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Music |

Interview: Youth Club

Thursday 12 February 2015
Words Ailis Mara

We met up with Youth Club, who had just come from a photo shoot after rinsing the same pic of the four of them they thought it was time for some new ones. They then proceeded to get out some pics where they had dressed up in fancy dress when the photographer left the room, Reece was a giant carrot followed by an alligator.

Youth Club tell me about their latest EP ‘Brothers’, as well as their plans for a new video for track ‘Breathe’, the only clue I got was from Danny was that “it involves our luscious hair”, and there’s also new music on the horizon. We chat over tiny water glasses, which could be mistaken for shot glasses, which then brings up bad tequila memories for everyone. Gerarrd was also distracted by a wonky pic on the wall, but don’t worry, he straightened it as he left.

What was the beginning of Youth Club? Which ones of you are actually brothers?

Reece: Technically they started it because they’ve been brothers since they were born.
Danny: It actually started with these three…
Joe: I’d just started sessioning for this band and it was the first time I was going to watch them before I played a gig the week after. I was standing in the queue for he (Gerarrd) was singing behind me and it was actually really annoying me.
Gerarrd: But we’re from the same place so I knew him.
Danny: And all of our friends are in bands, we all knew of each other.
Gerarrd: He literally dragged me by my hair and I’d said “what song are you singing” and he said some band and I’d never heard of him. Then Gerarrd said come back to my flat after the gig and I was like “yeah sure mate”. But he dragged me back to his flat and started listening. Then we met up for a drink and he brought Reece along.
Reece: Me and Gerarrd have known each other for about ten years. We were already thinking of starting a project.
Gerarrd: So when I met know, I messaged Reece saying, “I’ve found this young, weird guy”.
Danny: Basically those three wrote of a couple of songs and started jamming. I was on tour in Australia playing with Lady Hawke and Joe kept emailing me saying he’s met these guys, they’ve started writing songs.
Joe: We wanted to see his opinion on it.
Danny: It took me ages to actually bother to listen to the tunes. By the end of the tour I had a listen, and I thought this actually sounds pretty good. When I was back, they were in the studio, because Reece runs his own studio. They had quite a lot of opportunities to get together and write.
Joe said to come down and have a listen, meet the guys, nothing to do with playing together. And as soon as I got in there and listened to the songs, I was getting itchy fingers. Then we ended up writing some songs together and it became us four.
Reece: We started out just writing and not worrying about being a band and playing gigs.
Gerarrd: We never actually played for years, we were just writing songs.
Danny: It took about two years before we started thinking about how to play live, and once we did that we realised we needed some more players. So when we play live we have two good friends of our who also play in the band. They’ve been playing with us for a while now.
Reece: They finish off the team. We want to make it even bigger, sometimes we bring some brass people along. We’re trying to expand as big as possible.
Joe: They’re not people made of brass…
Reece: In the studio, we put as much in as possible.
Joe: We don’t worry about how we’re gonna recreate it live.
Reece: What we did first we leaked a few bits out on the internet, it was such a good response from the internet world that we then thought actually there is a demand for us to go and play live now. Then it became a proper band really, instead of a project. We haven’t stopped since then. We did our first gig in May 2013. So we’re coming up two years this year.

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Is the EP called Brothers because you’re brothers?

Gerarrd: I think it’s because we’ve become really close I think. Last year we gigged a lot, you know festival season. Sleeping together and stuff…
Danny: I think part of it is when you’re in a band, you spend a lot of time together on the road, at each others’ houses.
Gerarrd: We do wind each other up, pick on each other like brothers.
Reece: And apart from that, you two are actually brothers and me and Gerarrd have been inseparably for ten years. It felt like two sets of brothers that have come together.
Joe: I feel like each name of the record is leaking a little insight to what we’re all about. The first one was Colours because the whole aspect of the first year we were doing it was all about summer.
Danny: We wanted to music to reflect that.
Joe: We’re quite bad at naming things.
Danny: It takes us a while to get there.
Reece: Basically we feel like brothers…

So is the rest of the EP very much like first track People?

Danny: No, people is one that’s a bit different. The others have gone in a slightly different direction to previous material.
Reece: I think, since we released our first EP and stuff we’ve managed to get quite a lot of festival dates off the back of that, we started playing on bigger stages in front of bigger crowds and we’ve just moved into a bigger rehearsal room where we had loads of space and it was a really big sounding room. Without knowing it, the songs started to take on a bit of a bigger sound. I don’t really think that’s reflected in People, but the rest of the EP.
Danny: You can hear the sounds evolved a little bit. It’s still got a lot of elements of the first EP, but where we’ve progressed.
Reece: When we’re writing, we’re imagining what it will sound like on a bigger stage.
Danny: Which we didn’t do before.
Joe: But People was a cheeky fun one that we actually recorded quite last minute when we were writing the second EP. But that’s probably the most different one.
Danny: I think once you hear the full EP, there’s quite a mix of tunes.
Reece: A song like People is definitely something that we will continue down that road in the future, it’s definitely a sound that we’re happy with and we like. I don’t think that’s a one off. There’s a track on our first EP called Your Only Self, and we always put that and People in a similar space.
Danny: I think People is the one track on this EP that could’ve fit in with the first EP as well. It eases people into the new stuff.
Reece: The only real different to me is more energy, more emotion and a bigger sound.
Danny: I think emotion definitely. There’s a couple of songs you can really hear that.

Where was the video for People filmed?

Joe: Filmed in our hometown. (Southend-on-Sea).

What it actually looks…

Gerarrd: Like Miami. There’s a one mile strip down Southend with a few palm trees. We just went round in circles really.
Danny: We said to the guy who produced the video, it was basically the very end of summer, but “can we try and make it summery”. He delivered.
Joe: The sun was out for a good couple of hours, but it was still absolutely freezing. I think it was October.
Reece: That video, the whole idea of it, there wasn’t a plan, we just wanted to give an insight into a day in the life of us. 

It can’t be that fun all the time surely.

Gerarrd: Yeah, we hang out in vintage cars all the time.
Joe: Well, it was my birthday so…
Danny: And also that was the first video we had that was introducing the band, the previous single before that She’s A Dancer, that was more of a cinematic storyline based video which we weren’t in. This was more of a ‘this is us’ kind of thing.

It looked like so much fun. Watching that when it’s raining outside isn’t the best idea though…

Reece: That’s the whole idea behind the band, it’s all about that we live in Britain and it’s grey and rainy all the time but Youth Club always needs to be energetic and colourful and summery.
Danny: And with nostalgia as well. We want people to listen to the music and think of summer memories.
Joe: It was more of a video for our hometown, to draw people in to come on holiday.

A tourist attraction video.

Joe: They’ll probably use it in years to come, “look at people having fun here. We have a beach and three palm trees”.

Going back to crimbo time, you did a cover of Anthony Hamilton’s ‘Coming Home’ which we premiered on Spindle. How did that come about? Did you record that this year?

Danny: I really enjoyed doing that actually. We recorded that in half a day.
Joe: It was meant to be coming out on something and then that got cancelled. So it kind of forced us to record it, which was good though. We enjoyed doing that. Its not like we got to Christmas and was like “we’ve got to do a Christmas cover”. We were really happy with it, I feel like we did it in such our own way.
Danny: It’s probably one of those things which between the four of us we wouldn’t of thought of doing it, it kind of got put on the table to do. We thought it might be a bit cliché.
Reece: All of these old Christmas songs were being thrown around, like Wham. And I was searching around online and Anthony Hamilton had just released this Christmas album. So it was a brand new song that no one knew. But as soon as we heard it, we knew we could do a version of it.
Danny: As soon as you listen to it, I could just imagine Gerarrd’s voice, spruce up the music a bit, give it a bit more energy. We recorded that in half a day which is really rare for us.
Reece: We got quite a few of Essex based radio stations that playlisted it over Christmas, which was cool.

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How was the Koko gig?

Joe: Surreal for me personally. Koko used to put on a majority of metal and rock shows, I used to go there all the time. My bucket list was I want to play Koko one day. The more and more times I went there I just had to.
Danny: Such a beautiful venue as well.
Joe: Obviously people want to play Brixton, there’s big venues out there, but that for me was great.
Rees: Everyone was in the party mood.
Joe: Everyone was in Christmas hats. It was such a quick thing, like we got in, set up, played, and by the time it was over I wanted to go back and do it. It was so weird it happened so quickly.
Gerarrd: I was really ill.
Joe: We had to cancel some sessions that week so we didn’t know if he’d make the show.
Gerarrd: I had to warm up all day.
Danny: It was nice hearing our songs played to a nice big crowd, we haven’t played London for a while.
Joe: And again we’d been writing this new EP which obviously caters for, what we think, is bigger venues and bigger stages.
Danny: It was one of the first times we played the new songs as well.
Rees: We actually had a bit of a shorter set, but I think we had to cut a couple so we missed one off the new EP.
Joe: We’ve got this atmospherical intro to Breathe, that was playing, all the lights were off, then the screen came up. It felt right.
Rees: That’s what the new EP has got a bit more off, cinematic stuff.
Joe: It was a good opportunity for us to show what that was all about. Before that we were trying out a couple of shows, but they were smaller venues and there wasn’t the production there. It was good to have the production, because we’re going to be doing more of that this year.

Now the fun bit, would you rathers.

Joe: I like this game.

Would you rather have brothers or sisters?

Gerarrd: I’ve got three older sisters, so brothers.
Danny: Don’t tell my sister, but brothers.
Joe: Is this a trick question right, we’re just plugging the EP? Brothers!
Gerarrd: I actually always really wanted brothers. I always asked for one and never got one. Now I’ve got three and I hate them.

Would you rather have toes for teeth or teeth for toes? And if you had toes for teeth you’d have to smile all the time and if you have teeth for toes you’d have to wear flipflops all the time?

Danny: That’s easy, teeth for toes.
Joe: You can’t munch with toes.
Danny: How are you meant to eat a steak?
Joe: Gently caress the steak with your toes.

It’ll be like that guy from Futurama.

Gerarrd: Dr Zoidberg. (Makes Zoidberg noise).

Would you rather have a head the size of tennis ball or a watermelon?

Rees: I pretty much already have a watermelon.
Joe: Would my insides be watermelon? Say if I broke my head, would watermelon come out or would it be hollow like a tennis ball? Because that way tennis ball would be better.
Danny: A girl would never kiss you with a tennis ball sized head.
Joe: What if he had a fetish? Chicks dig it.
Danny: Let Joe have the tennis ball then.

And finally, you’ve got to snog, marry or kick the other three in the band?

Rees: I’d kick them all.
Joe: I’d kick Dan cause he’s my brother, I’d snog Gerarrd because he’s handsome and Rees is marriage material because he’s reliable.
Danny: I’d be exactly the same.
Joe: Plus Rees drives.
Rees: I’d rather just kick them all. Fine, I’d snog Gerarrd.
Gerarrd: And I’d snog you! (Insert aw and kissing chants). Ours would be the same, we’d snog each other, marry Joe and kick Dan.
Joe: Yeahhh I’m marriage material!
Danny: He’d cheat on you though.
Joe: I would.
Gerarrd: It’s fine, I’d cheat on you.