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interview: young the giant

When Morrissey has said of a band, ‘It’s so easy to fire out remnants of snobbery where new music is concerned, but once every three thousand years, a band comes along who restore that precious component of faith’, you have to assume that they’re worth a listen.

Having just made an appearance at Splendour in the Grass, Young the Giant have firmly impressed Australian audiences and have now returned home to the US to perform at a number of festivals, tour with Incubus and make their debut performance at the MTV Video Music Awards later this month! Lip was lucky enough to catch up with drummer and vocalist, Francois Comtois, during the band’s short stay in Australia.

First of all, welcome to Melbourne. How do you like it so far?
Well we’re actually in Sydney at the moment, we’re playing here tonight, but what we did see of Melbourne we really liked. The people were so nice and welcoming. Australia in general really, Splendour was great, last night was fun and looking forward to tonight.

Kind of a sneaky questions, but how do Australians respond differently, compared to Americans or the British?
Well what we’ve noticed about people on the States and the UK is that they’re generally a bit more reserved, especially when it comes to songs they don’t know. But we really appreciate that as well, it’s very polite of them, but Australians are so wonderfully different in the way that they absolutely love every minute of the show even before the music starts, they just feel the vibes and are really welcoming.

How was last night with Grouplove? I know they’re from California as well, have you played with them before?
Yeah we actually have! About a year ago, we had a residency at The Troubadour in California, and they played with us. And probably about 10 people showed up. So playing with them now, a year later, is really great, just to see how far we’ve both come. Playing at festivals to thousands of people, it’s really great.

Tell me about Splendour. Everyone has wild festival stories.
Well I wouldn’t say we had an particularly wild stories, it was all good fun but probably the craziest was when we got to Australia and we were in the Gold Coast for 4 days and there were scheduling mix ups which meant that we might miss Friday at Splendour, and I was really looking forward to seeing Kanye West play. So at one point I was just like, yeah, I’m going, took a bunch of trains and shuttles and buses and when we finally got there, it was awesome. I missed him at SXSW so it was incredible to see him play to like 40 000 people.

So leading up to your debut album, you’ve played some awesome festivals, Jimmy Kimmel, Jools Holland, and the list goes on and on, how do you guys keep your heads in the right direction?
Well it all happened really fast, and it’s a lot of fun. It’s finally come to a point where we can look at this as a career, where people are actually taking time to come see us, and willing to pay for it, so the futures looking bright. It’s so important to us to have our families around, they really keep us grounded, and humble, really.

Any bands you’d absolutely love to play with?
It’s kind of a music geek thing, but Radiohead for sure.

I know they’re listed as one of Young The Giants main influences, who else is up there?
Other than Radiohead, it’s really just the music we listen to, which is pretty eclectic. We have a whole lot of varied influences, coming from our environment and culture.

Is there anything you’d like to add?
Oh, well that’s putting me on the spot. I should probably come up with a better answer for that one, I’m getting asked that a lot lately. But basically its just a big thank you, we really hope to come back to Melbourne soon, and hopefully spend more time here.

Young the Giant’s debut self-titled album is out now through Roadrunner Records!

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