Talking through a situation always helps.
Whenyoung consists of Aoife Power, Niall Burns and Andrew Flood – a trio that met in London, despite all being from the same town of Limerick, Ireland. They’ve started 2018 with a bang, supporting Dream Wife and Declan McKenna and with even more great music to be released this year, a tour with Peace and a slot supporting The Vaccines at London’s Alexandra Palace – it’s about time you got to know Whenyoung.
Hey Whenyoung, what are you working on at the moment?
We are finishing up recording some tracks which we will be releasing very soon and last night we had the pleasure of supporting Declan McKenna at Manchester Academy. That was incredible!
Your unreleased track ‘The Others’ discusses the Grenfell tower fire and the apparent lack of empathy that the government has for the least fortunate in society at the moment. Do you find that politics and disasters such as Grenfell sometimes take a toll on your mental health? Does it make you feel a sense of hopelessness
Yes it definitely does, I think that events like Grenfell must affect most people in some way or another. It’s hard to feel hopeful in a society where so many are neglected.
In ‘Pretty Pure’, you sing “Don’t think I’m human anymore”, does that relate to a time when you’ve not felt like your true selves?
The line “Don’t think I’m human anymore” actually means the opposite to this. It’s about feeling different to everyone because you’re so true to yourself that you feel you may not even be human, as being human sometimes feels as if you’re acting untrue to yourself. It comes from a place of isolation when I was feeling pressure to be and feel a particular way that’s seen as being conventional. It’s kind of brazen and ridiculous saying that you don’t feel human anymore, but the song was written to convince ourselves that our true feelings were important and necessary. The song is an affirmation to ourselves and hopefully it can act as one to others.
In ‘Actor’, you sing “Spend the morning with the mirror”, is that lyric about anxiety over your appearance? Or even how social media has produced an image-obsessed society?
It’s about both of those things. That line tells of the moments we spend alone in self-doubt and self-analysis before we show ourselves to the world. We never know what others see when they look in the mirror or know how they may feel. The lyrics are realistic but also ironic. I was trying to talk about how life can at times seems like a presentation of your best self, how you feel like you have to look or act a certain way to be appreciated and fit in. I think this act is part of our society’s way of living and social media has just highlighted it.
How important has music been to your mental health?
Music can be incredibly rewarding. But like anything, there are ups and downs. It’s hard to always have faith in your art and people will often be quick to criticise, which can be hurtful, but if you believe in it you have to keep going. Any creative output is definitely of huge benefit to your mental health. I think, as a listener, music can be really powerful. Everyone goes through really difficult moments in life and people tend to turn to music more than any other art form. The most beautiful songs have lyrics that make you feel connected and less alone. When you go to a gig and everyone sings along together to a song, it can be incredibly moving, it makes you feel like you’re part of something.
What would constitute a ‘perfect’ day for you?
We’re really enjoying being in the position of being able to tour as a band these last few weeks. So I think driving to another part of the country and seeing what that city has to offer. We like to check out the local record stores and charity shops. Playing a show at the end of the day is always fun, and meeting new people.
For what in your life do you feel most grateful?
Our supportive families and friends. And each other and the fact that we can create music together and follow our dream.
Complete this sentence: “Ace mental health for me means…”
Being content and comfortable in your surroundings.
What advice do you offer to friends when they are feeling overwhelmed?
What we’ve come to learn as a band is that we each have different thresholds, everyone is different. Talking through a situation always helps. What someone perceives and what is the reality can be completely different and reassurance is really important.
What three songs lift your spirits?
People Have The Power – Patti Smith
London Calling – The Clash
Sheena Is A Punk Rocker – The Ramones
Do you have any routines that help you through stressful situations, such as right before a live performance?
I think any routine whatsoever is really helpful when you’re feeling stressed, down or overwhelmed; reading can really help with this. It can be tricky when you’re on tour but finding time to yourself to think and clear your head is really important. Before a show, we try to have at least half an hour on our own to relax as it can be nerve-wracking.
Whenyoung’s latest single ‘The Collector’ is out now, via Yala! Records.
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