Q&A with Youngr

After his set at House of Blues with Matoma, emerging electropop artist Youngr sat down with Elena Sandell and WRBB has all the details! Get the scoop below.

How are you feeling after that set tonight?

Youngr:  A little bit tired to be honest. Last night I was in Calgary, Canada and it was minus thirty degrees…

But you’re from the UK so you know cold.

Youngr: I do know cold, but I don’t know minus thirty cold. I came on stage at 1:30 am and was at the airport for 3 hours. We didn’t sleep, so I haven’t slept for about two days, so I’m a little bit confused right now. [Laughs] And when we landed here, all six of our bags were lost.

When I hear your stories of the bags being gone, I feel like that’s the worst thing that could happen….

Youngr: It is yeah, with all the clean clothes and jeans. We got here at six so we didn’t have any time to go pick up things.

This is obviously not your first tour. So how has this tour circuit been different from the previous one?

Youngr: No, but this is my first support tour in a big venue which is cool. Last year I toured the U.S and did small club shows. When we were playing the small clubs and pub scene it was kinda nitty gritty and a lot of fun. A little bit punk almost. It was more raucous. These are more put together with strict timing. Before it was just a free for all, jumping on stage and all that.

After watching the performance, I can see that you’re very practiced with live shows. I haven’t actually been able to see that many artists hold an energy level like that, and you had a pretty long set too for an opener. But considering everything, you killed it.

Youngr: I know! I’m telling you like I had rehearsed a thirty minute set. But because this tour is more DJ’s and they typically do hour sets they were like “Hey Youngr, do you wanna do an hour set?” Last night I did an hour and twenty minutes with like five encores. But when I’m up there I’m just buzzing.

It really was such a good set. Sonically how it was put together was incredibly smooth and cohesive. One of the best I’ve seen in terms of like DJ/production realm. Did you craft your set from a production standpoint since you produce all your own material?

Youngr: Yeah definitely. That’s what I’m kinda trying to do is merge together DJ and production, but bands are where it’s at. I’ve been in bands since I was like 13 with my brother. My dad is also a performer as well. So my love and where I learned music has all come from being on stage. Eight or nine years ago I started getting into house music and producing. It became a perfect, beautiful blend. When I was growing up doing this, Laptops and Logic wasn’t available so I had enough time to hone in on my craft and really fucking nail it. Once production got really big, I feel like I had enough time to learn that as well. I’m still trying to find it [his sound] and merge these two worlds together and in a few years I will be able to really marry it.

I was gonna say though, you really already have such a refined, unique sound. One of those things where you can tell who the artist is right away. That’s tricky to keep up with when you’re releasing new stuff. What are your plans for refining the sound?

Youngr: There’s not really a plan, it’s more like experimenting with production and breaking down boundaries with what you think what songs should do. I just try be creative and open minded with it because everyone is producing now. Anyone can go to the Apple Store, buy Logic, upload it to SoundCloud and they are a superstar in five steps. There’s a lot of competition of amazing sounding things. There are producers out there that are making sonics that are fucking incredible. And I’d love to reach that but with keeping my edge.

Who are some producers you draw inspiration from or you look at and say “I love what they’re doing.”

Youngr: I LOVE Calvin Harris….

I knew you were gonna say that….the Funk Waves album, I feel like everyone was on that.  

Youngr: Have you heard the new song? [Nuh Ready Nuh Ready] So good. He’s a dance DJ and he come out with some records on some cool shit. He’s thinking of everything in different ways but it still sounds so good. Do you remember his first album? Acceptable in the 80’s? To think about where he’s come from and how he changes as a producer is just amazing. And Pharrell.

How did you decide electropop was gonna be the genre of choice and not heavy EDM or Rock? Is it because you’re a singer and songwriter?

Youngr: I’m obsessed with songs, playing chords and playing the piano. I love getting emotion from the chord changes. I’ve always loved pop music since I was a kid. My dad also writes pop songs. I just love funk and grooves. Every band I’ve been in I’ve always been the pop element of it. Gotta get that pop chorus in, man.

I know that with pop we now have that heavy and specific sound with the European/Scandinavian pop thing. Do you wanna embrace that more in your music moving forward?

Youngr: So I’m signed to Warner/Chappell in LA and they sent me to Stockholm for a month to do songwriting. And it was cool, I love Scandinavia! I love the flow, I love the energy and they’ve got the right way of life. But the songwriting felt a bit ridgid, a bit too formulaic to me. I can’t doubt how amazing the pop songs are but I don’t know, I want to pick out those people that kind fit in my world rather than try to fit myself into someone else’s.

I was gonna ask about ‘93. I was listening to that song a few weeks ago and I quickly grasped the relevance and the frustration of the topic. Is this more of a song that’s written for the existential crisis of our current world situation or our generation in love and relationships being out of touch with everything?

Youngr: My thought process behind started with thinking about my two little half sisters. One is 15 and the other is 16. Whenever they’re chilling around the house, they’re just on snapchat and it’s like what is happening! why aren’t you talking to me! They have these things called streaks. It blew my mind. They would communicate with people just to say they got the streak, not because they wanted to communicate. That song was just like, the world’s gone mad but I think we’re gonna make a full turn around. I think. I hope. But I can’t be fully mad at it. Social media is the reason i’m here right now. If I didn’t share my videos on facebook and shit then I might not be doing what I’m doing. I don’t detest social media, I just think it needs to be refined. You know what I mean?

So, I have one last question from a student standpoint since we’re coming to you from a university. There’s a lot of kids at our school and schools in the area who are interested in going into music whether that be singing and writing or being music executives. From what you’ve experienced thus far, what would be your biggest piece of advice to college students who are trying to figure this industry out?

Youngr: To be honest, it’s really cliche, but it’s so cliche because it’s so fucking true. Being persistent and not giving up. Because it’s so easy to give up. I’ve been doing this for so long. So long. 2012 is when I did my first show and only in the last two years are people starting to take notice and that is literally because I loved what I did and I didnt stop doing it. If you don’t love what you do, stop it. If you’re doing it for the wrong reasons or if you think you wanna be famous. I hear people say all the time that “I just want to be famous.” You need to stop that now because you’re gonna be so disheartened in 10 years when you aren’t famous. I’m just going in it for the music, energy and making people happy. That’s my main goal in life is to spread positive energy into people’s lives with music.

Listen to Youngr here:

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