Interview: Youth Man

Birmingham band Youth Man

The year so far for piss-and-vinegar Brum punks Youth Man has been pretty damn cool. They’ve supported Sleaford Mods, been picked up by Rolling Stone as ‘new artists you need to know,’ and they’re currently gearing up to release their third EP, Hill of Knives, ahead of a UK tour. Guy Hirst talks to Kaila Whyte (guitar and vocals), Miles Cocker (bass) and Marcus Perks (drums) to find out more.

How does Hill of Knives compare to your 2013 EP release Bad Weather?

KW: The actual recording process was really good this time around. There was no pressure. We just hung around the studio, worked on tones and recorded some stuff. This is the first set of songs that Marcus and I have written with Miles so it was cool to see how it turned out. The penultimate track, Auto-da-Fé, is a bit different than the other stuff on there. It also has the most artsy bollocks title we’ll ever give anything.

Any tracks you’re really psyched about debuting?

KW: Dead Weight, it’s the sexiest we’ve ever been.

MP: It took the others ages to nail that intro. When I first showed it to them they made me feel like a lunatic. Listening to it now is hilarious because it sounds like they know what they’re doing.

You’ve said in the past that you’ve had trouble nailing your live sound and energy on record. How close does Hill of Knives get?

KW: I don’t know if we’ve completely nailed it but we get closer every time we record so right now Hill of Knives is pretty close. We’re just gonna keep experimenting with sounds but I don’t think we’ll ever be satisfied.

What’s your stance on bands such as yourselves with a female singer, constantly being labelled ‘female fronted’?

MP: It can be very fucking frustrating, anybody with any kind of sense understands by now that it doesn’t make any difference to anything. But this industry is institutionally biased, fickle and stupid and that’s the way it is. Lots of people are making decent progress toward changing that though, slowly but surely. Marmozets are fucking slaying it right now.

Local musician Connor Hemming (who’s previously played as a solo artist alongside Youth Man) is debuting his new band at the EP launch, tell us about ‘em.

KW: They’re called Bad Girlfriend. We’ve never actually heard them but it’s Connor Hemming so it’s gonna be awesome.

MP: Connor is a badass, he’s the Iggy Pop of Birmingham. Last time I saw him he did a knee slide in kneeless jeans…on a concrete floor.

To The Wall are also supporting you on the EP launch, what are they like?

MP: They haven’t got anything online yet and we’ve never heard them. The Sunflower Lounge show will be their first Birmingham date, normally that would be a recipe for disaster but half of them were in Blakfish/&U&I and half of them were in Shapes so it will definitely be cool. We wanted to see what they were up to and having ‘em play our show saves us having to bother seeing them somewhere else.

The Sunflower Lounge recently framed a picture of Kaila up on the wall, how’d that happen?

KW: The Sunny’s home. We’ve played there a hundred times and we’ll play a hundred more. Good people, good drinks and of course there’s good music. That photo’s pretty cool too, we’re flattered.

MC: I get a discount. That’s what I like about it.

What do each of you love about playing live? What gets you pumped?

KW: The freedom of being up on a stage and conducting a totally uninhibited expression of whatever the fuck you want for half an hour through performing songs that you’ve written. That’s cool man.

MC: I like thinking girls think I’m sexy.

MP: I like making loud noises and getting my body out.

What would you love to add to your live shows if your budget was raised considerably?

KW: Stunt doubles.

MP: I’d like to be carried to the stage in one of those boxes like Joffrey has on Game of Thrones.

MC: A CamelPak full of whisky.

Youth Man are live at The Sunflower Lounge on April 18 for their EP launch, with support from To The Wall and Bad Girlfriend. Click here for tickets. Hill of Knives is set for official release on April 27.

Listen to Skin by Youth Man here: 

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