Sunday, January 13, 2013

Interview With Young Statues (12/19/12)

Young Statues' quick ascent as a band may seem surprising, but under close examination it makes perfect sense. While the band doesn't fit under the usual Run For Cover umbrella, they still can appeal to the kids looking for something a little more laid back and are a very accessible gateway between many genres of music. The band has also been lucky enough to be associated with some very well musical figures such as Ace Enders and Joseph Marro of The Early November, and promotion from them will do nothing but bring them a very solid fanbase. On one of the last few shows of their tour with The Dangerous Summer, the band gratefully sat down with us to take some questions regarding topics such as their recently released cover EP and the expectations that came with its release, a brand new EP with Ace Enders, their feelings on the differences between their sound and related bands, and much more that you can read below.

Firstly, can you guys introduce yourselves?

C: I’m Carmen, and I sing and play guitar.
M: I’m Matt, and I play guitar.
T: I’m Tom, and I play bass.

The tour with The Dangerous Summer is just wrapping up, this is one of the last few shows of the tour. How’s the experience of the tour been?

C: It’s been really really good. We’ve had a good time, a lot of our friends have done shows with us, guys from the past, and we had never really met them or done anything. It’s always cool when you tour with a bunch of new people that you don’t know so well and it’s been fun. The shows have been really good. We’ve had a really nice time and it’s been cool to get back to some of the places we were in the spring, and that’s where this tour has been going. It’s been revisiting a lot of places we haven’t been in a while. It’s been really refreshing and fun.

You guys just released a new covers EP. How’s the reaction been to it so far?

C: It’s been really good. I think it’s been better than we expected actually, since it wasn’t 100% intentional until we got to a point where we had some cool covers and we wanted to do more of a formal release for it instead of just giving it away. We didn’t have a ton of expectations and people have reacted really well to it. A lot of songs were kind of leaps of faith for us, since the songs are all ones that we really like and were really self-conscious about covering because you want to give the song justice, you don’t want to misrepresent it. For people to be into that stuff, it’s nice.
M: Absolutely. It’s doing great, it’s getting a lot of positive feedback, and people are really buzzing about it online, so that’s good. And the artwork’s pretty rad.

Have you gotten any feedback from people who loved the original versions of those songs?

M: Feels like everyone’s doing reviews online.
T: The common thing that people are saying is that they’re “different” from the original, obviously, but in a good way.
C: Most people were very anxious to hear the “Age Of Consent” cover because that’s such a staple song with a lot of bands and people that we know. Everybody knows that song and likes that song so when people found out we were doing that song, everyone was very anxious to hear it. It just so happened that it’s the last song on the 7” and it’s the last song that we put up, so the anticipation built a little bit for it. When people heard that, and they were all really stoked about it, it made me feel really good because I was nervous about the reaction. Especially when you love a song, you are very hesitant about hearing someone else’s interpretation of it, but for people to enjoy it and think it was cool but different and not the same thing, that we put our own spin to it and everyone got that, that was really cool. And that’s what we hope for.

Have you guys ever seen the artists that you have covered live?

C: Yeah. I’m a big Ryan Adams fan so I’ve seen him a few times. He’s my favorite singer-songwriter in the world. So yeah, I’ve seen him. I don’t think New Order has even played for years. I think they stopped playing before I was born, so none of us have been able to see them, and the Magnetic Fields are the same way. They’re very sparse with what they do. Billy Bragg I hope one day to see but I haven’t yet.

Is it tough playing these songs live having seen the originals before?

C: It definitely is. I’ve played a couple of the covers live, and we did the studio video thing for Alternative Press, but it’s definitely self-conscious. It affects you that way because they wrote those songs, and we were just trying to honor and pay tribute to them in our own way with those songs. So whenever you hear your version of it compared to theirs, of course you prefer the original. That’s what made you fall in love with the song in the first place. Sometimes you get a little nervous and a little weary about doing it, but it’s all in good fun.
T: I think the cool thing about doing it is that we didn’t try too hard to make it the best it could be, we just did what we wanted and I think it turned out the best that way.
C: It was a very natural process with it. Sometimes you critique things so finely and it’s nice to be able to go into it and have fun with it and not feel pressure to do, and I think that made the songs turn out better.

It’s been well publicized that you guys have a new EP coming out that was produced by Ace Enders. How would you compare the EP to the full length?

M: They’re two totally different entities.
C: They’re very different. It’s still us because the songs are still us playing them, but it’s a lot different. It’s hard for me to totally still wrap my head around it because a lot has happened in one year. As you said to us earlier, you saw us a year ago and that was one of the first shows we ever played. So in a year, we’ve done a lot of stuff and I think it’s different, but it’s going to be a good, exciting different for a lot of people that aren’t so familiar with our band.
T: We definitely tried to raise the bar with the new EP and kind of push ourselves as musicians a little bit. I think we all kind of stepped outside of our comfort zones on this one to do something different.
C: Nobody wants to hear the same record, nobody wants to make the same record, nobody wants to take the safe way out. For us, it was a very good learning experience too.
T: I think that’s the best way to describe it, a learning experience.

Are you guys still aiming for February for the release?

C: March. It’s going to be March now. We have some touring plans that are lining up with the release so we kind of pushed it a little bit. I think it’s more of a spring/summery record anyways, so it kind of fits that as well. Getting it out only a month later shouldn’t be too big of a thing. We’d like to have it out in March anyways, so it kind of worked out.

Are these more supporting dates, or may there be some headlining dates thrown in here?

C: They are support shows. We still have a lot to do before we headline. We’ve only been a band for a year or so. I think it’s been good to go out on tour with some bands that have been playing and releasing records and touring a lot longer than us. It’s a nice way for us to introduce ourselves to people, and I think we’re still in that phase. We’ve done a lot of really amazing tours and have been able to play with a lot of really great bands, but we all still feel like we need to get ourselves out to people more and that involves supporting bands. I think that’s still where we’re out right now.

It’s the end of the year so I’ve been asking bands this lately, but what are some of the releases you’ve really dug from this past year?

C: I like Father John Misty a lot. That record was probably the thing I listened to the most in this entire year. I also like Sharon Van Etten. I think one of the guys from The National produced her album and I’ve played that a ton. I really love her, I think she’s amazing and I always liked her but the fact that those guys did her album changed it for me, it took it to a whole different level. Those are the two things I listened to the most. The new Nada Surf record was cool too. Those are some things I liked.
M: I’m really slow at picking up on new music, so the past few albums that I’ve been into may have been 2011 releases. There’s an album by Real Estate called Days that’s been a constant for me. I got really into a guy named Mayer Hawthorne this year.
C: Our van speakers are broken, and we’ve been touring a lot this year, so we haven’t had the pleasure of listening to much music because the speakers are so shot that you turn them on and think “this sucks” and turn it right off.
M: And naturally a lot of the time the bands you tour with you just naturally get into them, and we’ve toured with some really cool bands this year.

Based on some of the names you said, it seems like a lot of the things you guys are into are very different from the scene you are associated with. Is this weird for you guys at all?

C: This discussion comes up a lot, and I have a very strong opinion on my feeling that it only really boils down to the music you make. I understand how it works, people group bands together, they group genres together, it exists in every single form of creative outlet including art, film, all that stuff.  I get that, but I don’t know. I don’t think for us it really matters. We don’t really consider it when we’re doing anything. If we like a band and they want to bring us on tour and we’re excited about doing it, we’ll do it regardless of genre. You definitely play shows where you realize you’re the sore thumb, and there are people there that really aren’t necessarily willing to open themselves up to the kind of music you play, but for us more often than not when there are kids that are at those shows and they end up really enjoying us and we make fans that way, it’s worth it.

What are your plans for 2013?

C: There are some things that we already know are coming such as the EP release and a tour that we’re doing in the spring. We’re really exciting. We’ve started to lay the groundwork for what we’re going to do as a band and there’s still a lot of stuff to come. If you asked me last year at this time what our plans were, we were a lot less figured out at that point than we are now. I think that’s pretty exciting.
M: The groundwork for the first half of 2013 is already laid out, and that’s just going to lead into the second half. It’ll be a quick year. 2012 was quick, but 2013 will be even quicker.
C: Everybody’s very excited. It’s going to be a good year.

Are there any last things you guys want to say?

C: Thank you to people like you who go out of their way to cover bands like us who are on a smaller scale. Not a lot of people are doing crazy coverage on us, so we appreciate people like you who come out to shows. Thank you for covering the band and if anyone wants to check us out, you can find us on Facebook. It’s been fun. Thank you to everyone who’s come to a show or bought merch or even posted about our band on the Internet, we appreciate it. It’s been fun, and we’re coming hard in 2013. 

I'd like to thank Carmen and the rest of the band again for taking time out of their busy touring schedule to take our questions. In both times I've seen the band, I've had nothing but enjoyable experiences, and if you can, go find the guys after a show and just talk to them. They're some of the most appreciative guys playing music right now, and would like nothing more but to meet their fans. You can follow the band on Facebook here, and stream their self titled LP and covers EP here and here (respectively).

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