The rise of whenyoung band

Originating from Limerick, this trio have made their mark on the music scene both in Ireland and the UK from the great city of London which they now call home. University Express were lucky enough to get to see whenyoung on the last date of their UK and Ireland tour in back in November in Cyprus Avenue, Cork. Chatting before their set, Aoife Power (singer & bassist) and Andrew Flood (drummer) revealed that the three were well and truly wrecked after a thoroughly enjoyable tour, and that they were looking forward to getting to head back to Limerick for a bit after their set in Cyprus Avenue. The appearance of guitarist Niall Burns signified that it was time for the three to hit the stage.

Despite being at the end of a long and tiring tour, whenyoung pulled off an energetic and highly impressive set. It was clear that they love what they do, constantly connected, smiling and interacting with each other, and with the audience, while performing, encouraging the audience to dance and thanking them for coming along. Aoife’s voice strikes a unique balance between rock-power and angelic delicacy, Andrew and Niall showcasing impressive technical skill and energy while never overpowering Aoife – each bringing their own vibe that blends so nicely together.

Before the show, we sat down with drummer Andrew to ask him a few questions.

How did whenyoung come to be?

“Limerick is a small town – we got to know each other from hanging around town, through mutual friends and house parties. There was a place called Costello which we used to always go to, and we still do when we’re back. This music was a bit different and the crowd was a bit different. We had a shared love of the same music, so that was our in.”

Had you a very musical upbringing?

“We all kind of grew into a love of music. I would have played a bit when I was younger, Aoife played a bit of traditional music. It wasn’t until we were teenagers that we found bands that we loved, older bands like The Clash or Blondie, and other bands around at the time like The Libertines, The Strokes and The Killers. It wasn’t until then that we made our way in music.”

When did ye start playing gigs?

“It wasn’t until we all moved to London within six months of each other – moving to London and not really knowing anyone, not really having a big plan, we found our arts studio and just started playing together and writing songs together. After a few weeks we booked a gig wherever we could find one – that’s how we started out really.”

Was the move to London a tactical one, for the purpose of starting a band?

“No. Niall moved over first, he always wanted to go. I took a break from university because I wasn’t really sure if I wanted to continue what I was doing, and came over and just never went back. Then Aoife came over a fee months later. Myself and Niall where already playing together so we were trying to get Aoife on board – it wasn’t really premeditated, it’s just the way it happened for us.”

Have ye an interesting story about how ye got one of your first major gigs?

“Aoife used to do gardening for the manager of Florence and the Machine, and she had a café/record shop so she gave us a gig there and started managing us for a while then. It was after that we hit a good streak and started getting good gigs and stuff!”

Biggest musical influence?

“Patti Smith. She’s someone we always come back to as an inspiration. Not just for her music, but for her whole ethos, her poetry, her writing and literature and everything.”

whenyoung’s latest single ‘Pretty Pure’ was released by Yala! records, the recording label of Felix White, formerly of The Maccabees, and Morad Khokar, music publicist. “It was amazing, because obviously we’re big fans of The Maccabees,” explains Andrew, “but also just the fact that as an independent record label they’re so incredibly supported of new music and are such an important part of the UK scene at the moment.”

‘Pretty Pure’ was a one-off single with Yala! records, however, as whenyoung have signed with Virgin TMI. “We’ve just released ‘Given Up’ as a single [with Virgin TMI], and that’s going to be part of an EP,” Andrew reveals. This EP was released on the 9th November. “Our first big release with Virgin, and we’ll be going in to record our album in November too. We’ve been ready to record an album for a while, we have a load of songs, so now that we found our producer and have got a label we’re really excited to go in and actually record it!”

Sounds like whenyoung have done a lot in the last year, and that there is lots more to come. Definitely a band to watch.

This interview was originally published in the 2018/2019 University Express Issue 7 on Tuesday 29th January in the Byline Interview section by Byline Editor, Ciara Dinneen.

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