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:: Spotlight :: Interview with Youth Group

By: Amanda Jensen

Youth Group is about to start up its ‘Here Today Tomorrow’ tour across Australia. Toby Martin, Patrick Matthews, Danny Allen and Cameron Emerson-Elliott are well known for their Aria Award-winning single ‘Forever Young’ but the band has much more to offer. I had the opportunity to have a chat to Cameron Emerson-Elliott about their loves, influences, where Youth Group is heading, and where they have come from.

Thanks for taking the time to have a chat with me - sounds like you've been busy boys…

Yeah well we have got a bit of time off now which is nice, but yeah we have been very busy. Had a couple of nice days in Sydney and it has just stopped raining, and the sun has come out, couldn’t ask for anything more.

You just got back from the US. How did it all go?

It was great. We had a fantastic time. It was definitely the hardest working tour that we have had but it was great. I feel like it's good to be out on the frontline meeting people. We have been there a few times so its lucky that we are starting to get a bit used to it and we have made a few friends over there. It's nice to be able to go back and catch up with them and people over there have had time to get used to our records and come along to the shows.

Did you get the chance to see any independent American bands?

Yes, definitely. We recently just got a new booking agent over in the States who is in with a fantastic world of bands like Midlake and we were on tour with a band called Aquaduct. They are great guys but the best thing was each show would have a local band supporting us as well and they were just all so fantastic. There were just so many great bands you get to see live. I would often get to exchange CDs with them.

It’s a shame because most great bands are independent and they are yet to be discovered…

That’s true. It shows that there is definitely value in being around and it’s more worthwhile when you find something good.

What have been your influences? Has there been a specific artist or band that has made you want to be a musician?

I don’t think you could really survive if you only have one influence. Music in general is all very exciting and we are excited to hear new music. Those overseas trips are fantastic because we go to all these new different cities and play with different bands and we’ve got CDs from everywhere. I find music a constant inspiration and its good like that because it just keeps you going.

Are you excited about the tour here at home?

Yes, very excited. It's strange because we are busy all the time and, at the same time, we haven’t done a tour since the record came out, so its going to be great to get out there. I sometimes forget that we haven’t been out there for a almost a year now.

Obviously home is home but do you have a favourite city to play in? Do they all have different vibes?

They do. We are lucky in the band to have Patrick and Danny from Sydney and that’s where we all live now. Sydney feels like a hometown show. Toby grew up in Melbourne so its an exciting hometown show as well and then I’m from Canberra so we’ve got home town shows everywhere and they are always the most exciting.

Does the band have a specific songwriting process?

It’s a great band to be in because we are always changing, and I think for the next record its probably going to be a bit more collaborative. Toby is always interested in trying different ways of songwriting and lately things have opened up and we are all enjoying the music that he brings in. We are all writing stuff together.

If you could again perform any cover song what would it be?

(Laughs) I don’t know. There is a song … right now there is a song ‘Broken Hearted Wine’ by a band called Codeine who are one of my favourite bands from New York. They are from the early 90s and there is a fantastic solo. I’m a bit obsessed with it at the moment because it was a B side on a 7” inch single that they put out and I have only been able to hear live versions of it. I haven’t been able to find the 7” inch and I am obsessed with looking for it in all these record stores across America.

What was your first thought at the ARIAs when they did the whole… and the ARIA goes to…?

I don’t think I had any first thoughts. (Laughs) I don’t think a single thought ran through my head the whole time. It's great watching the footage. It's crazy. I can hardly remember it.

What do you love about music?

Wow, good question. For me there is another whole world there - of music. It conjures up emotions and it's really great at describing the world that you actually live in. But the fact that there is another entire world to retreat in, it's like there are all these different worlds like your plain of consciousness. But there is this world of music that you can dive into anytime you want. Any chance you have. you put on some headphones and it takes you somewhere completely different.

Youth Group plays a couple more shows as it winds up this leg of a tour. They play at the Corner Hotel on Friday, May 11 and then wrap up in Canberra at the UCU (18+ show).

The band's most recent album ‘Casino Twilight Dogs’ and previous records are available for purchase through Ivy League and all good music retailers.

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