“I’m a sucker for a dream. Total sucker. Donkey with a carrot. Baby with an iPhone” 1
The Big Moon by Calum Torbett from Issue Six, opposite Baby Strange by George Heaven from Issue Six
Issue 11 Autumn/Winter 2016 This special edition fondly looks back but excitedly looks forward. We
catch up with the bands that have defined So Young so far. Starting with Palma Violets, whose early gigs inspired us to put pen to paper. We
then revisit our interview with Fat White Family, the band who single
handedly gave independent guitar music the shot in the arm it needed
and have now left an inspired generation of young bands in their wake.
Parquet Courts have kept us on our toes during our three year existence alongside indie darlings Wolf Alice and Swim Deep. Within the pages of Issue 11 we catch up with conquerers of UK psychedelia, Temples,
as they ditch the kaleidoscope and draw influence from Disney films.
We stay heavenly as we chat to The Wytches and dissect their approach to the long awaited second record. Goat Girl are the new dark darlings of Rough Trade Records, So Young digs deep into their psyche as they
break out of South London and reach for the world…without thinking
too hard. If 70s inspired, child YouTube sensation, drop kicking, mullet bearing brothers from Long Island is what you’re after, we bring
you The Lemon Twigs. Following months of pestering, we take great
pleasure in being one of the first to chat to HMLTD, the most exciting
live band in the country right now. We myth bust their studio home and talk about their self-influenced mission to ignite a cultural movement. And maybe most exciting of all, you’ll find a page where we introduce
the future. Nine bands with various amounts of exposure to their name have grabbed our attention and they deserve yours too. We briefly
introduce Cabbage, Shame, Our Girl, Dead Pretties, Lice and more. Read
it, take them in and then go look them up and press play. That’s what So Young is for. Use us.
6 The Lemon Twigs
22 Wolf Alice
As Long As We’re Together
Isn’t That Enough
We Accept PV
Don’t Do It To Try and Make Money
What’s a HMLTD?
All Your Happy Life
Hope For Music
Leccy Bills in the Recycling
Your Fave New Bands
7 Palma Violets
16 Fat White Family
19 Who Are You?
26 Rough Trade Records
27 The Wytches
32 Goat Girl
36 Swim Deep
39 Parquet Courts
Swim Deep by Glen Clothier from Issue One
The Lemon Twigs As Long As We’re Together Before you get The Lemon Twigs, you get the effect. Dusted and dolled,
Has the record and your music developed since moving to the
find the brothers calm and contented, having seen, for only the second
It’s funny because the first two tracks that we’ve released (‘These
With their debut finished and ready for delivery, we asked Brian and
orchestrations was because we were bored of the record. It breathed
the fraternal duo seem a world apart from the sweat-stained London
time, the effect their music has had on this side of the Atlantic.
Words’ and ‘As Long As We’re Together’) are pretty much as they were.
pub they’ve found themselves playing. Sat in a quiet, upstairs room, we
Michael D’Addario about hype, hard work and how it feels to find yourself on the cusp of breakthrough success.
You’ve just left a press day in Germany (no shows) and you’re now
There’s no orchestrations on them. The reason we probably did the some new life into it.
Had you always envisioned your music to be accompanied by strings?
in the UK for two shows, are you beginning to see the impact your first two songs have had on people? I don’t know, I guess so. I mean, it doesn’t feel that out of the ordinary but the songs have taken off quite a bit. Well that’s what people have told us. I dunno if people are just trying to sweeten it for us but I
haven’t seen anything negative except some twitter shit. Like when we play, we can get an instant reaction so that’s something we can trust. Judging by that, I think things are going pretty well.
So is that how you judge things, the reaction to your live shows?
No, not at all. Not initially, anyway. I got a trumpet just before we
started recording and initially there was trumpet on just one song. And when we got it (the recordings) back I was just sat at home fucking
around with the trumpet and stuff... then it just became trumpet on
every track. Then there was a cello lying around so I messed around
with that a little bit. So, there ended up being all of these orchestrations as I had access to these instruments that I didn’t really know how to
play. I could multi track them and do things over and over again on the computer so I could make the orchestrations work.
You may not see yourselves in this way but you clearly have serious Yeah, and I guess what our friends say too. It’s easier when you’re
70s/80s influences. With America and what’s going on right now
talking to someone directly to judge how much the music is having an
with Trump etc... Do you see your music as a form of escapism?
What effect do you want to have on people?
to what’s going on. I think it’s kind of like… the world is uncool in some
effect. Rather than just reading into and seeing ‘likes’ and stuff like that.
I dunno if there’s an effect we want. We just love making music and we wanna have a better job.
As a career-thinking band, it’s a pretty solid start to be working with 4AD. Can you talk to us about that?
That’s a good theory. I would hope that we have injected some positivity ways you know and I think it’s cool to remove yourself from any time period. There’s some strong 60s/70s/80s influence but I think it’s
better to look at it as timeless. It’s better to take yourself away from time.
Is there an era that inspired the beginnings of The Lemon Twigs more than any other?
Yeah, we were playing CMJ and their A&R person happened to walk in and see us. We had a couple of options but we chose them. They were
Well the beginnings were British invasion, sixties type stuff but now
were trying to get us to sign but they weren’t as high up. Whereas
it’s important that if we are influenced by those people that we go and
really enthusiastic. The people at the top were really enthusiastic and
that gave us confidence that things could happen. People at other labels 4AD seemed very ambitious and as if they were willing to invest their
time into it as much as we would. We got more of a vibe from that than anyone else.
it’s like a lot of 70s power pop and stuff like that. But really, a lot of our
roots...we’ve always listened to all of The Beatles records. We also think listen to who they were influenced by too. Like the 50s stuff and also, our Dad was a huge Frank Sinatra fan as well. If you listen to that, it’s really better to listen to the greats and what the greats listened to.
Words by Rob Knaggs, illustration by Spencer Pullen
Palma Violets We Accept PV
Palma Violets’ career so far has mirrored ours as a magazine. They were
How do Palma Violets measure success? At what point have the
throwback single artwork for ‘Best of Friends’ which referenced the cut
The taste of sweat in the air during a live show and the tally of STDs
We interviewed the Lambeth boys for our very first issue and they’ve
figures of yourselves made.
one of the first bands whose music encouraged us to create So Young
boys from Lambeth “made it”?
and paste design So Young is based on.
at the end of a tour. Well, our main goal is to play for as long as we can
in the way we did. The apparent DIY approach to the songs and the
been a mainstay within our pages ever since. Their journey so far has been an intriguing one. Starting out with more hype than any band in
so I guess if we were to make it then it’s when you start getting action Our next encounter with the boys was just before the release of
recent history and subsequently living up to it with two albums that
their second album after their monumental show at The Coronet in
their sell by date.
Well that was one of our favourite shows, and it needed to be you know?
debut album to get to grips with their ethos and future plans.
70s or even the early 90s. It could’ve been a Stone Roses gig y’know?
cemented them into a British rock timeline which until recently had
been monopolized by Britpop reunions and bands continuing well past We first spoke to the London boys just before releasing their raucous Lets start with Palma Violets’ beginnings, how do you all know each other?
Elephant and Castle...
It was a South London homecoming for us and it was amazing. I haven’t seen that many people pogo like that, it was like something out of the And from that to everyone on their knees!
The approach to the next record, was it more of the same or was it important for you to move forwards and integrate new sounds?
Sam, Pete and Will knew each other from school and then at Reading
Show off your new found musicianship?
with other bands and their boring live shows, Chilli found 180 and then
we were touring our first album we didn’t really know what the hell
Festival 2010, Chilli met Sam. Sam was singing Sweet Jane at a campfire and they struck up a friendship. About a year later out of frustration
It’s not something that we thought about too much really. Before
Every band has a different approach to using the internet, how has
chords in a song but we knew we were going to improve. We’ve played
we knew we had our place.
it helped or hindered Palma Violets? The lack of using it helped us out massively. As we had nothing up,
people came down to our gigs with no idea of how we sounded apart from the recommendations from friends which will always be better than a crappy recording or demo.
Your music is very atmospheric and creates a lot of imagery, are
we were doing. Me and Chilli were so basic, we could only fit three
that ‘180’ set around the world and we’ve become a lot better at our instruments. We definitely knew it was important to not complicate stuff. A lot of people overcomplicate things, there are some more
complex songs on the album and they are the best ones but there’s also some which use two chords.
We did our first interview with you two years ago and the focus was on Studio 180, this breeding ground for the band and it’s rise. Is 180 still alive? Is it still an integral piece of the PV puzzle?
there any places in particular that inspire you to write and play? 180, Hampstead Heath, The Imperial War Museum, there are many places but those are the main ones.
What were the last paid jobs you did before the band took off ?
It’s still a place, it’s still alive and well. The man who helped us out
there has moved on and we are just there on our own now. We were there yesterday, we still write songs there and the 180 spirit is definitely still alive.
Pete was on the dole, Will was a lifeguard, Chilli was a clothes salesman and Sam worked at the British Museum. 7
Words and illustration by Josh Whettingsteel
â€œLive, it is still just the 3 of us rocking out as hard as we possibly can.â€? Sunflower Bean by Daniel Brereton from Issue Nine, opposite The Amazing Snakeheads by Derek Ercolano from Issue Five
HMLTD What’s a HMLTD?
“Daddy, what’s a HMLTD..?” My 15 year old son looked at me with wide
How did the band find each other?
question to be honest and one that deserved an answer.
In London we met via a mutual friend who hosted gatherings at her
eyes and one of those looks that means he really wants the truth and
not some flight of fancy straight from the caverns of my mind. It’s a fair
None of us are from London. We all converged here from various places.
It was December 1981 and I remember the coach journey as much as
together by our common vision. That’s how it began.
anything else…we were picked up in George Square in the centre of
town – there were about 20 of us, all young, bursting with energy and
full of dreams. We were going to Pips Nightclub in Manchester to dance
house in White City. She introduced us and we were naturally drawn What’s the story behind your London studio?
and look at people. We knew little of Manchester and even less of it’s
Some people have made a big deal out of our studio’s history but really
my new Bowie pegs that I’d bought at X Clothes on Call Lane in Leeds
studio which allows us to further develop the HMLTD project, to work
nightlife but the stories of Pips had been around for a couple of years
and one of us had finally got round to organising a trip. I was wearing
the week before. They had 15 pleats on each side and tapered down to almost nothing around my ankles – they were as black as the eyeliner I’d nicked off my mum earlier that day. My shoes were black suede
there’s nothing to it. We used it because it was convenient and we
got on with the people who worked there. We’ve now moved to a new on other aspects aside from music.
There’s clearly a lot more to HMLTD than just the sound. What non-
winkle pickers that some uncle of mine used to wear in the early 60’s…
music things influence you?
asked if I had the eyeliner – he went to the back of the coach and did the
Henry’s cathartic episodes of rage bursting through his surface. The
the shirt was a deep maroon with a button down collar…the black tie
finished off my Kraftwerk/Bowie hybrid. As we set off my friend Phil
We draw influence from each other, so as a collective – from within.
skin as the spikes of his jet electric blue hair seemed to orbit around
totalitarian control which Duc tries to exercise over the world in his
business…he looked amazing…the thin black lines melted into his pale
his delicate features. It was my turn…I fumbled and kept slipping as the coach spun around the streets of our town…eventually I was ready. In
my mind I was The Man Who Fell To Earth in reality – you know what –
wide-eyed wonder with which Achilleas perceives the world. The strive for perfection. We’re a self-sustaining organism.
There’s been a lot of excitement around you recently and it’s come
from the live shows as opposed to a social media presence, which
mouth was wide open as I entered into what can only be described as
while we preened and posed…the boys just kept on swinging…we didn’t
media; that’s up to them. Our lack of social media presence is entirely
you don’t really have, is that intentional? How do you feel about
We arrived at Pips and headed straight to the Bowie/Roxy room…my
bands having a big social media presence without the songs to back
then came Always Crashing In The Same Car…the dandies did their thing
We don’t concern ourselves with how other bands use or avoid social
this was the place where we could be what we wanted – this was the
does every omission. It all feeds into a larger plan, of which the live
heaven…The Black Hit Of Space was followed by Warm Leatherette and try out the other floors and rooms of the club – there was no point – place where we could dream. “Daddy, what’s a HMLTD..?”
“Go and ask your Mum where her eyeliner is and let me tell you about the real me”
We spoke to HMLTD, the band that is sure to dominate 2017 and that adorns the front cover of this special issue…
intentional: everything we do has an intent and purpose behind it, as show is just another element. The live show has generated a lot of
excitement so far but currently only exists in its embryonic state. Our forthcoming ProxyLove project will see the live show develop into a fully-realised phantasmagoric spectacle.
What can we expect from HMLTD in 2017? HMLTD’s evolution into the driving force behind a new cultural
movement. The expansion of that movement far beyond the borders of London.
Words by James Endeacott, illustration by Josh Whettingsteel
Temples did everything right when they arrived a few years back. Armed with glittery jackets and immaculate hair, they announced themselves with the debut album ‘Sun Structures’.
Hearing tracks like ‘Shelter Song’ and ‘Keep In The Dark’ for the
first time was a sensual experience. The band weren’t built for a
commercial world, although they couldn’t help from falling into it. The
just coming to agreements within the band. Taking from the experience of our earlier projects though, we had to work with so many producers who thought we wanted drum sounds like some rock band. It made us realise we were better off doing it ourselves.
Well the sound is trickier to tag to a genre than the last album…
Kettering bunch had simply written songs we wanted to hear and were
The debut was easily put into an era like the sixties or psychedelia and
Now though, they’re not exactly the friendly faces we used to know.
weird and futuristic in many ways. Instead of using old technology we
subsequently elevated to great heights.
Frontman James Bagshaw tells us there’s no more kaleidoscopes this time - they’ve been done to death. This acts as a metaphor for the
change in their music as well. The first single ‘Certainty’ taken from
that’s completely understandable because we used a lot of equipment
from then. We wanted the new one to be harder to categorise. It’s more wanted to use what’s around the corner now.
There was a warped Disney like world that you wanted from the
the upcoming album is heavier as it throbs with a deep and disturbing
psych music. Though there’s no questioning this record is more the
only discovered them a few years ago. The artwork and music in them
baseline. Then come the spangling and slightly alien synths. It’s a
creepy and exciting approach, still capturing the cult makings of past sound of the future.
It’s a release which instantly feels worth the wait. If they weren’t ready for arenas before, then they certainly are now. Glimpsing at what peers Tame Impala achieved with the thumping, festival ready ‘Currents’, it
Yeah, not the recent Disney stuff, but some of the really early films. I
is just so brilliant. In my mind they’re more psychedelic than a garage band that just puts a load of effects on any track.
Psychedelic music is always linked to drugs, did you take any?
feels like Temples are about to do the same. They might have found
I try not to take any drugs while we’re making music. It’s about having
We sat down with Bagshaw to discuss what’s been going on in their
is all clouded.
themselves on unstable ground had they returned without a change in
dynamic, because for all it’s beauty, psych of this ilk can be exhaustive. madly colourful world.
The latest single marks a clear new direction from the older
a kind of detox and just going in with a clean head. People say it all the
time but you’re never going to make good music today when your mind You fell into a weird commercial world last time, how did that make you feel?
material… Well the whole album was recorded in exactly the same way as ‘Sun
Structures’. We just did it through a laptop again in my home studio. The sound is heavier because we wanted to really push things and get that
low fidelity end. So it was all done at my house in the countryside near Kettering where we grew up.
I actually didn’t see any of the TV adverts or bother searching them out or anything. The only time I did notice it was when I was in a cinema.
It was actually an amazing environment to hear it in. It wasn’t a case of being surprised or embarrassed by that, but I was just thinking about how cool it all sounded.
It must just be a case of excitement to get back out there...
I guess making it there helped put yourselves apart from any outside pressure? It’s a really comfortable set up here. We’ve never liked working with
outside producers because a lot of the time you’re paying them whilst
you’re just holding back your opinion. Sometimes it can be hard enough 13
Yeah, we haven’t put anything out really since the last single from the
first album. It doesn’t matter to us whether the album takes three weeks or three years. It just had to be natural. Our shows have been selling out as well so we’re really excited for the tour and seeing the album on the shelves.
Words by Rhys Buchanan, illustration by Oscar Mitchell
Fat White Family Hope for Music
Fat White Family first graced our pages in issue three and they’ve been
and we just put it together. But at the same time, I mean, it can be
one really, I think it’s just a case of how much of an idiot you are and
walking the line between genius and madness ever since. Georgie Jesson interviewed Lias Saoudi ahead of the release of their iconic, ‘Songs for Its unsettling to see a band so comfortable in their own chaos, so sure
about their own uncertainty, like they’re sitting pretty snug in an oozing
really difficult at times, you can spend all fucking year trying to write
something and nothing good comes out. I don’t know the answer to that how far you want to go with it.
You’ve said in previous interviews that you’re still naïve enough
pile of mess that was their own creation. The Fat White Family came
to believe that you can achieve some sort of change or ignite a
the calm after the storm. They boldly left their mark with ‘Champagne
seems very wild, very risky anymore, the unpredictable has become
to write, quite difficult, frustrating, I usually end up finding it quite
crashing in on the scene a few years back, they were mad, bad and
cultural shift through your songs. Is this a feeling that intensified
naked, but we catch them now at a precarious time in their lives. It’s
after you completed this album? Or can you feel this hope slipping
though this band has never been so vulnerable. At a first glance nothing
I don’t know… For me, on a very basic level, although its very painful
‘Songs For Our Mothers’ is unnerving, restless, constantly waxing and
involved professionally, when I’m doing it to make a living, it changes
Holocaust’ and Saoudi has put his clothes back on, and yet it feels as
predictable, but this is their most dangerous album yet. The new record waning between extremes of sound and emotion. It’s drenched in
paradoxes and contradictions, mirroring the bands own conflicts and tensions- how are they going to stop the fat cats capitalizing on their chaos? And this frustration is relayed onto us, creating this beautiful and destructive relationship: we love the Fat White Family and they
loathe us, they’ve revitalised and restored our faith in music while they slowly claim to be losing all hope in it. This is an album that fears its own assuredness by a band that seems to fear its own success.
‘Songs for our Mothers’ is pretty hard to put your finger on, it’s not an easy listen, there’s an uneasiness and a slipperiness about it. Was this intentional?
therapeutic. Having stumbled into this to the extent in which I am
things a little bit. I finish one thing and then I have to start working on
the next thing straight away… So you’ve basically got to try and survive, which at the moment is not an impossible thing but, I mean, there’s no money, there’s no safety net and I guess being able to say exactly what you want to say exactly the way you want to say it is getting er… Difficult to find the balance between security and chaos?
…Yeh, I mean its getting harder all the time so that’s kind of at the forefront of my mind.
Are there any bands coming out now, especially in that whole South London scene, the young bands playing in what few decent venues
I think you just kind of make it up as you go along, don’t you? Start with
there are left, like the Brixton Windmill, that interest you or give
feel is cohesive to you specifically. Obviously doing that with a group of
I like Meatraffle. Meatraffle are good. Its not that there isn’t any good
...And touching on that friction, there’s a lot of tension that prevails
Its been watered down to non-existance. So, you might get a great band
a few basic ideas, some of them are floating around for a long time,
you any kind of hope?
people can create all kinds of friction.
music being made its just that the facilities for people making stuff like
some of them are new and you just put it together in a way that you
throughout the album, for instance between sounds of the songs in contrast to their subject matter. ‘Hits Hits Hits’ and ‘Satisfied’ could be examples of this. Did you ever find it difficult to harness or consolidate the messy, pretty fucked up things you were trying to expose through the new album? Um… well I kind of have a technique which I employ roughly when I’m writing, and I have lots of ideas sketched out, floating around,
that, stuff that is less easily digested by the masses, is no longer there. like Meatraffle, but the chances of them getting the money or the time
they need to grow and develop is nominal, and I think that’s really the main problem. Basically, all the wrong people are getting the funding and the breaks, because it is an industry that is totally controlled. All of these shit bands knocking about are the ones calling the shots as
opposed to the people that are on the ground. I don’t think there’s a lot of hope for music, to be honest with you.
Words by Georgie Jesson, illustrations by Sac Magique, Grace Wilson and Jean Jullien
“Cabbage are a transgressive mother loving project. For those with
“Oscar, Jacob and Ben from The Arch, Seven Sisters”
bad breath or who get the gut-wrenching dismal tremor at reading
the news, for those whose place is no more recognised in a rejected
generation or want to find another way of forgetting the sociopathic
Favourite band to play a show with?
world without having to force an orgasm. We are from an insignificant
“We’ve done some of our best ones with Monk, Fish and Shame, who are
Our music is a wonky purge, a tremendous release. The politics comes
dead zone 8 miles out of Manchester city centre, a place called Mossley, where cheap lager reigns and fights and friendship go hand in hand. natural as does the humour. It’s beautifully reactive.”
“We’re four young people from North London making grunge drifting between post punk or something like that? Definitely a band making music in London.”
“It’s really important to be playing shows with people and music you
love. It would feel very lonely without it, also people gravitate to a sense of community so it’s a win win situation. It’s so important to build a fan
all really worth going to see if you’re getting bored with fairy liquid and milkshakes.”
“We’re four punks from Hull, workers who write about youth culture,
politics and sugar Gods. When we are not in the tank, myself and Stew
(drums) are project workers in a youth centre, Loz (bass) treats people on the shrink table and Mick (Guitar) fries his eyes in a call centre, he drew the short straw; making money for cunts whilst being exploited like a free shitter in a fun park.”
base in London. As a band you definitely want to have a good following
“We are Soph, Josh and Lauren. Before we started I was playing guitar in
played guitar together, and we were messing about with a song and he
in your home town, kind of sets you up to go out to the big bad world.”
“We’re students at Bristol University and we started the band to make jarring, discomforting music and regurgitate things that weren’t popular in their heyday.”
“Misconstrued as ‘Post-Punk’, LICE are a monument to four young men’s
various bands, but I also had a few songs written and really wanted to
find the right people to play them with. Josh and I met in Brighton and tried some bass on it, and has been playing bass since! Then we found
Lauren, we had one practice with her and she was perfect and awesome so we asked her to join that day.”
inability to create anything worthwhile. Instead they are a shallow
“We are from Nashville, TN. Well, we all grew up in towns outside of
men naked and humping their instruments on stage? If so, LICE are one
You’re a band that are exciting a lot of people, but what excites you?
copy of Frankenchrist, saved only by their singers competency and the alarming nature of their shows. Do you like to see intoxicated grown of many bands for you.”
“We are the crust on your nostrils, we are humans who make sounds that you could loosely describe as art.”
Nashville. But that’s where we all met and started the band. We play southern rock with a little funk mixed in.”
“Making people dance. Feeling the grooves and vibrations from people enjoying our music is one of the most exciting feelings we have as artists.”
Shame “We all met at a house party a while back where we shared a similar
How important is it to be socially aware as a band?
and start playing shows.”
“It’s definitely very important. Being socially unaware just exposes your
album! It’s a pretty big step for us but we’re excited to show everyone
You’re seeing audiences grow, Do you feel your message spreading?
passion for music and film and decided to have a jam together. It wasn’t until around a year later that we decided to take things more seriously “We’re currently in the process of writing and recording our debut the new material we have been writing.”
ignorance. If you claim to be “neutral” on pressing social issues that
seriously affect people’s lives then I’m afraid to say you’re are ignorant.”
“Our biggest message is Steen’s nipples, and yes, they have definitely grown.”
Words by Sam Ford, illustration by Josh Whettingsteel
Wolf Alice Isn’t That Enough?
There’s a short and sad version of the Wolf Alice story, and it goes like
this: Wolf Alice should have been the biggest band in the world, but the world has fallen out of love with bands. •••
Wolf Alice’s beginnings were hardly auspicious. Formed by Ellie Rowsell and Joff Oddie in 2010, the first line-up gigged open-mic nights in and
around Holloway. They won a talent competition, recruited Sadie Cleary (She left the band shortly after, and is now best known as the subject of “Bros”.) and played regularly at The Florin Pub. In 2012, Joel Amey, the singer of Guildford’s Mafia Lights (a line-up that included Swim Deep’s
James Balmont and Alt J’s Cameron Knight) joined up, replacing the first drummer after he broke his arm. A short time after that, “Leaving You” was released, receiving warm reviews and winning the fledgling group
a support slot with Birmingham indie-rockers Peace. In November 2012 Line of Best Fit declared the three-piece one of three bands to watch for the following year.
After this smattering of early hype, and the arrival of bassist Theo Ellis, Wolf Alice’s big break came courtesy of “Fluffy”. Released as a single in February of 2013, it was backed by “White Leather” – displaying the combination of grungy riffs and soft, emotional balladry that would
become their calling card. At this point, Wolf Alice were one of a group
of about 20 bands climbing through the ranks of the ‘Hypem’ blog scene, jostling for a place in the indie pack and, despite clear talent, showing few signs that they would one day become the ones that “made it”.
So what is that that’s allowed Wolf Alice to survive, where so many
others have folded? Why were Wolf Alice signed to Dirty Hit? Tapped for a slot on the pyramid stage? Nominated for a Mercury? A Brit? A Grammy?
Their songs were good, but so were so many others’. Their live-
performances were impeccable, but for any band looking to break out
In an industry that no longer offers rich rewards, being able to enjoy it can be the difference between an early-split and a long career.
Picking up the award for best track at the 2015 NME awards, Rowsell
said it should have gone to Skepta. Skepta tweeted back: “Respect, love and congratulations… wish you all the best.” At the time, their mutual
respect seemed unlikely. In context, it makes sense. For the better part of 10 years, Skepta had navigated a scene that seemed on the down,
putting out tracks for the love of it and focussing on fine-tuning his art. If anyone can understand Wolf Alice’s dedication to what seems like a dying genre, it’s Skepta. And one day, like Skepta, Wolf Alice may see their dedication turn to mainstream success.
Back in 2015 I interviewed Joff for this magazine and asked about
the rise. How did it feel, I wondered, to have found themselves with a major-label debut and an opportunity to really, you know, “make it”.
Was this part of their plan? Did they have an idea of where they wanted to be in five years time? He seemed unperturbed. It was something
they’d talked about years ago he admitted, but had given little thought
to since. They’d wanted to release an album, to have something to show their grandkids, but beyond that… beyond that, they were just keeping
on keeping on. Having a good time. Trying not to get weighed down by it all. Making sure they kept reminding themselves how well they’d done to get as far as they had.
They had their album and their grandkids would have their fair share of stories.
And maybe that’s the point. The world may have fallen out of love with guitar bands, but if the world’s love isn’t what you crave, it hardly matters. We’ve got Wolf Alice, and they’re happy to be here. Isn’t that enough?
of the pub-rock circuit that’s a must. They’re a band whose rise makes sense in retrospect, but back in 2012 nobody was pointing at the
Camden gang as the saviours of British rock. Part of it, perhaps, is that Wolf Alice have always enjoyed being a band. On stage and in person,
Wolf Alice are giddy about what they’ve achieved; bounding from show to show with a joy that belies long nights spent on motorways and
hectic touring schedules. Despite scant financial reward and monster
workloads, Joel, Ellie, Theo and Joff still seem to be having a good time.
Words by Rob Knaggs, illustration by Gabriel Alcala, centrefold by Alex Gamsu Jenkins
Rough Trade have enabled some of the biggest and best indie rock
charging subscription etc, things seem to be slowly getting better for
but to even have had a personal, working relationship with the likes
certainly been more ridiculous than ever. In that respect I think labels
groups to flourish in recent years. There’s no doubt about their success when you look at their list of bands. Not all have stuck by their side,
of The Libertines, The Smiths and The Strokes, it’s pretty pleasing on the eye. Even today, Rough Trade has a brilliant collection of artists
under their label. Bands such as Palma Violets, Parquet Courts, Howler and Warpaint all sit comfortably under the prestigious name of Rough
Trade. Here at So Young, we can’t help but admire the talent that Rough Trade seeks and pursues as their success keeps rolling through the
crowds. We spoke to Ben Ayres, of nineties band, Cornershop and a part of the Rough Trade furniture for over 20 years.
How do you feel personally about digital music?
those making and issuing the music. It’s always been a strange business but during this adaption period since the advent of the internet - it’s like Rough Trade deserve huge credit for riding out the storm and
simply surviving, never mind releasing classic albums too during that
time! I think one of the benefits of the streaming phenomenon though has been that youngsters, anyone, can explore music more easily. It’s
funny how much it’s changed things across the board. In the past it’d be a tuned-in uncle or an older sibling getting you into bands, suggesting things to check out, nowadays there’s not always that personal touch.
How important are independent record shops to a label like Rough Trade now?
I find it useful
Very important of
prefer the sound
we can. It was
course. We support
personally I much
and look of vinyl and
have a fairly stupidly
shops that first got
me into interesting
that’s a bit of a mess
music as opposed to
in terms of finding
anything when I
I’d be a completely
want to listen to
if it wasn’t for
In your time with
shops. I remember
Rough Trade how
going to one in
do you feel the state
Plymouth in the mid
80s that was called
music has changed?
which stunned me
I think there are less
(as a huge fan of
labels, in the past, pre internet, it seemed
first single ‘All Fall
Down’ at the time),
folks running labels could do their own thing in their own niche for
I couldn’t believe someone in Plymouth even knew their singers name
criticised or over praised. It’d be good if labels as well as artists were
that counter at that shop... Independent shops are special, so many
longer, developing without the whole world knowing, judging, affecting things. Now pretty much everything is visible and instantly assessed, given more time to grow, make mistakes and develop. On the other side, the internet does open the possibilities for a wider reach for
independent labels and I think that is only now being harnessed, the next few years will be really interesting.
Do you think the convenience of being able to stream music for free
at the time, let alone had used it to name their record shop. Years later I found out it was Jeff Barrett who now runs Heavenly that was behind
past owners have gone on to do amazing things, these shops are full of special characters and the country would be duller without them. At their best, they’re social hubs really.
What advice would you give to people aspiring to set up their own labels?
on the internet is a good thing? Personally I have mixed feelings, working at a label and being a
musician - I have first hand experience of how free streaming has
decimated sales and income. However, now that streaming services are
Don’t do it to try and make money, only release music and artists you truly believe in. But go for it in terms of work rate. Set up a working
structure - distributors, digital and physical and be realistic about how much stock you make.
Words by Cerys Kenneally
The Wytches All Your Happy Life
The humble nature behind The Wytches singer Kristian Bell is peculiar
I got back off the first album tour. We just gathered some ideas, went to
new album ‘All Your Happy Life’.
Guitars are a massive part of the band, how did you develop that
given the weight and meaning of their music. He seems surprised that
people are still interested and unsure about how they will react to the
Brighton and started jamming them. It was just a gradual collection of stuff that was working over a few months.
This perplexes us, for the band aren’t short of genius. There’s a brutal
weird doomy sound?
a matter of seconds. Last time around Bell sang, “Now I’m dwelling on
some reason the only scale I knew how to play fully was the lower
and threatening nature behind everything they do - even during their milder moments they’ve been able to lyrically pull situations apart in
Me and Dan both weren’t very good at scales and technical stuff. For
shouting me back.” This snippet goes some way to pinpointing their
bit you can just write some riffs out of that scale. I always wanted to be
the past, with a bottle in my hand, shouting at the wall because he’s intimate yet cutting nature.
The follow up is an album that again reels with emotion and turmoil.
It’s also the kind of release that has you itching for the band’s tour bus to roll right into to your city. So with that in mind, we met up with
harmonic, which was like the Egyptian one. So when you take it apart a in a doom band because I’d been in hardcore bands playing drums and every now and then, we used to hint at something very dark and that got me really excited.
In the live capacity you really go at it with the vocal, how does your
Kristian to discover why they’re sounding more important than ever
Tell us a bit about the album title, there seems to be a hint of
miraculously sing again the next day. These days I can’t do it as much
sarcasm there… It comes from a lyric in the track ‘Throned’, I kind of know what that
song means and I really can’t describe it. It’s not profound or anything it’s just that I don’t know the words to describe it. It’s definitely
sarcastic. That song is an open interpretation of going somewhere
better. Honestly we were struggling with the title and that seemed to be a nice bit that we liked and it captured the feeling of the album well.
The lyrics are very personal and almost quite achy, how do you put pen to paper? For the last one I didn’t know what I was doing, it’s nonsense to me now. For this one I was thinking about the timing of it and having a
concept, but then wanting to make it less wordy. I sat there counting the
syllables in words in order to keep it really simple. This was so we could sing it a little bit better because Gianni and Dan sing a lot more this time. It sounds way nicer having lots of melodies tracked together. So it’s been quite a while, how did you approach the record?
We started by getting rid of any other ideas we’d had in mind for a
second album. There were a few tracks that were hanging around that
we decided to get rid of them. Then I put some ideas together as soon as 27
I think it’s getting worse. A little while ago I could do that and
now. We did a tour once where I didn’t have a voice for a whole week.
Weirdly people weren’t too bothered about it but I worry all the time. We’re working on music now and I’d like to be able to hold my breath
and stuff. I don’t really know where a middle ground is yet. At live gigs I
get taken away and start going off on one. I forget about it once we start playing.
You also brought on the new member, how did that come about? Well Mark was the original bass player when we started in
Peterborough, then we moved away but he didn’t. When we moved back about a year ago we had a lot of time to jam together again and he was up for joining. He has a really interesting way of approaching songs,
he put these chords over the top which takes it to a different place. We wouldn’t have any other fourth member really but he was there from the start and he knows where we want to go. It’s amazing to see you back on the road…
We’re just playing and practicing the new record a lot. We’re so grateful that people are still interested in us as we were warned about having too much time off in-case people lost interest.
Words by Rhys Buchanan, illustration by Tara Booth
“We got pretty deep into Jim Ford and Nashville Skyline by Bob Dylan.” 29
Whitney by Emma Crockatt from Issue Nine, opposite Exclamation Pony by Adam Higton from Issue Three
Goat Girl Scum
Onstage and in the flesh, Goat Girl are cool, calm, effortless, but by no
You’re at the forefront of this amazing group of bands emerging out
means clean; laid back but undeniably present and whatever imaginary
of London, do you feel a part of a movement? Is it as exciting as it
innate within each of them. This chaotic world of music is no longer up
We like to think we’re a part of it. And as for it being exciting it’s always
and there’s space for it to evolve, grow and thrive because they don’t
…Sure, back when I first met you, you seemed to be taking it as it
wall there is between band and audience is penetrated not physically
looks from the outside?
there and out of reach like a kind of higher punk power, its no longer
different when it’s just your life. You know you look at people on stage
but by the atmosphere they create. There is this raw power that is just unattainable, its right there, forming a foundation beneath our feet,
just crucify themselves on stage. Goat Girl are cut from an older kind
like ‘woah!’, but we’re not really doing anything…
of cloth: not just a band dressed up in independent packaging, not ‘all
comes, you know, whatever happens, happens…
knowing: there’s this painfully plain-speaking sense in Lottie’s drawl
happened its not gotten to any of us really, in the negative sense, we’re
dressed up and nowhere to go’ but deep deep deep rooted. A depth
generated by their lyrics which are simmering with this unquestionable
Yeah, and that’s kind of still the way we think, even though stuff has
When you were playing lots of shows with those bands (you know,
which makes them sound like they asserted themselves upon us all
still taking it as it comes and not trying to think about it too much.
You dropped ‘Country Sleaze’ the other week, how do you think it’s
Shame, Dead Pretties, Meatraffle and so on) did you ever fear you
were just being clumped together?
It’s been very unexpectedly well received, you know, there’s been a lot
It’s definitely nice to have that sense of community with the bands,
they’re good or bad they’re probably gonna be bad for the head.
started playing music anyway. It makes you feel protected.
of ‘hype’. It feels like we have a lot more friends than we thought we did haha, but we try to stay away from all the reviews and all that. Whether Yeah and about that hype, it was generated without you saying a
but each individual band has their own unique sound. If we are a part
of this group it’s not necessarily a bad thing. It is a big part of why we Everyone just seems to be shouting nonsense onstage these
single word, what are your thoughts towards an online existence
days but your songs have a subtle defiance to them. Do you find
being integral to a band’s existence these days?
yourselves cautious about being political with your music?
We talked a lot about having the Facebook and things. Some of us didn’t
We’re not so much cautious with song writing as we are with actually
platforms just seem so trivial. It’s the easy option… the easiest way to
not what I wanted when I wrote them initially. When you write songs
want it, some of us didn’t mind, there was a real split. But we made a compromise... It’s more that Facebook, Instagram and those kinds of
find a band. It feels more personal if it’s not all previously set up online. And you’re on Rough Trade! Congratulations! Was that an easy decision to make?
explaining the songs, especially because we feel like everyone needs
everything explained to them these days. [Lottie:] I don’t know, that’s
you should be free to say what you want. We don’t want to feel the need to justify them in any way.
Lottie, you’ve taken a Ben Wallace [of the Country Teasers] approach to songwriting: when things are falling apart in the
No. Very hard. We had two of the best independent labels to choose
world, become part of it and enter the psyche of those corrupt
DIY ethos and there’s a history there- a legacy.
I think that that satirical way of writing is something I enjoy, it’s a
from so that was a really difficult decision to make. In the end though
Rough Trade felt more natural, they’re like a family, they have more of a
individuals and their desires...
nice platform to let go of your anger, and I guess that satirical, social commentary so happens to fit in with a lot of other artists like Ben Wallace, Fat Whites or whoever.
Words by Georgie Jesson, illustration by Maddy Mould
Swim Deep Leccy Bills in the Recycling
Swim Deep’s body of work to date sounds like what Mark Leckey’s,
You’ve successfully survived the “B-Town” scene and label. Is that
Swim Deep dip in and out of and reconstruct it all the way from
We want to make sure we cement our independent identity, we
Swim Deep are another band who’ve been in the So Young world since
very positive way, but I think if we came out of a town on our own we
‘Fiorucci made me Hardcore’ looks like. And that’s high praise. Leckey’s
something you’re keen to distance yourselves from?
Northern Soul to Rave.
shouldn’t be called a “B-Town” band we should be called Swim Deep.
visual representation of underground dance music is linear whereas
issue one and as they are currently holed up in a cottage somewhere
working on album number three, here we look back on our time with the band with an interview with Austin Williams.
Your music released to date has almost been a journey through dance music in a very British way and seems to evoke futurist/ industrial landscapes like a lot of underground music from the North in the 80s. Is that a period and place you’re particularly
Our city and the rattling hype towards music there affected us in a
wouldn’t have been pigeon holed with ‘guitar’ bands, there’s only really 2 or 3 guitar songs on our debut, so it was always a bit off key when
we got mentioned in the same sentences as guitar bands. B-Town was a 5 month press thing, but the Birmingham music scene is still alive,
and Birmingham is still the best place to play a gig. For any band from anywhere.
We caught up with Austin ahead of this issue to see where the band
influenced by historically?
are currently at...
You’re one of the only people that’s said that and it means a lot you’ve
For the most part we’ve been making ends meet at the gaff, putting
pleasure, stuff that bends your head you know.
been writing lots, reconnecting to what we really mean and are as Swim
picked up on it. Recently I’ve been really into northern soul and 80’s dance music, and thai garage music, it’s not on repeat but it’s a real
I only really dived into the 90s records since people said we sounded ‘90s’, if someone says you sound like something you have to check it
out. There was a real optimistic ‘everything’s great whilst your dancing’ atmosphere with music in the 90s, great music and art always comes
out of a struggle, it’s written in stone. Just look at the last century and
point out all the great music scenes and decades. In a way, art has a lot to owe to turmoil.
Are there any bands you’re fond of that you see as a blueprint for what you’d like to achieve with Swim Deep? Any meaningful milestones you’d like to reach?
leccy bills in the recycling bin because everyone knows that means they don’t exist in you’re already fragile and anxious head anymore. We’ve
Deep. We’ve been going to where phone signal does not reach, to bond as a band and laugh and write. We’re all actually at pretty much the
same state we were when we wrote the first album, skint and hopeful, if you put those two words on a see-saw you’d be going all day long.
We’ve put ourselves on strict diets of hits, hits and hits, taking ecstasy and listening to ABBA, Brian Eno, Underworld, Madonna. I think a
pivotal point in the songwriting was when me and Zack did a DJ set full of 10/10 no.1s, really big gay numbers, it made us look out into the
sea of limbs and question where the fuck are the hits of the bands are
today? Where’s the Talking Heads bangers, where’s the complex piano
pop ABBAs at? Our recent tours have allowed us to re connect with our
real fans and realise what we’re on this planet to do. People like us ain’t
It’s a bit late and fairly hypocritical for me to say this but I love the way that grime has built, an obvious but great example is Skepta, he’s been doing grime for 10 years plus, and he hasn’t compromised himself,
he’s stayed very true to his art and that’s a highly respectable thing,
that takes some real strength, patience and lack of greed. I’m sure it’s
obvious to artists that you stay true to you’re art but especially today,
with musicians making toffee from making records, it’s hard to say no to
meant to go anywhere, look around and count how many big successful working class musicians there are, or actors, or anything as such. So we’re brewing that magic formula, you know.
We wanna give you what you want and need, the pop committee needs to be fired for what they’ve done to our beautiful airwaves. No more
dulling it down. There is 15,000 nuclear weapons in the world today.
10k for being a clothes horse. I think my goal is to keep the dream alive.
Words by Josh Whettingsteel, illustration by REN
“I ended up smashing my nose open on my guitar (during the song Blood Let - ironic)” Theo Verney by Dogboy from Issue Three
Parquet Courts No Expectations
New York’s Parquet Courts have played a massive part in So Young so
How do you feel about vinyl and the printed artwork that comes
but who knows what form any new music will arrive in.
together or for the artwork to be experienced at all.
several times over the last few years gaining some great insight
about new music, but what a shame if it were to ever eclipse the
far, five albums in and some of the best, most coherent artwork we’ve
with a physical record in the age of the internet? When the internet
ever seen from a band, they don’t look like slowing down anytime soon,
doesn’t always allow for the two mediums to be experienced
We’ve spoken to Andrew Savage, lead singer and sleeve designer,
I understand the appeal of the internet, its a great way to find out
into the band and their DIY ethos… Parquet Courts was formed in New York in the fall of 2010. I was the one who brought everybody together. Austin and I went to college
together in Denton, TX, where I’m from. Sean I met when his old band played my house in Denton, TX, that was probably 2006. Max is my
brother, so I’ve known him for his whole life. We wanted an excuse to write and make noise.
Parquet Courts have a clear Punk influence in the music but how much of an influence are Fanzines and DIY culture in general?
tactile, physical incarnation of music. The live element is the most
important thing about pop music, but home listening allows for ritual and absorption. The internet should be used as a companion to this,
not a replacement. In some ways, the supposed “boom” in vinyl reflects reckless conspicuous consumption; you can buy records in Whole
Foods, Starbucks and Urban Outfitters now, so I don’t mean to imply that the format itself is more legitimate than a digital file. But the
digital realm lacks something. Not just in music, but in communication generally, it lacks something.
When we spoke to you in 2014, you revealed that the title, ‘Sunbathing Animal’ was a reference to a painting. Where did
Well I can only speak for myself, but it was via fanzines that I was
‘Human Performance’ come from?
Australia, is a great one that initially began covering punk and hardcore,
basis is a performance, and which of it is genuine, and are performance
exposed to the type of music that makes me the person I am today. I admittedly don’t follow as many zines as I used to. Distort, out of
Just from questions I had about how much of what we do on a daily
in UV Race, Total Control and Straightjacket Nation, likes writing about
answered any of them. But that’s okay.
but has blossomed into something much bigger. Dan, who also plays
critical theory and literary analysis, as well as experimental music and art. Lots of great insight from that one, and it’s a shame that it will
and authenticity mutually exclusive? Honestly I still haven’t fully
Lyrical repetition has almost become a Parquet Courts trademark,
be done soon, but all good things come to an end don’t they? Parquet
where has that tendency in the songs come from?
As humans we respond to patterns and seek to find meaning in them. I
Courts can no longer really be called a true DIY band. I like what Joe
from Protomartyer said: “We’re a do-it-yourself-unless-someone-else-
Well repetition is just an easy way to get somebody’s attention isn’t it?
You do all of the artwork for the band. Which comes first the songs
Courts trademark (I suppose it could be!), at least no more than any
or the artwork? Has a drawing or collage you’ve done ever inspired you to write a song specifically to accompany that piece of Art? Usually the art comes last, in the case of a release. When we are writing and recording, I like to focus mainly on that. I cant say for certain if
one of my own drawings has inspired me to write a song, but definitely other works of art have. “Sunbathing Animal” itself is a reference
to a painting by Dutch artist and CoBrA founder Karel Appel. The
line, “racing down the stairs in a nude descention” is an art reference
don’t know if specifically lyrical repetition can be said to be a Parquet other band. But you have to emphasize your message and give the listener something to harness themselves to.
What can we expect from Parquet Courts in 2017? By now you should know to have no expectations! Well, I have none at least.
also. As is “Mine eyes have seen the glory in the sound and image synchronized.” Perhaps I’ve said too much though. 39
Words by Josh Whettingsteel, illustration by Alexander Medel
“from ‘Booze Britain’ to L.S. Lowry. I try to make it an array of subjects really.” 41
Eagulls by Elliot Kruszynski from Issue Ten
Artists Josh Whettingsteel Calum Torbett
George Heaven Glen Clothier
Editors Sam Ford
Josh Whettingsteel James Endeacott Rhys Buchanan Georgie Jesson Sam Ford
Printed By Ex Why Zed
soyoungmagazine (Instagram) soyoungmagazine.tumblr.com
Oscar Mitchell Sac Magique
Grace Wilson Jean Jullien
Alex Gamsu Jenkins Tara Booth
Emma Crockatt Adam Higton
Maddy Mould REN
Elliot Kruszynski Russell Taysom David Biskup
Photos for Cover Collage Jono White
Charlotte Patmore Yi-Hsuan Li
Special Thanks Jack Reynolds
Matthew Sid-Ahmad Matthew Luke Cal McRae Tom Dyer
“Being surrounded by creativity is probably an instigator for our own.” Drowners by Russell Taysom from Issue Two, next Eagulls by David Biskup from Issue Four
â€œWhen we think about doing records, we think about Beatles records.â€? 45
The Magic Gang by Jay Cover from Issue Nine