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Young Creatures: Creature Feature Festival, New Song Premiere (!!!), and digging through the Psychedelic-Mindscapes of what it means to be CREETCH ~ Ryan Muddiman

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Combining elements of shoegaze, psychedelic rock, indie, and pop, Young Creatures toe the line between blissful dreamy pop and dark, eerie soundscapes. After dropping their debut self-titled EP in 2012 and theHabitats EP in 2013, the band underwent some line-up changes, as well as evolving the sound from its raw and raucous beginnings to its current atmospheric and energetic sound.

Their full-length debut Fear All The Things was released in 2014, solidifying the band’s sound and ethos. A proudly DIY band, Young Creatures have toured major cities all over North America and gotten attention from several publications, including: Classic Rock Magazine, LA Weekly, OC Weekly, Buzz Bands LA, and What Youth. In LA they’ve played venues like The Bootleg, The Echo, The Satellite and a residency at the Silverlake Lounge. They’ve done performances for Daytrotter, Converse Rubber Tracks, Balcony TV, Sofar Sounds, & Jam in the Van. Their music has been featured in television shows and independent films, as well as on repeated plays on terrestrial radio stations such as Los Angeles’ 88.5 KCSN.

Currently a three-piece* of Mike Post (vocals/guitar/keyboards), Michael Escalante (drums/percussion) and Andrew Gleason (guitar/bass/vocals), the band has released their sophomore album, The Future is Finally Now. Recorded and mixed at Mike Post’s own MooseCat Recording studio in LA, the album refines and expands the haunting dreamy sound of their debut. The band performed and produced the entire album themselves and is looking forward to a new album release in Spring of 2019. [from the band’s website*UPDATE! more on that below

Young Creatures construct songs that make it obvious they’re a band with broad influences, who know precisely what they’re doing. You’ll find no slapdash-fuckery here. No. Their craftsmanship is one that stands as testament to the fact that some of the best bands you’ll here aren’t heard enough. Yet.

What is the band’s origin? Was it one person seeking others or was it more organic? What year did you finally arrive at the core group you have now?

Mike: The band definitely formed pretty organically. I had just moved to LA from NY and was doing kind of a solo thing at the time. I met Mikey through some mutual friends and we decided to start playing around a little bit with our original bassist. Things kind of snowballed from there and we started recording and playing regularly. About two years after that Andrew joined the band, who I had been in a band with in college at Northeastern. Not the most exciting story but really a series of happy coincidences that brought us all together.

What’s the situation with your bass player? Oftentimes bands will have a close-nit core group, with revolving extraneous members, but I’m curious as to whether that is a matter of choice or simply not finding the right piece to the puzzle.

Mike: We’ve actually got a new bassist named Donald Fisher! He’s an awesome dude who we’ve known for a few years now, after playing with his old band Infantree a few times. We were fans of the band even before sharing the stage with them, and just recently reconnected again with Donald while we were searching for a permanent member. Our original bassist left the band back in 2016 and yeah basically we were looking for the right piece to the puzzle since then. We’re super grateful to have Donald on board as he brings a lot to the table musically in addition to being super fun to hang with, which is really important!

What is the band’s songwriting process? Co-writing? Etc.

Mike: Our songwriting process has kind of evolved over the last few years. All the songs are co-written, and we’re all there while the bulk of writing in happening. Generally it starts with a little kernel of an idea that we feel could have some legs. From there we’ll just try and develop it in a way that suits how the song is feeling. As the one who is writing the lyrics, I usually wait for the song to come to me rather than actively searching for something to write about. We’ve become a lot more songwriting-centric than we used to be during the Fear All The Things album and previous EPs too. Rather than building a song up and being done with it, we’ll build it up, and then strip it back down to it’s basic form before ornamenting it again. At least that’s the goal, though every song is a little different.

From where does the band draw inspiration for the songs?

Andrew: Mike talked a little bit about the lyrics a second ago, but as far as the instrumental parts that each of us play, I’d say it comes down mostly to any kind of feeling that we get off of a musical idea. We’re all music geeks and have a lot of influences to draw from when writing songs, from both a playing and a production standpoint. We also have good ears and can follow each other’s lead a lot, and we rarely pursue a melody or riff idea that doesn’t resonate for us on some level. If you’re working with catchy ideas like that it’s easy to know what to play without having to think much about it. Other times, it’s just a matter of thinking of something out of nowhere and just going for it, which is sort of how the string section happened for “Prisoner of Escape”. (See link at the end of the article for the premiere!) 

(…And of course the trite question that somehow always seems relevant…) What are the band’s musical (or otherwise?) influences?

Mike: We’ve got a trite answer, but the truth is we listen to everything and have an extensive list of musical influences. If you made a Venn Diagram of Creetch** influences, I think in the center you’d find Bob Dylan, Iron Maiden & Roky Erickson. For me, personally, The Beatles, Leonard Cohen, and Nick Lowe are toward the top of my main influences. I think Wilco, The Band and Elvis Costello would be big ones for Andrew & I, and Mikey and I both love bands like Good Old War.

Andrew: Some of my main influences include Built To Spill, Neil Young, Petty…It’s hard to just pick a few though.

Mikey: Some of my tops would be Black Sabbath, The Growlers & Circa Survive. I’m really into folk, classic reggae and hip hop too though, so it’s all over the place.

What can you tell me about the new 7″ with the postcard?

Mikey: This will be our second release with Nomad Eel Records and of course we’re super stoked. Damon is awesome to work with and he’s always into applying new ideas for making a rad and unique product. This time around with any purchase of the vinyl it will include a postcard to be able to send to a friend as a gift with download codes to the two new songs. We’re trying to keep the spirit of sharing music you like with friends in a fun way. I remember growing up and my friends would always give me CDs to listen too and I feel like a lot of my personal music taste came from that so just incorporating that vibe with today’s digital ways of listening to tunes. Plus the cover art is super awesome thanks to our friend John Le which makes a cool little gift.

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Creature Feature Festival. What’s the skinny: First time throwing it? How were the bands chosen? Is there an overarching theme or cause? Local coverage? Anything else you’d like to add about it?

Mikey: This is the first Creature Feature Festival and [we’re] hoping to make it an annual thing! We’re basically just trying to collaborate with all our friends who are doing things we support. We chose bands that we are friends with but tried to keep it as eclectic as we could. We feel that fests should have an array of music to be able to discover something new or weird or you’ve never seen before. And we have a surprise guest that we can’t yet announce but are stoked to have on! We also collaborated with our friends in Adolescent Lounge which is a small publishing company and they’ll be organizing an art show in the venue along with a zine release. They’ve got some vendors that will be selling art/ handmade goods and we also got our friends in Sheared Ink doing live screen printing. They’ll have some art we are having done up by John Le to press fresh onto totes and t shirts. Our guy Barnaby Jones will be hosting, who’s hosted one of our early residencies and some shows in the past. We’re just trying to create a fun, collaborative environment with all our friends and to share it with anyone willing to come and check it out.

Where would you like to see this band in 5 and 10 years?

Andrew: In five years? Space. In ten years? The moon.

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As mentioned above, the Creature Feature Festival is bound to be an experience not to be missed. It will also coincide with their 7″ release. The venue is The Hi Hat, located at 5043 York Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90042. Go here for more details on the event.

And as promised, the premiere of their second song/single off the 7″, ‘Prisoner of Escape.’ It can be found here, for your streaming pleasure. A song with a decidedly sharper edge, sonically, this one dances with the same infectious head-swaying potency as their other music, but with more punch. Get at it!

Lastly, for vinyl enthusiasts, the 7″ vinyl with accompanying postcard (How cool is that? Seriously?) will also be released by Nomad Eel Records to coincide with the festival, on November 17th.

**CREETCH.

What is it? What does it mean? While ostensibly an abbreviation of the word “Creatures”, as in the LA-based band Young Creatures, the meaning has become more and more contested over time. The most widely accepted interpretation of it, as of the year 2017, is an acronym for “Creating Radical, Ethereal, Energetic Tunes in Chop Heaven”, “chop” being slang for one of the band’s favorite tightly-rolled pastimes. But even Young Creatures themselves will be hesitant to state the term’s definitive meaning, leaving much of it up to a listener’s personal interpretation, just as the band prefer to do with their music. [from the band’s website]

Young Creatures Bandcamp

Young Creatures Spotify

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Ryan Muddiman

ryan muddiman

 

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