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Interview with Young The Giant
- The Friendliest Giant
- by Jenna Putnam

Young The Giant, recently formed on the ashes of The Jakes, play intense, emotional, anthemic indie rock. After penning a deal with Roadrunner Records, an August residency at the Troubador, and a quick tour this fall, it was time to check in with guitarist/vocalist Sameer Gadhia.

What are some differences in playing at a personal show where everyone knows you to a festival like CMJ?
We went from studio to touring to studio to residencies. At first i think it was a little long for us, just the differences. every night there's a difference if you're the headliner, or if you're opening for someone else, or if you're playing something like a festival, it's a fast changeover. But what we realize in time is that it really doesn't matter, be on your A game every time, and play the show that you want to play every night. So I think we just try to make sure that there's not too much of a difference for us. So if we're playing at our home at Detroit Bar in Orange County or Pianos in Manhattan, then there's no difference.

So you did some writing for the album in Newport, where you lived for 7 months together in a house on the beach?
Yeah we did a good amount of writing there, but we finished up the album in L.A. We didn't do any of the official recording until we were in L.A. In Orange County we would just sort of hang out, write passively. We got a lot of inspiration in Newport, because we were just able to hang out there.

Yeah and be yourselves and take life as it goes...was it kind of intimidating going from having fun in Newport, writing and doing your own thing, and then going to Sunset sound and recording and working with Joe to produce the record?
Yeah, at first it was really intimidating. We had these high aspirations and hopes, and living in Newport we weren't even signed yet. We had all these dreams and ideas like "this is what's going to happen next year" and it was only when it actually started happening that we got intimidated. It was one of the first times we met Joe, that we were a little bit at ease. Not to say that we weren't challenged in the studio, but I think we had the mindset that both of us were on the same team, and he wasn't trying to be the bad guy, that we were both trying to create something awesome together, and there was no point in freaking out about it. So there was pressure, there was a push, but we quickly got used to it when we started hanging out with Joe. We learned that no matter what the mystique is in the music world, everyone is the same, everyone likes music, and everyone has their own fears.

So you guys had a connection with him, and the energy was good?
Yeah, it was really good. It was a cool combination. I mean, we're pretty young, and Joe has done a lot of things...he started working with Zappa
when he was 21. So he's been in the business for over 20 years now, so he had all these stories and ideas. I think we had a vision together which in the end worked out really well for the album.

Do you have a song on the album that's your personal favorite?
I have two...I really like "Guns Out" which is the last track, and I like "Islands". But I enjoy every track, the different medalities and emotions and stuff. I think for us, "Guns Out" was one of the last songs that really came together in the album, where we were like "Ok, I think we're complete, I think we're finished" and it was a good cap off for everything. I really like "Islands" because it has an escape that a lot of albums don't necessarily have. It started out as a fast upbeat song, and then we realized that what we were missing was a more meditative, slow song. So we just took the same structure of the song and literally froze it. I really like the song for that.

Since you've all been playing together since high school, you've obviously grown up together, do you feel like you've matured as musicians and writers?
When we were writing out previous EP, we wer all in college still, and we didn't have the benefits of living and having all that time together. It really helped maturity in terms of our writing, and living life together in the real world. We were all in college which was kind of a bubble...and getting out there, having to pay bills, clean up the kitchen, take out the trash...I think really made us at least a little bit older(laughing).

Yeah you were playing Detroit when you were like 16, right?
Yeah, I've been in the band since I was 15 or so.

Who are some of your favorite musicians and bands, or people that you looked up to as far as inspiration for your music?
When we were doing the record, we knew that we were at Sunset Sound, so it was an older premium generation of music, stuff that we had been growing up on as children. A lot of The Doors, The Rolling Stones, and The Beatles. Also some old school mo-town like Marvin Gaye, Arethra Franklin, stuff that had some real old school back groove. When we first started writing it was a lot of contemporary. I really love The Strokes, they're one of my huge influences. Also, as we've progressed, it's not what we can try and re-create, but what we can try and synthesize. We listen to anything and everything. Not to say that any of it is a direct reflection, but we try and pick up something like the melody, or the drum beat, or the baseline.

 

 
 
 

 

Young the Giant
Young the Giant EP