in a certain way (without words!) is what got me into production.
When I was producing in high school in Toronto, a lot of my friends were DJs and I was always intrigued by the art. One of my friends let me borrow his turntables, and that’s how I fell in love with DJing. I eventually bought a pair of decks, and started practicing while producing, and ended up landing a gig at the local college pub. I was performing there every weekend then heading to the studio after to work with artists.
9. Can you share a piece of advice or wisdom that has helped you in your journey, and might be helpful to other aspiring artists?
10. You were born in Delhi, raised in Toronto and now live in Los Angeles. All very different cultures! Why have you moved around so much in your life, and how has each city/culture inspired your work?
My parents immigrated to Toronto from New Delhi for all the same reasons that other South Asian families leave India – to lead a better life. While growing up in Toronto, its multicultural diversity helped me learn and acquire artistic tastes from different parts of the world. While Toronto is a great city and the music scene has blown up over the years, I moved to Los Angeles when I decided to seriously pursue a career in music. I initially planned to live here for a year, but things worked out, and LA is home now. I’ve picked up a lot of different sounds, creative ideas and cultures living in all these different places that subliminally affect my music, and even make it somewhat unique and my own.