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An Interview with Young the Giant: Gaining Steam

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Fresh off this year’s MTV Video Music Awards and their tour with Incubus, Young the Giant is a relatively new band stemming from the Orange County, California scene. Their new self-titled CD is gaining traction on radio all thanks to their relentless touring, their VMA performance, and the current singles “My Body” and “Cough Syrup”. Examiner.com sat down with Sameer Gadhia, lead singer, of the very tenacious band known as Young the Giant.

Examiner.com: How is the tour going with Incubus?

Sameer Gadhia: It has been absolutely amazing touring with Incubus. This is our longest support tour since Minus the Bear, and we are slowly starting to bond with the guys in the band. We try and keep conversation light. The one thing you realize when touring is that it is easy to just talk music all the time. It can be quite refreshing to just turn off with other musicians.

Examiner: I wanted to talk about your performance at this year's MTV Video Music Awards. Were you guys nervous at all? How did you even get a slot on this year's VMAs, considering you are a relatively new band?

Gadhia: We were very excited to perform at this year's VMAs. We were nervous for dress rehearsal, but after we did it a couple of times with all of our friends, it became just like any other club show. We were MTV push artist of the week not too long ago. That sparked the initial interest. Afterwards, some of the MTV crew came to our iTunes live SoHo performance in NYC in July. Then Lollapalooza. I think they were impressed by our live set, and our dynamic on stage.

Examiner: Do you think it is hard to be a rock act in the year 2011? Radio is not even responsive to that music form anymore. It was probably easier to debut a song at the MTV Video Music Awards then it was to get the single "My Body" in heavy rotation on rock radio.

Gadhia: Although Rock music might be lacking in the realm of top 40 Radio, I do believe that there is much to be said about the Alternative form of Radio. Sirius, and other regional alternative stations around the country and the world have been very supportive of "My Body" as an Alternative single. It is hard to be a rock act, but if you have something to say, I think we have enough faith that it'll get out there.

Examiner: What was the song "My Body" originally about?

Gadhia: It was about transcending frustration and the inevitably destructive forces of self-criticism. We wrote the song in about 15 minutes in response to a slow day of writing.

Examiner: I hear a lot of Temper Trap when I listen to you guys. Are they an influence on you guys at all? If not, who is?

Gadhia: Temper Trap is a great band, but we had already written a good majority of our material just as their album was releasing. I think they might draw from some similar influences, but I have never thought of them when thinking of our music. Radiohead is one of our biggest influences. Just their long-standing ever-evolving career never ceases to amaze us.

Examiner: Morissey was quoted for saying "I could break down with happiness at the new debut CD by Young The Giant. It is the whole thing ... it is the perfect tone ... and Sameer's voice is unbreakable. If there is any justice in the world (and we all know there isn't) Young The Giant will own most of it by August... Every three thousand years, a band comes along who restore that precious component of faith." How does this, among many other critics who love you guys, make you feel?

Gadhia: With critics, there will always be good and bad. It has been a constant struggle to try and separate myself from critique, because I never want to write music for the critics. It's for the listeners, and most importantly, for us. It is great to know that Morrissey has championed us and he will hopefully be a powerful collaborative force in the future.

Examiner: How did you guys eventually meet? Was anyone in the band classically trained on vocals/instruments?

Gadhia: We all met through the live local music scene that was brewing South OC around our high school years. I've known some of the guys as early as middle/elementary school. I think our tightness comes from years of collective growth throughout the years. We have been jamming since we were kids and have grown around that ritual practice. We also played a lot of cover gigs as young kids and playing someone else's material always teaches you about music. We have a mix of theory education. Some of us have lots of Theory under our belts (Jake, a classical guitarist, is one of them). I on the other hand, have none. I think the balance is great when we collaborate (all of our writing is mutually shared and created). There's a bit of freeform, and a bit of old school.

For more on Young the Giant visit http://www.youngthegiant.com.

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