London’s (via Limerick) premiere indie songsmiths, whenyoung have released their highly anticipated debut album, Reasons to Dream, through Virgin EMI.
The culmination of years of playing and writing together, Reasons to Dream showcases Aoife Power’s (bass/vocals), Niall Burns’ (guitar) and Andrew Flood’s (Drums) ability to craft spikey yet melodic songs which delve lyrically into everything from love and insecurities to pacificism and the gap between the haves and have-nots in Britain today.
National Rock Review recently caught up with whenyoung to get the lowdown on their debut album, their style and influences, the band’s forthcoming UK headline tour as well as their plans for the next twelve months.
I understand it’s been a busy year for you so far having hit the road with Sundara Karma, completed your own headline tour as well as performing out in the US for the first time. How have the shows been going so far?
Yeah amazing! We love touring and the Sundara gigs in particular were really nice, great people, crew and audiences.
So you recently released your new album Reasons To Dream via Virgin/EMI. I just wondered if we could start off by you telling us a little bit about what you’re starting point was for this album? Did you have a particular theme or sound in mind for the release?
It’s just an honest story of our lives since we moved to London, loneliness, hope, confusion, elation. We wanted the songs to sound euphoric so we tried to capture that in the songwriting and studio.
As a band starting out in Limerick, you decided to make a move to London. What were the factors that catalysed your move to the big city?
We actually started the band in London, we had been friends from home for a long time but moved over separately. We didn’t have a grand plan to move and “make it”, it’s just what happened. We didn’t have a plan, we just started playing together for fun.
Obviously, London has a vibrant, yet heavily saturated music scene. How difficult was it for you as newcomers when you first arrived in the city? And do you find that things have got better over time?
At the very beginning it was difficult because we knew nobody, we played some strange shows to 3 people. We decided to move to East London from North and I think that was important. Suddenly we were surrounded by artists and creative people who helped and inspired us.
We recently caught your set at This Is Tomorrow in Newcastle, and we were really impressed. You’ve got a long UK headline run coming up in October which will include a return to Tyneside with a show at Think Tank in Newcastle. Do you enjoy performing in the North East?
Yeah we do! We’ve been a few times now and the people are always really friendly. The This Is Tomorrow set was fun, it was the day after our album was released and we’d had a big party to celebrate, so getting to Newcastle was a struggle but it turned out to be a really nice audience!
I noticed at your last Newcastle show that some of the band members performed in Boiler Suits. Can you share with us a little bit about how that came about and the band image in general? Visually it looks great.
Drew just found one in a charity shop and it looked cool so it went from there. We started to paint them and personalise which I guess comes from our love of punk music and the punk aesthetic.
I noticed that during your live shows Nathan has been playing bass in place of Aoife. How did you decide on this change, and is this a direction you are looking to explore long term?
We wanted to give Aoife the freedom to just sing, as the melody and vocals are so important to our band. We had been planning to do it for a while but finally went for it before the Barrowlands show in Glasgow with Sundara Karma. The audience reacted so well we decided it was the way forward for us.
For those who have yet to see whenyoung perform live how would you go about describing one of your shows?
Energy, passion, melody and boiler suits.
You performed at Shane McGowen’s 60th birthday bash. What was that experience like for you guys?
Hard to describe really, it was quite early on in our life as a band and we were suddenly on a line up with our heroes. Still makes me smile to think, about it!
I just wanted to talk about your cover of “Dreams” by The Cranberries, which is amazing by the way. I just wondered how much of an influence the group were on whenyoung?
They are such a big band in Ireland, their songs were always just there. We admire how many people they managed to reach with their music. Musically, I don’t think they have directly inspired us but we are fans of theirs of course!
When you aren’t performing live, what do you like to do in your downtime?
When we’re not on tour we’re usually just in the studio trying to create something new!
I was curious where does the band name originate from?
It comes from a song called ‘When we were young” by one of our favourite bands called Whipping boy.
In terms of your own musical tastes, what do you listen to when you are kicking back at home?
I grew up listening to The Velvet Underground, The Smiths, Patti Smith and I still do. in terms of newer stuff, I really like The Ninth Wave, Sinead O Brien, Blanc, The Blaze.
We are roughly halfway through this year. Do you have the next twelve months mapped out? What’s on the cards for whenyoung?
We’re going to release another single from the album in Late July. But we’re also back in the studio writing new material which we hope to release maybe this year and a new album next year at some point. We have loads of festivals but also a headline tour in September and October, including a date in Think Tank?
Reasons To Dream by whenyoung is out now via Virgin/EMI. The band will be touring the UK in support of their latest album throughout late September/October, tickets for all shows are on sale now via GigsAndTours.
whenyoung UK Tour Dates:
30 September – Bodega Social Club – Nottingham
01 October – Gorilla – Manchester
03 October – King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut – Glasgow
04 October – The Mash House – Edinburgh
05 October – Think Tank? – Newcastle
07 October – Hare and Hounds – Birmingham
08 October – Scala – London
09 October – Brudenell Social Club – Leeds
11 October – Joiners Arms – Southampton
12 October – Thekla – Bristol