Music marathons are a blast! Free tunes, free booze, and plenty of time to rub elbows with creative types looking for their big break.
One of my favorite pastimes as an interviewer is stumbling upon cool folks at bars, finding out they’re performing that day, and hitting them with a quick, unscripted interview to share with you, the reader. So, here’s a quickie with Jon LaPrade from YOUNG THINGS and his manager right before they took the stage at The Living Room on the Lower East Side. Check them out!
G- What’s up, everybody? This is Greg Allis once again for Live High Five and we are outside of 154 Ludlow Street in New York City. This is The Living Room and this is the Paper Garden Records Showcase. We’re hanging out, it’s free drinks, free entry, it’s a sunny day out, and we’ve found ourselves a little band over here. So, what I’m going to do is just have everybody introduce the name, the band, and everything else. This is Jon (LaPrade) and Brandon, their manager, and the name of the band is…
J- Young Things.
G- Young Things. And you play drums?
J- I do play drums.
G- With metal drumsticks.
J- Metal drumsticks. Ahead.
G- Amen, and who else is in the group, man?
J- Josh Hammer, Mike Fleizach, and Neil Kumar.
G- And why don’t you go ahead and tell us a little bit about the style, where you’re from, how long you’ve been a band, and what you’re looking to do in this crazy game called the music business during CMJ?
J- Umm, looking to play some music and have people see what we do, and check it out and like it.
B- Sell the record! That’s manager speak, right? Sell the record!
G- Yes, sell the record! And that’s actually cool because I met you guys at the bar while getting a drink, and you were putting your cd’s together by hand into the sleeves. You have a new album out… Who recorded it, where did you record it, and how do you feel about it?
J- We recorded it mainly at Flux, and we feel really good about it. We got Manny K. to work on it, and got Hallmark Superstar to guest on it, and it’s feeling really good. It’s much more modern than we’ve done before, and I’m really into it. We got Vance Power to mix it, and it doesn’t sound like Jack White, which is cool. It’s kind of our own little thing that he did with it. I’m very excited!
B- The recording process, I think, is kind of different than what we’ve done previously. We track drum and bass over at Grand street recording in Brooklyn.
B- It’s a great sounding drum room with Ken Rich. And everything else is at Flux Studios at 2nd St. and Ave. A, and then it got mixed in Nashville, like Jonny said, at Blackbird, and it got mastered out in LA. So it took us, all said, like 8 or 9 months, which is a lot longer than it probably should’ve, mostly because we’re poor and were scarping by from session to session…
G- And that’ll happen. And an interesting things is since you guys were putting cd’s into the jackets, and everything like that, you guys are all DIY at this point…
G- So it’s all ground up. It’s tough and I’ve done it myself with touring, records, and everything like that. But at the same time, it gives you a lot of freedom, so how do you feel about being DIY versus being signed to a label, and give us some of the pros and downfalls that you’ve personally experienced as a musician.
J- Uhhh… It’s a really good question.
B- I’d say, for us, is that we get total creative freedom.
J- Yea we can do whatever we want, but it’s just trying to get it out there so people will hear it.
J- That’s the tough part. Because we feel like it’s really good, but it’s really tough to get it out there.
G- Is that a NYC “It’s really good” or and “I’m gonna come to the show and pay $5” really good? It’s a totally different thing.
B- We do really well in NYC, and we’re very humble to say that we don’t do nearly as well on the road. But we’ve worked really hard in our hometown. We’ve sold out Bowery Electric four times in the last year…
G- Shit! Alright then!
B- But on the road, we’re lucky to scrape by with 20-30, and you know, it’s harder to get people out on the road.
G- Hey man, as long as you have a place to stay and a beer to drink, maybe some food to eat, it’s ok on the road. Don’t intend on showering too much… I never did.
So, why don’t you talk about your influences and style. Say, uhh… I don’t want to compare yourself to other bands, because it’s never the way it sounds when people say “We sound like Radiohead.” No, shut up, you don’t sound like Radiohead! But what would you say you guys sound like?
J- (Laughter) We’re influenced by Radiohead, but we don’t sound like Radiohead.
B- It’s sort of like 60’s melodies over, like, dark, kind of modern drums and bass, I would say. But it’s still got a lot of guitar, a lot of elements of jazz… It’s like Clash/Beatles-esque. I know you said don’t compare yourself to bands, but…
G- Nah that’s ok. Influences and comparisons are different. I mean, who doesn’t listen to The Beatles? Is there somebody who doesn’t listen to The Beatles? Does that even happen anymore?
B- McCartney’s ex-wife (laughter)
G- Yea, but you said ex-wife. And she made plenty! She made more money of The Beatles than I did, so…
J- And probably Ringo.
G- (laughter) Well, you’re a drummer, so how do you feel about Ringo? As a drummer, how do you feel about Ringo?
J- He’s actually one of my favorite drummers. I like drummers that don’t overplay, and just sort of…
G- You NEVER have to worry about Ringo overplaying!
J- That is true.
G- He did exactly what he needed to do, and not a beat more!
J- Exactly. Exactly right.
B- That’s actually one of the best Beatles quotes, right? Someone asked John Lennon if Ringo gets too much heat, and if he was one of the best drummers in Rock and Roll, and he said “He’s not even the best drummer in The Beatles!”
G- Alright, so anyways, we’re at CMJ 2012 and you guys are going to be playing. Tell us how you feel so far even though it’s a Tuesday afternoon. Where are you going to be and what are you going to be doing?
J- Well, this interview woke me up. I wasn’t really…
G- HA HAAAAA!
B- This is game time, now. We’ve been thrust into it.
J- So now, it’s just going to shows, going to parties, and playing our first show tonight, which we’re excited about.
G- Excellent! And where’s that?
J- Bowery Electric.
G- Very good! What time are you guys going on?
J- Like 10 o’clock.
G- Nice! So you’ve got the prime time slot at Bowery Electric… That’s a pretty good slot, and if you’ve already sold the place out four times, hopefully that’ll be good!
Now, two last quick questions for you… You’re a new band. 3 years old. DIY or Die. But, I know you have a Dream Bill, so if you could choose 3 acts, who would you want to tour with, who would you want to be on a show with you, and, uhh, yea?
B- Now you’re really woken up!
J- Yea I’m really awake.
G- Get the fuck up!
B- I think we would really like The Black Keys. That’d be a good choice.
J- Should I say The Strokes? The third?
B- (laughing) There’s only 2 bands we like, so…
G- Well, you said The Black Keys and The Strokes. Blur is coming back…
G- I mean, it’d be fun. I don’t really know if you like them, but…
B- The audience is going to be huge, anyways.
B- Yea. You’d want to play with Weezer, I’m sure.
G- Ahh! Circa Blue, circa “Pinkerton?”
J- The early stuff.
G- Thank you!
J- (laughter) The first two. I don’t know about the rest of the records.
G- Perfect! I am in complete agreement. And now, as a musician who is working hard and trying to do your thing… You’re still up and coming yourself, but there are a lot of kids who would die to be in your position right now. What advice would you personally give to somebody who is looking to make it in music as a musician, and on the road?
J- I would say just work hard, meet as many people as you can, go to where you find out they are, and work hard.
B- And give us 20 grand and we’ll train you!
G- Hey hey hey… We’re thinking too hard here. Let’s not think with dollars, let’s think with sense.
J- I like that.
B- We’re broke!
G- (laughing) Anyways, this is day 1 of CMJ and I’m on drink number 5. We just interviewed Young Things drummer Jon and manager Brandon, and they’ve been awesome. So, we’re going to try to see them at Bowery Electric tonight, and thank you guys very much for talking with us today!
J- It was a pleasure, man. Thank you!
G- And enjoy some CMJ!