Gang of Youths Talk Australia’s Finest Beer and Best Bands + More
When the members of Gang of Youths met as teenagers at Jesus camp, they didn’t think their high school band would make it big. But years later, the breakout Aussie-born outfit are building a following in their adopted hometown of Nashville. After playing the CMJ Music Marathon and later making their non-festival U.S. debut at New York City’s Mercury Lounge last month, the guys are ready to take the States by storm with their Springsteen- and U2-inspired tunes.
Gang of Youths took a moment to chat with Diffuser.fm about their “gangster” personas and longing for Victoria Bitter. They also shared their list of top five Aussie bands that we Yankees should listen to.
How did the band start?
Gravity, osmosis and divine intervention. We met in Jesus camps as teenagers with no intention of our bond developing into the current configuration of the GOY enterprise until one of us decided to quit their day job in an attempt to salvage the remainder of their early 20s from being engulfed in a 54-hour workweek inferno. We want to provide for our families with careers that were in some way more fulfilling than the paths we had elected originally.
What’s the story behind the name Gang of Youths?
Every other name we considered was benign and fatuous or perhaps a little too niche. One of us had an affinity for the name growing up, so we just chose it instead of Slick Rick and the Slick Pricks or Balls Deep or the Ted Bundy Experience.
Do you consider yourselves a Gang of Youths?
Absolutely. In no way are we not a Gang Of Youths. Just type that s— into Google News and you’ll see all the bad stuff we get away with. We just ruthless.
What’s ‘Evangelists’ about?
Casting doubt upon a lofty, ethereal truth that one can perceive to be true, even though current circumstance is decidedly opposed. It might also about grief due to ongoing tragedy and disillusionment with a corrupt and vile community. I don’t know, I’m not Thomas More; I’m just an asshole with a laptop.
Who are you listening to right now?
Mostly Springsteen and Roxy Music at the moment. We like the Replacements, too. We’ve also been listening to ‘The Joshua Tree’ a lot because U2 were really good.
You’re originally from Sydney but are now are based in Nashville. Why did you decide on the relocation?
One of us got married and moved there, so we all did what any good friends would do: quit our day jobs, quit university degrees, packed up all of our s— and moved to Nashville as well.
What was the hardest thing to adjust to in the US?
Why is it so hot in July? It should be, like, 40 degrees [celsius, 104 degrees fahrenheit], man — none of this Tommy Bahama and flip-flops bullshit.
What do you miss in Australia? What did you bring back or search for from home?
Victoria Bitter. It is sweet, sensuous nectar dripping from the titties of the Almighty himself, flowing through the grandest and purest reservoirs scattered throughout enormity of heaven and straight into pints all across Australian dive establishments purely for our consumption, and ours alone. We have yet to locate it here in the United States. Only two of us are actually Australian, so that’s about all we miss.
Check Out Gang of Youth’s Picks for the 5 Best Australian Bands
There hasn’t been a group more important to us from that island than the Go-Betweens. Every alternative group to emerge afterword is like a pale imitation of the Go-Betweens — GOY included. Everything that is definitively attractive and distinct about Australia can be found in ‘Before Hollywood.’
For what they lacked in commercial success, they more than made up for with creative consistency and longevity. ‘Of Skins And Heart’ is a really awesome first album.
If you were a poor white kid in the inner city when ‘Since I Left You’ came out, you would treasure this one.
“SWEET THING / THE MOON IS HIGH AND THE NIGHT IS YOUNG / COME ON AND MEET ME / IN THE BACKYARD UNDER THE COTTONWOOD TREE / IT’S A GOOD THING AND I’M WISHING / COME ON MY LITTLE SWEET THING.”
‘Sunset Studies’ and ‘Moo You Bloody Choir!’ are as much of an embodiment of Australiana as you can get without getting all Crocodile Dundee on s—.