Young Lions have come roaring back into our orbit with their new album, Mr. Spaceman. The Brissie rock trio’s long-awaited third LP has finally made landfall, and if it doesn’t send them hurtling into the stratosphere then we’ll be a Nerfherder’s uncle.
The threesome’s ambitious and complex new concept record follows its protagonist on a journey through space, dealing with a whole host of inter-dimensional learning curbs on the way. But the LP also explores new frontiers in terms of songwriting and production, combining huge synth and electro-laced rock soundscapes with powerfully human themes.
After spending eighteen long months in suspended animation, Young Lions’ epic new 12-tracker finally dropped on the 8th of this month — appropriately timed with Australia getting hit with a partial lunar eclipse — and now the lads are getting primed to hit the road and perform some of their huge new tunes in front of earthlings across the nation this September.
But before that happens, frontman Zach Britt — who screaming eagles Young Lions with another band you might have heard of called Dream On Dreamer — took some time out to chat with Music Feeds about all of the head-shaving, sonic recalibrations and repeated watchings of Interstellar that went into making the truly out-of-this-world Mr Spaceman.
Music Feeds: Hey Zach you legend! Congrats on a fkn killer album!!
Zach Britt: Cheers man. Glad you like it, we’re stoked!
MF: So I listened to Mr. Spaceman for the first time on a plane going through some serious turbulence and it really calmed me down! Is that how you intended people to feel hearing it? Was I doing it right?
ZB: We couldn’t have asked for anything more perfect for your first run through! I think we aim to help people disappear for 45 minutes. If we can give the listener an out of body experience or peace of mind that they have needed for some reason or other, then it has been a successful mission!
MF: That said, the music video for ‘Burn The Money’ is intense AF. How much did you have to psych yourself up for that head-shaving scene?
ZB: Haha I definitely had to get myself in the zone but we all wanted this album to be something new. A fresh birth of some sort, so Neal Walters (our close friend and director of almost everything we’ve ever done) just pushed me to put my money where my mouth was (pun intended) and just go for it. I think it worked out for the best.
MF: Any album is a huge undertaking but a concept album seems even more huge somehow. Can you give us the TL;DR version of the story that Mr. Spaceman explores?
ZB: We wanted to grow as a band so [that] concept approach just fell into place because it made sense. We’ve actually been writing this story through the last three albums in all the video clips so it follows on with a character who disappears trough a portal into space to find the answers to a dying earth’s questions. He faces a whole bunch of trials and as the Young Lions at home fight for freedom he is caught in a tumultuous reality for a number of years dealing with the loneliness of parallel universes and relativity-based loss before being able to return to earth with his new knowledge and powers.
MF: During the writing process, did you watch any space movies/docos/do anything else for inspo to get you into that interstellar mindset?
ZB: Interstellar. Haha. A lot. I watched a few other things and have been into space for a long long time but Interstellar really set the emotion and inspiration for the start of this journey
MF: So it sounds like it’s been quite the journey for you guys between recording the LP and finally releasing it this month – what were some of the factors that stopped you from punching it out straight after you finished up in the studio last January?
ZB: It didn’t sound right. We were wanting to punch through the stratosphere and it really just sounded like we’d had a test launch to 50,000ft. Label interests and offers had come from every direction and it took us a long time to realise that we just wanted to release it from our home at Bedlam Records. Getting down into the Bedlam studio in Brisbane with Callan Orr and really taking it to the next level was when we knew it was time to start the ball rolling and here we are now 🙂
MF: You’ve got a whole bunch of shows coming up from September onwards as well – for those new fans who may have never caught Young Lions in action before, why will they want to kick their own arses if they miss out on seeing you live on this tour?
ZB: It is life changing. The new show, the lights, the energy and the journey will blow your mind. This could be some of the last “intimate” shows we ever play. Don’t fuck up and miss it.
MF: Once the tour wraps up, what are your plans for the rest of 2017 and beyond?
ZB: We’ll be doing some more shows this year I hope but we really just have to keep the production engine turning for this album tour. Next year is booking out to be big but we can’t say a lot just yet about where we are headed etc. Just get onboard the journey with us, you won’t regret it.
MF: It feels like a really good time again for heavy music in Australia after a few years of what seemed like a bit of industry neglect (just IMO). Out of curiosity, do you feel like heavy music gets enough support here? And if not, how would you like to see things improve?
ZB: Hmmm it’s hard for me to talk about heavy music too much. Young Lions is really on its way out of that vein and Dreamer haven’t released a song I’d class as “heavy” for a long time either. Most of the people at a YL show are rock fans or indie kids that want a bigger hit and that’s what we’re here to give. Heavy music gets mad support if the band is good but the bridge between good and ear piercingly bad is wide. Ocean Grove know where it’s at. Deadlights are also mega. I just can’t really get behind calling Young Lions heavy. I don’t think the support is lacking though. Head out to a Northlane, In Hearts Wake or Thy Art show and the lads are doing multiple nights sold out. It’s still lit I reckon.
MF: So you’re a busy lad playing in two super awesome bands. How do you go juggling the commitments of both Young Lions and Dream On Dreamer? Do your bandmates ever act like jealous girlfriends or are they mostly supportive and chill?
ZB: Pretty chill man. We’ve all toured together a few times so the friendship is there. Only a few times have I ever had to cancel shows and last time I got stuck in Russia [Storm The Sky’s] Will Jarrat filled in so it was probably better! Kind of like my experiences with girls though man, as long as we all play together they’re usually happy…
MF: If you don’t mind me slipping in a sneaky DOD question for good measure, you guys feel like you’re ramping up again as well, what with this new Hands Like Houses tour coming up! Are there plans to release new music any time soon?
ZB: There will definitely be some new music soon. They’re already in the studio now and I’ll be in there once the HLH tour is over. I can’t wait to see [returning bassist Micheal] McCoy perform on that one!
Young Lions’ new album ‘Mr. Spaceman’ is out now. Catch them touring across Australia this September!