In its purest form, music is about emotion. Lo-fi/Hi-fi, punk, garage, blah blah blah. The best music is that which defies description. Hailing from Allston, Massachusetts, Young Adults aims to shake you with their noise and their passion. Guitars shred eardrums, drums break your kneecaps and vocals make your eyes water. Sounds like a little slice of heaven to us. The three members of the band took a moment with TDOA staffer Ravin to talk about the cacaphony.
Rip It Up
TDOA: Your MySpace page is pretty scant on personal info, so if you could, please tell our readers the basics: who you are, how you met, your respective astrological signs…
Chris: I’m Chris and I play guitar and sing.
Demitri: I’m Demitri and I play bass and sing.
Kurt: I’m Kurt and I play drums.
Chris: Demitri and I have known each other for about two years at this point and met each other through this New England based message board in which a lot of our mutual friends happen to post and participate. He posted a noisy, post-punky shoegaze sketch of a song. I responded and said that I could contribute some noisy distorted keyboard. We were both in different bands at that time, me in Whitetail and Demitri in Magic Magic.
Demitri: We began this weekly practice escapade that usually just ended in drunken nonsense. No real direction, plans or purpose. It was a lot of fun.
Chris: We spent most of our time just being free and having fun making songs up on the spot. Our jams were sometimes really abstract and cerebral and other times free-spirited and noisy, I would say reminiscent of Sonic Youth’s sound explorations and certainly informed by Sonic Youth in general. Our actual practiced material didn’t really develop the way we wanted, so we disbanded. But me and Demitri’s musical chemistry was definitely still evident and eventually, after a sort of social upheaval in both of our lives, we talked about forming a new band.
Demitri: Summer of 2009 came along and suddenly just about everything became extremely unfun for both of us. Maybe not as much for Chris, but very much so for myself. Just about everything that could go wrong, did go wrong. Just about everything I valued corroded before me. It sucked. I was just down in the dumps basically. We formed the band as a cathartic respite for both of us. After we thought out the foundation of the band as a whole, thematically and sonically, we talked to Kurt about playing drums.
Chris: My brother Kurt and I have been playing music on and off since we were kids, even before I had my first electric guitar. So we’ve always had a natural creative and familial connection that hasn’t changed over the years. He had just gotten a drum set around the time Demitri and I were talking about Young Adults, so I thought it would be fitting for us to play in a band once again. I figured it would give him the practice and motivation to get better and the chance to meet new people and hear new sounds.
TDOA: You guys hail from Allston, Mass., my old stomping grounds (B.U. Class of ’04)! Back then, there seemed to be more happening on the other side of the river, around Cambridge. Have things changed? Is there an Allston “scene” brewing?
Chris: Boston’s got a few ‘scenes,’ kind of genre pockets scattered about. Allston’s got a lot of stuff going on, but I’d say that most of the punk and metal bands that play shows in Boston are in Allston. There are also a bunch of bands connected through a local messageboard, and I’d say that medium of communication really brings a lot of disparate and similar sounds together: mathy indie rock, grungy 90s-ish stuff, no wave, garage, post-rock, indie pop….
Demitri: There has been an “Allston Scene” for as long as I’ve lived in Allston, which is counting in at about 6 years now. I started finding out about Allston shows when I was a sophomore at BU, so probably around 2004/2005. A lot of my friends moved off campus that year so I started to get exposed to the basement scene in the area. Around the same time I started attending shows at Great Scott and the Paradise more frequently; they started booking bands that I was familiar with at the time, such as Aids Wolf, Ho-Ag, Built to Spill, Lightning Bolt, etc. Basically anything you could read about on the internet or in Skyscraper magazine. Around 2006 I started playing in bands myself and became highly invested in local music. There was one street that a lot of my friends lived on that was like an urban summer camp for two straight years. There were 4 houses on the street that had shows, and pretty frequently. You didn’t need plans. You just went to the street to get wasted and check out tunes on any given night. Although some of the more notable and memorable houses no longer have shows, there are always new kids moving into new places and making it happen. It’s kinda sick.
TDOA: One of the things I find endearing about your demo album is its 80′s underground punk/indie vibe. Did you want the songs to sound this way, or was it simply a product of circumstance?
Demitri: I’d say both. Firstly, I’d like to explain that I try to expose myself to a lot of music. Listening to music should be a challenging experience. It should push you into places you don’t necessarily feel comfortable. Concurrently, there should be elements to the music that pull you in. The hook. Whatever it is that just makes you feel feelings, be it excited, angry, relaxed, whatever. With that said, I try to listen to as much music as possible and learn from it. But, at the core, I really just like loud music with the punk spirit. Most of that good shit came from the late 70′s and 80′s, so a lot of what I love is from, or inspired from, that era. When it comes down to it, I think we’re more concerned with the sonic dirt than the time period itself. I’d even argue that we have more of a 90′s vibe.
On the other hand, we happened to be broke when we recorded the demo, so we definitely couldn’t track it at some elaborate, intense studio. Our buddy Dan Gonzales runs a pretty legitimate home studio in Brighton, MA and cut us a one-day tracking deal. It took him some weeks to mix it (he’s a busy man), but he got it done. We’re happy with it.
Chris: It’s safe to say that the underground music of the 80′s-early 90′s factors heavily into the mentality and texture of our music. Demitri and I had slightly different paths getting to our current sound, but we understand where it’s coming from and who helped pave the way for us. Ultimately, we wanted our music to be textural, aggressive, and melodic.
TDOA: As mentioned in the previous question, if I had to describe your sound to a friend, I’d say it’s a mix of 80′s punk stuff like The Dead Kennedys, The Misfits, and Minor Threat, and 80′s indie rock, like Dinosaur Jr. , Husker Du, and Mission of Burma. Would you agree? Would you cite these bands as influences?
Demitri: Sure. I like all of these bands. It’s hard for me to pinpoint specific influences because I’m inspired by so much. My goal is to steal from just about every loud, punk spirited band that rules. I’d say Sonic Youth is a major influence on my music, or perhaps the way I perceive music. But, you probably couldn’t tell from the songs we write. I’d also site Discharge, the Ramones, My Bloody Valentine, Guided by Voices, Black Tambourine, Polvo, Q and not U, Guitar Wolf. The list goes on really.
Chris: It’s funny, but I honestly never really got into DK, Misfits, or even Minor Threat. In high school I listened to a lot of 90s hardcore, some embarrassing crap and some stuff I still think is really impactful. I think Husker/Dinosaur/Burma is definitely in our music, for me the 80s indie/punk/post-hardcore sound was channeled to me through Number Girl, a noisy and visceral melodic indie punk band from Japan. I can’t stress their influence on me enough. Bloodthirsty Butchers, another near-legendary band from Japan, also influenced my songwriting for Young Adults. The Butchers material by the mid 90s had a melancholic, wistful aura that I’ve always related to. I think I subconsciously play to that kind of vibe. Both of those bands played through and championed the imperfections of their music, and that achievement really inspired me to keep playing and writing music. ‘Loveless’ also had a profound influence on my perception of music in general. I really wasn’t the same after hearing that album.
Kurt: For me, my influences are very different. When I first started drumming all I would listen to was hip-hop and reggae and drum to that. I love Sublime. I never thought I would ever be in a punk/indie rock band. It was when Chris played me Number Girl that I really had the urge to play in a heavier/faster band.
TDOA: You guys are a bare-bones guitar-rawk power trio, which is a rarity these days. Do you lament the state of indie rock in recent years, with the overwhelming influx of DNCE PRTY RMX Laptop-pop being shoved down everyone’s throats?
Demitri: We definitely want to go back to the basics. We like simplicity. We like the power trio. We like verse chorus verse chorus under 2 minutes. We like noise. We like it loud. I don’t think it’s a reactionary thing. We’re not like “fuck all of this chillwave and looper stuff.” I happen to like Small Black. I like what Toro y Moi is doing. I’m down with sitting in my room and listening to Belong for hours and just kind of like, melting into my bed. I just happen to be at a particular stage in my life where the music I’m playing is the kind of music that I need to play. It’s not much of an option. If I did anything else right now it would feel extremely forced or contrived.
Chris: I really don’t relate to dance parties and I never really have heard a remix that I enjoy more than the original. I think indie rock is an exposed and colorful spectrum of sound right now, and there are sounds that I’m really enjoying and stuff that I just can’t pay attention to. There’s just so much out there right now. I’m just glad to be playing the kind of music that I want to hear, really.
TDOA: Young Adults has what a lot of bands seem to be lacking: a sense of danger. The songs sound like they could fly off the rails at any moment, sending the audience into a chaotic frenzy. Is it your opinion that bands these days play it way too safe?
Kurt: I like our sound because of that exact reason. Our music evokes emotions.
Demitri: Our music is basically a controlled mess if that is what you mean. I’d say that they’re other current bands with similar sonic aspirations, such as Liquor Store, Four Eyes, or Grass Widow. I’m glad that we’re not alone in this.
Chris: I really love meticulously sculpted music sometimes – Bark Psychosis’ ‘Hex’ and Unwound’s last album come to mind – but I think there is so much beauty in chaos, noise, and imperfection. The right intent just has to be there to wrestle the chaos into a recognizable and enjoyable form.
TDOA: Even though it’s a little difficult to distinguish the lyrics at times, what I really love about you guys is your singing. Every song feels like it should have a crowd of drunken hooligans pumping their fists in the air and belting along at the top of their lungs! I can’t help but feel that this is a reflection of your attitude as a band, that you want to include people, to embrace them and rally them to some noble end. Is this true or am I just being an over-enthusiastic music blogger?
Demitri: Before we even had any songs we wanted to create this chaotic experience that would compel people to sort of let down their guards and submit to the wall of sound. Music is highly emotive and we wanted to make people feel it, express it. We wanted people to join us in our determined journey to escape the black hole of 2009. I’m actually so glad that you see it that way. That’s exactly what we intended.
Chris: We want people to move to our music, we want people to uncross their arms and move their fucking feet! I just want people to stop being so self-conscious and embrace the chaos. It feels good to let go of yourself. It’s hard enough doing that these days. The most I could hope for is that people lose themselves in our music. Our song ‘Let Us Out’ is pretty much about this desire.
Kurt: I would completely agree and that’s why I asked Chris and Demitri to post the lyrics to our songs. The funny thing about the vocals is that Chris and Demitri were scared at first to sing because they thought they didn’t have the pipes to do it. I explained to them that it’s a punk band and you don’t need a perfect voice with perfect tone and perfect vibrato. Just yell in tune.
TDOA: Are there any bands or tracks you’ve been obsessed with lately that you’d like to recommend to our readers?
Chris: These days, I start and end my days with Tim Hecker and this ambient artist Gas. I listen to a lot of modern ambient music that emphasizes decayed and distorted textures. I really can’t get enough ambient distortion, so naturally I have a steady intake of shoegaze and shoegaze-related sounds. In terms of indie rock, I’ve been listening to the Cloud Nothing’s record a lot. I still can’t believe that kid is 18. It’s actually pretty scary how good he is at writing pop songs. There’s also this band from China called Carsick Cars who do Sonic Youth REALLY well. I enjoyed their latest album a lot the past few months. Other than that, over the past couple of years I’ve had love affairs (most ongoing) with The Legends, Astrobrite, Ringo Deathstarr, Disco Inferno, Abe Vigoda, Beat Happening…
Demitri: Top 3 Current Locals: Girlfriends, Four Eyes, Earthquake Party. I can’t stop plugging these local bands because they’re really, really awesome. I love their songs and I love them as people. Top 3 Current Nationals: Marked Men (Are they broken up? No one seems to really know), Abe Vigoda, Best Coast.
TDOA: What’s next? Are these demos going to be re-recorded all fancy-like? Or are you moving on to brand new material?
Chris: We have some new songs that we’ve been working into shape and we definitely want to record a full-length. I’d perhaps want to re-record a song or two from the demo with some added guitar overdubs and louder drums.
Demitri: I think we want to record our new and old songs this summer. We also talked about doing a quick recording 2 of the new songs and releasing a split tape with a local band that we really like. We’ll see.
TDOA: Are you guys planning to tour outside of the Boston area anytime soon?
Demitri: I think we’re gonna make a tour happen this year.
Chris: We all are currently working a lot and trying to save up for a vehicle to get the hell out of Boston and into peoples’ minds, hearts, and feet.
TDOA: Anything else to add?
Chris: Thanks for giving us this opportunity! I would’ve missed the recent Boston Serena Maneesh show if it I hadn’t read your interview with them. Haha. But seriously, I’m very flattered to be interviewed alongside legends like Alan McGee, Mark Burgess, and all the members of Galaxie 500. You definitely get it.
Demitri: That song I Quit Girls by Japandroids is indisputably redolent of Mayonnaise by the Smashing Pumpkins. Prove me wrong. (ED NOTE: Agree!)
Let Us Out
To learn more about the band, visit them here
See them live!
Jun 22 2010 Wavves | Cloud Nothings | Young Adults @ Great Scott Allston, Massachuse, US
Jul 10 2010 DOM | Golden Girls | Young Adults @ HoB Front Room Boston, MA
Aug 7 2010 Deep Heaven Now Festival Somerville, MA