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Young Guns Interview August 2015

Carrie Humphries


It’s the Friday of 2000 Trees Festival 2015 and Young Guns have just finished the first of two sets for the day; an acoustic session in the woods. “It was the best set up that I’ve seen; it was like some kind of Bilbo Baggins party” explains Ben, the band’s drummer. “It’s all so very English here. We’ve spent most of this year in America, so to come back and play in such an English place is really lovely.”

Young Guns have been playing a plethora of rock festivals across the US in the lead up to their latest release Ones and Zeros, which has allowed them to share line-ups with rock giants such as Alice in Chains and Slipknot. Bassist Simon tells me that spending time with other bands does mean that they experience some strange things on the road, but sometimes the even more ridiculous experiences are down to the places that they visit and the people who live there. At a festival in Ohio, they saw a whole lot more than they expected to see from the audience “They just really liked getting naked! For them it seemed like second nature. Every few minutes they were just like ‘Wooooooo!’ and getting their bits out!”

Touring doesn’t always run smoothly though. Simon tells me that one of their appearances in the US was actually cancelled because of tornadoes; both a scary and exhilarating experience for the band. “In the day it was amazing weather, really hot. Then it got to the time when the doors opened and all these big grey clouds started to form. We thought it was just going to rain, but it got progressively worse. Suddenly all these Americans were shouting ‘GET INSIDE!’ and we saw all these tornadoes coming down from the sky, so we knew it was bad. It was pretty intense.” Ben adds that the tornado siren was the main thing that sticks in his mind; “It sounded like an air raid siren. One minute I was sending snap chats of the storm, and the next I was sitting in a corner, freaked out.”

Back to today, and Young Guns have a set ‘packed full of energy’ lined up for the main stage later. It has been one month since they released new album Ones and Zeros, and the band are excited about showcasing the new material on stage. Despite already having a lot of positive feedback about the new album, Simon believes that the real test of worth will be in the live sets. “We’ve been sitting on the music for a couple of years now, so we love the songs. However; without other people hearing it, you lose perspective. So far, people are into it and they get the new sound. I guess that translates when we play all these live shows, and see people singing the songs and going crazy to it.” Ben adds “It’s been great to showcase our new stuff. It drives us more to play, but obviously we keep to some of the old favourites as well. I get so excited!”

When the band launched the album in June, they wanted to do something a little bit more unusual for the fans, so their team sought out a London red bus especially for the occasion to act as a venue for the day. As they travelled around the streets of London past iconic landmarks such as the Houses of Parliament, the band played a series of live sets to the packed out bus and Simon mentions that they even used most of their live touring kit in such a small space . “Trying to lift all our equipment up a tiny spiral staircase was rather difficult; we thought about doing acoustic sets, but we wanted to do something different and fun. It was a bit strange and wonderful, but also one of the best gigs we’ve ever had.”

Young Gun’s latest single Rising Up is one of the catchiest tracks on the album, and Ben and Simon laugh when I say that it occasionally makes me think of Jon Snow from Game of Thrones because of some of the lyrics (have a look at the lyrics and you might see where I am coming from). However, this is definitely not what the song is about. Simon explains “It’s an anthem about pushing through and not letting yourself get knocked down. We wanted to make a bold statement song; but nothing too complicated. The whole structure is like a pop song essentially, but with a Young Guns spin on it.” While we are on the subject of music for TV shows, Ben mentions that they’d love to soundtrack some in the future. “When we wrote the album, there were a few songs or moments from songs when we could really see some of the material being used for something. I actually think the song Die on Time has a really movie-esque feel to it and would sound really cool, but there’s always a case of there’s a time and a place for everything.”

Today the band are looking forward to catching up with old friends Deaf Havana and recent tour mates Nothing But Thieves. Ben tells me that Deaf Havana are one of their closest friends in the ‘band world’ as they did their first tours together and get on well. Simon highly recommends that I watch Nothing But Thieves’ set as they are a particularly strong new band. “We took them on our headline tour a few months ago. They write great songs which sound amazing on record, but live they are even better. They are definitely a band to check out.” Another up and coming British band who Simon raves about (but are unfortunately not playing the festival) is Marmozets. “We’ve had the pleasure of touring with them a while back, and they are finally at that next stage now and gaining US success. They are also one of those lucky bands that people that we look up to, for example; Muse, take on tour as their support. They are one of those bands that came from nothing but have worked and toured hard, so it’s fantastic to see them doing so well.”

Young Guns have already had a busy first half of 2015, but it seems that they are just as busy touring in the latter half. As the band head off to get ready for their evening set at 2000 Trees (and I head off to see the highly recommended Nothing But Thieves) I am told that they are visiting Europe and doing some more dates across the pond for the next couple of months, but will be back for another UK tour towards the end of the year. With a smile, Ben remarks “We’re always busy, but it’s cool and don’t worry, we will definitely be back in the UK for a tour in October.”