Seattle has had an illustrious history with producing great bands, especially within the past 25 years. The Young Evils are the next band in line to become one of the bands synonymous with the Emerald City. Through hard work, long-term friendships and great music, the band has slowly built a following that’s expanded outside of the Pacific Northwest. Straight-forward, old-fashioned rock is their sound, and they play it quite well. Bestnewbands.com shared a couple of beers in their dressing room at PJ20 (the last in our series of interviews from the event) to hear their story,
Daniel Kohn: The two of you (Mackenzie and Troy) met while working at the legendary Easy Street Records in Seattle. How did the rest of the band come together?
Cody Hurd: I grew up with Troy and met him when I was 14. He was my guitar instructor. We’re both from Mitchell, South Dakota.
DK: What’s it like being in a band with him? Is it difficult to transfer from the master/apprentice relationship to sharing songwriting duties with him?
CH: It came full-circle and it’s great actually.
Troy Nelson: For the record, I’m still cooler than Cody.
DK: How would you describe your relationship? Is it more like Obi-Wan/Luke or Emperor/Darth Vader?
TN: For some reason it never goes away. Even if Cody outshreds me on the guitar, I will always feel like the teacher. I’m older than him to, so it better be obvious (laughs).
Michael Lee: Troy treats me like Jar-Jar.
DK: And what about Faustine?
Faustine Hudson: I used to shop at Easy Street and we had a bunch of mutual friends.
TN: We became slow friends and this happened just by seeing her at the store.
Mackenzie Mercer: We had also been fans of Faustine’s drumming for some time. We’ve seen her around town and once she became an entity, the three of us (Mercer, Nelson and Hurd), we were looking for a drummer and we always thought she was great. We auditioned other drummers but we were always comparing them to her.
TN: We saw her with other bands and she was great. When we saw her with Chain and The Gang, we knew we needed to get her into audition.
DK: So they gave you a Godfather offer? What was it?
FH: Originally they need a drummer for their show with The Vaselines. We couldn’t quite coordinate our schedules and I was playing with about a thousand other bands. After that show, they came into Easy Street, where I also worked, but at the other location (West Seattle) at this point. They were taking a break before SXSW this year and I was in between periods with other bands…
TN: It should be noted we actually came out with a record last year…
MM: But it was recorded before we had a full live band. We had some temporary other members and had happened to play with Michael’s other band…
ML: I’ve known Troy on-and-off over the years. I was a bartender at the Crocodile, which is a seminal Seattle music spot for 7 years. But now, I manage a bar in the same neighborhood as his record shop (Queen Anne), so we’re sort of neighbors now and bandmates too!
DK: Is this your first proper tour as a collective outfit?
MM: Yep! Can you believe our first show on the road together is PJ20?
DK: Actually, I can’t. What does that say about your reputation that you are able to play at this monster show, as the opening show of your tour?
TN: Actually that’s not completely true. I put out my first record in Seattle in 1999.
DK: But as a collective entity?
TN: As an entity, yes. But for me, it’s been 11 years of putting music out and FINALLY something has happened. People are like, “Well you’re on the radio,” and all that, but after 11 years, God forbid we finally catch a break and someone pays attention.
FH: The reality is that we’ve all paid our dues.
DK: But as a new group, to have a success as a collective unit, not on an individual level.
MM: As The Young Evils yes. Everybody here wants to deliver and play the best we can to win over new fans.
DK: From the look of things, it seems like you did that, despite the monsoon-esque elements.
ML: I actually thought it was cool and fun way to open the festival. That’s exciting period, but we were initially a little nervous then there was this huge fucking storm and now there’s this story.
FH: It made it much more exciting for us.
DK: What’s the plan for the rest of 2011?
MM: We’re playing a couple of shows with Liam (Finn) and then we’re getting in a van playing a bunch of shows on the east coast. We just want to play since we’ve only been doing gigs in Seattle for two years and we want to expand. We want to play in new places at little bars where there are four people there who have never heard of us.
TN: We also have a whole ‘nother record written, so we’re excited and ready to record. We should probably ride this current album out a little bit, but I’m dying to get into the studio and record. It’s looking like we’re going to do the next album with Shane Stoneback, who did the first couple of Vampire Weekend albums and Cults as well. He wants us to come to New York…
MM: He’s from the same town in South Dakota as well and childhood best friend…
TN: It’s the weirdest thing…
DK: But when you work your ass off and hustle, good things tend to happen.
TN: Totally. He worked his ass off in New York. He was in Brooklyn and was an assistant to an assistant working on Britney Spears records. Now he’s doing all this crazy stuff, the Sleigh Bells record.
MM: So many talented people coming from such a small town!
TN: We actually had an NBA player who came from our town. Mike Miller from the Miami Heat.
DK: Nobody likes the Heat though.
TN: But he’s still a cool dude, even if he is on that team.
Check out The Young Evils website for more info and to get their album as well.