Happy release day to Aussie superstars on the rise Gang Of Youths with their second album Go Farther In Lightness. Their success has been well earned and this tour sees them play some big venues including the infamous Thebarton Theatre in Adelaide. Hi Fi Way: The Pop Chronicles had the chance to do a quick Q&A with Max Dunn from the band ahead of the album release.
Another massive tour, it must be exciting times within the band right now?
We are all pretty excited about the tour. We will treat these shows like we treat all our shows, though we have some surprises too.
Did you ever in your wildest dreams ever think the band would ever take off the way that it has?
I really believed it would, obviously I didn’t know how long it would take or how it would look. But I think when we got together in the garage at Dave’s folk’s place in Concord there was a sort of chemistry and power to the whole thing. Dave sort of had a plan for it, there was a real sense of purpose right from the outset. Adding to this we all had stuff going on you know. It was a decision to spend our 20’s doing this, there was an opportunity cost so you have to fight for it.
Did you feel the pressure with the second album?
Well Dave had a period of writers block after Magnolia (interestingly the last tune written on The Positions). I think we were all a little unsure of how the follow up to the ‘hour-long-cancer-record’ would look. Dave and Joji spent some time in California, and then we meet up at Sony with producer Adrian Breakspear and just starting making the thing. By this point Dave had the songs in motion, and a clear vision for the record so we all kinda just worked together and brought what we could to help realise it. A record is like most shit, you just have to decide to make it.
How did you approach this album creatively without doing something too different but still pushing the band forward?
Well the album has its own overall conceptual journey. It is incredibly diverse within even itself whilst always seeking to ask relevant questions. Where/what is meaning? How can we be the most earnest humans possible? Is it worth it to overcome? Gang of Youths is at its heart an indie rock band right, so in terms of not being ‘too different’ the music will always be and performed on the record. We will always kind of like pianos, guitars, tubs etc. Then there is David’s pipes and phrasing, they contribute the greatest sense of coherency to our music.
What was the biggest lesson learnt from the first album that you were conscious not to do this time?
We made some mistakes in the The Positions era. We were also very young and very up against it in terms of what life was throwing at the band. I think the biggest change was probably a greater maturity in the way we all treated each other and the clarity with which we supported each other through the process.
How would you compare both albums sonically?
Broadly similar. Go Farther In Lightness probably sounds better and is longer than that our wee first record. David also unleashed his obsessive pursuit of strings arrangements on the record.
Playing in bigger venues like Thebarton Theatre this time round are you putting together an even bigger production?
Going to be frustrating here and divulge nothing whilst saying that this tour will definitely be our best and most ambitious shows to date.
Do you get nervous before going on stage?
Of course, mostly a positive rush of energy though.
Any pre-show rituals that you follow?
Going to plead the fifth here.
Where to next for Gang Of Youths?
We will all make our way home to London after these shows and do our European/UK autumn tour in October. I think we have some time off after that. Some of us have family and girlfriends in town over winter. We will be stateside soon as well. Personally I have a wedding back in Aotearoa coming up so that’s probably the most exciting thing for me.
Interview by Rob Lyon
Go Farther In Lightness is out now and be sure to catch Gang Of Youths on the following dates…