So. Young Guns have a new album out in August, but not much has been said about this new release as of yet. Considering the band only got the final mixes back about a week or so ago, an announcement is definitely on the near horizon, me thinks. As such, I recently caught up with the band’s bassist, Simon Mitchell, to talk about this yet to be announced record, working with David Bendeth, and on playing Warped Tour. Suss it out below, fam.
Hey, Simon how are you?
I’m well, mate! How are you?
Yeah, not bad at all man. It’s fairly late here in Australia at the moment but I’ll manage. Where about are you in the world at the moment?
I’m currently driving through London, actually!
I hope that’s hands-free you’re on!
[Laughs, but doesn’t answer the question] What time is it in Australia?
Oh, about midnight.
Oh, bloody hell… Sorry to make you do this so late!
All good! Let’s jump right into it. You guys are heading over to the US to do your first Warped Tour this week, how are you feeling about it all? Nervous? Warped is a big deal.
Yeah, it is pretty huge! We’ve always wanted to do Warped Tour but haven’t been able to due to touring in Europe or in America at the same time. But this time, we finally get to do it. Warped is the kind of festival that’s all about kids and punk rock and hardcore fans and so it’s something we’ve always wanted to play and now we finally get to do it! It’s definitely a bucket list type thing.
It’s a whole new market we get to play, as well. I mean we’ve played America over the years but usually at radio festivals or rock festivals or supporting bigger bands like Breaking Benjamin and they’re great. But Warped Tour is generally a younger crowd and one we haven’t experienced yet. So I’m keen to get out and play that market and also finally go to Warped Tour!
I can relate, being from Australia and seeing all of these awesome bands play the festival and just wishing I could go.
Oh, absolutely! And that’s the other thing too, we are the only English band there from what I can see. Which is really exciting in a way.
— Young Guns (@YoungGunsUK) 20 June 2016
So Young Guns have played in a lot of countries and continents over the years, and I’m interested to know what you find are the biggest differences between them all.
We’ve played in America and Europe and Asia and Australia and all in all I have to say that the biggest differences are the geography. Like, we can play a full UK tour in ten days and cover all the places we need to whereas something like America in full you’re looking at a month of two at least. And after that for two months, you could pretty much tour the whole thing again. Australia is similar but on a smaller scale. We did our tour with Tonight Alive down your way and we played all the big places like Sydney and Melbourne, yet we also played a lot of smaller towns like Wollongong. And even the geography in the countries themselves varies. The middle of the US is very different from places like L.A or New York in how they look and the people who live there as is the same for Australia. I guess what ties it all together is that love of live music that every person has as the reason they come out to the shows.
Yeah, I remember seeing you guys with Tonight Alive down here in Melbourne. That was the set that got me into you guys actually.
That’s so cool, man! That tour was heaps of fun!
Let’s talk about your new single, ‘Bulletproof’. It’s coming off of your new record, which you did with David Bendeth. What was it like to work with such a prolific person in the alternative scene?
It was an experience that’s for sure. We actually met with David a few years ago when we were thinking of working with him on Ones and Zeroes. That was when we were still in the writing stage, though. He had always impressed us but we didn’t feel like it was the right time to work with him. But as I said we’ve always been impressed by his work and what he does. We were always impressed with the sound he was able to get from bands. He really captured the essence of live music in the albums and the importance of the rhythm section with his use of layering and mixing and how he records. He knows what he wants. And we didn’t want a producer to come in and say, “That sounds great, you guys are doing great” the whole way through. We wanted someone to challenge us. And he did that, he came in and was like, “You have a great foundation, but we can do this, this can be done better, this is a good direction, let’s go there, this is what I can do for you”. We were really happy with his direction and input into the songwriting. He got our sound. He understood the objective of the band really well.
I mean, it was definitely an experience. It had its highs and lows but it was a really informative time and we learnt a lot and he got the best out of us. We had five weeks, which meant that we were still writing stuff out there at the same time which was a shame because we were really enjoying the experience. And I mean, you don’t want to be rushed. You don’t want someone rushing you through this process, you want to take your time and make the best possible product you could. But in the end, we got it done and we’re really proud of the experience and what we got out of it. We’ve gotten the mixes back and it’s all being put together so it’s quite an exciting time for us!
Good to hear and wow, five weeks! That isn’t a whole lot of time to put together a record from beginning to end. But was that full writing and recording or mainly recording?
Well, we were on tour in the UK when we got told we had the chance to work with David because one of his projects fell through. And as I said, we’d met him before and that was the option that we were really keen on. So we knew we had a goal to work towards but we work well under pressure and that pressure got us to write the record straight away. So we took all the material we had written on the road, on our computers or in our jam spaces across the country and started writing songs together. We worked in a house in London and we could write five days a week and focus solely on that. We had about eight weeks of writing actually, where we developed songs from demos or ideas and material we’d written before that time and then sent it off to David to get his feedback.
Oh okay, so you did still have a good time to write and work on the pre-production.
Yeah, and it was really good to work with that end goal in mind of David. After those eight or so weeks is when we jumped into the studio and worked on them directly with him. We spent the first week of the record really going through each song with a fine tooth comb just making sure every single song had a purpose on the record. There were moments where you can’t predict what’s gonna happen as to what David says but thankfully we were able to record half the songs right away as David thought they were pretty much ready. Others we were pretty much rewriting from scratch which is…fine. But when you’re on a time schedule it gets hard as you don’t want to be working on just this something when you have other things to do. But that’s the nature of producers really. You don’t just want a producer, you really want another member of the band and for you all to bounce off each other and make the best record possible. Once we were there it became very much a team effort to create the best record.
I guess I pretty much just told you the whole writing process and leading up to working in the studio with David, instead of Bulletproof, sorry!
[Laughs] No, it’s all good, man! That was all great stuff. But sadly that’s all the time we have for today as you’ve got a few interviews down the line. Thanks so much for you time today, Simon!
Thanks, Matty! Sorry if my answers were a bit convoluted or slow. It’s hard to concentrate whilst driving!
Fair enough, Simon! Have a great day.
You too, Matty.