The underground is bubbling with new artists trying to carve open opportunities

By Mark McConville

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The Young Hearts is a punk band from the UK. Their thrilling new album Somewhere Through The Night is out now on Year Of The Rat Records. With such a cathartic but exciting sound, the band know they’ve upped their game with their second release. Emotion is fundamental in music, and The Young Hearts have developed an original sonic output.    

Somewhere Through The Night is a wonderful collection of cathartic songs. I think it eclipses The Modern State so much, although that album was a standout for me in terms of raw emotion. How did you approach the new record? Did you have a plan, or did it all come naturally?  

It was around six months after the release of ‘The Modern State’ that the band basically called it a day. Two members had left and at the time, the prospect of continuing felt too uncertain. But there was still a drive to write music, some way or another, and it wasn’t long before the wheels started to turn again. I’d already been working on new material before deciding to disband, and I was genuinely excited about how things sounded. I don’t think there was ever really a plan at that point, purely because we didn’t know what this second phase of The Young Hearts was going to bring. We had no expectations; we simply took our time to push these songs until we felt they’d reached their full potential. We never forced anything, just enjoyed the whole writing and recording process, and kept our minds open to whatever that journey held. 

The underground is bubbling with new artists trying to carve open opportunities. You are a band that is relatively new to the scene. What’s it like trying to get your music out there when there is so many bands’ navigating such a cut-throat industry?  

It’s incredibly hard for an artist at any level to navigate the industry as it currently is. There’s so much more to being a band these days. You can’t just write a good song and wait for it to get noticed. You must market yourselves the right way, have the correct branding and really target your key demographic. It takes a lot of the fun out of being in a band and adds that unnecessary pressure. We’ve never really tried that hard to follow that way of doing things, and maybe we’ll never have huge success because of that, but at the end of the day, we are who we are, and we make music for ourselves and our own enjoyment.  

The songwriting on Somewhere Through The Night is superior. It has that emo tinge to it too, and the emotions resonate. Also, lyrically, the stories have become more in-depth, and as an act you have worked extensively on jotting down these morose anecdotes. How was the writing experience when it comes to lyrics? Did everything just flow, and is there a primary lyric writer in the band?  

I write all the lyrics and it’s something I put an incredible amount of time and care into. I am massively influenced by artists like Springsteen, who don’t just tell stories; they create this whole atmosphere and imagery with their words. There are certain songs on the record where the words came so easily that I barely even remember writing them, and then there are songs that I wrote and re-wrote so many times that it was months before they were finally in a place I was 100 per cent happy with. I fully believe in the importance of lyrics with meaning and heart behind them rather than stringing words together to fit a catchy melody.  

The record sounds more polished, though it isn’t overly produced. The vocals and arrangements are seamless. Was making the album an exhausting experience, or did you embrace every moment? 

 It’s a bit of both, to be honest. Recording can be a long process, and it certainly was for us. With this album, we wanted to leave no stone unturned, experiment with any idea, and really try to push ourselves to the best of our ability. There was a real ambition to make this record bigger and better than anything we’d done before, and that does take time. It was recorded over the course of 18 months, but it helped that we were in no rush to release anything. I personally love the process of recording, so even though the sessions were long and exhausting, hearing songs that started off as rough ideas at home grow into these huge compositions in the studio is an incredible feeling. 

What are your thoughts on streaming music? Do you feel like it’s beneficial, or is it slowly killing the industry? 

 It’s definitely benefited the industry. Don’t get me wrong, the amount they pay artists should be addressed because it’s so hard to generate any money from streaming music, but there’s no way a band of our level could have a fanbase all over the world twenty or thirty years ago. In regard to getting your music out to a wider audience, it’s been a game changer. Things like playlists have been massive in gaining new fans you otherwise wouldn’t have. I hope that these platforms start paying artists better at some point in the future, but they’ve just adapted to how people consume music these days. People can’t necessarily afford to spend twenty to thirty pounds on a record, but streaming allows them to discover new artists from all over the world at all different stages of their careers.  

How did you approach the writing process? Were the creative juices flowing at all times? When I delved into the record, it sounded so daring and fresh. How did you keep things interesting?  

Well, we took our time writing this record and went into the studio only when the songs were ready. I wouldn’t say the creativity was necessarily always flowing, but we never forced anything. If we hit a wall, we just took a step back. We tried to get as many ideas on the table as we could, so there were songs that didn’t make the cut. When we actually started recording, we had no shows coming up, we hadn’t even announced that we were a band again, so there was a real freedom to it all. We didn’t try and make a record that was an obvious follow up to ‘The Modern State’ either, we simply wrote the songs to sum up the way we felt at the time. We managed to keep it interesting by giving ourselves no restrictions and just seeing where the songs went. 

What bands have influenced your music? I definitely get The Gaslight Anthem vibes, as Somewhere Through The Night has those endearing melodies. It breaks conventions, it really does. It does have those lines and harmonies that take you through an emotional adventure, too.  

Bands like The Gaslight Anthem and The Menzingers are the obvious influences. They have such a signature craft for songwriting that it’s impossible not to try and follow in their footsteps a little. Then you look at the huge stadium acts like The Killers and Bruce Springsteen, and their sound just has this enormous presence to it. We’ve kind of always wanted to be that blue-collar dive bar punk band, but with massive anthemic songs, you could easily imagine on a big stage.  

Will the band be touring the UK soon? I think the new album will connect well with a live audience as there’s slow songs and fast-paced songs alike.  

We have a few UK dates lined up next month, and then in March, we tour Germany. We’re certainly working on booking ourselves up as much as we can for the rest of the year, as we’re determined to share these songs with as many people as we can.  

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