The Bucket Playlist’s interview with The Young Hearts

The Bucket Playlist’s interview with The Young Hearts: ‘It felt like the backbone to our sound, our melting pot as a band’

by Sara Seddon at The Bucket Playlist (inthebucketplaylist.com)

Kent-based punk-rock band, The Young Hearts, released their debut album, The Modern State, last month, a collection of boisterous yet reflective songs that has been several years in the making.

The band comprises Craig Lawrence (guitar and vocals), Aaron Jackson (guitar), Stewart Thorpe (bass) and Andrew Pepin (drums). Lawrence, Thorpe and Jackson played together in a former band. Promise Me Tomorrow. They met Pepin playing on local bills and became friends before inviting him to join the band.

The first track on the album is the drum-driven and very catchy ‘Wild & Reckless’ which is, as the title suggests, about nights out: ‘This was the first song we wrote for the record and it basically set the blueprint for how we wanted it to sound,’ Lawrence explained. ‘It’s about the few months I spent after I quit my dead end job, I was going out a lot, drinking a lot, but not in a drown your sorrows kind of way. It was almost a celebration and an acknowledgment that I was moving into another stage of life. Those few months were a brief period where I had no stress and didn’t need to worry about anything.’

It’s also a memorable song for Thorpe: ‘I remember hearing it in the practice room, it felt like the backbone to our sound, our melting pot as a band. It’s our opening track live 90% of the time, although it was a gamble with the synthy bit at the start!’

As it kicks off: ‘I’m not trying to make excuses, I know I probably made the wrong decisions but no one told me how to do this or maybe I just wasn’t listening but I don’t mind that I found myself in that wild and reckless breeze.’

Lawrence is what Thorpe calls the ‘one cook’ of their writing process: ‘I relate a lot to what he says, we’re quite similar and also into the same bands. Our songs are personal reflections and struggles, not politics. They’re like therapy.’

‘Getting to that milestone age actually turns out to be nothing like how you always expected it to be growing up’

The titular track, ‘The Modern State’, could easily be about the pandemic but actually precedes it by several years: ‘This is about approaching 30, an age where some time ago you’d be expected to have your life in order,’ Lawrence said. ‘A steady job, a mortgage, married, possibly children, everything our parents had when they reached that age. These days, however, it feels like you’re still figuring everything out, the same way you did at 20. Getting to that milestone age actually turns out to be nothing like how you always expected it to be growing up. You’re still only getting older.’ The song is also about human decency, according to Thorpe; ‘It touches on the moral code and how decent people are or aren’t to each other.’

This comes across in the track: ‘It looks like we made it. It’s not how I thought it would be. You see that early thirty something kind of wild, seemed so far away for me. I was bulletproof, just for a minute until it hit me again.’

One of my favourite tracks on the album is the slower, wistful, ‘Cold Nights’, which came together very quickly: ‘Craig had a tune in his head and basically wrote it in the studio,’ Thorpe said. Lawrence describes it as being about his hometown: ‘There’s a cliche of bands writing songs about wanting to get out of their hometown, and this song kind of says the opposite,’ he said. ‘No matter what’s happened, all the good, all the bad, the place you grew up in will always be your home. So maybe when you’re younger you dream of escaping and seeing the world but you eventually come to realise where you’d rather be.’

The biggest, hardest hitting song on the album is arguably the closing track, ‘Don’t Tell A Soul’, which is a trip down memory lane for Lawrence: ‘I spend a lot of time reminiscing and thinking about my teenage years, looking at it through rose coloured glasses like it was the best years of my life, but really I’m just trying to draw attention away from the fact that as a 30 year old I haven’t achieved everything I wanted by this point,’ he said. ‘It’s never a good way to live, to be so invested in the past that it has a negative effect on your present.’

It was originally written to be the acoustic track on the album but when recording the demo, something about the feel of song suggested that it needed to be bigger. ‘When we started adding drums and heavier guitars, it quickly became this huge track that was the perfect way to close the record,’ Lawrence said.

‘He’s taken that pinch of what we love about this album and is developing it further’

Lawrence has already started demoing new material. ‘He’s been sending us through some stuff,’ said Thorpe. ‘ He’s taken that pinch of what we love about this album and is developing it further. If anything, it’s got that East Coast punk with riffs feel, a Menzingers kind of sound, which is the sound that we very much lean towards.’ Other big influences include US rock band Jimmy Eat World and Bruce Springsteen.

Last month, the band became the first signing to the new UK-based record label, Year Of The Rat Records. The Young Hearts have previously toured and shared stages with Can’t Swim, Junior, and Mallory Knox. 

One of Thorpe’s favourite songs is ’45’ by New Jersey rock band, The Gaslight Anthem, which is an absolute belter, put it on a loop, kind of song: ‘It has the drive, a drunk lads song, pumping your fists in the air feel!,’ he laughed.

(Photo from left to right: Craig, Stew, Andrew and Aaron)

This story first appeared on: https://inthebucketplaylist.com/ on February 25th 2021

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