Yung Life
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Yung Life

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Band Alternative EDM

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Jul
27
Yung Life @ Big Fatty's

Knoxville, Virginia, USA

Knoxville, Virginia, USA

Jul
24
Yung Life @ Mayday Northside

Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

Jul
23
Yung Life @ Subterranean

Chicago, Illinois, USA

Chicago, Illinois, USA

Music

Press


Rewind to last summer: The members of Yung Life straddled an indie-rock fence staring down at two distinct groups of influences.

On one side was the synth-heavy New Wave sounds of the 1980s, and Yung Life founders Elliott White and Will Farner lifted the best of those bands, groups like Depeche Mode and Thompson Twins, and cut it with the influences on the other side — contemporary electronic artists like Millionyoung and Toro y Moi.

The result was a hazy, dreamy soundscape of songs on “Youth’s Hours,” the band’s full-length debut. But with the new self-titled full-length Yung Life will celebrate with a release show this weekend at The Pilot Light, White, Garner and White’s two younger brothers (Gabriel and Judah) have scrubbed off some of the haze and delivered a wonderfully quirky, eclectic album of songs as fun to listen to as they are for the band members to play live.

“We’re just trying to have a lot of fun and not really do anything too seriously,” Gabriel White said. “I think we’ve progressed and transformed ...”

“... and we’re definitely appealing to a broader audience,” Farner added. “People seem to be dancing more. If I wasn’t in this band, I would like our band; that sounds corny, but it’s the truth.”

Striking a balance between what the members enjoy playing and what audience members enjoy hearing can be a tricky thing; go too far in either direction and those on the other side feel alienated. And if the guys in Yung Life — all in their late teens or early 20s — thought too seriously about the reference points that writers assign to their music for the sake of easy classification, then certainly “Yung Life” wouldn’t have the breezy, devil-may-care attitude that makes it such a delight.

But Elliott White and Farner have never been much on pinning themselves, or their influences, down, they said.

“We weren’t really trying to be like any other band,” Elliott White said. “As weird as that might sound, we were making up stuff. We were listening to bands like Animal Collective and Ariel Pink and Lightning Bolt and Sonic Youth; we were just really all over the place.”

At the time, he and Farner were just a couple of guys at Farragut High School, experimenting with sounds and textures. Gradually, they began piecing together longer and more complex elements into songs, and as the songs developed, they found themselves increasingly enamored with working the sounds they had created into traditional song structures.

Gabriel joined the band next as Elliott and Farner began seeking ways to flesh out Yung Life into a fuller-sounding project.

“They were practicing in the room next door, and I was hearing what they were doing, and it made me want to be a part of it,” Gabriel said. “As they started going with more of a full-band sound, it sort of transformed from experimental music to more structured songs with more of a pop feel.”

Before Gabriel joined, Elliott and Farner generated bass sounds on a synthesizer; with Gabriel playing the real thing, and Judah joining two years ago, the electronic elements struck a balance with live instrumentation, and the music took root in traditional indie-pop sounds that give each of the guys room to express themselves individually.

“I had been playing around already with some of my friends, but I realized these guys knew what they were doing, and that was more inspiring to me,” Judah said. “We’ve all tinkered around on instruments before, and the three (White brothers) have all had bands growing up, so doing this together was an easy transition to make.”

Now, Yung Life has earned a bit of an Internet buzz on various blogs; the band’s first show, in fact, was opening for Knoxville-based indie-rockers The Royal Bangs, and through association with acts like Coolrunnings and other like-minded indie projects, the band has earned its share of fans both in East Tennessee and on the road.

“There definitely seems to be a following now,” said Cameron Crowson, the band’s sound engineer. “Usually I’m in the back of the venue doing sound, so I get to watch the whole audience, and there’s a lot more response these days. The crowd just explodes when these guys play.” - The Daily Times


Composed of brothers Elliott, Gabriel and Judah White and longtime friend Will Farner, Knoxville act Yung Life is easily among the city's best live bands. Having performed in this lineup for little more than a year, the group plays with a seamless unity that may only be possible through fraternal bonds.

The White brothers, who range in age from 18 to 22, tell that music was interwoven into their family life from an early age. This is evident in the way Yung Life rotates vocal duties and exchanges instruments throughout its sets with little effect on its continuity of sound.

"It is a family thing," points out Elliott White. "Our dad is a crazy guitar player and played all throughout Chicago growing up. My mom also teaches piano and voice, so we started music lessons when we were in elementary school and always had music in our house when we grew up."

"Everyone's surprised that we can be in a band with our siblings, but we've always been like best friends," Gabriel White adds. "We argue some but not bad. When we write a song, one of us might start something and another sits in and adds to it, and we play around with it. Everyone's open to collaborate; it's not just any one of us writing."

Despite the ages of its members, Yung Life is often noted for having a connection to the '80s. Aside from finding ways to use '80s-style synths more productively than their original era, the band's neon album art and a following that could double as "Miami Vice" extras strongly allude to a decade no one in Yung Life was alive to see. A possible source is the nod to '80s campiness that runs rampant throughout the chillwave scene, but the band insists these ties to decades past are merely coincidence — well, mostly.

"I listen to a lot of '80s music," Elliott White admits, "but we never meant to make something that sounded like that, but I guess we're just going with it now. We never intended to go with any kind of fad or anything like that, and if we were, I guess we're already past it now. ... It's not that we're trying to make songs like that so much as if we make one song that reminds us of that time or style, it motivates us to make more like it."

"I like music that's catchy, and I'm not concerned if it's cool," says Judah White. "It's just what we want to do. Some people say it's '80s but I don't hear it as much, I guess, because I'm used to it. I don't know if that's just our following or if the new thing going around is '80s-chic."

Yung Life released its self-titled full-length album on June 21 and is currently preparing to embark on a July tour of the East Coast and Midwest to promote it, but the group is already planning for its next project. Appropriately enough, the band shows signs of unintentionally evolving by the decade, explaining that work for its next album has so far been inspired by 90's pop sounds. While this move will downplay the synths Yung Life is known for, the band tells they will not abandon them outright in its progression.

"Right now we're working on new stuff that's totally different from this recent one," Elliott White says. "Gabriel and I have been obsessing over top 40 mid-90s music, stuff that was super catchy that we listened to on the radio back then. Some of the ideas that we're working on sound completely different than what we just put out. Some of them don't even have keyboards in them yet. We don't really think about it too much; we just do whatever."

"The primary thing that's changing is that it's not heavy on the electronics," agrees Gabriel White. "It's not as synth-based. There's still synth in it; its just not the '80s synthesizer we've been using live or in the recordings."

Yung Life will play Wednesday, July 11, the day before they go on tour, at Lost and Found Records. Also performing are Persona La Ave and Shy Boy. The show kicks off at 7:30 p.m. and is free, although any donations toward gas money for the tour are appreciated. - The Knoxville News Sentinel


Composed of brothers Elliott, Gabriel and Judah White and longtime friend Will Farner, Knoxville act Yung Life is easily among the city's best live bands. Having performed in this lineup for little more than a year, the group plays with a seamless unity that may only be possible through fraternal bonds.

The White brothers, who range in age from 18 to 22, tell that music was interwoven into their family life from an early age. This is evident in the way Yung Life rotates vocal duties and exchanges instruments throughout its sets with little effect on its continuity of sound.

"It is a family thing," points out Elliott White. "Our dad is a crazy guitar player and played all throughout Chicago growing up. My mom also teaches piano and voice, so we started music lessons when we were in elementary school and always had music in our house when we grew up."

"Everyone's surprised that we can be in a band with our siblings, but we've always been like best friends," Gabriel White adds. "We argue some but not bad. When we write a song, one of us might start something and another sits in and adds to it, and we play around with it. Everyone's open to collaborate; it's not just any one of us writing."

Despite the ages of its members, Yung Life is often noted for having a connection to the '80s. Aside from finding ways to use '80s-style synths more productively than their original era, the band's neon album art and a following that could double as "Miami Vice" extras strongly allude to a decade no one in Yung Life was alive to see. A possible source is the nod to '80s campiness that runs rampant throughout the chillwave scene, but the band insists these ties to decades past are merely coincidence — well, mostly.

"I listen to a lot of '80s music," Elliott White admits, "but we never meant to make something that sounded like that, but I guess we're just going with it now. We never intended to go with any kind of fad or anything like that, and if we were, I guess we're already past it now. ... It's not that we're trying to make songs like that so much as if we make one song that reminds us of that time or style, it motivates us to make more like it."

"I like music that's catchy, and I'm not concerned if it's cool," says Judah White. "It's just what we want to do. Some people say it's '80s but I don't hear it as much, I guess, because I'm used to it. I don't know if that's just our following or if the new thing going around is '80s-chic."

Yung Life released its self-titled full-length album on June 21 and is currently preparing to embark on a July tour of the East Coast and Midwest to promote it, but the group is already planning for its next project. Appropriately enough, the band shows signs of unintentionally evolving by the decade, explaining that work for its next album has so far been inspired by 90's pop sounds. While this move will downplay the synths Yung Life is known for, the band tells they will not abandon them outright in its progression.

"Right now we're working on new stuff that's totally different from this recent one," Elliott White says. "Gabriel and I have been obsessing over top 40 mid-90s music, stuff that was super catchy that we listened to on the radio back then. Some of the ideas that we're working on sound completely different than what we just put out. Some of them don't even have keyboards in them yet. We don't really think about it too much; we just do whatever."

"The primary thing that's changing is that it's not heavy on the electronics," agrees Gabriel White. "It's not as synth-based. There's still synth in it; its just not the '80s synthesizer we've been using live or in the recordings."

Yung Life will play Wednesday, July 11, the day before they go on tour, at Lost and Found Records. Also performing are Persona La Ave and Shy Boy. The show kicks off at 7:30 p.m. and is free, although any donations toward gas money for the tour are appreciated. - The Knoxville News Sentinel


Yung Life plays fuzzy, dreamy synth pop, the kind that hints of M83 and New Order and Suicide, the kind that sounds like it was made in 1982 instead of 2012, the kind where shadowy vocals are muted behind swirls of hazy keyboards and throbbing beats.

But while the tone of the band’s songs may have a retro appeal, the band itself is a little too young to appreciate how far it looks back. Make that a lot too young—not a single member of the band is older than 21, and the youngest member is still in high school.

Despite the band’s name—a pun on the high-school Christian youth group Young Life—the songs demonstrate a poise and maturity beyond the members’ ages. But that’s what happens after playing together for almost four years, says Elliott White, 21, who started Yung Life in 2008 with his friend from Farragut High School, 19-year-old Will Farner. After playing as a duo for years, the group finally added White’s younger brothers, Gabriel, 20, and Judah, 18, and friend Dylan Dawkins, 20.

“Last year was when we turned it into a full sound,” Elliott says. “I was in Coolrunnings and quit to get more serious with this and felt the need to turn it into a full band.”

All five members of Yung Life take turns playing instruments—Elliott drums, plays keyboard, and sings; Farner and Dawkins trade off keyboards, bass, and guitar; Judah plays keyboard and bass, and Gabriel sticks mainly with guitar.

“People always ask us to describe our sound, and I’m like, rock ’n’ roll with keyboards,” Farner says.

“We’re really not trying to be too genre-specific,” Elliott says.

Still, there’s no escaping the band’s New Wave postpunk sound—it’s not the synth and fuzz of shoegaze but that of the Jesus and Mary Chain. Yet Yung Life manages to breath new life into what could, in lesser hands, sound like a cover band. No other Knoxville band right now so fully captures this particular sound—its of-the-moment lucidity and its faded throwback charm, its under-the-radar roots and its unashamed commercial ambition—which is pretty much the sound of indie rock in 2012. It’s a sound that has earned the band a loyal following here and considerable blog buzz in the build-up to the release of its new, still-untitled album in February.

“We’re as serious as we’ve ever been,” Farner says. “We used to do a lot of improv when we played.”

“We needed to fill out the sound some,” Gabriel adds.

That seriousness has meant taking a step back from the Knoxville music scene, taking time to focus on recording instead of playing small shows at parties.

“We’re not as focused on the Knoxville music scene as much as on where we could be,” Elliott says. “Right now we’re building up the band as a whole before attempting something bigger—we’re taking small steps.”

However, the groups does draw inspiration from the number of bands and musicians in Knoxville who are so, well, old.

“A lot of bands in Knoxville are a lot older than us. It feels good to know we have a lot of time,” Farner says.

“It means there’s no rush to give it up,” Gabriel says, admitting that even college students fell pressure to grow up.

But first there is that new album, and the band hopes to tour the East Coast to promote it this summer.

“It’s a lot more guitar-y,” Farner says. “It’s the first thing we’ve done that’s written for the full band.”

“It’s more lush,” says Dawkins.

“It’s not lo-fi, so it should have a bigger appeal,” Gabriel adds.

If you can’t wait until next month, you can hear tracks from the new album this Friday, when Yung Life plays at Beardsley Farm’s Snow Day benefit at Barley’s Taproom in the Old City. But the not-so-young should note: While the event starts at 7 p.m., Yung Life is scheduled to take the stage at midnight.

© 2012 MetroPulse. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. - The Metro Pulse


Yung Life’s ‘Breaker’. This track emerged at the tail-end of 2011, like some glorious burst of light in the dark. - This is Fake DIY


“I Be Scared” is the first new song in nearly a year from Knoxville’s Yung Life...take solace in the top google searches..."
- The Fader


Yung Life's future is sounding bright. "Isn't This" sounds like what we hope Billboard charting bands of 2013 all sound like on every Clear Channel station everywhere. It could happen! - Impose Magazine


Discography

Solar Beats (single) - May 2013
Rude Vision (single) - October 2012
Yung Life (LP) - July 2012
Youth's Hours (LP) - August 2011
I Be Scared When I Be by Myself (EP) - April 2010

Isn't This, lead single of s/t LP, has current airplay on college radio stations across the nation.

Photos

Bio

The Knoxville, TN based four-piece made their debut summer 2011 with Youth's Hours, a new wave lo-fi gem which included the heavily rotated single "I Be Scared". One year later and ten tracks later Yung Life is now a hi-fi collection of kinetic, synth-guided pop songs with lead single "Isn't This" setting the stage. Consisting of three brothers and close friend, all the guys grew up playing music with each other. The group's music, described as melodic dance-infused pop and electro-rock, spans many genres. The band is currently recording a new album with a 2013 release.