The Young Art CD

The Young Art

Jon Niehaus settles down for a chat with The Young Art ahead of their CD Launch on Friday..

“Where have all the good young bands gone?” seems to be a common question among those of us who grew up late last century, when a stroll down the main drag of most Aussie cities would sound akin to rolling the radio dial across rock stations as pubs vied with each other to pull the crowds with the hottest new act. Whilst the changing times, fickle punters and sound level bogeymen may have eroded this part of our culture, the talent, attitude and dedication is still out there even it it’s a little hard to find.

The Young ArtI’m one of those who is a little late to catch on to The Young Art, having first seen them only a couple of weeks ago. Turns out they have played several major supports slots, appeared at a couple of festivals, and managed to record an album, which launches this Friday night at Tanks and should rocket to the top of your To Do list if you like infectious, quite sophisticated indie rock and/or Explorer basses. Frontman Sony Sando was gracious enough to give me half an hour of his time for a chat about all things Young and Arty, insights into the band ethos and some good advice on where your focus needs to be to become such a professional outfit.

JN: Hi Sony, thanks for taking the time today to catch up. I caught you at the Arthouse recently and the band’s polished performance really stood out. How much work, how many hours a week, go into maintaining such a professional level?

SS: With practicing, we did that a lot through high school, and everyone pretty much knows the material by heart. Really we just come in for a quick practice before a show and polish up anything that’s rusty. It’s not so much practice, really more a focus on emotional expression. In saying that, it feels so true when we’re performing that it comes out a lot that we are playing from the heart, instead of a gotta get this, gotta get that right, kind of a thing. We’ve practiced a lot so knowing the songs is second nature.

JN: So getting together is more about adding new stuff?

SS: Absolutely. Plus, before going in to record our album, the songs were a lot different. Collaborations and having them produced really evolved the songs to where they are now.

JN: In years gone by I’ve seen you in Sick Of The Silence. Was there a catalyst for the change to a more sophisticated sound or was it more just an evolution.

SS: Haha yes it’s a pretty big change from Sick of the Silence. We were going through high school, with different trends and culture and types of music people listen to. It’s an evolution from that – i think it’s because of the broad types of music we listen to and the things we like to influence ourselves with, the music we’re making now is purely a manifestation of what we surround ourselves with now, and that’s changed since the times of Sick of the Silence and we were a lot younger then. It’s growing up and exposing ourselves to new types of music.

JN: Do you guys have a musical background in terms of family and friends, is that where your musicality comes from?

SS: Definitely.  When we were younger, going to see bands, we thought, “we really wanna get into that.” Back in the day we loved Blink 182, Green Day. Casey and I were fascinated by the lifestyle. We watched documentary after documentary, watched how they interpreted music and how that fitted into their lives and we just thought, that’s something we wanted to do. Personally I started with music through my Grandpa – he was an entertainer, an Elvis impersonater. I learned a lot of Elvis on the guitar and stuff. That’s where I sprung from.

JN: You’ve played to a variety of audiences, on small stages and as support to some serious touring acts. Do any of the Young Art gigs stand out as especially memorable?

SS: I think the biggest, most memorable show was playing with Birds of Tokyo – first support slot for a really big band and we were all like nervous, and practiced real hard for those shows. It was the most scariest and at the same time incredible show we’ve played so far. Massive learning curve.

JN: How so, with the learning curve?

SS: You go into it not knowing what to expect, and there’s a sense of being star struck and not knowing how to act in front of such people, coming from a little town like Cairns and going into something so professional, so on time, so planned out. The crew was amazing, sound was amazing, service personally from venues was amazing. All these new things we experienced through just two shows… also the things we screwed up on, just everything – we learned so much and it was a fundamental experience in our career and our growth.

JN: Where do you see 2014 taking your band? What’s planned out?

SS: So we are hoping to do an East coast tour, from Cairns to Melbourne and stopping over in rural towns on the way to bigger cities. We’re hoping to team up with another band currently in Brisbane and yeah, we’re trying to really want this album to kinda be our first step in putting our name out there. This is the first product for people to listening to, we’ve been the Young Art for a year and a half and nobody’s heard our music except when we’re live. This is material from high school and the crucial time of adolescence and growing up, so we really hope people can connect with it and take something out of it. We just hope something can happen from that. Planned? The tour, more support acts.

JN: How have you found the music network in Cairns? How did you find venues to play, who was supportive – I guess what was your approach?

SS: I think, for us, we really worked on our music first, and then when the opportunities come, we take every one we can get. Because we have practiced and worked on our craft so much we’ve been able to impress venues and the people who come to watch, and through that they can see the hard work. There are still people who really want local acts to make it, and who want to help and get their hands dirty and make things happen for this region. I think on top of that there need to be a lot more people who go to gigs, support local acts. There are cultural aspects, there needs to be some kind of music scnee, passionate people who love music for the sake of it. In terms of a band’s point of view, the best way to go about it is to have really worked on your craft and be passionate, practice, all that stuff, and the big gigs and all that glam, haha, will come later. We’ve realised after playing in Sick of the Silence and the Young Art and also not being afraid to fail… I look back on our archives and at the time we thought we were the shit – we thought we were good, but looking back now I can’t believe that haha. We weren’t scared to play those shows, even though we were shit. We grabbed every opportunity we had, every show that came our way, cascades, bar shows – it’s all networking.

JN: What’s one thing you would change about the local music scene?

SS: I definitely think it’s just for people to be supportive of local music. People have a sense that, “oh it’s just a local band, nothing special about that,” but I know a lot of musicians in Cairns and there’s so much talent. People need to be more open to local acts and having some sort of belief that these people are passionate about their music.

JN: Your clip for Silver’s Gold is also super-professional. Did you guys come up with the concept and have it produced, or can you claim video production as another string to your bow?

SS: Yeah the music video. Glenn has a video business, Threadless Films, and Casey and I have been working with him since Year 10. Glenn’s passionate about film and production stuff and we are too, and for the idea… we came together a few times and just kinda though, “how can we relate this song back to Cairns and the region.” The song is about staying true to yourself and not being confined to the views of society; to have your own opinion. And we came across the story of Tarzan, the guy who used to walk on the highway with his potato sack and we ended up going online and googling, researching all this info on him and going through bios and stuff online. That inspired the idea of the music video and what we wanted to portray and the message we wanted to illustrate through that. In terms of how it was collaborative, Casey, Glenn and I made it happen.

JN: What should the audience expect at your album launch this Friday night?

SS: I  just feel like this show’s gonna be a true expression, you know. We’re going to play these songs the best we can and we’re gonna try and have that connection. I hope people are able to connect with us and our performance and just have an awesome night of live local music.

JN: Thanks very much once again, I’m sure Cairns will keep a keen eye on the band’s future!

The Young Art album launch, Friday 4th April at the Tanks. CDs available for the ridiculously measly price of ten bucks on the night!