I've always truly dreaded the day that something like this might happen. Let me provide a little bit of background. Back in the middle of May, I interviewed an up and coming Canadian alt-rock band called Young Empires when they played at Rickshaw Stop in San Francisco. I had done an interview with one of the members after the show, and I had taken several photos for a gallery that would accompany the article.
And then, my only hard drive crashes. Every photo I'd ever taken and developed, from 2010 to now, was gone. Now of course, this had to happen at 4 AM in the morning, only a couple days after I had taken and uploaded the photos. OF COURSE IT DID. THANKS UNIVERSE.
Anyway, I digress. I was embarrassed by what had happened, even though it was COMPLETELY out of my control, and I decided to hold off on posting the interview until I could get my hard drive completely renovated. Note: that generally costs a lot of money, particularly to recover 3 TB worth of data from six years of work. Alas, I finally had gotten enough figured out, and with the help of someone in my family, I was able to get the hard drive recovered. Right?
Wrong. About 80% of the material on the drive was recoverable. 20% didn't end up being able to be retrieved (to this day, I'm still trying to figure out yet another way to get all of it back.) The photo gallery I got from the Young Empires set that evening was not able to be recovered. I feel like I'm making a massive deal out of something, but hell, if I make a promise to an artist to deliver something and then I can't, even if it's because of something that I can't control, I feel like shit about it.
Those photos might never see the light of day, but I want to make sure that this interview does. These guys were fantastic and put on a very fun show, one that worked very well for a venue with that intimate of a nature. I want to at least make sure that this thing sees the light of day, and that you can all go and check out their music! Here is the lost interview with Matthew Vlahovich of Young Empires.
P.S., I'm terribly sorry this took so long, gentlemen. Please forgive me.
I wanted to start off with a question about The Gates. After going in and recording that record, and putting out the first official full-length for the band, what would you say was the biggest change in songwriting and development from the release of Gates to Wake All My Youth?
I think with Wake All My Youth, because we wrote it before we had a record label, we were kind of free to do whatever we want. With this record, it was kind of [about] navigating the interests of the band and the record label, and stuff like that. All artists kind of have to deal with that sort of thing. It’s not like a conflicting tension, but there is different interests at stake.
Basically, we ended up writing a long of singles, and that was kind of what our record ended up being like. Sonically, we did experiment a little bit more. We tried to experiment with different tempos of songs. The first record was a lot more 128 BPM, and on this one it’s very varied.
That went in perfectly to the next question, which was how did the process differ in terms of writing, but also in terms of recording? Where did you record this time around?
The first EP was recorded at home, without a drummer. We used a drum machine and samples. On the second record, we had a live drummer named Taylor Hill. We recorded it in Toronto and Los Angeles. We started off the pre-productions in my home studio, and then went into studios in those other cities to polish and finish it off.
Those are almost polar opposites in terms of weather (laughs).
Yeah! There are a lot of different vibes going on across the continent, and I think by traveling to a lot of different places while you’re recording allows you to pick up something from where you are, in hopes that there’s more of a global feeling to it as opposed to a regional sound.
Forgive me if I’m wrong on this, but is the first time you’ve toured America before?
No, we’ve toured it a few times before.
In terms of the lyric writing on The Gates, what were some of the biggest topics you wanted to address when writing these songs? Was there anything that was maybe particularly challenging to write or convey?
I think we might have been going through a little bit of a, not an internal crisis, but a…you know, being in a band and being a touring musician can be difficult. You deal with a lot of interpersonal struggles. You deal with struggles of drug abuse, alcoholism, lack of sleep, poor nutrition, lack of exercise, mental exhaustion, spiritual defeat, and all of these things were topics that we wrote about in this record.
Last two questions: first, what kind of message, if you have one, would you like fans to walk away with after listening to your music?
Be fearless and confident in everything that you do.
What does music mean to you?
For me, music is a language. It is the language of the soul, and it is the language that allows us to communicate with people, despite cultural, ethnic, and language barriers. Music is the language of the soul.
This has been another Shameless Promotion.