Photo Credit: Kohl Murdock (@kohlmurdock)
By Alissa Arunarsirakul // November 12, 2020
On top of the coronavirus pandemic, a horrible breakup, cancelled tour, and lost friendships have made 2020 a considerably troublesome year for UPSAHL. We’d argue that the one good thing that came out of all these life obstacles is her stellar new EP, Young Life Crisis. As UPSAHL details the earlier half of this stressful year in five edgy tracks, Young Life Crisis has become the daily mixtape of thousands across the world.
On Young Life Crisis, UPSAHL explained,
“I had a young life crisis this year. As I was gaining clarity and getting hype to grab life by the balls, I was sent home after day one of a three-month tour and started quarantining. Since then, I temporarily moved back in with my parents, went through a shitty breakup, moved back to LA, gained and lost friends, and have discovered new problems that we all go through as I crossed over from 20 to 21. The constant breaking down and repairing made me see the world differently–and it lowkey freaked me out. I know it’s all a part of ‘growing up,’ but no one could prepare you for the growing pains of life during a global pandemic lol. The one flip side is that I got into writing songs over Zoom. I afforded me the ability to write multiple songs with multiple people every day instead of spending hours driving in LA traffic! This EP is the result of all those sessions, narrating my young life crisis. I’ve learned more about myself this year; I’ve grown more as a person than ever before. 2020 has sparked an existential crisis for all of us, so here’s mine. 21-years-old, trying to figure out what the fuck I’m doing, and raging through it all.”
To celebrate the release of her new music, we recently chatted with UPSAHL about 2020, Absofacto, and of course, Young Life Crisis.
HH: How did you first get into music?
U: I grew up in a very musical household. My dad was in punk bands all throughout my childhood, so I was obsessed with the music scene from such a young age. We had a band room in the house full of instruments, so naturally, I became obsessed with music, whether it was singing, playing instruments, or writing shitty songs when I was six.
HH: How does it feel to finally have your sophomore EP out in the world?
U: I’m so hype that these songs are finally out for everyone to hear. This EP quite literally narrated the young life crisis that I had this year, so it’s the most vulnerable I’ve gotten on the songwriting front. It feels good to share that side of me with everyone, and I’m hoping that because of the existential crisis of a year that everyone has had, people will relate to these songs.
HH: Young Life Crisis really does capture the chunk of your life that’s proven tumultuous–even in such a short amount of time. What was it like to reflect on both the good and bad of 2020 while crafting this incredible EP?
U: This EP happened on accident – I didn’t realize that I was writing the Young Life Crisis EP until after it all was written. It was this moment where I was like, “Oh shit, I guess I really DID have a rough year!” I do think the EP walks the line of the good and the bad of this year, whether the bad is a night drinking alone at my house, or the good is having little moments where I feel like I’m the shit, this EP captures all those different moments for me.
HH: Whether it was a devastating breakup or cancelled tour, how did you manage to bounce back from these setbacks?
U: There was a moment at the beginning of quarantine where I was like, “Okay, this year already sucks, and it’s about to get worse, so how can I distract myself?” I ended up just booking 1-3 sessions on Zoom a day as a way of ignoring all my problems and escaping from everything else that was going on. I think working consistently through all of my really low points this year and never letting myself fully lose it was what made me get through this shitshow of a year – haha.
HH: What was it like to collaborate with Absofacto on “MoneyOnMyMind?”
U: Abso is the shit! When I found out he was down to produce it out, I basically just hopped on Zoom and just said I was feeling the song in a dark, bad bitch, hard hitting kind of way. That’s quite literally all I told him. A few days later, I got this monster of a song in my email. I’ll never forget the first time listening to it with all his production on it – I’m pretty sure I just sat in my car and listened to it about 20 times in a row.
HH: Young Life Crisis sees a progression from last year’s debut EP. How would you say you’ve grown as an artist since then?
U: I feel like I am a completely different person than I was at the start of 2020, let alone who I was when I released my first EP. Because I’m growing on a personal level, my music naturally reflects that. I feel like I’m more secure in my sound than ever before, which gives me more room to experiment and take risks, which I love. I think that’s what makes the songs on this EP so exciting for me.
HH: If you could turn back time and write any hit song, which would it be?
U: I think about this all the time. There are so many songs that I hear and am like, “Fuck, I wish I wrote that.” Pretty much every single Beatles song blows my mind, so to be there while they were writing would be insane.
HH: What are your three hidden hits?
U: “Monte Carlo” by Remi Wolf, “Comic Sans” by AUDREY NUNA, and “Kool Aid” by Diana Gordon.