The Young

The Young - June 2012

The Young Session
Violitionist Sessions

Session Date: May 26, 2012
Posting Date: June 04, 2012
Artist Hometown: Austin, TX
Links: Tumblr, Facebook, Matador Records, Beggars Group
Recorded by: Michael Briggs

Don’t Hustle For Love
Poisoned Hell
Dance With The Ramblers
3 QUESTIONS
ONE: Your new album, Dub Egg, comes out on June 12th. Can you tell us a bit about the album and what it was like making it?
Hans Zimmerman: Well, the album’s got ten songs on it. We made it in a cabin in West Texas, in western Bandera County, which is like two hours from San Antonio— west of San Antonio. We rented a cabin for about five days, moved all of our equipment out there, and just sort of holed up and worked on it. We finished it, we have a home studio garage thing that we mixed and did all of the overdubs and stuff at…
DJ: What made you want to go out to a cabin instead of working in a conventional studio?
Hans: I think it was Jason’s idea. Our first record we made, we didn’t really…We were sort of between rehearsal spaces, and we recorded that on our own, too. We had a reel-to-reel 8-track that we just moved to various living rooms and, I think, a little bit at Sound on Sound. Jason used to have a record store that we were practicing in, and he was closing that down, so we had few songs, like different sessions, so I think we knew that we’d like to set up in different environments and just see what happened, and then we had this new place that we were all set up in, and Jason was like, ‘We’ve gotta get out of here!’ and I was like, ‘Nah, it’s gonna be fine!’ Then he said, ‘No, let’s go somewhere!’ So then I started thinking about it, and I was like, ‘Oh shit, we should go to a cabin or something.’ And we did it. It was ridiculous.
Jason Costanzo: The isolation was, I think, the selling point for doing it that way.
Hans: Yeah! It was just the four of us for like five days. It’s pretty isolated out there. We had to pack all of our groceries in advance and all of that sort of stuff. It was just us.
DJ: Did you want to be isolated so that you could focus, or did you just want to hang out?
Hans: I think a little of both. There was lots of hanging out, but we were able to get stuff done, and it was cool because we could like, come inside and work on stuff, go outside and take a break…there was a little creek where we were screwing around, fishing and just drinking beer and stuff. It was nice to be able to focus really intently on doing something and then take a break, knowing that it was just super easy to oscillate and move back and forth between the two.
Jason: I think also…I, at least, feel that the environment that we were in influenced the way that the record sounds, you know? The way we played, there’s just something about it that’s kind of laid back—
Kyle Edwards: Loose and dusty.
Jason: —that we wouldn’t have gotten if we had done it at the studio or something like that. It’s a frame of mind type of thing, you know?
Hans: I totally agree with that.
DJ: Musically, how is Dub Egg different from Voyagers of Legend?
Hans: It’s a little more riff-based, I guess. Everything sort of moves around whatever the basic riff is, which is different for us, playing it that way, but we spent a little bit more—
Jason: The production…
Hans: Oh, and the production is a step up! Not to toot my own horn, but we got our hands on some better equipment and we were able to take a bit more time testing out sounds and doing stuff like that. But yeah, I don’t know, people may be like, ‘Oh, it sounds different from the last one…’ but the last thing any of us wanted to do was make ‘Record One: Part Two.’
DJ: What do you hope that listeners will take away from the album?
Hans: I don’t know…Kyle?
Kyle: That’s a good question…
Jason: What do you mean, exactly?
DJ: Not necessarily an overt message, but I think it’s pretty common for albums to have a couple of recurring themes or ideas that the band would hope to get across to their listeners.
Jason: I think that there’s an intentional sort of, maybe I’m wrong, but…not spookiness, but trying to…maybe not lyrically, or maybe lyrically as well as the production and the songwriting, but…I mean, the word ‘transcendent’ is kind of a loaded word, but I feel like, at least from my perspective, that’s what I like about this band. It’s kind of floating in a weird rock region, but it’s…the whole idea behind it, I think, is sort of…I don’t know, getting stoned, just really exploring consciousness and all that kind of stuff, but also being grounded. I think it’s a real stripped down rock album. It’s not fancy. It’s very simple. The riffs are very simple. That was probably intentional, too.
Hans: I mean, we’re not super great, so we made it simple. [Laughs] But, I would say if people could take something away, maybe the environment that we were in that we made it. If people could latch on to that sort of frame of mind, like…we made it last summer, it was hot, it was dusty, we were in a drought, all of those sorts of things. The environment and where we were definitely had a hand in what the record sounds like, so hopefully that comes through people’s speakers and they can latch on to that. I think it’s like…even the last one, too, even though we were in a bunch of different places, I feel like it’s a site-specific kind of work, and so is this one, because it is really closely married to the places it was made in. I don’t know if that comes through sonically, but hopefully it does.
TWO: Do you have any plans to tour to promote the album this summer?
Hans: It starts on June 21st. We’re doing this string of weekend shows, we played Denton last night, Houston today and Beaumont on Sunday, and then we have a couple of shows in town as the record comes out, and then the tour actually starts on June 21st in New Orleans.
DJ: Have you toured much before?
Hans: Yeah, sporadically. This will be the longest one. It’s a full US tour, so we’ll be going—
Kyle: Is this the third time we’ve been out? Not counting weekend shows…
DJ: How do you feel about your reception in other parts of the country compared to your reception in Austin?
[Everyone laughs]
Jason: I think it’s all the same.
Hans: Indifference.
Jason: Indifference, complete indifference. Confusion. Room-clearing.
DJ: People don’t like you? Or they just don’t pay attention…?
Hans: I don’t know. What do you think it is, Ryan?
Ryan Maloney: I don’t know, man. They just don’t understand it, or…we definitely clear rooms, yeah.
Hans: We’re not necessarily very cool. We don’t have sort of a…buzz momentum that maybe gets people that…like, I think that there’s music fans that are just into discovering music and will go to whatever length to find it and dig it up and chew on it for a while, and there’s other people that will casually go to shows based on whatever recommendations come from the Internet or whatever, because it’s like a social thing. And that’s fine. I go to shows to hang out and stuff, too, but I feel like maybe we’re in the former category, where we can occupy people’s headspace if they’ll let us in there, you know?
Jason: Getting in is kind of hard.
Hans: Yeah, I don’t know that we’ve broken that barrier. [Laughs] But I feel like in some cases we have, but our shows are…hit or miss. But, that’s our fault, too. We’re kind of a loose cannon.
Jason: We have a tendency to be very sloppy.
DJ: And that’s different than in Austin, or is it the same there, too?
Hans: No, it’s the same.
Jason: Austin, I don’t feel like— We still will play to almost no one in Austin, and we’ve been playing there for like five years.
Kyle: Longer than that, now.
Jason: And some of that may be because of the way that we have sort of shied away from publicizing ourselves, you know? I think, maybe not so much now, but early on, the first couple years we were together, maybe into the third year and making Voyagers, I think there was almost an impulse to try to remain somewhat anonymous, and not put images of ourselves on the Internet. That’s kind of changed a little I guess, but—
Hans: For better or worse. Mostly worse.
Jason: Maybe that has been a reason why it’s been hard for us to get through to people in a live setting…or in a recording…I don’t know.
THREE: What is it like being a band in a music city like Austin, as a band that has been active there for a couple of years?
Hans: It’s like dime a dozen shit.
Jason: Yeah.
Hans: I’ve lived in Austin since 2003…how many years is that?
Ryan: Going on ten years.
Hans: Nine or ten years. If I meet a new person in Austin, I hope to God they don’t play guitar. I don’t want to meet any more musicians or…I don’t know, everybody’s in a band, everywhere, from all levels. People that work in office jobs, or coffee shops, bartenders, whatever, everybody has a band. At least one band.
DJ: Does that make it hard to participate in the scene? Is it just washed out?
Hans: I don’t think it’s washed out, I just feel like…I don’t know, there’s just a million things going on at one time. So…
Jason: From the very basest DIY-type stuff to, you know, up to your very industry-minded type stuff, I think it’s…yeah, oversaturated, in all levels.
Hans: Maybe it is washed out. [Laughs]
Jason: But I think that’s something that we’ve maybe just sort of ignored, you know?
Hans: We’re kind of oblivious to it.
Jason: Because it’s kind of…I mean, the logical conclusion of thinking about that is sort of getting down about it or dejected or thinking that you can’t stand out, you know? But the best way to get around that is to just fucking not think about it.
Hans: Right. I feel like we’ve never had a conscious like, ‘All right, now we’ve really got to get out there and play these shows for the people and get a bunch of—‘ We’re just kind of self-guided, probably to a fault. We’re so insular and only interested in doing what we do on our own terms. We’re not a networking kind of band. We’re not friends with a lot of bands necessarily, or that sort of stuff. We’re just…’Hey, where’s The Young?’ ‘Oh, they’re drinking beer in the van, by themselves.’ You know?
DJ: Have you started working on a follow-up to Dub Egg?
Hans: Not really yet. We have some riffs kicking around, and everyone is sort of itching to start recording and working on stuff, so…I don’t think we have any tentative plans, necessarily, but we can’t stop.
Jason: I think the immediate future of this band is really going to probably depend on the reception of this record.
Hans: Yeah.
Jason: We have a lot of…like anyone, we have to make a living and stuff. We all have basically full-time jobs. Maybe not, at least…I’m very tentative to try to make a push to make it something we can live off of, you know? So, leaving that out is still in our minds, or at least in mine, and I think that that will dictate what we do next, the kind of record we make, if we make another one…
Hans: I want to.
Jason: I think we want to, but it’s a big question mark to me.
- Interview and transcription by Dale Jones