Up Late channels his best and worst selves on biting new single ‘Diva’

The genre-bender said he “often reference[s his] own terrible, and painful moments in Up Late songs”

Wollongong genre-bender Up Late (aka Max Pasalic) has shared a propulsive new single titled ‘Diva’, marking his third release for the year.

Dubbed the singer-songwriter’s “most sinister offering yet”, the new track clocks in at just over a minute and a half long. It’s intentionally jarring, melding rapped lyrics with a vocal style more evocative of hardcore punk, and an instrumental driven by edgy, glitched-out synths, thumping bass and a piercing 808 beat.

In the track’s first verse, Pasalic roars: “It’s my birthday, I’ll have a breakdown if I wanted to / I knock up on your door, I catch a case I’m feeling bulletproof / I walk inside, I catch your eyes, I need a beer so make it two / I’m 20-something riding with the top down but then I threw up too.”

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The track arrives alongside a similarly harsh film clip that flickers between aesthetics, colour palettes and aspect ratios, showing Pasalic in the midst of a brutal hangover. Take a look at the clip below:

In a press release, Pasalic said he “often reference[s his] own terrible, and painful moments in Up Late songs”, and that “even if they sound like they’re a broad reference point, most of the time I can pinpoint horrible moments that I want to express, or get past through writing”.

He described ‘Diva’ as a track about “the contradiction of ‘being your best self’,” continuing: “That colloquial ‘instagram-typecast line’ can be a beautiful sentiment for some, but for the most part (in my opinion) it gives agency and cause to the self-destructive side of your brain. ‘Diva’ is about being ‘your best’ and also ‘worst self’ in the internet age, partying to access the smallest sliver of serotonin your brain has left – even if you’re going to feel even worse the next day.

“What goes up must come down. I’m conscious that a lot of my teens and early twenties have been spent celebrating, even if there’s nothing to celebrate. That echo chamber that you deserve to be your best self and drink till the early morning becomes a deceptive and contradictory cycle.

“I’m not sober but I know my limits and I like to be in control. I think now I realise you can have a lot more fun partying when you’re sober, and perhaps I have ‘Diva’ to thank for that.”

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The track was met with a polarised reaction upon its release this morning (October 6). It’s currently straddling a 50/50 like-to-dislike ratio on YouTube, with the top comment reading: “I know everybody [has] got their own taste in music. But this is absolute dog shit lol for me anyways.”

‘Diva’ comes as Pasalic’s third standalone single under the Up Late moniker for 2021, following ‘You Peaked In High School!’ (featuring Dxrmant) in March and ‘Tidal Wave’ – a theme penned for the Melbourne-based e-Sports team Fortress – last month. It’s slated to appear on his forthcoming second EP, due out before the year’s end.

Earlier this year, Pasalic linked up with Melbourne hardcore outfit Void Of Vision to remix the title track from their second album, ‘Hyperdaze’, appearing on a full-length reissue of the album that also featured collaborations with Ecca Vandal and Polaris’ Jamie Hails.

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