G-YOU Exclusive: Backstage with Youngr

G-YOU: I’ll let my two editors here do the talking because I’ll talk nonsense not going to lie

Y: So who does what here?

G-YOU: I’m Libraries convener, I’m like Mikey but I look after books instead of big acts, we’ve got Laura here she’s our Sports and Wellbeing editor and Catrin is our design editor, she does the magazine covers and posters for our own events.

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G-YOU: So what inspired you to become a musician and what’s the story behind your stage name?

Y: Eh? Inspired me to be a musician? My dad’s a musician so I grew up with it around the household and I think it was the drums, I got fascinated with the drums, they’re so loud.

G-YOU: Bet your parents loved that.

Y: Yeah well, my mum wouldn’t let me have a real drum kit. I had to have an electric one until I proved that I actually liked it. And the name, Youngr, is my middle name but without the e, ’cause I have an older brother and my dad’s a genius he came up with younger. I asked my dad, so what’s the story behind the younger thing thinking it was going to be some cool story and he was like literally because you had an older brother, but he’s not called older.

G-YOU: I mean, names are hard.

Y: Yeah, yeah, just say it how it is.

G-YOU: So on that note do you have any advice for aspiring student musicians?

Y: Ermm, it’s super cliché but just don’t ever give up, keep going, because it doesn’t come easy, it does not come easy, you get knocked back. Never pamper to anyone, never try to follow a trend, stay in your own lane and give all of you, with love and conviction in anything you want to do. Know what you want to do, or as well as you can know, I didn’t know what I wanted to do at 21, I think I was like 25 before I really knew what I wanted to do and Youngr was the lane. I knew I loved doing music though at like aged 14.

G-YOU: That’s good for me at age 23, and I don’t know what I’m doing.

Y: Yeah, yeah, but I was just wandering around being like I think it’s music, I think it’s this and then everything just kind of falls into place, persistency is key.

G-YOU: If you could be stuck in one music era, what would it be?

Y: That’s a great question. One music era? Erm, the 70s because I f*****g love disco. Flares, John Travolta, The Bee-gees.

G-YOU: That’s a great answer.

G-YOU: For me it’d have to be the 80s. That’s my playlist for going out, yeah has to be.

Y: 80s yeah I can dig that, synth-pop.

G-YOU: What’s the worst mistake you’ve ever made live?

Y: Oh, live?

G-YOU: Yeah not just in life,

Y: Okay yeah, I was like woah therapy session.

G-YOU: Yeah that’s the real reason you’re here.

Y: Yeah you thought, “looks like you need therapy”.

G-YOU: And do you ever get nervous when you realise how many people are watching?  

Y: Ermm, it’s not really nervous it’s more like excitement ’cause I’ve been on the stage for so long now, it’s like butterflies. But that turns into adrenaline when I get out there. But biggest mistake I’ve made on stage, hmmm. It’s a good question, but see you never really remember the bad bits because you kind of block them out. But I was 15 and in a rock band with my brother and we were jamming, we thought we were the f*****g coolest rock band, and everyone kind of watched us like woah, basically like 5 people in the audience and I screamed down the mic, “You guys are s***”.

Y: And no one was dancing, and I very quickly realised to never tell an audience they’re s***.

G-YOU: Yeah, try not to do that tonight.

Y: I won’t do that tonight I’ll keep it like, “you guys are awesome”.

G-YOU: So we’ve got our beer bar downstairs, if you had to have a drink with another musician in beer bar, who would it be?

Y: Does it have to be beer?

G-YOU: No no.

Y: Great I don’t really like beer. With any other musician, it’d have to be… it’s difficult because, see James Brown is a massive influence but he’s also a heroin addict and beat up his wife.

G-YOU: You’re really thinking this through

Y: Yeah so getting him on a few drinks and it might get a bit nasty. So the other one would be Prince but then he seems like a bit of an arrogant f***er. And then the other one would be Michael Jackson, but then Michael Jackson might be kind of weird too.

G-YOU: It’s just a drink.

Y: You think it’s just a drink, but you don’t know what you’re getting yourself into and they say never meet your idols. Maybe I’ll just meet with Jedward, I’ll pick Jedward.

G-YOU: To be fair they seem fun.

Y: That’d be such a nice drink.

G-YOU: Great answer, you know this is going to be written up tomorrow?

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G-YOU: Who are your biggest influences?

Y: Yeah so just said them, and also Simply Red, for some reason I just fell in love with Simply Red and my dad’s a massive influence. And recently like Pharrell, Timberland, Dr Dre. Calvin Harris is also a massive inspiration, I’ve liked him for ages, all those kind of entertainers and producers.

G-YOU: Favourite Scottish artist and do you like playing to a Scottish crowd

Y: Just answered that one so yeah Calvin. And erm, have I played to a Scottish crowd before?

G-YOU: Yeah we researched this about five minutes ago, we were going to ask like how are you enjoying Scotland but were like oh he’s been before

Y: Oh yeah I played at like the ABC or something like that. Did that get burnt down?

G-YOU: Yeah so the art school behind it had a massive fire…

Y: That’s savage, so the venue’s done?

G-YOU: Apparently what I heard from “a guy” is they are keeping the skeleton but having to re-do the inside.

Y: That’s savage. Funnily enough someone asked me recently in an interview, can’t remember where I was, but they asked what’s your favourite gig and the first gig that pops into my mind every single time was Glasgow, the ABC building and it was my 28th birthday the day of the show and the room was probably half full but everybody in there was going nuts and I was going nuts and Scottish people just love to party.

G-YOU: Did they know, did you tell them it was your birthday?

Y: Yeah yeah, they were singing. I had like 3 tequilas on stage, all the lads at the front were like have another drink, it was wicked.

G-YOU: We’ll make sure Mikey gets you some drinks.

Y: Yeah I’ll just say it’s my birthday.

G-YOU: That was going to be my next question but what’s your guilty pleasure to listen to?

Y: A lot of people think Simply Red’s a guilty pleasure, they don’t think it’s very cool but I stand by them. Guilty pleasure? Shania Twain, Man I feel like a woman.

G-YOU: That’s not a guilty pleasure that’s just a classic.

Y: Yeah it’s a big tune, that’s the first song I ever bought on CD that, I went down to Woolworths in Manchester.

G-YOU: Just the single?

Y: Yeah the single and a B-side, 5 pounds, that’s like a monthly subscription for Spotify.

G-YOU: Yeah it’s great now how much music we get just for so cheap, well maybe not great for you.

Y: Yeah maybe not great for me, but it is great because people in f*****g India and Brazil can listen to my music.

G-YOU: Yeah, how does that affect the way your music is kind of distributed?

Y: Oh massively, I’ve done like two small tours of India and South America, which wouldn’t have happened without the internet.

G-YOU: So do you think that’s worth the trade off then?

Y: Absolutely yeah, I would say so. But it works for me because I love the live show, I think a lot of producers now are very song based not very live show based which is fair enough, but I think my music really comes alive on stage so it’s been a blessing for me, yeah you take less money for sales and stuff but f*** it man, musicians get paid too much anyway I think.

G-YOU: So obviously it’s Freshers’ Week, lots of new students starting do you have any funny stories from your time at Liverpool uni?

Y: Oh you don’t want to hear them.

G-YOU: Oh I think we do.

Y: I went to Liverpool for a year then I went to Lipper, have you heard of Lipper it’s the performing arts college so I was there for like three years. Well actually my final memory of that school was meeting Paul McCartney, because he runs the school and when you graduate you go up and shake his hand but the night before – I got a first miraculously –  but we got steaming steaming drunk I remember I went up to shake his hand and he kind of looked at me like ‘oh, alright’. He could smell the alcohol and my eyes were of bloodshot so that’s a good moment for me. I sat in shame like, “Paul McCartney thinks I’m an alcoholic.”

G-YOU: Just any advice you’d have for students starting?

Y: Have s*** loads of fun, meet s*** loads of people, drink s*** loads of alcohol.

G-YOU: I have one last question; would you rather fight a hundred duck sized horses or one horse sized duck?

Y: I would rather fight no-one because I’m a lover not fighter.

G-YOU: That’s the second person that’s said that.

Y: Yeah I’m vegan so.

G-YOU: Oh are you? I’m vegan too!

[Laura and Youngr High five]

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-Laura Hannah, Catrin Stephen, Owain Campton 


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