YOUTH NOVEL sent Zegema Beach Records their 4 tracks about 6 months ago and we collectively shit our pants. In July the 'Turned Around Abruptly Beside a Mirror and Jumped at My Own Reflection' cassette was released on Zegema Beach Records and Skeletal Lightning Records and it fucking owns. Pick it up here or below. If you live in the US grab it here. The band will also have copies at their shows as well as their christmas tour. I had the pleasure of doing an email interview with 3 of the 5 fine gentlemen in the band. Check out band's links below and read the (((((OPENmind/SATURATEDbrain))))) discography review here:
For fans of: Øjne, Ice Hockey and Raein.
Perfectly executed European/Level Plane styled screamo - aka beautiful chaos. If ZBR is looking for a sound in particular when it comes to music, this is fucking it. Fans of current North American bands like Ice Hockey and Congratulations should definitely take note. Released in conjunction with the mighty Skeletal Lightning, and US customers who are purchasing this tape ONLY should order from here.
150 tapes -
100 black tapes with white imprinting
50 cream tapes with black imprinting (Skeletal Lightning exclusive)
Housed in a clear cassette case with 3-panel jcard.
"II" live @ The Rockery
(((((OPENmind/SATURATEDbrain))))) exclusive interview
Do you remember the first time you heard the term screamo? What band was it in relation to? From my perspective the older crowd generally shies away from the term and they prefer to use "punk" or perhaps even "screamy hardcore". Do you feel screamo is a sound/idea specific genre?
*Jon Riley: I first heard the term screamo in middle school to describe god-awful metalcore bands, and the term had a certain stigma to me. However, the first time I heard the term screamo used in the way that I use it now was when I introduced to Saetia by an older kid at a show when I was 14 or so. I remember searching the internet for bands like Saetia and Hot Cross, and I came across fourfa.com. The rest is history.
*John Dickinson: I started listening to a lot of post-hardcore (think Thursday, Glassjaw) in middle school which I mislabeled as screamo, and ended up finding out about real screamo from researching and looking for more similar bands. I'm sure a few sites I could name drop are fourfa, the ultimate-guitar forums, last.fm and emogame. I think it's a good thing that there is newfound pride for the term "screamo". I have to give props to Mark Chen from Kyeo Speaks Zine for initiating Screamo Pride Month, it's a pretty cool idea. Also, he started the North American Real Emo group, which turned me on to a lot of current screamo bands more than anything else. Bands like Miischa, Dream Caste, Marcy, and Gas Up Yr Hearse!, all of whom influenced Youth Novel writing (at least for me). So I guess the short answer is that without the internet as a resource, I'd still think Thursday was real screamo.
What would you describe a "scene" as?
*Jon: A group of people listening to and supporting music.
Why the name Youth Novel?
*John: I think it just popped into our heads and we thought it sounded cool. Sean wanted to name the band Father Figures but then we found out there was already a screamo band from TX called Father Figure (who shred, by the way).
You guys have gotten quite a bit of recognition in only a short time, why do you think that is?
*John: I'm not sure, I guess people just like the songs, which is rad! When we released our first two songs we didn't really do much with them in terms of promotion, maybe we sent them to a couple of blogs but we didn't expect people to really get into them like they did. Obviously more hype was put into the EP, but either way we're just happy that our music can elicit an emotional response in people.
What prompted the Third Eye Blind cover, besides I assume you all like the song?
*Jon: Well, we were supposed to be on a Third Eye Blind cover comp that never came together and we recorded that song in two hours the day before it was due. We decided we might as well release it as an internet single.
You have a split with Ice Hockey and Mothlight in the works, what can you say about that?
*Jon: Joe, Rod and Thom are the best dudes and those are some of the best bands out right now. We’re actually in the process of writing for that split and our full length write now, so expect a huge year out of us.
What is your tape:record:cd ratio?
*Jon: 1:4:2 probably.
Do you write lyrics in the same area/room/place/whatever, usually? Or do you write in different places.
*John: For me, it's never the same. Not that I intentionally say "I'm not going to write lyrics in the same spot", I just am always moving around and living in a new house each year because of the college life. I haven't really found any stability that would afford me a "writing spot" or a "safe zone" where I always write.
Are there any issues that you'd like to write about but can't articulate?
*John: There are ideas that I've scrapped because I've thought they were too personal to record and put in front of people. Really personal, specific songs using specific names and things like that. Sean had the same problem I know; he once told me he wrote lyrics that he didn't feel comfortable singing in front of a live audience. But in both cases I don't think it's a problem of articulation, rather just one of self-censorship.
What is a band that you hear a lot of people praise but you just don't get?
*John: The Front Bottoms, Dads and tUnE-yArDs.
If you could go back in time to see a band, who would it be?
*Jon: Ten Grand or The Pine
*John: Majority Rule and ...Who Calls So Loud
*Sean: Talking Heads, Rome, 1980. Adrian Belew plays with them and it's nuts.
What’s it like balancing college, a band and possibly a job?
* Jon: I work for a coffee shop in Ann Arbor, and they’re really flexible with my school and band schedule. It’s awesome working for people who love music and art as much as I do. Shoutout to Glassbox Coffee and Juice in Ann Arbor, MI for being the homies.
*John: I don't have a cool barista job like Jon, I work with computers for the university. We all work/go to class during normal business hours so we usually find time to practice on nights and weekends. But the band definitely takes a backseat to school for us I think, it's mostly the reason we haven't released much music.
*Sean: It does get overwhelming at times, yeah. But at the end of the day, I want to be in school and I want to make music, so even when things are hectic it's still always worth it.
How did you come in contact with Sean of Skeletal Lightning?
*Jon: I actually met Sean because I bought some [speaker] cabinets from him a year or so ago. I traveled down to Indiana and we met at a Trader Joe’s. The exchange was quick and painless, but we’ve had a few different run-ins since. Sean is the nicest guy and everyone should support anything he does. He also releases the best bands (Scowler, Fleshborn, etc.) and is very cute.
*John: I like Sean.
I can dig classifications for genres, but when people label themselves as "emo" I find it strange. Thoughts?
*Jon: I think genres are extremely important, especially in establishing scenes and networks for your band to play with/tour with/flirt with/etc. That being said, I think emo is a label that is too broad. The term has become ambiguous. I could see an “emo” band that sounds like anything from Fugazi to American Football to My Chemical Romance. I don’t know how I feel about any band labeling themselves, though. Let the listeners classify.
*John: Yeah, I personally hadn't seen that self-labeling of "emo" happen at all until recently. It's whatever, over time genres become malleable, so I'm not exactly surprised that more people are using it to classify themselves.
*Sean: Music is absolutely the most important thing in my life, but I find it weird when people base the majority of their personal identity on a subgenre of music. That's boring to me.
I heard Jon Riley is dead sexy, care to elaborate?
*Jon: I’m actually a model, so it’s nice that you say that.
*John: He's got great hair. Many times he uses it to his advantage to manipulate people. He's also the best liar I have ever met in my entire life, which makes him a constant enigma in my life.
*Sean: Jon Riley is like if Tom Cruise was built like a hockey player and had sick hair. But what most people don't realize is that he's even more beautiful on the inside.
I love European screamo (La Quiete, Raein, etc.), what are your thoughts?
*Jon: I bonded with some Bloomington folks about Resurrectionists and A Fine Boat, That Coffin! a few weeks ago. Europe does it best.
*Sean: "You can't even understand what they're saying!"
*John: Daitro's "Y" is one of my favorites.
What is the best movie of all time and why?
*Jon: Stalker by Andrei Tarkovsky. “Are you awake? You were talking recently about the meaning... of our... life... unselfishness of art... Let's take music... It's really least of all connected; to say the truth, if it is connected at all, then in an idealess way, mechanically, with an empty sound... Without... without associations... Nonetheless the music miraculously penetrates into the very soul! What is resonating in us in answer to the harmonized noise? And turns it for us into the source of great delight... And unites us, and shakes us? What is its purpose? And, above all, for whom? You will say: for nothing, and... and for nobody, just so. Unselfish. Though it's not so... perhaps... For everything, in the end, has its own meaning... Both the meaning and the cause…”
*Sean: That's a hard question, I could say something like 2001 and come up with a reasonably good explanation... but I'd rather just say that my favorite movies are Breakfast at Tiffany's, Casablanca, Tree of Life, Children of Men and There Will Be Blood.
*John: Transylvania 6-5000.
If you could tour with any band (that you haven't already toured with or plan to tour with...or are touring with right now!) which band would you choose? Preferably a band that you don't actually know...okay and also a band you do know but haven't toured with? This question has turned mighty stupid.
*Jon: Band I want to tour with at some point that I don’t know: Leer or Aspergers. Band I want to tour with that I know: Kaoru Nagisa, Ice Hockey and Mothlight.
*John: Band I do know: A Film In Color (NJ post rock, they fucking kill it) and bands i dont know: Scowler and Capacities (I met them briefly but wouldn't dare say I "know" them).
Let's pretend that due to legal reasons you guys had to change your band name. What name would each of you, individually, choose?
*Jon: Your Flesh and Blood
*John: Cocoa Noi
I've noticed a lot of separation in regards to people's opinions about political and social issues, even though they worship the same styles of music, bands and/or scenes. Personally, I didn't notice the internal strife in the past but nowadays it seems very difficult to find people with whom we agree on most subjects with. (I was thinking of regards of sexism, homophobia, racism, etc.) Thoughts? I'll reword this before I post the mofo, cuz that was shite.
*Jon: I don’t know, man. Fuck racists, fuck homophobes, fuck sexists. Fuck any band or individual in a band who supports those ideals.
*John: What Jon said.
What sexy musical adventures and plans do you have for the future?
*Jon: Christmas Tour with Youth Novel. Working on a band (or two) with Jon Chun.
*Sean: I'm trying to learn to use Logic Pro.
*John: Playing drums in a punk band, screaming in the screamo band.
The Michigan Daily video interview