South West’s most notorious alternative pop-punk party Fat Lip is returning to The Lanes this July, but this time for their first all-dayer festival, with tonnes of live band action across three stages at The Lanes and Bristol Bierkeller. The Fat Lip Fest lineup is packed with some of the best names from the indie and pop-punk scenes right now, including ROAM, Blood Youth, Feed The Rhino and WSTR, headlined by the brilliant Young Guns.
Young Guns frontman Gustav Wood spoke to Nitelife ahead of the festival, to talk about their touring schedule and what fans can look forward to, after the band’s longest break from touring to date.
Young Guns first came to our attention in 2009 with the release of their first EP Mirrors. Since then, the band’s success has reached the masses with their extensive catalogue of music, including the release of their successful fourth album Echoes in 2016. Reflecting back on the band’s career since their first EP, Gustav talks about how Young Guns have progressed since their first release so many years ago.
‘It’s been nearly a decade of Young Guns and that’s terrifying! We’ve been touring nonstop and in some ways it still feels like we are a new band, but then there are other times when it really doesn’t feel that way at all.
‘When the band first got together, I said I’d sing until we found a proper singer… but I guess we never got another singer. It was all one big happy accident really, but I’m forever grateful, because I’m doing what I’m most passionate about.’
After nearly ten years together, with four albums and several global tours under their belts, Young Guns spend a lot of time focusing on the importance of keeping their sound fresh, whilst still continuing to follow the beat of their own drum.
‘I think when you’re in a band for some time, it can be hard to remain engaged and excited about what you’re doing, particularly if others are doing the same thing. So for us, it’s always been about “how do we remain excited by what we’re doing?”
We try not to concern ourselves with what’s cool and what’s not, or what’s contemporary or vogue. We just write music in the hope that people will appreciate it
‘We’ve had to look at different ways of writing music to keep it fresh. When we first started writing, we would just sit in a room and make a noise until we did something we thought was cool. These days, John and I might sit around a piano or at our laptops and build songs that way.
‘We try not to concern ourselves with what’s cool and what’s not, or what’s contemporary or vogue. We just write music in the hope that people will appreciate it.
The Young Guns sound has not only reached all corners of the UK, but their success has stretched worldwide, including the home of rock n roll – The United States.
‘One thing I’ve found is that there’s a real appetite for rock music there. Thousands of radio stations play exclusively rock music, so people are hungry for it. It’s nice to go over there and be a part of it. I think the style of music we play is generally more accepted over there, so that tends to offer us a lot more opportunities. We’ve done stuff we never thought we’d be able to do, like perform at Wrestlemania, Vans Warped Tour and even tour with rock bands like Seether.’
Just one look at Young Guns touring schedule and you can see how much the band love to tour worldwide with their live shows, but whilst taking time out this year to write and spend time with loved ones, Gus reflects back on what drives the band to stay on the road.
‘I’ve never looked at chart musicians or the amount of albums sold as a particularly useful barometer of how well or badly the band are doing. The thing I enjoy seeing the most is people coming through the door and standing at the front of the stage and singing along. It might only be a handful of people or a big crowd, but that’s the thing I enjoy the most.
‘I think we’ve always just wanted to be out on the road performing. That’s the thing we all fantasised about when we were younger.
‘The truth is you travel a lot, you get really tired and you want to go home. But then you get home; you sit there for a few days and eventually get bored and think, ‘what the fuck am I doing?’ There isn’t anything else we’d rather be doing.
That being said, the band made a conscious decision this year to take a step back to re-charge their batteries and get their creative juices flowing in preparation for Young Guns’ inevitable fifth album.
This is the longest period we haven’t toured, so get ready to see a band that is really hungry, eager and grateful to be back on stage again.
‘We actively decided to take a step back this year so we could spend time with families and take a break, because we haven’t stopped in so long. John and I are in the middle of writing a new album though. I know it’s cliché to say, but it is probably the best work we’ve ever done. We’re really excited about this one and we want to get it released and out there as soon as we can.’
Finishing up the interview, Gus talks about Young Guns headline performance at Fat Lip Fest at The Lanes and Bristol Bierkeller later this July.
‘Because we spent the last two months hiding away writing new music, we are all itching to get back out there and perform again. This is the longest period we haven’t toured, so get ready to see a band that is really hungry, eager and grateful to be back on stage again.
‘We have some new material too, but we’re still deciding whether or not to play it out yet, so watch this space…’
Words by Abi Lewis