The unfaltering nerves, gravity-defying anticipation and the uncertainty of impending reactions — it’s all part of releasing a debut album.
When Clash spoke to the Irish indie-pop trio whenyoung about it, they seemed pretty cool. Of course we’d love if they shared their secret to such a calm and composed exterior.
Although, they have no reason to be anxious, as ‘Reasons To Dream’ is a beautifully crafted and heart-quenching signpost of matters of the soul.
And what better time to get to know your new favourite band than now...
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How are you guys doing?
Hello! We're great, excited to have our album out!
Going back to your roots, how did this all begin?
We were three kids who found music and through music found each other. We all met at a house party through mutual friends.
So you’re from Limerick in Ireland, such a small area, what is it like there and what do you do for fun?
I suppose it's not very different from any other small city. We used to just hang around, go to our local disco or gigs as often as we could, that kind of thing.
Where did you pick up music and why?
We all fell in love with music quite young. Music was the only cure to feeling like an outsider. We all played various instruments and flirted with different incarnations of bands before coming to London. But it was when we moved there that the three of us came together and said "right let's do this". We felt like it was the right moment.
Who influences you most?
A lot of inspiration comes from the most banal, mundane, daily occurrences and also not just music. Artists who celebrate real life through their art are a big influence for us, mainly because honest art is incredibly healing and educational. We appreciate people and want our lyrics to bridge the gap between thoughts and speech in terms of talking openly about insecurities and emotions. People like Eric Rohmer, Patti Smith, Shane MacGowan do this for us.
Obviously it would be great if your reasons were purely musical, but what was the motivation behind moving to London?
We always had a big city dream. Somewhere that we had read about and heard about in music culture like London, New York or Paris. London was the easiest to get to so that's where we went.
We all moved with the idea of exploring creative avenues and that very quickly became the band. The transition was so exciting, to steal from Jim Jarmusch, it felt like a permanent vacation! We knew nobody or nothing about the place so everything was a new experience and so eye opening and inspiring.
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Do you have a collective favourite song, what is it? If you can't narrow it down to one, then I guess I'll accept a top three...
We have a lot of collective favourites! 'Mandinka' by Sinead O'Connor is one of our classic go tos. It's a great pop song. There's a performance of her singing it at the Grammys in the 80s and it's incredible.
Let's talk music now. How does it feel to have come such a long way in such a short time?
Have we? I suppose we have! It's very difficult to analyse ourselves objectively like that. I feel like from our side there are always creative peaks and troughs and constant battles with our own self doubt. But standing back and looking at what we've done over the last few years, we are really happy.
If you had given us a crystal ball two years ago I think we would have had our minds blown. We know it’s such a competitive world out there, everyone fighting for streams and ticket sales, we just try to keep our heads down and do what we do. We've made an album that we are extremely proud of!
So your album is coming out, are you nervous about how it will received?
A little bit, it would be unnatural to not be. But we are confident that we've made a great album, if nobody listened to it we'd still be happy with what we made. The reviews have been very kind, which is lovely to see.
What is the message behind the album? What influenced it as it is very moving and thought provoking?
The album is a journey. It culminates our journey. Leaving Ireland, moving to London, searching for acceptance, love and trying to make sense of the time we are in, anxieties, loss and grief. Each song touches on a different theme but together they form links in the one chain.
How do you think your sound has changed since your formed?
It's unhealthy to resist development and change as long as it's natural and real and not because of external pressures. We haven't made any conscious, dramatic changes in the last couple years and yet we look back and our music has evolved. It's become a more assured and polished version of itself.
For us, we know our lane but we won't let that hold us back. Sometimes lanes merge or there are roadworks or temporary diversions and I think that's OK as long as you know where you're driving to!
My favourite track is 'The Others', what is your personal favourite from the album and why?
We all have our favourites. 'A Labour of Love', 'Something Sweet' and 'You're Grand' probably. But that could change tomorrow! We like the slower songs on the album. I suppose because we've been constantly releasing singles, the less obvious tracks haven't gotten their chance but that's the great thing about an album.
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Your summer seems to be jam-packed with festivals, is it nerve-racking or exciting?
Exciting! Festivals are so much fun. We feed off the whole atmosphere and excitement around the place. There is less pressure and crowds tend to be more up for it. You can stock up on food and drink for the week at the catering tent too, which helps.
The Great Escape seems to be one of the best ways for new bands to reach a larger audience, how did you find the festival too affect your audience? Did you enjoy the festival? Did you spend time meeting your fans and do you enjoy it?
Yeah we loved it, the stage down on the beach was packed and the weather was so nice! The Great Escape is a healthy mix of industry and fans which is good. We always try to meet fans afterwards if we can. It seems only fair to give them our time because they are the ones who allow us to do what we do.
What has your most memorable gig been to date and why?
There have been a few support shows that will be up there forever, just because its so surreal to be playing with people you've admired for years. Nick Cave and Patti Smith in Dublin last summer was one of those.
Where do you want to play most and why? Do you find that your music has been well received in other countries?
Glastonbury would be pretty cool, ahem Mr Eavis. We would love to go to Asia, Australia, South America, anywhere! We will play anywhere! That's the cool thing about streaming services, you can see where your music is played. Unexpectedly, after the UK and Ireland, we have a good following in Turkey.
You're never going to have a debut album again! What does the future look like for whenyoung?
I always think that once a band releases an album then, that's it, they are officially a band. It's such a landmark for us. Whatever happens from here on, we can at least say we made an album to be proud of. So I hope the future is bright but who knows what people will latch on to. We've already begun writing new material so we aren't stopping anytime soon.
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'Reasons To Dream' is out on May 24th.
Words: Megan Berridge
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