Back with their new single ‘Next To You’ Irish quartet Wild Youth are no doubt a band to watch.
If you don’t know who Wild Youth is by now, then where have you been? We’re being serious. Homegrown, humble fun is the main preoccupation of the Irish quartet – comprised of lead vocalist David Whelan, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Conor O’Donohoe, lead guitarist Ed Porter and drummer Callum McAdam.
We first chatted to Wild Youth back in 2017 at their first-ever London show at The Islington, now known as PinUps. Back then, the band only had a few tracks to their name but we knew they were a band to watch.
Having previously supported the likes of Westlife at the 82,000+ capacity venue Croke Park, Niall Horan, Zara Larsson, The Script and Kodaline, Wild Youth obviously had something that the music industry was missing.
What we love most about Wild Youth is that since 2017, we’ve seen enormous growth in terms of writing and live performance and that’s where a lot of people miss out on some of the band’s highlights.
We chatted with David and Conor about new music and how getting more popular as a band has awoken the internet trolls. We praise Wild Youth for their honest and humble approach with fans and their ‘Be Kind’ campaign on social media is something we all need especially during COVID times.
Tell us about your new single ‘Next To You’. What inspired it?
Conor – What inspired it was the immediacy of love at first sight. I think it’s what and what we all believe in. It’s about the length you go to and the things you do at the start of the relationship. If they say they’re going for a burger, you’d still go even if you’re vegetarian. It’s the sacrifice you make just to be beside that person
What was the biggest difference in terms of writing and recording your new single compared to your previous EP?
Conor – We were definitely more sure of ourselves, I think we had not made the same mistakes we had on the first EP. We’ve learnt from things that we could of let slip through the net. We were young and naive. This time, the music is a lot more us, we took full control over these songs and made them our own. We didn’t sacrifice anything to make it sound like somebody else, we went for something we love and believe. I think that’s the difference from our previously released tracks.
When you release new music, How do you know when a song is ready to send off into the world?
Conor – You listen to it one hundred thousand times
The music video for next to you has a psychedelic feeling. Was this a conscious decision?
Conor – For sure, it was a very conscious decision. I think the kind of theme and the first phase of wild youth was baby pink and everything we did was based around that, including the lights at our show, music videos and artwork. We felt it was time to move on from that and move to a new stage. I think the psychedelic era is something we’ve always loved and we thought it would be a fun thing.
David – We wanted to be as creative as we could by having the least amount of resources possible. All we could kind of do is have a studio, be socially distanced and have a greenscreen. We just danced in front of it so we had to become creative with everything else around what we had so we thought it was pretty cool to go for a really psychedelic theme for the video and artwork. We wanted to make it as fun and quirky as possible.
In the last 12 months, I’d say a lot more eyes have been on you than ever before. How have you adjusted to that? To have more fans but also deal with internet trolls?
David – I think more than ever before because of COVID, the internet trolls have kind of expanded. They’ve grown. These are the pros and cons of putting yourself in the limelight and I don’t wanna say famous but when you become in the public eye more, people feel like they have more of a hold over you and say what they want about you. At the end of the day, they’re the kind of people that also got you there. If the public didn’t like you then you wouldn’t be in the public eye and you wouldn’t be a figure. They think that this stuff doesn’t stick but it really does. We’re human beings at the end of the day.
You guys also have a ‘Be Kind’ campaign on social media. Do you feel some kind of responsibility to portray this through your music as the internet is a haven for trolls?
Conor – That’s definitely our MO and you know I think Dave probably can handle things better than I can, I think I take it more to heart than anybody else which is tough because what people don’t realise is that you’re just a normal human being and you wake up and you could just be having a shit day and then you go online to people telling you to kill yourself and saying stuff about your family, you and your appearance. It does become hard but then I saw something on twitter yesterday and It’s very sad but you can say whatever you want because I am and this other person is a massive overthinker and very self-critical all the time anyway so I probably say worst stuff to myself then they could say to me online anyway. You learn to block it out and forget about what they’re saying. I always focus on the positives of life and surround myself with people who are positive and maybe just put your social media apps away for a while.
David – and at the end of the day, anybody who has something to say when they don’t really know you always have something going on really deep inside them. They have to take it out on somebody else, so fuck you all.
When you finally get to a play a gig in front of an actual live audience. What are you most looking forward to?
David – Just being round fans and playing for fans. Every single we’ve released until now, we’ve toured the shit out of the song before we’ve released it. We usually play it to get a feeling from the crowd whether they liked the single or not. This is the first single that we’ve never played live or in front of any fans. I’m really looking forward to playing this one and seeing what the reaction live will be like. The reaction online and radio has already been incredible and we’re so thankful for that but I really want to see what our fans think of it when we play live. I can’t wait, it’s going to be an interesting one
Have you ever received any bizarre heckles or seen any outrageous signs during a gig?
Conor – someone gave me the middle finger for the entire gig
Sophie – Wow, that is weird.
Conor – Literally stood in front of me for the whole gig, giving me the middle finger.
David – I think it was out of love as well, probably a ballsy move
Conor – I think he was drunk and doesn’t like our music. I was just the closest person to him. I think he hated my sparkly trousers.
David – There’s been a few gigs where we’ve had our fans came in props. We have a song called champagne butterflies and they had these butterfly things and put them on
Sophie – That’s very cool. A nice gesture.
David – There have probably been loads but our fans usually come with props. People bring us lots of chocolate from Germany and Belgium. They know we love chocolate.
Conor – It’s unbelievable
Is there one song you’ve previously released that now has a different meaning?
Conor – Next To You! It wasn’t written from personal experience but a feeling
David – and a year ago
Conor – Yeah, I think we’re all quite hyper-emotional people and writing that was coming from a place was about a feeling I was longing for. I was searching for it, I had dreamt about it. But now I’ve finally found it.
Has there ever been a song that you’ve written that you regretted or wanted to change?
Conor – Yes, Lose Control probably. I think for me, I would have liked to have pushed the production a little bit more. I love the song and everything about it but I would have liked to try and take the production to a different place. The producer on the track was great but I don’t think I pushed it to the place. I listen to it back and think about what I could have done differently and I don’t really do that with songs anymore but the great thing is that you learn your lesson, I’m never going to let a track get to that point ever again where I listen back and think about all the things I would have done differently. Now I think we exhaust the song, and when I said we listen to the song over one hundred thousand times, it’s no joke. You listen until nothing bothers you, then it’s ready to go.
What’s the most scandalous thing you’ve written about in your songs?
Conor – *laughs* There’s a new song coming and I think when you hear it, the lyrics will come very obvious to you. It’s called ‘Can’t Say No’
Sophie – Ooh. Well, we can’t wait for that!
What’s the biggest rockstar moment you’ve had since starting your career?
David – We played a gig at Croke Park with Westlife and we had to go straight to a festival we were playing that night, we only had an hour window to get across Dublin and there was rush hour traffic. When we got off stage we got into our tour bus and got a police escort
Sophie – That’s when you know you’ve made it right?
David – We’ve never had that before, we had police on bikes just flying us around. It was a real rockstar moment for me. This shit doesn’t happen unless you’re going to jail or something.
Conor – Yeah that was really cool
If you could go back in time, what would you tell your 18-year-old self?
Conor – I’d tell my 18-year-old self that I’m not as good as I think I am and to not rush the process. Just focus on constantly perfecting your craft. Working and writing songs all day long is good and to also be very patient. If you get into music other than the love for music, then you’re going to be tragically disappointed and let down
David – I would tell myself to listen to advice more often, you don’t know everything you think you know. You’re only eighteen. Work hard and just believe. Don’t rush anything because it all comes and goes very quickly. I sound like I’m 60-years-old.
Can fans expect any more music from you guys this year?
Conor – Yes totally! I think we will probably bring another song out in two months, then another track two months after that and then another track two months after that. Then you’re all gonna be sick of us
Sophie – Then hopefully an album at some point?
Conor – Yep absolutely! I think we definitely want to do that and we will probably do an EP first. We have it written and recorded. It’s ready to go. We’ve started writing again, we have a bunch of new songs that we’re loving a the moment. If people want to hear an album…
Sophie – I think we do! We all do
Conor – If they want us…please want us.
And Lastly, What would be the theme song of your life?
David *sings Friends theme tune*
Conor – Lonely by Akon
Sophie – Oh Ok… cool
Conor – I’m joking. It’s a joke… there’s a coronavirus happening
Sophie – You know me, I can’t take a joke
David – every day is a different song I think
Sophie- I mean if somebody asked me that, I don’t know what I’d say
David – Cmon’… give us an answer
Sophie – The piña colada song
David – That’s a good one! I like it
Conor – I’m gonna go with Tequila… actually no Kokomo by The Beach Boys
Thanks, Wild Youth! We can’t wait to chat again.
Follow @bandwildyouth on Twitter and Instagram.