theaussieword.com catches up with Youngsmith.
Give us an introduction. How did it all begin? What had you first interested in music?
I’ve always had an interest in music, but it was during my teen years that I really started to listen to the words particularly those of grunge acts. Even though I had barely ever played an instrument I still found myself deeply connecting with it. I started connecting with bands like Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Rage Against The Machine and Red Hot Chilli Peppers I found in my older brothers music collection. Even though these bands were rock and funk, their lyrics were always full of meaning. It was like looking into the soul of an artist. That’s what I loved about it. I became a lifelong fan of those bands for that reason alone. I didn’t pick up a guitar til my early twenties and it was within weeks I began writing. I found I could link lyrics and music fairly easily and after a few months started attending open mic nights around Brisbane. I found music to be an awesome form of expression for me to get stuff out I couldn’t normally express.
What motivates or influences you in your quest to make great music?
I guess I’d say feeling really. Feeling is where it all starts for me. I can’t make a song out of thin air, I have to have experienced something or felt something and then usually the words come to me. Either that, or I wake up with a song playing in my head in the middle of the night and have to decide whether to get up and record it / write it or lose it forever. I can never remember them the next day.
What are your biggest goals you hope to accomplish as an artist?
I just want people to connect to my music the way I’ve connected to bands and acts I’ve liked. Whether it’s by coming and seeing me play at shows or listening to it over and over again. That’s my main priority. Touring, selling records and playing festivals are other goals but they all come after getting people to listen to my song more than once.
What can we expect from you in the coming months? Any plans to tour?
I have a solo show in Brisbane at The Triffid on the 5th of November and some more local stuff and plans for a tour in early 2016 down to NSW and VIC.
Tell us a bit about your latest single and how would you best describe your music?
My single is called ‘Wither’, it’s a reflective song about the last few years of my life and the personal struggles I’ve had. I’d say my music is a cross between Johnny Cash and Vance Joy. It’s toe-tapping stuff with intricate guitar melodies but will hopefully get you thinking.
Success, what is the secret to it?
I think it’s all about a mindset. Do what you love and you’ll be successful no matter what’s in your bank account.
What has been your biggest career highlight?
I’d say it’s been working on this single and releasing it. Working with incredible people to get the song heard, the photographer and the filmclips director Dan Graetz (who’s worked with Violent Soho and Ball Park Music). It represents an incredible struggles end.
Which stars of the music industry do you find inspiring?
The late Johnny Cash. Pearl Jam, Foo Fighters, Vance Joy, Ray LaMontagne, Chris Cornell, Tom Petty, Neil Young.
There are so many…
Any new projects in the pipeline?
I’m currently working on a follow-up single to this track called “Hell Keeps Me Running” which should be out in a few months. I’m also in the process of writing / recording my debut album.
The music industry is huge, where do you see yourself a few years from now?
Touring Australia as a solid live act with a loyal fan base.
Name a few of your favourite Aussie artists.
Violent Soho, Tame Impala, Kate Miller-Heidke, The Beards, The Rubens, Harts, Ayla, Meg Mac.
The shape of the music industry has changed significantly over the years, including the use of social media, how do you feel about the industry as a whole and what does it mean to you in getting your records out into the public eye?
Social media has been great for me as an act to get my shows advertised, music heard and sold and much more. More opportunities have opened up for musical acts of all levels to connect and get their music out to their followers than ever. They can directly contact each listener in an instant and find out more about that listener than ever before. Listeners are no longer a person listening in their living room to a CD or a record. Even what you listen to isn’t private amongst facebook friends. The industry has also opened up and is more of a free market where everyone can have a go writing, recording and distributing their own music. Which is really great for hearing all kinds of music. This single for instance, was recorded in my own studio and mixed in a large one. 20 years ago I would have had to pay for studio time and hope that the finished product was good enough.
Thanks for the interview! What final message do you have for us today?
Check out my film clip for new single ‘Wither’ – Hope you enjoy it!