Young Rising Sons // Interview
Young Rising Sons, an alternative indie rock trio from New Jersey, have stepped back into the spot light after their hiatus. Comprised of vocalist / guitarist Andy Tongren, bassist Julian Dimagiba, and drummer Steve Patrick, the band has recently released two new songs, "Noise" and "Whiskey," with the promise of an EP in the very near future.
Their new songs still give fans a taste of their past music while also throwing in a mix of new sounds and true to life lyrics. The band is currently on tour supporting Magic Giant and have also announced even more tour dates for this summer. I had the opportunity to chat with Andy and Steve while at their show at The Social in Orlando, FL on May 8th about their new music, future plans, and more!
Q: You guys just recently released a new song called “Noise” and one before that called “Whiskey.” What were your inspirations behind each song?
A: Andy: “They’re both a little different but I think our main focus going into this new stuff we are writing is just to be very honest with ourselves and really speak the truth. Not to say that we were naïve with our old songs but they didn’t really necessarily cover all the spectrum of human emotion that’s possible. So we just wanted to be very honest with ourselves and we had a lot of time from when we last released music. It was a little bit of a forced hiatus for lack of a better word. But it gave us a chance to really get in the studio and really refine the stuff we’re working on.”
Q: So what’s next for you guys? I know there was an EP in the works that had to be pushed off. Is that still coming out, and what has that process been like?
A: Andy: “For now it’s going to be an EP but we have a lot of music that is off in the wings waiting to be released. We’re doing it this way because people consume music differently now, and I think it’s better to give them little tastes here and there instead of all at once. Partly it’s that, and it just fits our vision to release things as EPs, but we didn’t really want to have to delay [the EP] but it means good things in the future as much as it sucks right now. It’s hard because we hate the word “soon”. We hate it. I wish we could eliminate it from our vocabulary. It’s frustrating but knowing that we’ll be able to release this the proper way and it won’t be out and a week later forgotten is important to us. I think that makes it worth it.”
Steve: “In the long run it’s a better plan for us because it kind of gives us a foundation to build off of. Our long-term plan is to release a few EPs here and there so by the end of the year it ends up being a full thing of music. And this is the best way for us to do that, in installments while we’re getting everything back going touring full time again and all the fun stuff."
Andy: “It’s like a tree, I think. You have to keep watering it to allow it to grow and be fruitful.”
Q: There is a notable difference between the new songs and the older songs. What did you take from your older songs and want to keep or make changes to? Did you learn from your past songs?
A: Andy: “We definitely did. And not even just what went over well or were better than other songs but also things we connected with I think are a part of Young Rising Sons, as far as our old stuff goes. We try to keep those elements there because I think they are still parts of who we are. But I think in terms of growth, it’s just natural people change as just humans in general and I think music preference changes and so do influences.”
Steve: “That’s a big part of it. Just think of as you as a music listener, and whoever is reading this, because I think the music I listened to four years ago, I don’t really listen to it at all anymore so I think we’ve changed so much in what we’re ingesting as music fans and what it’s like coming out of the other end of that. Music consumption is just interesting. There’s one new song, “Faded,” that sounds really similar to our old stuff but in a new, refreshed way which is really cool. We kind of dabbled and walked that line of “this sounds like vintage YRS,” then it comes to another song that is totally not that at the same time. Just trying to grow as much as possible.”
Q: I’ve seen some reactions from your fans on the new stuff. Are you getting the reaction you wanted out of them?
A: Andy: “I think so. We weren’t really sure what to expect.”
Steve: “I think we were a little worried, almost.”
Andy: “Yeah, it’s a little scary. But we’ve been very happily surprised by it, and there are a few people that don’t necessarily get it at first because it is very different, it comes out of left field a little bit.”
Steve: “We have people that are like 'This sound kinda not like you guys,' then like two days later they were like 'This is my favorite song I’ve ever heard!' I think it just shocked people because we were under the radar for so long too."
Andy: “But I think it’s important to give people something they might not expect. It kind of toed that line of old Young Rising Sons meets this new kind of era.”
Q: So what did you want your fans to get out of the new songs-- were you hoping they’d take a certain message from them?
A: Andy: “Well with “Whiskey” in particular, it’s addiction as a whole and it’s a scary topic that’s hard for people to talk about and that’s one reason we wanted to write a song about it. And it’s not just addiction to actual whiskey, it could be a person or a substance.”
Steve: “I feel like our first EP kind of dove into those things as well but maybe on a little bit more of a shallow scale, and I think a lot of people didn’t get it. They thought the songs were so happy but we were like that’s not what we were totally going for, but I understand how on just the first listen it’s happy, but then when you read the lyrics you realize the songs are more about happiness in the face of some really hard things. I think the new songs do that too but a better way. There’s more depth to that.”
Andy: “And I think the best songs are the more honest ones. So I think we just really had to be honest with ourselves. I think “Noise” in particular is more of a sentiment of our older stuff. The verses in particular are pretty dark, but we try to have silver lining optimism that reigns supreme in the chorus.”
Steve: “I think the three of us have been through a lot of heavy stuff in our lives and I think music for us is a very cathartic way of dealing with that stuff. We have seen and helped each other through a lot of stuff and come out the other side stronger for it. I think our songs are a representation of that. The choruses of our songs tend to be like 'hey, you got this.' Like when all of these things are not ideal. The new music is just more revealing and more like particular about all of these things we have all gone through.”
Andy: “I think everyone has their own noise, for lack of a better word, their own thing that bogs them down whether it’s watching the news and seeing how scary and horrific shit is outside of this bubble we all tend to live in. It’s terrifying. I think that’s normal and I’m just trying to let people know that they’re not alone in that.”
Steve: “And it’s cool for us too because we have always prided ourselves as a family with our fans and everyone is welcome in our little world that we have here. I think the songs and the messages, once they’re out there, will become the Son’s family’s songs. Like these are yours and now it’s for everybody and not just for us. It’s cool to see people grab on to them and use them as a cathartic release in the same way we did.”
Q:You're touring the rest of May and some at the end of June. Are there more tour dates in the works?
A: Andy: ”Yes, we’re actually announcing some tomorrow. A little run to get us out to California and then back to see some places we haven’t seen in a minute. We’re excited. “
Q: How has it been back on tour again? Did you miss it, and are you happy being on tour?
A: Andy: “So much. Touring is sort of our bread and butter. We started because we like to play music. Sitting at home is just not the same as being on stage and seeing people and being able to make eye contact and really connecting with them on that level. There’s nothing like it.”
Steve: “I feel like being a musician and playing in a band is really stressful all the time because you’re worried about deadlines and creating things and all that stuff. Then you go on tour and you start playing and half way into the song, you look out and see people singing and you’re like 'Oh yeah, that’s why I do this.' It’s a really rewarding thing to have that connection with people that otherwise never would’ve interacted with. We love it.”
Q: What is your hope for the future with the band now that you guys are back touring and making music? Where do you guys see yourselves in the next couple years?
A: Andy: “We always joked that we wanted to be the biggest band in the world and that’s a pipe dream. But as long as we’re playing music and allowed to put out songs that we make that make us feel something that hopefully make other people feel something and we can go out and play them for people, that’s all we want.”
Steve: “We just want to keep playing. Keep writing. Keep touring. Keep connecting with everybody and trying to make a difference in people’s lives.”
Andy: “I think everything else will just kind of fall into place if we can keep doing that. There was one guy years and years ago, who is a song writer/producer, Sam Hollander, who in a way sort of became a mentor of ours. We would go out to shows in New York City and hand out fliers. He would always see us. There was one time he came out of a show and he said 'I see you guys out here after every show. Just don’t quit. Keep doing it. It’ll be hard at times but just keep doing it,' and that’s kind of always been stuck in the back of our heads to just keep going.”