Monday, 23 May 2016

Feature: Youngsmith (23/05/16)

Brisbane's Youngsmith has been making his own music for ten years, having played both in a band as a solo artist, he has produced several EPs, had his work featured and played on national radio and surfing documents in other countries like Germany and the US. However, releasing his first single 'Wither' just last year he appears as a new name in the world of music. Now he's releasing his second single 'Red' and heading out on a national tour in support of the track... 

General Questions:

1. How old were you when you started getting involved in music and how?
I was 20. I had a major knee operation and was learning to walk again and I picked up my Dad's old guitar (he had got it when he was about 20). It'd never really been played but he kept it and it had three strings. I taught myself from there really... 

2. What is the most inspiring musical performance you've ever seen? 
I've seen a lot of famous bands but you kind of know what you're going to get going in a lot of the time. I'm a sucker for an open mic night myself. I find that really inspiring because you've got someone up there who's totally inexperienced pouring their heart out. Sure it's not all good, but quite often there's some really magical stuff that comes out when it's someone's first time up on stage. To me, that's inspiring. It takes guts to expose yourself like that. 

3. Who have you been listening to lately?
I'm stuck in the 80s and 90s at the moment. I've been listening to bootlegs and demos from Pearl Jam, AC/DC and Soundgarden on Spotify lately. Things like unused tracks and demos from PJ's Ten and AC/DCs Bonfire Box (a live album from the late 70s). I love listening to early recordings / early demos of famous bands that I know and love. I like to hear where the sound came from as a basic recording (without all the bells and whistles put it in production / mixing). 

3 Qs for Youngsmith:

1. You're heading on tour in July / August, but which is your dream venue to play and why?
My dream venue is probably The Tivoli in Brisbane at this point. I've played just about every other venue Brisbane has to offer now and that's the one that stands out for me because it's so local and unique. It's old school cool with pink carpet, and cool balconies and feels like something out of The Great Gatsby. 
It has a capacity of about 5,000 but it still feels intimate somehow. Getting complete silence during a song with just me and my guitar is something I secretly fantasise about. 

2. Where do you find you gain the majority of your influences from, both lyrically and musically?
I grew up listening to the music my older brothers listened to. All the 90s grunge bands like Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Soundgarden as well as stuff like Neil Young and Queen. I always found I related to the music during that time that had emotionally charged lyrics. Some of that music got me through my teens. 

3. What process did you go through creating 'Red' and how much did it differ to your previous release, 'Wither'?
'Red' was an easy song to write, I wrote it in about half an hour. It came to me pretty much completely written in my head. Sometimes songs come to me fully fleshed out, other times I have to rewrite them a bit and trial them at live gigs. 
Getting it down recording was a little more difficult though, because I'm not a huge fan of songs that follow the usual structure and I wanted to have a change in the chorus by the end. I wanted the song to start like a Vance Joy or Mumford & Sons track, but end as a more anthem rock n roll track while carrying the same vocal melody. 
I started recording 'Red' with drum loops and bass and built up layer upon layer from there, breaking down each part as I went. The process was a bit different from 'Wither' (which is pretty simple and was recorded live - for the most part). 

Random Q:

Three things you can't live without?
My cattledog Hudson, my guitar and sugar... 

'Red' Review:
This is a Simon & Garfunkel-esque track, holding a similar style of songwriting and narrative, however it's a soul infused folk/rock song, full to the brim of feelings, that resonate with the listener. Youngsmith's powerful, slightly rugged vocals bring the track to life and lead the steadily growing guitar and percussion throughout. If you like Bon Iver, Jake Isaac or Matt Corby - this is a song for you! 

Youngsmith's Links:

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