Singled Out: One Up! Below's Laid And Paid

One Up Below

Detroit pop-punkers One Up! Below recently released their debut single and video "Laid And Paid" and to celebrate we asked singer/bassist Alan Reitman to tell us about the track. Here is the story:

"Laid and Paid"... and where to begin. Even though it's a song about getting drunk and making mistakes, it has a lot behind it. It's probably the sole reason Nick and I looked at each other and said "We should make a band out of this!" Before "Laid and Paid" and maybe one more song titled "18 Again", I have never written or attempted to write a pop punk song. As a producer, I have been apart of projects that were pop-punk influenced but these were my first attempts to ever build from the ground up in that genre. It started with the bass line in the intro and after playing it a few times I remember Nick coming into the room and asking "What is that?!" and at the time... I didn't even know! On the recording setup that I have, I just starting laying ideas down and building a foundation from that bass line. After kind of having a set structure in place, I started writing and laying down vocal ideas... the first to come to mind. The thing that sucked was, I hated it. All of it. It was such a up-beat, good-feeling song with these vocals that just... didn't make any sense and they weren't catchy at all. All I knew at the time was I wanted the song to tell a story, not a long or complicated one but just... a short one that is relatable and almost humorous!

The instrumental was stuck in my head for about 2-3 weeks. All I remember was driving in the car with that bass line repeating in my head and I literally started singing to myself and with no music to back me up. It probably sounded horrible but that's when the lyrics "Wait... You know we've done this all before" left my mouth and I like shouted in enjoyment after and screaming "It's genius!" haha. It's probably not that genius but what I discovered at that moment was I had a whole new idea and one that I could completely build off of. All I had to do was bridge a gap between why someone would get to the point of saying those exact words so I put myself in that position. After that it just made sense. It's like something that goes through your head when a relationship isn't working and it's not easy to say out loud haha.

Everything after just came together. Getting drunk and going to back to something you cannot stand just made so much sense for the verses to lead right back into that line and actually, I don't think the chorus got finished until after verses lyrically (which is abnormal for me at least). Nick and I got together in my studio room, tweaked little things to make things flow better, and then boom... the song was done. Now at this point in the songs life, it had programmed drums to fill the void of not having a drummer. We started jamming the song with our friend Matt who is a phenomenal drummer and things started really coming together. All I remember is me and Nick totally jumping the gun and saying "Let's shoot a music video and get this out!" After a long process of meeting and talking with videographers, we knew Brandan Keller shared our vision and would portray the comedic style of music video we wanted to go for so we you know... booked a date to shoot it.

Matt, Nick and I are all really good friends and even to this date but there were certain struggles as the three-piece we were that we couldn't seem to overcome. As the video date got closer, we were tremendously under-prepared. The problem was we just weren't getting together enough to figure things out ahead of time and it could of been so many different things but I think our schedules just didn't line up at the end of the day. With 3 days until video shoot day we come to a friendly agreement that we are all not on the same page and actually thought about cancelling the video... which would of really pissed off Brandan haha. On a whim, I texted Tj (a drummer from past projects) to see what his thoughts were on learning a song in a day, recording drum parts for it the next, shooting a music video the day after that, and possibly joining the group after the process. Needless to say, he was down. When us three jammed the song as a group for the first time... so much life and energy came to it. It was unreal. I remember Nick and I looking at each other after the first play through with Tj and saying "This is it..."

So not to type a novel as if I already haven't, but that's how it all came together. We recorded Tj's parts which gave the song a complete new dynamic and shot the video the day after which lasted about a week. We all were so pumped on how it was sounded that we decided to get the song mixed by Romesh Dodangoda who has done phenomenal work with acts like Bring Me The Horizon, Lower Than Atlantis and Don Broco. It's funny to think that jumping the gun and booking the video kind of lead to the formation and continuation of this group as a whole. Anyways, that's the song and video that you hear and see today and the story behind it!

Hearing is believing. Now that you know the story behind the song, listen and watch for yourself right here!

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