English alternative outfit Young Guns released their third studio album last month to a healthy reception. A strong touring and worth ethic has allowed the band’s listenership and popularity to steadily rise since their inception in 2009. Killyourstereo.com chatted with the band to find out about a busy 2015, the power of social media and balancing outside commitments.
Any time an album comes out means it’s a busy year for a band. What’s 2015 been like for Young Guns so far?
2015 has been a crazy year for us so far, we’ve been on the road pretty consistently. We spent a lot of 2014 in the studio preparing for the release of ‘Ones and Zeros’, so it feels great to finally be able to tour again, pushing this record. As ‘Ones and Zeros’ came out at the same time in the UK and the U.S means we’ve been back and forth all year, which is really exciting for us.
I know with the backing of labels, management and promo staff, it makes it infinitely easier for bands in regards to promotion. From a band perspective though, once you’ve recorded the music, how involved are you in how the album is eventually marketed?
We’ve been lucky enough to have such a great team behind us. The guys at Wind Up and Virgin/Emi have been amazing to us. We’ve always been a band with strong opinions and having a team behind us that understand that is amazing. From our management team to the labels were always bouncing ideas off each other and we’ll always make sure everyone is happy before moving forward. That can be from single choices to video ideas to even merch ideas.
You’re three albums in now. With each new release and subsequent touring comes more experience. What have been some of the biggest changes you’ve noticed internally in the Young Guns camp?
Being in a band that does excessive touring like we do is great but it can be very stressful and tiring at times. The main thing we’ve learnt over the years is that the five of us are a team and we have to work together and help each other out in hard times. We’re all working to achieve the same goals so we have to be a strong unit at all times. Things like setting certain roles for each member has made us work even better and through this [we’ve] become even closer friends.
How important is social media to a band these days? While there are pros and cons, it must make it convenient being able to record music and disseminate it straight to listeners.
The power of social media is bigger than ever right now. At the end of the day, you can complain about how the industry has changed over the years but you have to adapt if you want to compete with the other bands or artists in the industry. The beauty of this is that you can release a song straight away and get it out to your followers immediately. Even free streaming companies like Spotify serve a great purpose. The bands may not make as much money but, in turn, someone can listen to your back catalogue in a click of a button and that’s something that can’t be ignored.
What’s the balance like managing band commitments with family and outside priorities?
This is probably the most difficult thing about being in a band. The problem is you can’t be reliable and that can be difficult with family, friends and loved ones. But at the end of the day everyone around us is really supportive and believe in what we’re doing. So whilst we may not see home for months on end, it’s all for a purpose. Keeping connected to your loved ones is vital when you’re away and making the most of the time off you have helps you appreciate those moments more.
In the early stages of a band it’s largely trial and error. What’s, perhaps, a mistake you guys made early on that has helped you become wiser and more savvy as musicians today?
I don’t feel there’s many moments I or we regret as a band. When it comes to single release choices I feel we could have made different decisions at points but unfortunately you never know how well a song will be received until it’s out, and by that point there’s no going back. That’s the crazy thing about being in a band, a song you think could buy you a house can fall flat on its face, where a song you don’t even want on the record can become your biggest song. We did start recording ‘Ones and Zeros’ in San Fransisco last year with the hi-hop producer Dan the Automator. Whilst that didn’t work out due to creative differences we did learn a lot from that experience and personally I wouldn’t have changed that.
Favourite album of 2015 so far?
That’s a tough one, I actually think 2015 has been a great year so far for records. So for that reason I’m going to pick a few.
Twenty One Pilots – Blurryface. This album is absolutely incredible, probably the most creative and original album I’ve heard in years. They actually manage to blend almost every genre in music and I feel it’s head and shoulders above any ‘rock’ based records at the moment.
Wombats – Glitterbug. This is a great ‘feel good’ summer record. This record really got me into this band and after maybe my 100th listen I’m still not bored.
Drake – If You’re Reading This, It’s Too Late. I feel Drake can do no wrong at the moment, and this record is another great example why he’s so successful. This record gets better every time I play it, already a classic for me.
Album(s) you’re looking forward to in the second half of 2015?
The Weekend. The first singles ‘Can’t Feel My Face’ and ‘The Hills’ are awesome. I’m a big fan of the Weekend and I just know this records going to be great. I’ve listened to his past two records religiously now so I’m dying for the next one!
Nothing But Thieves [too]. I’ve been a fan of these guys for awhile now and we were lucky enough to bring them out with us on our last UK headline tour. They’re a band that I know will blow up and I’m genuinely so excited to hear this record.
Thanks for the interview. Appreciate your time.
‘Ones And Zeros’ is out now. Read our review here.