Over the past year, Young The Giant has been one of the fast rising new bands in alt-rock. With songs like “My Body” and “Cough Syrup” becoming national and international staples, they have grown from a regional phenomenon to stars. With a three-month North American tour commencing next week, we caught up with Francois Comtois and Sameer Gadhia to chat about their new music and a bunch of things and here’s what happened.
DK: Why and when did you decide to change your name from The Jakes to Young the Giant?
FC: That came after we were signed to Roadrunner, so in 2009. We came to the realization that this would be the last time we could change our name. We didn’t think that The Jakes fit us anymore. It was a band started five years before and only two of the original members were still around. The name didn’t represent us and hence warranted something new. We kicked together a bunch of names for a while and nobody seemed to agree on anything. Finally, Sameer said Young The Giant and we looked at each other and judging by the looks on everyone’s faces, nobody hated it so that’s how it happened.
DK: When do you think you’re going to start the sessions for a new album?
SG: We see the second album as the true test. We want people to see that we’re very creative, we don’t get into writer’s block and we’ve kept flowing for three or four years and have no signs of stopping.
DK: Are you excited to debut some of your new music on the upcoming tour? Are you planning on switching up the set a bit on this time around?
FC: Absolutely. We did a lot of tours where we were opening for a bigger headliner and that required that we play a similar set, if not the same exact set night in and night out. We got to the point where I was playing drums entirely on muscle memory. There were entire portions of songs where I was thinking of my girlfriend or what I want to eat later on and stupid stuff like that when I should be concentrating on drumming. It was strange because I started to feel exactly like a robot. I think we want to avoid that as much as possible an whether that means playing more new material or bust out a couple of more covers, and break up the monotony a bit.
DK: What’s the oldest song that the band performs?
FC: “Cough Syrup.” It’s funny because that’s one of the songs that got us signed and it still gets such a strong reaction when we play it live. I never thought in a million years that song would be the one to get us to where we’ve gotten. You can never predict what songs people are going to connect with.
DK: Were your parents always supportive of your musical endeavors?
SG: At first they weren’t super approving because they thought it was very important to go to college. When we started to see some success, and more so when they saw how passionate about what we were doing, they really became supportive and now I can’t stop talking to my parents about music.
FC: Sometimes I feel like I’m doing interviews with my parents when I come back home. Sometimes they’ll ask questions about how things are going and I feel like I’m giving them the answers I’m giving to some blog writer. But they’ve been so awesome about it and are so happy and proud that I think that I try to be more patient when they ask than I would have been before.
DK: Having played the VMAs and Unplugged, you’ve done stuff that bands dream of when they first start out. Is it hard to stay grounded, at least amongst each other, that all of these things that were once dreams, are now becoming reality?
SG: Luckily, I haven’t found it difficult because my best friends are in this band. We constantly bring each other down in a joking way that keeps us together and focused without getting overwhelmed. When we first started playing music, we never wanted to lose sight of anything, regardless of how much we accomplish. Hopefully none of us ever become assholes and think we’re more important than we really are. That’s not to say that it’s not incredible and awesome to do stuff we dreamed, but it’s how you deal with it that makes you who you are.
DK: With the new songs thus far, have you started to experiment with your sound by adding any new instruments or sounds to the existing material?
FC: The earlier songs that were on our first album were the result of only having certain instruments at our disposal. We were working on strictly guitar, bass and drum songs because we didn’t have any other instruments to make any other sounds. Now that we’ve gotten to the point where can afford new and different instruments, we can be more meticulous about finding the perfect tone and we want to take that opportunity to get the sound we want right.
DK: Does playing to sold out crowds, reaffirm to you guys that your musical direction is the right one for the band or do you not discuss nor care about things like that?
SG: We are definitely evolving on our terms and don’t want to fall into a trap of doing the same thing over and over again. At the same time, we don’t want to do something too different or too crazy that it doesn’t feel like us. We’re starting to be a little bit more experimental with what we’re doing; yet still maintaining the pop sensibility that defines our sound.
DK: Why are you guys touring despite having not started the new album?
SG: It’s going to bridge the gap between the first and second records. People are going to see the direction where we’re going.