Going Focus – Yung

On May 18th, the No Glucose Festival kicks off its third edition. Once again, it will be a wonderful opportunity to gather together a whole music community of a town, Bologna in Italy, that has a long and glorious tradition. The line-up features acts for the likes of Ducktails, James Ferraro, SOVIET SOVIET (and several others), with Danish four-piece Yung confirmed as headliner. For the past two years, we’ve been die-hard fan of the band, featuring their music several times, ’till their latest singles Nostalgia which anticipates a new self-titled 7″ single. And what better opportunity to have a chat with the band’s lead singer and songwriter Mikkel Holm Silkjær ahead of Yung’s upcoming gig?

From the very first time you’ve been featured on our pages – in January 2015 with Nobody Cares – to your latest single Nostalgia, your sound has definitely evolved. Your EP Alter was filled with fuzzy garage-punk moments, while your debut album A Youthful Dream left more room for melodies. How would you describe the evolution of your songwriting? Is there any particular factor that has determined it?

We never aimed to be a certain type of band within a certain genre. Yung was always about expressing what was urgent at any given time. Since we started, our musical horizon has been broadened and naturally this shows in our song writing. This makes song writing more fun too, never feeling too comfortable in what ever terrain one might be roaming.

You probably can’t stand anymore the comparison with Iceage. Given that it could have made sense at first, I think the evolution of your sound speaks for itself now. But how’s the guitar-pop, garage punk scene in your hometown, Aarhus? We always hear a lot of Copenhagen, but never of the other Danish cities.

The Aarhus scene is really vibrant. At once, it’s a thing of its own and it intertwines with the Copenhagen scene. It’s very diverse too. Within guitar driven music, bands like Narcosatanicos, Tile Breaker and Modest stand ou“

Does it make sense to call Yung “a punk band” anymore? Or even better, have you ever been “punk”? If so, what does punk mean to you?

While all of us are definitely influenced by some punk ethics and methods, we don’t see ourselves as a punk band. A rock band maybe.

Rock music is definitely not the place to go for easy money.Mikkel Holm Silkjær of Yung

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Listening to your debut album is quite an experience. There are so many musical references that it feels almost like the opposite.. like you had no landmarks while you were recording it. There are some guitar hooks that reminds me of jangle-pop bands like Beach Fossils and there’s this song, Uncombed Hair, that has this terrific emo aftertaste. So I gotta ask, what inspires you the most as artists?

All of us have somewhat different, ever evolving tastes in music. Even though this can be challenging at times, it seems to add to the equation.

Is there any book or piece of art, other than music, that somehow has pushed you to become the artist that you are today?

I am quite fund of reading so I probably can’t help to be inspired by the books and authors I love. Among them Joseph Heller, Donna Tartt and Bret Easton Ellis stand out.

Denmark, as many other Nordic countries, has seen as a wealthy land of happiness. Your songs go in a total opposite direction though. You can hear pain, anger, anxiety in them. What’s the inspiration behind these subjects? And how many of them speak from an autobiographical point of view?

Denmark might be one of the happiest places on earth according to ‘numerous’ lifestyle magazines but we’re also one of the top countries when it comes to how many sedatives are consumed per citizen – That is obviously quite contradictory and that was kind of what I wanted to touch ground on, on A Youthful Dream. The song lyrics are about people I know and stories from my own life.

Can we say that your song Pills address the issue of the abuse of medications that seem to affect our society nowadays? As someone who rarely takes meds, this is something that scares me a lot

– Yes absolutely. Pills don’t come up with a solution it’s merely a comment on the troubling tendency I mentioned above.

Correct me if I’m wrong on this, but I read in an interview a while ago that all the members of the group had days job and you were not making any money from the band. Many bands in Italy are going through the same struggle. Has anything changed in the meantime? Do you feel confident about a future as full-time musicians?

All of us still have day jobs. Time will tell if this will ever change. For now, we take things a day at a time. Rock music is definitely not the place to go for easy money.

You have released music through Tough Love Records, Fat Possum and now you have a 7″ coming out for Geertruida. Can you tell us more about the latest one, which appears to be something more than a record label?

Geertruida is a really cool music collective. Physically, it’s a villa situated in Haarlem close to Amsterdam in The Netherlands. One guy, Yannick, lives there and uses the living room as a rehearsal space along with his friends with whom he also runs a label. They run a small guitar shop out of a backroom. And they host touring bands in the guest rooms. They do occasional living room shows there too. This is how we got to meet them, playing a house show there. We fell in love immediately.

WOn May 18th you will headline the No Glucose Festival in Bologna. This won’t be your first time in Italy, since you played at Beaches Brew Festival two years. Any good memories from that day you can share with us? Moreover, what can we expect from the upcoming Yung’s gig?

Our 48 hours at Beaches Brew probably holds more fun memories than any other time we’ve shared as a band. One of us turned twenty, we met our friends from Ought, we got to play at a sunny Italian beach, bonds we’re tied and bonds were broken, seeds of love were sown. Hopefully and probably, No Glucose will add more greatness to the epic telling of the Yung Italian love affair.