“Yeah, yeah drink with me! Yeah, yeah drink with me!”
Fifteen friends yelled in the center of the recording studio. The cheers were so common after Friday night jam sessions that they started the first track of alternative rock trio Up! Way Up!’s newest EP. The scene had three musicians: Ryan Corvese on bass, Will Sutton on guitar and Colin Webster on drums.
After three years of knowing each other and jamming in their houses, the group decided to transform their hobby into an official band in August 2016. After Sutton and Webster recorded and mixed two EPs on the personal recording software Logic, the group decided to record their third EP in a professional studio.
They went back to what they knew: the Saucepot, a rehearsal studio designed for loud bands to escape noise violations in their neighborhoods and jam freely. This space is the side project of local eight piece hip-hop/funk band Wordsauce. Up! Way Up! was renting a room at the Saucepot and chose to play their newest tracks there for the first time.
Aerospace engineering senior Sutton likes to classify each of the band’s musical releases by themes. Up! Way Up!’s first tape — The Madonna Tapes — was created, mixed and mastered in Webster’s home at the foot of Madonna mountain. Using Logic, the mix helped the band find their bearings without
Up! Way Up!’s second tape Stand Your Ground is flooded with encouraging lyrics as the EP’s name suggests. Stand Your Ground included songs about standing up for your right to exist and speak.
Though it does not have a name yet, the band’s newest EP album is set to be a small selection of stories told through song. According to Sutton, each song tells a different story in a different way. The album is the culmination of what the band has worked toward and represents a big step in their musical journey.
“This is Up! Way Up! It’s finally put together, recorded professionally, we haven’t done anything else like it,” business administration senior Corvese said. “This is the big project that we have been shooting for for a while now. It is finally happening.”
The band’s name draws from the Friday night jam sessions that were an escape for engineering students Sutton and Webster. Through music, they were able to force their feelings and moods up — way up — after a long week of studying and sleepless nights. Through this they found their most pressing passion, music making.
With different musical interests, each band member has different musical influences they bring to Up! Way Up!’s sound. Each member of the trio described the band as having different characteristics and distinctive sounds with the commonality of alternative rock.
“I would call us alternative surf rock with punk and reggae rhythms,” biomedical engineering senior Webster said. “We sound beach, but aggressive at times and sometimes upbeat.”
Aside from the bass, drums and guitar, each member of Up! Way Up! contributes vocally. With only three members, it’s less at times, but according to Corvese, sometimes less can provide more of an experience for the audience.
Sutton mixes up rhythmic patterns with a love of ska, Jamaican music, jazz and R&B.
To put it simply, Up! Way Up! presents a melting pot of genres, and has a unique sound because of the band’s passion for different types of music.
“I do like to think that we have our own sound,” Sutton said. “Colin and I both grew up listening to a lot of the same music. Modern punk rock and pop punk and metal and progressive. A lot of the melodic sounds come from Ryan’s sixties rock love.”
Collaboration was crucial to the making of Up! Way Up!’s newest tape. Previously, the trio individually worked and reworked songs, presenting them to the group. Now, with extra time, cash from local gigs and a recording studio, the band took to new techniques of lyric and music writing.
“We put down our instruments, we kind of mad lib some stuff,” Corvese said. “We think, ‘What is a catchy hook? What do we want to sing about? Is this a story?’ As a band, we have come together, wanting to write a song with a certain vibe.”
Not only has working in the studio encouraged collaboration and helped to unify Up! Way Up!’s sound, it has also given the band a keen sense of gratitude for professional recording quality.
“It’s so easy to listen to a song that you hear on a CD and not even think about the hours, sometimes weeks, of work that make those songs sound the way they do,” Sutton said. “To be able to understand that, approximate it. It makes you really appreciate music from a technical standpoint.”
Getting out there
Sharing their music is the band’s top priority.
“We’ve been trying to gig more than anybody,” Corvese said. “We’ve been getting the demos out to show local venues we are somewhat reputable, start gigging, start showing people that we are fun to listen to.”
Corvese said that meant actively going online to get gigs and practicing, on top of schoolwork.
“We practice four times a week,” Corvese said. “We are always here and when we are not here, we are texting about song ideas. Music is our life and I think that’s what it has to be about.”
Sutton said that because Up! Way Up! is a college band, many of the members’ friends frequent their shows. However, Sutton said he hopes to change that by giving their audience an unforgettable experience that keeps people coming back for more than camaraderie.
“My ultimate goal is to not be a local band that has their friends come out because they are their friends, but we want our friends to come out because they really enjoy the experience,” Sutton said. “I hope they really enjoy the music.”
Because of plans away from San Luis Obispo, Up! Way Up! will be on a short hiatus over the summer.
“We expect to be back in the fall, book shows and continue musical career in SLO,” Webster said. “We will see where it goes. We are hoping to pursue it as far as we can.”
Up! Way Up! wants to continue playing and sharing their sounds with everyone they can along the Central Coast, hopefully attaining bigger goals in the future.
“We have seen really positive responses about it and we love doing it,” Webster said. “If this is something we can pursue beyond college, then that would be the dream.”