Nightmares and Atmospheres: The Underground Youth talk about Haunted
For those that are fairly new to the Underground Youth, can you give us a background of the band?
I started writing and recording music back in 2008, raw lo-fi bedroom recordings using really basic recording equipment. I named the project The Underground Youth after the title of one of those early tracks and made the albums of material available for free online. It continued in this way, releasing a couple of albums a year, until I was contacted in 2011 by what would become Fuzz Club Records. The intention was to release my latest self-released album (Delirium) on vinyl and put a live band together to tour The Underground Youth’s music for the first time. Where we are now is a result of that happening.
I know a couple years back, we discussed how cinema was a big influence on you and the relationship between sound and image. Does this still inspire you?
It still plays a large part in the creative process for me. The aim is to create a soundtrack to accompany an imagined film or visual idea. In the future I’ll look at developing the right kind of space and visuals to accompany the music, more of an art installation than a live show. That’s an idea that inspires me, to find different ways to present the music.
Are you still the primary force behind the band, or are the other members contributing to the writing process?
The Underground Youth does still function as it always has, as my creative outlet. However the live sound is in the hands of the live band, and on the new record I worked more collaboratively with the producer, so it feels less of a one man project these days.
Speaking of the new record, it’s call Haunted and out very soon. What can you tell us about the album?
It was very much about creating an atmosphere, and I think we managed to capture the envisioned mood perfectly. The lyrics follow a dark and unsettling theme, each song documents the nightmares of a different character, so the music needed to create the appropriate atmosphere for this. The album is slightly distanced from the ‘psychedelic’ side of our sound and focusses more on the influence of 1980’s post-punk music. There’s elements of noise and industrial music in there too, it’s certainly more experimental than anything The Underground Youth has put out before.
Did the atmosphere you wanted to create take you into that sound, or was this what you started with to get to that atmosphere?
It seems like a natural direction to move in, especially considering the nature of the album I wanted to make (dark and haunting). Saying that I never begin the creative process knowing what direction I want the musical style to go in, it comes out during the writing/recording.
The Underground Youth was the band that basically started Fuzz Club Records, and I guess Fuzz Club has had a hand in jumpstarting the Underground Youth as well. It’s a pretty cool connection to have, because not many bands can say that. I personally get that feeling of “family” with Casper from the label as he's always been very supportive of the bands he not only has on his label, but the music that he loves in general. What’s it like, having been around from the start of the label?
It feels like a lifetime ago Casper and I were sat in a bar in Manchester discussing his initial ideas for Fuzz Club Records, he had all these high hopes and ambitious plans, I thought he was crazy. But to think of how many of them he’s managed to achieve, and how he’s helped me bring my project to where it is, I’m glad I agreed to go with it. It’s not about business and that side of music, it’s about creating art and all I care about is doing what I love. Casper understands that and so do the ‘family’ that make up Fuzz Club, I’m proud to have been a part of it since the beginning.
What are some of the plans for the next few months?
We’ve got an eight date UK tour starting with Liverpool Psych Fest in late September / early October and then a month long European tour in November.
What's been on your turntable lately?
I’ve just picked up the new Beach House album Depression Cherry. I’ve also been revisiting Patti Smith and listening to a lot of Einstürzende Neubauten recently. Neubauten had a big influence on the new record.
I’ve always been interested in the stories people have about their first major music memory, and what set them on the journey for the love of music and the discovery of it. For me, I have been a massive music lover for as long as I can remember, in part to my father’s record collection. What started the journey for you?
I remember seeing footage of Bob Dylan performing live, some TV spot or something from the early sixties. I can’t even remember what song he played but just seeing him standing there, playing 3 chords, singing with that voice. That’s why I picked up a guitar.
The Underground Youth Tour Dates
Liverpool International Festival of Psychedelia
01/10/15 UK Glasgow - Nice n Sleazy's
03/10/15 UK Manchester - Islington Mill
04/10/15 UK Rugby - West Indian Club
05/10/15 UK Nottingham - Chameleon Arts Cafe
06/10/15 UK London - The Shacklewell Arms
08/10/15 UK Sheffield - Picture House Social
03/11/15 Fr PARIS Point Ephemere
04/11/15 Fr LYON Venue tba
05/11/15 Fr DÜDINGEN Bad Bonn
06/11/15 Ch SAINT GALLEN Rumpelturm
07/11/15 Ch MARTIGNY Caves Du Manoir
08/11/15 Ch VEVEY Studio 603
12/11/15 Dk COPENHAGEN
13/11/15 Dk AALBORG 1000Fryd
14/11/15 Swe MALMOE Inkonst
15/11/15 No OSLO Revolver
17/11/15 De LEIPZIG Westwerk
18/11/15 De KÖLN Tsunami Club
19/11/15 De COBURG Bei Adam
20/11/15 De FREIBURG Slow Club
21/11/15 De BERLIN Magnet
24/11/15 De FRANKFURT Das Bett
25/11/15 Ch ZURICH Zukunft
26/11/15 De AUGSBURG City Club
27/11/15 De OBERHAUSEN Pressure Air Festival
28/11/15 Be YELLOWSTOCK Winter Fest