Gang of Youths Is Thankful for Years of Playing Empty Rooms
By Andrew Magnotta @andrewmagnotta
December 19, 2018
Americans are less well acquainted with Australian indie rock darlings Gang of Youths, and that's a shame, but we've got plenty of time left for that to change on this side of the ocean.
The band won four Aria awards last year, including Album of the Year for its sophomore album, Go Farther in Lightness (2017). But Gang of Youths' growing appeal is no mystery. Each release triumphant and full of heart. Go Farther in Lightness in particular is reflective, poetic, modern and so full of energy it could power a small town.
Front man David Le'aupepe explains to Q104.3 New York's Out of the Box with Jonathan Clarke how amazing the past two years have been. The band even got to do some tour dates with Foo Fighters.
"Dave Grohl sat with Jung [Kim, keyboards / guitars], my wife and me at the dinner table a couple times and just had a chat," he recalls. "You don't really expect people of that kind of caliber to give a s--t about you."
He continued: "It was pretty surreal. I was born in '92 ... in between Nevermind and In Utero , so like, I've literally spent my whole life looking at Dave Grohl through the cap of a television screen."
While Gang of Youths is still a relatively young band, the members have endured as much or more than many musicians decades their senior. The fact that Gang of Youths is still around with only one change to its membership speaks to the authenticity of the determination conveyed in the music.
Guitarist Joji Malani adds that the band's slow build at home and abroad allowed it to grow up.
"We've been actually touring in America for six years, but nothing's really been happening here until the last year," he says. "In Australia, things didn't really kick off until the last two or three years. So we had three years of growing pains and ... I guess if the spotlight was on us six years ago, [there] might be a very different story about this band. We were really lucky to go through a lot of things without the spotlight on us."
"We had room to f--k up," agrees Le'aupepe. "I think that's the hard thing about being a rock 'n' roll band in this day and age — or being any artist — you don't have room to f--k up if you're in the public eye."
If you don't get an early break as an artist, you'll encounter a lot of disappointment before you get your show. In 2014, Gang of Youths drove 10 hours to a show to play for approximately 17 people, most of whom were other bands on the bill that evening. But they always embraced the grind.
"We've done it a few times," laughs Le'aupepe.
Fortunately, the shows have gotten a lot bigger on this most recent tour. Check out the full interview with Le'aupepe and Malani above!
Get all Gang of Youths' tour dates here.
Check out the music video for Gang of Youths' "The Heart Is a Muscle":