Interview: whenyoung play Tenement Trail on Saturday

Aoife Power, Niall Burns and Andrew Flood met for the first time as underage teenagers in Costello’s Tavern, a music bar in Limerick, Ireland. Fuelled by cheap drinks and the sound of The Velvet Underground they bonded over their musical tastes, which eventually led to the formation of their own indie pop band whenyoung.

Since moving to London in 2017, the trio has released a handful of successful singles, supported the likes of Dream Wife and The Vaccines, and completed a string of festivals over the summer. They started this year performing alongside the likes of Primal Scream’s Bobby Gillespie, Bono, Sinead O’Connor and Johnny Depp at Shane MacGowan’s 60th birthday celebration. Now they are coming to Glasgow for Tenement Trail, the festival of music discovery, this Saturday.

Glasgowist called drummer Andrew Flood for a chat.

How have the band slipped into the music scene in London, has it had an influence?

We’re all from Limerick in Ireland, but we all live in East London, in Hackney. We moved here a few years ago, and we actually started as a band over here, even though we were all friends from home. I guess it was kind of strange, but maybe refreshing because we didn’t really know anyone.

We just had to start ourselves, and start playing shows, and get to know people, and I guess that’s helped shape what we do a bit, in that we are quite independent. We’re driven and we know what we want.

Are you at the stage where taking your new music out to stages across the country is the pressing concern?

Yeah, we’ve kind of been lucky, especially in the last six to nine months, picking up a label and a booking agent, where it’s helped us more to get further afield, playing in front of new audiences and stuff. We love when we write a new song in the studio, and we get to try it out live in front of people and hopefully get new fans. We’ve really loved it so far over the last year or so.

Is your live set quite fixed or do you add in different songs along the way?

In general our set time is normally fixed, but we like to mix it up a bit, depending on where we’re playing. Sometimes we might have a new song that we really want to try, so we might give that a go. Or if we’re in a certain part of the country we might try a cover from a band near there. We’ve done different things to keep it fresh for ourselves.

Tenement Trail brings together lots of local band and musicians from across the country and beyond that are at a similar point in their development. When you look at Glasgow and other cities around the UK, do you think there’s still space for young creative bands to find an audience?

I think there always has been, and there always will be to an extent. I think no matter what town we’ve been to there seems to be some kind of artistic or creative following, and other people in those towns, in their own little creative networks.

We’ve met load of bands, even bands from Glasgow that we’ve met just out on the road, bands like Lucia, and The Ninth Way, and Rascalton, who we’re taking out on a few dates on tour.

Do you see more people coming to your shows now who have hear you on the radio or been listening to your tracks online?

It’s hard for us to gauge our audience outside of online interactions, social media, and maybe playing regularly in London. It is nice when we go to shows and maybe at the merch desk after, people come up and say, “I heard you on this or that, and this is my first time seeing you.” That’s a really amazing feeling because we make music for ourselves. When other people engage in it and like it, it makes it feel really special.

With the label now and all the rest of it, how much control do the three of you still have over the music and the reality of the band?

It’s completely the three of us. We are a band, we all have equal input. Some of us are good a certain things, and some are better at other parts, so it works quite well. We know what we want, and we all have similar influences so there’s never too many creative differences. We write all our songs ourselves, we make all our merch ourselves. We do most of our own artwork. It’s very much the three of us driving it.

Lots of bands coming to town on Saturday. If someone has a ticket for Tenement Trail, why should they be standing in front of the stage in G2 at The Garage at 8.45pm to see Whenyoung?

We feel like our band is very different to what is out there at the moment. We’ve got big melodies, and we’re not ashamed to say we want our music to be as much pop music as it is guitar and indie music. And our live show is really energetic and exciting so hopefully, that’s enough to sway people to come down.