Crying and Dancing Uncontrollably: An Interview with whenyoung

whenyoung © 2019
whenyoung © 2019
London-via-Dublin indie pop trio whenyoung reflect on their busy breakthrough into music, the troughs of self-doubt, and their upcoming debut album.

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In time you’ll drift away, the colours will flow back. Take a breath, you’ll get another day

Limerick City rockers whenyoung have just come off the back of a landmark year. They’ve battled all odds, supported the musical greats and are now approaching the next frontier; their debut LP. The lead single, “Never Let Go” teases a promising, accomplished debut of a band playing decades beyond their years.

whenyoung’s music shines with a gloss of confidence that’s been present since their first mark on the industry in 2017. Since then, whenyoung’s vibrant, guitar-pop and introspective lyrics have caught the attention of critics across the globe. The trio of singer/bassist Aoife Power, guitarist Niall Burns, and drummer Andrew Flood made an first indelible mark just months ago, with November 2018’s debut EP Given Up.

This year, whenyoung will make their NYC debut at New York City’s Mercury Lounge on March 6.

Never Let Go - whenyoung
Never Let Go – whenyoung

Released January 11, 2019, “Never Let Go” does not disappoint. The exhilarance of youth shines through in this fresh, poignant ballad on, you guessed it, never letting go. The track is polished with a crisp sound and chiselled with razor sharp guitar riffs. This confident, percussion-soaked sound is the perfect compliment for lead vocalist Aoife’s dulcet harmonies.

“Never Let Go” is as much an infectious, pop-earworm as it is a seminal reflection of modern youth. The track dives into the plights of our generation, our reluctance to speak up about issues regarding our mental health and wellbeing, a topic that has become more prevalent in songwriting in recent years. whenyoung’s lyrics are yet another addition to the ever-expanding narrative on the negative connotations surrounding mental health.

Atwood Magazine recently spoke with members of whenyoung in an interview about the past, present, and future of their music career.


Atwood Magazine: Did you always want to be in a band when you grew up?

whenyoung: Yeah, to some extent between the three of us we did. Who doesn’t I suppose! Aoife would claim she has written songs since she was five years old, her very first band around this time was called Fashion. But it was definitely a dream growing up for all of us which took a bit of time to form and become a realisation.

Have your influences and tastes changed much since the band first formed?

The Velvet Underground are one of hundreds of bands that we have mutually bonded over and introduced each other to since we met in our early teens. Our tastes haven’t changed but I guess that palette has grown. We all have our go-tos and our guilty pleasures.

Do you find the environment you grew up in has influenced your music in any other ways?

Yes, elements from our past often come up and inspire us in strange ways, old songs and sayings in particular. If anything though our environment growing up has made us very determined to succeed.

What has been the biggest challenge in your DIY approach to making music?

The biggest challenge probably comes from within. Those troughs of self doubt. Pulling through those and coming out the other side is always a big challenge when you solely really on your own creativity.

When it comes to creating music as a band, do you have a process?

In order for the inspiration to strike you have to allow time. We’ve just finished making our debut album and we’re already feeling fresh and ready for the next chapter of songwriting. Generally we like to write all together with our instruments as a group. Aoife normally begins with an earworm and we take it from there.

When writing “Never Let Go,” did you pull inspiration from any personal experiences?

Yes. It was from suffering and experiencing first hand, the devastating effect that our mental health can have on us and those around us. But also how much hope and reliance we can get from each other.

Despite dealing with heavier themes than previous singles, “Never Let Go” seems to drift towards a more vibrant and guitar-pop sound. Was this intentional?

This was actually a song that we had lying around for a while and it went through a few stages before we felt that it was right. So it wasn’t necessarily intentional, the melody and sentiment were always there but it just felt right when it ended up as it now is. Many of our songs have that more vibrant, pop driven edge. It really just depends on the particular song.

What has been your favourite show to play so far in your career?

We have had many favourites, probably last summer in Dublin with Nick Cave and Patti Smith. Although the higher profile ones can be so daunting sometimes that you don’t appreciate them.

Which musician would be a dream to collaborate with?

Those two were very high on our list! Other than that, off the top of my head: John Lennon, Bjork and Burt Bacharach!

What can we expect from your debut album?

It is almost all previously unreleased material. So it feels exciting, to us at least. There are highs and lows, fasts and slows. Hopefully you will cry while dancing madly uncontrollably when you hear it. That’s the aim.

What were some of your favourite music releases in 2018 and why?

We really liked:

  • Mitski – Be The Cowboy. It’s uneasy but pure. Disco but delicate.
  • SOPHIE – OIL OF EVERY PEARL’S UN-INSIDES. I would call it a precisely executed, emotional dream-cake.
  • Young Fathers – Cocoa Sugar. For being experimental, melodic and uplifting.

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Never Let Go - whenyoung

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