Prepare for the madness to commence. Gigwise got the chance to catch up with Ashby-de-la-Zouch’s finest, Young Knives, ahead of the release of upcoming second LP, Superabundance. Henry, House of Lords and Oliver are of the so-anti-cool-that-they’re-too-cool-for-school School, with their charity shop threads and combined ear for a quintessential British mise-en-scène. Here’s what happened:
Gigwise: So what’s new in the land of Young Knives?
House of Lords: Last night Henry was gonna cook some food and then we got a take-out. What else?
Henry: We’ve written an amazing album, I’ve learnt how to do a new dance and I had a Swedish massage.
Gigwise: So why does Young Knives exist and what do you aim to do?
Henry: Fate. And my main reason is to make sure I’m the best out of all three of us. At the end of it we’re gonna judge who the winner is. And that’s gonna be me.
Gigwise: So it’s a running competition?
Henry: It tends to be pretty competitive, yeah.
Oliver: I might die, in a pretty rock ‘n’ roll way, on stage.
Henry: Really? Well that might make you the best in the end.Oliver: Yes!!!HoL: If you die on stage you’ll be the best.
Henry: But seriously, I hate it when you read interviews and people go ‘being in a band is great fun’. Really, is it? It’s really boring to me. It’s as bad as being a librarian…
HoL: Or working in a factory – that is quite good fun.
Henry: I want to continue doing it and maybe push the boundaries of what people enjoy in pop music.
Gigwise: Sounds like a good plan to me. So how is the new album different to the first one? Henry: We’ve got a different producer – it’s a lot fuller.
Oliver: More… gooderer, beautiful, epic, a bit more lush.
Henry: It’s a bit more stripped back and bare, there’s no sheen.
HoL: It’s got lots of layers of guitars and orchestras and trumpet and different overlaid percussive noises, and whoops and hollers.
Gigwise: Is that going to transfer to the live experience?
Henry: Yes, bits of it. Our live experience is pretty awesome anyway. God, I need to stop bigging myself up, seriously.
Gigwise: So why’s the new album called ‘Superabundance’?
Henry: Good question. It looked like a nice word, it’s long, it has the word super in it, and it has a resonance with the modern world and mass consumerism which made it look even better.
Gigwise: Are you sick of interviews yet? Does it get tiring?
HoL: It’s not being asked the same questions over and over again that’s irritating, it’s when you get people who ask questions completely unrelated to what you do. So they go ‘If you were a cheese, what cheese would you be?’
Gigwise: Well let’s find a question to satisfy you! How about: If you could be anyone else for the day, who would you be?
HoL: I’d be Paul Potts (the mobile phone salesman come tenor winner of ‘Britain’s Got Talent’, some Simon Cowell-infested genericness - cue superabundant laughter).I’d go around saying sorry. I’d go on TV and I’d say ‘I’m an idiot, I don’t know what I was doing’. I’d burn myself with cigarette ends and then kill myself. Hopefully I could come back to being me the next day. Henry: Hey, it’s like Quantum Leap! I’d be the bloke that plays the guy in Quantum Leap (Scott Bakula?). So I’d leap into his body and then be in him, playing a guy in Quantum Leap.Henry: Hey, I’d be Shakin’ Stevens. Just to see what he’s doing now. I bet he’s somewhere in South Wales in a massive house and with a hot wife.
Gigwise: How about you, Oliver?
Oliver: Er, my mum.
HoL: So you could write out cheques for you from her?Oliver: There is that.HoL: I’d be Oliver’s mum too.
Gigwise: What is it about her?
Oliver: She’s lovely, she’s great.
HoL: I wouldn’t be able to stop playing with her boobies though… I’d be her on her wedding night (the most ridiculous laughter yet ensues – and to clarify, yes HoL’d want to have sex with Oliver’s dad)
Gigwise: I’ve lost my track now! Is there a question you wish you’d been asked which you haven’t been yet?
Henry: That one! That’s the funniest one we’ve had all day!
Gigwise: Ok, worst thing you’ve ever read about yourselves? The most ridiculous, contorted thing…
Oliver: The NME said we looked like paedophiles.
Henry: Like a bunch of blokes who spent their lives downloading internet porn.
HoL: Actually, I slagged off loads of bands in Oxford the other day in an interview. I said when I was in Oxford, I thought we were better than them. I meant loads of bands we saw which weren’t very good. I say all Oxford bands are shit, which is kind of the way it came across. Oliver: And we slagged off the headlining band. Though we were probably misquoted.
Gigwise: Who was that?
Oliver: It was Does It Offend You, Yeah? But they’re really nice fellas.
HoL: They’re not great but I don’t wanna go ‘this is the shittest band I’ve ever heard’ ‘cause that’s not what I think.
Oliver: So for the record, sorry.
Gigwise: I believe you. So how would you describe your sound?
HoL: We avoid it most of the time but (pauses for a while) it’s loud punky folk-rock with quiet, punky, folky, rocky bits. With a bit of jazz. And some good tunes. But mainly, better than most stuff. Folky, rocky… slightly poppy, but mainly rocky, punky, folky. Polky, fucky. Wrongy polk fuck. Wrolky jizzy polk fucks. Yes.
Gigwise: Are you going to drop another part of your name for the next album?
HoL: Yeah, we’re going to be called ‘Y’ (FYI pronounced as a staccato ‘yuh’ sound)Henry: Or we’ll get the ‘The’ back and drop the rest of it
Henry: Nah, I think we should just become ‘Y’HoL: It’d look pretty cool, the next album just with a big Y on it…Or we could be ‘semi-colon, comma, semi-colon, underscore, forward slash’ (FYI once more, it’d look like this ;,;_/)
Henry: Or we could do it in Morse? And the first song on the album could be a little bit like the Inspector Morse theme tune - (he starts beeping) do do do doo doo YOUNG KNIVES do do do dooo.
Gigwise: So what do you do in your spare time?
Henry: A bit of drinking, a bit of getting on holiday – not that much, I like camping holidays they’re good. I like to go to water, in rivers, or the sea.
Gigwise: Do you feel at home there?
Henry: No I’m quite frightened by it but I like it, it feels like you’re doing something. When you go to the beach and you play around in the waves for a few hours it feels like you’ve done something a bit different with your day. Actually, I like cathedrals – modern architecture in city centres, and walking up hills in the countryside.
HoL: But we never get to do any of that ‘cause we’re in a rock ‘n’ roll band who are on call 24/7, 365.
Gigwise: What’s going on this year?
HoL: More tours. We’re doing a month in America, a few weeks in Europe, Japan and Australia. Iceland on Sunday – I’m going to Iceland on Sunday.
Henry: Who is?
HoL: MeHenry: Why? He makes shit up…
Gigwise: The supermarket or the country?
HoL: (laughs) We’ve got festivals too. The biggest one in Norway which is pretty exciting – Norway’s way cool. Smoked sausage and potato dumplings.
Gigwise: Do you get to check out any of the cities you go to when you’re on tour?
Henry: I’ve been to Vienna but never seen anything of it - that’s one of the downsides. But we did a festival up in the mountains in Norway, when we went out on a boat and caught mackerel and had some beers. We usually do have a little bit of a walk around but time is tight.
Gigwise: What’s each of your favourite Young Knives songs?
Oliver: I think we’re quite critical, aren’t we?HoL: I like a song called ‘I Can Hardly See Them’ or ‘Rue The Days’ (both from Superabundance) but I also like some of our B-sides like ‘Two Places’ or ‘Worcestershire Madmen’Henry: I think the worst one we ever did is ‘Silence Is Golden’Oliver: Mine’d be ‘Light The Fire’, off the new album
Henry: I like ‘Turn Tail’ – it’s currently rocking my world
Gigwise: Do you read reviews?
Henry: It can be horrible.
HoL: Sometimes they say it was a bit of a shitty performance. And that’s pretty nasty – we only do it because we want to be loved. We want people to say we’re brilliant.
So that was Young Knives; they're not only brilliant but they’re absolutely hilarious. In fact, three of the funniest people you're ever likely to meet. And for that, they are surely teeming with the love of the British public.