Here at Sloucher towers a buzz went around the office; at first it was a quiet murmuring punctuated with swift gulps of coffee and then it culminated in the loud garage rock psychedelia that is Heavy Young Heathens’ recently released new EP Make Room for the Youth. We geeks at Sloucher were lucky enough to quiz the band on the new EP, being happily ‘unsigned’, releasing free music for fans, and their evolving sound…
HYH: Don’t believe everything that you read! But yes, it’s true. I am Robert and my brother is Aron. Together we are known as Heavy Young Heathens. Thanks for having us Sloucher…
You make quite a racket! However did your mother put up with you both?
HYH: Oddly enough, our troublesome ways were encouraged by both our parents. We are a loud lot the four of us…
We can’t believe HYH aren’t signed. Is this a conscious decision?
HYH: Heavy Young Heathens was born out of necessity. Our original idea was to make records and share them with as many people as possible for free. So, no it wasn’t a conscious decision, it just has never been a priority to be ‘signed’.
The band seems to be doing very well with their DIY ethic anyway! You are very generous with offering fans free MP3’s, does this make it difficult for you to support yourselves and make money?
HYH: If money is your main priority, you are going to burn out very quickly in this game. Make music that you want to hear and that you are passionate about. If it is good, it will find it’s own way…Limos, Cocaine and Strippers will follow.
Good advice! We’ve listened to both your self-titled debut album (released in 2009) and your new EP Make Room for the Youth. The sounds from each record are quite different, how would you describe them?
HYH: Our debut is an accurate sound and emotional description of Heavy Young Heathens. Every note and song on that album were done with a “I Love you, but Fuck You” attitude. Make Room For the Youth was made with us co-producing with JP Bowersock, and mixing with Ryan Hewitt which brought outside ideas and growth to the songs and sound. Each one of the Albums means something different to us, but both are equally important to who we are and where we are going with our future albums.
Was it a conscious decision to introduce some slower, more atmospheric songs for instance ‘Like a Serenade’ on Make Room for the Youth?
HYH: It is always the songs that we hesitate putting on our records that become favourites among listeners. “Drawn from Memory” off of our debut album was the same way. We recorded “Serenade” and it just had such an interesting quality to it that was different from anything else we have recorded. So naturally we hesitated releasing it. But thankfully we did. And the response has been overwhelming. Not sure how many more like that we will record though…
Do you have a sense of musical direction for your next release?
HYH: No one knows this yet, but we just started working on some mixes with Dan The Automator for a special release before the end of the year. And on top of that, we are already two or three songs into the recording of our next release. It will probably be another EP. And it will be available for Free like the others. We are tired of the 10+ song album format. We like EP’s. Five or six songs, and it’s over. Otherwise, the listener gets bored. We can release more material each year that way as well.
And what are your influences, musical or otherwise?
HYH: Benny Hill, Muhammad Ali, Sue Mengers and Sergio Leone
Some of your songs have been featured on MTV. Can you tell us how that came about?
HYH: A dear friend of ours, who has since departed, passed our album along to his friend, who passed it along to his friend at MTV and they started using our songs as background music in all their shows. And now we just found out that our video for “Jackie Come Lately” debuts on Subterranean on MTV2 Wednesday September 8th. We are grateful for all of MTV’s support.
Can you describe your live shows? You’ve supported some pretty big names, how was that?
HYH: We have had the good fortune of supporting some great bands. We are due to support Jon Spencer Blues Explosion in October here in the states, which is going to be fucking fantastic. When you see us live, all the elements of the albums are there, even though it is just the two of us. But things get louder, faster and the crowd always has a good time at our shows. We love getting the crowd involved as much as possible. We feed off of the energy in the room. And if there isn’t as much energy as we would like, no worries. We bring enough with us for everybody.
What’s next for HYH? Will you tour in the UK?
HYH: We would love to tour the UK. It is at the top of our to-do list. Hopefully sooner than later we can come over and buy a round for our friends at Sloucher after a show.
Thanks for speaking to us, we might have to take you up on that drink!
HYH: Thank you very much. Cheers.
Heavy Young Heathens are featured on Sloucher’s Autumn Mix CD here
You can also download their first LP from their site too!
With many thanks to Heavy Young Heathens!