In Conversation With… whenyoung

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You’re about halfway through your UK tour, how has it been?

A: It’s been really good, we’ve been really surprised and happy by the turnout. We didn’t know what it was going to be like because this is our first headline tour and we were a bit scared, but it’s been great. We did a festival in between called Tenement Trail, in Glasgow, and that was really fun! There were so many great bands playing.
N: There’s a really great scene in Glasgow, with bands like The Ninth Wave, Walt Disco, LUCIA.

I saw that you had some van issues earlier today, are they all resolved now?

A: We were leaving the hotel and our van wouldn’t work, so we were like ‘Shit! We’re gonna have to jumpstart it…’
D: It’s got leopard print seats, which are pretty nice, but the engine needs a bit of work…
A: It’s aesthetically gorgeous.
N: Like Whenyoung then! [laughs]
A: But engineering-wise, it’s a bit shoddy.
D: We managed to get a jumpstart from the concierge at the hotel though, so it’s alright!

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Last time we spoke, we talked about your love of Patti Smith, and then you were lucky enough to support her this summer – how was it?

A: That was incredible, the setting was really beautiful, it’s in this old museum in Dublin. It was a warm day, and we were playing with Nick Cave too. We didn’t get to meet her properly unfortunately, because when she was coming offstage she was exhausted and coughing quite a lot.
N: She was bundled into a taxi really, but I went to the pub with her guitarist, which was insane!
A: Just getting to play on the same stage and seeing her name written on the monitors, knowing that you’re using the same microphone stand as her, it was crazy!
D: We got to stand at the side of the stage for a few songs as well…
A: Until we got kicked out because we went too close to the stage! [laughs]

You played a bunch of festivals over the summer, what were some of your highlights?

A: We loved Truck Festival.
N: Although I have virtually no memory of it…
A: Drew’s aunt and uncle live really close to the festival site, so we stayed with them and loads of his family came to the show, which was nice. The backstage area felt really nice.
D: Anteros were there, Dream Wife, Drenge, HMLTD.

Another pretty major thing that’s happened since we last spoke is that you’ve signed to Virgin EMI, congrats! How did you find the process of being signed and did it take you a while to find a label that were offering you the right deal?

A: It is daunting, definitely, and we’d never really thought about signing to a major label. We thought all of our heroes were signed to indie labels but when you take a closer look, a lot of them are signed to majors. People talk about it in a negative way sometimes but we’ve met a lot of amazing people at the label and we have a good relationship with them.
D: That was the reason we signed, because we felt supported and there was a mutual feeling.
A: They’ve got such a great history as well.

The ‘Given Up’ EP is coming out on 9th November, featuring a new track ‘Sleeper’ – what can we expect from that?

A: We’ve played it live a couple of times, it’s quite a stripped back song. It’s slower paced.
D: It’s a bit different from anything we’ve released, because everything we’ve done up to now has been singles and the odd B-side.
N: It’ll be nice to release something that people might not expect from us.
A: It’s about when sometimes you just want to go to sleep and make everything disappear.

A lot of your songs deal with quite difficult feelings, yet you somehow make them uplifting and turn them into bangers. Do you find it challenging to try and make songs with emotional depth that people can also dance to?

A: It’s so nice that you say that, because the lyrics always come last for us and we definitely try to make them appropriate to what we’re feeling at that time. A lot of the time we feel pressure or are freaking out about different things that everyone goes through, everyone is often going through the same things. I always find it nice to get help from other artists’ music, so I hope people can relate to our music in the same way.

I love that you’re doing a book swap on tour! What are some of your favourite books you’ve ever read?

A: We decided to do it because Niall had worked in a bookshop, but we’d always been swapping books between us and we’d go to him and be like ‘Can you swap this one?’ under the counter! [laughs]. With all of our friends, we just share books, in a fun way, it’s not like a regimented ‘book club’ or anything, so we wanted to share that with our fans.
Somebody brought us a book last night actually…
D: It was really sweet, he was like ‘I’ve brought you this book that my grandmother wrote…’
N: She wrote it when she was 23 or something but only got it published last year when she turned 82, which is mad!

What are some books you’ve read recently?

D: ‘I Dreamed I Was a Very Clean Tramp’ by Richard Hell, that was really good.
A: We’ve all read ‘Please Kill Me’, it sounds awful but it’s about the history of punk in the ‘70s in New York and it’s incredible, it’s like a diary of all these people like Iggy Pop, Debbie Harry, The Ramones…
N: I love Hemingway and Paul Auster. We should start writing in the books to remember where they’ve come from.


The Given Up EP is out now, via Virgin EMI Records

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