Things change and eventually new exciting things come along the way. That’s exactly what happened to Young Guns. Echoes is their new chapter as a band and they approached it in a much more spontaneous way. Vocalist Gustav Wood took some time to guide us through this new and thrilling step in the band’s career.
The new album is out now, Echoes. Looking back to all your other albums, what stands out the most about this new one?
Well, it really feels like a line in the sand moment for us. We were one band before this and we are another now. So much changed for us, moving labels, changing lineup etc… it feels like it marks the end of a chapter. Sonically I think it’s the album that was the most spontaneous and least ‘laboured over’. Not to say that we didn’t think carefully and work hard because we did but we didn’t over think and I think that makes it feel like it represents us in this moment in time very well.
This album was the first to be recorded without Ben Jolliffe. Did you see his departure as a new challenge to gain a new energy towards your music and yourselves as musicians?
Precisely. The idea was that we could use what, for us, was a dramatic change, as a positive and could kick on excited to explore the new dynamic. It made things fresh and interesting again. Which was really important and actually very needed, now that I look back on it. It’s filled me with enthusiasm and excitement again.
What were the main inspirations/references while writing this new album?
It’s a reflection on what was a real time of change for me and us. I had been in a long term relationship that ended, we’d had a really turbulent album campaign with ones and zeros, had a lineup change, and a lot of other things in my personal life. Everything felt like it was ending and so all of my writing came from that place. I had to face up to and then process a lot of truths that were had to deal with so that I could move on. This album was my way of trying to do that.
What did you do differently for this new album?
Everything. Not least that we wrote it in such a short space of time – two months, and recorded it in even less – five weeks. Having a new dynamic due to the lineup change freshened up the whole process and we all listened to each other more. We also weren’t trying for perfect takes in the studio but rather takes that had emotion and felt real.
What’s the story behind the album’s title, Echoes?
It’s the name of one of the tracks where I was happiest with how I felt I was talking about the feelings that influenced my writing of the whole album. It’s about the idea of not being trapped by memories of times and situations that are over. It’s hard to let go of things that mean a lot to you but you can’t move forwards if you’re content to live looking backwards. It was between that and living in a dream is so easy.
What does this new album represent to you guys at this stage of your career?
It’s in some ways a second chance. It felt like the natural process of the band had ended after ones and zeroes and this is the start of the second part of our lives and our careers.
You recorded the album with producer David Bendeth in New Jersey. What did he bring to the band’s dynamic and recording sessions?
He brought out the best in us by challenging us and not accepting anything other than what he thought was the best we could do. It was difficult but he pushed us to be better and more interesting and I’m glad he did. He also helped us to sit back and not clutter the music, and brought rhythm more to the fore which was great.
The video for “Mad World” is sharp, strong and very straight-forward. Can you tell us a bit more about the whole concept/message of the video?
We just wanted something that felt a bit nihilistic and chaotic like the song. It’s easy to feel like the world is spinning out of control sometimes and it ties into that.
You guys will be touring Europe with Billy Talent in October. What can the European crowd expect from that tour and what are you most excited about it?
We’ve not had the chance to return to Europe in a few years so we’re so excited to get back out there. Again, it feels like a fresh start and a chance to show people what we’re about. I’m excited to see all of the beautiful cities we’ve not seen for a while and play to those crowds. Billy talent are a brilliant band and I look forward to seeing them.
What are your thoughts about the whole Brexit thing?
I think it’s heart breaking and that a tremendous mistake was made.