Face-to-face: interview with whenyoung
In the first installment of Face-to-face, I revisit interviewing indie band whenyoung before their electric gig at Kasbah Nightclub on the 12th October. Aoife Power (Vocals/Bass), Niall Burns (Guitar), and Andrew Flood (Drums) exude the style of a group of friends who are too cool for school. In fact, I have never met a band that gleamed with as much classic punk and chic swagger as they do. Then again, I had never met a band before this. I know right, what a great place to start.
2018 has been a wonderful year for the London-based Irish trio, with numerous tours under their belts supporting the likes of Peace and The Vaccines. On 9th November, whenyoung released their debut EP Given Up, which shines with roaring fireworks like ‘Heaven on Earth’ and ‘Given Up’ propping up its top half, and pulsating through its second half, beautiful melodies including the sweet-as-sugar ‘Dreams’ and the wonderfully eerie and acoustic ‘Sleeper.’ I especially like ‘Heaven on Earth,’ as it takes me back to certain nights out where everyone is having fun and I’m standing in the club dreaming of cheesy chips and my exit out of there. Moreover, they’re currently closing their monumental year supporting Blossoms on their UK tour.
On a frosty October evening, my best friend and I stumbled into Kasbah Nightclub – a famed site on the map of Coventry’s nightlife scene. However, navigating around a nightclub hours before it opens itself to drunk students is another experience altogether. That being said, my nerves and just general excitement for the night ahead gave me all the rushes and hyperactivity I needed (though maybe a little too much). We then headed for the tiny dressing room where I met the members of whenyoung, who were in the midst of a hectic and far-stretching tour. Here are the highlights of this delightful interview.
Whenyoung on moving to London five years ago
Five years ago, the band members moved to London separately. “I had the vision,” explained Niall. “I came over, and Andrew came over a couple months later. We had never played together, but there was a rehearsal space just round the corner, and we just started playing together immediately.” Aoife, who then moved to London around a month after the guys, was then asked to join them. “we had friends who had heard Aoife sing at house parties when we were 15,” stated Niall – and that was how the band was born.
The band’s 70’s influences and what being in a band entails in 2018
I then asked them about their favourite music memory from their teenage years. Aoife and Niall told me about their fondest gig memories, seeing Pixies and The Strokes in Dublin respectively. “That was mind-blowing”” exclaimed Niall with pure glee. Alternatively, Andrew’s chosen music memory was hearing ‘Take Me Out’ by Franz Ferdinand for the first time: “It was an indie song that crossed over a bit, and I remember hearing that for the first time and I was like woah what is this?” They are certainly a band who is anchored through their great music taste, and it shows.
The band also spoke about their musical influences and love for the New York music scene in the late 70’s. “We just wanna hang out in CBGB,” remarked Aoife. Niall added, “all around The Factory – all of that is like our main influence.” However, he continues to discuss what it is about being here and now that is particularly great: “you have to create your scene. All those people back in late 70s were just living for here and now, trying to create something of their own, so that’s what we’re trying to do.” Andrew then expanded on what it entails to be a band now: “I guess now you have to be more business-minded now cos you’ve got all the online stuff now..” With regards to the role of Instagram in today’s music scene, Aoife said “you’re selling yourself all the time now. Everyone is on Instagram now.”
The story behind ‘Given Up’
Chatting about their punchy single ‘Given Up,’ Aoife spoke about how the band wrote it last year while performing constantly with very small audiences. While juggling work and music commitments, they were “going out quite a lot in London, waking up early for work and just being a bit burnt out, and then practicing a lot in the evening.” Andrew added, “it’s hard to have direction all the time.” Shining with its catchy guitar riffs and the infectious smoothness in its sound, the track is “about the feeling of giving up, but also the other feeling of taking control and just going for it. Take control of your life, you can do it!” concludes Aoife.
A different day, a different person: a fun game to end the interview
Who would they choose if they were to wake up as someone else tomorrow?
Niall: I’d be Donald Trump. Just to see what goes on in his head. It would be fascinating. Is he as crazy as he seems? Only if I woke up the next day as myself though!
Andrew: if you were Donald Trump I’d be Kanye West. Though someone like Bono would be amazing.
Aoife: he’s dead but I wish I could spend the day being Leonard Cohen.
Andrew: or even like being one of the great old authors!
Niall (turning to Aoife): Anthony Kiedis?
Aoife: I wouldn’t want to listen to them anymore. They’re a good band!
The band are currently working on their debut album, which will release in 2019. They are also reaching out on their headline tour in February next year (follow the link for more details!). To conclude, I would like this opportunity to thank whenyoung for the opportunity to interview them – I had an absolute blast. To check out their Facebook page, click here. Here’s wishing them all the best on their exciting rise!
From Sophia with Love x
P.S. A big thanks to RAW 1251AM for getting me to the point of being able to talk to bands.