Coming off the announcement of their debut album, No Refills Left, Los Angeles punk rock band Upper Downer are sharing their debut single and video, “Responsibility,” and you can check it out right here.
The track is punk rock banger full of attitude, reminiscent of The Lawrence Arms and Face to Face, acting as the lead single for Upper Downer’s debut LP. The music video was created in collaboration with visual artist and musician Olafs, who assisted Upper Downer in transforming some green screen footage of their performance into an eclectic video matching the song’s energy.
The band—lead singer and guitarist Chris Kehoe, drummer Kevin Froines, guitarist and backing vocalist Jesse Contreras, and bassist Bert Gragg—intentionally lean into the inherent silliness of the visuals, as Chris instructed Olafs to “just make it fucking ridiculous,” adding that “everything should be on fire.” While there are narrative elements and hints at the lyrical story of the track and the record’s larger themes, the video first and foremost captures the joyous energy of the band, despite some of their darker lyrical content.
The track itself tackles Chris’s struggles with drug addiction, inspired by a recent relapse after more than five years of sobriety. Chris calls this period the darkest in his life, though the song itself isn’t a harrowing, sad depiction of drug addiction. Rather, it is an uplifting pop-punk anthem about overcoming your personal demons and becoming a better person despite them.
Chris says that “Responsibility” just “popped out,” and that the song ended up embodying his experience of climbing out of the “hell hole” to a new height he rarely ever sees.
“Writing music is so easy that it’s difficult. It’s like it has to write itself, otherwise it feels false. It has to be subconscious. And so, ‘Responsibility’ came after a crisis state where I had all of my gloss smudged. I had no pre-thought left, and so what came out was honest. I fully accepted myself as a fuck up and that was freeing. I stopped fighting my absurd nature, and in so doing, learned to hold hands with the demons I had previously run from.”