Monday, July 15, 2013

10 Questions with Young Lyons

Photos courtesy of Young Lyons 
Hailing from Tulsa, OK Youngs Lyons is an unapologetic pop rock band that mixes harmonies, hooks, and energy on their debut EP Crash Course.

This interview was conducted via email with Paul Cristiano and John Lyons June 27 – July 11, 2013.

For more information on Young Lyons check out their official website, Facebook, Twitter, ReverbNation, YouTube, and BandCamp pages.

Dave:  How did the band get together?  What’s the story behind the name Young Lyons?

John Lyons:  I have known Paul from his past musical projects. Every project he touched I thought was golden. I had gone through so many member changes with my old band I felt like I should try something new which was focus on getting the best recording possible on the newest songs I had written. I called Paul to give him am update on what I wanted to do. Long story short he put me in touch with Brad Mitcho to produce and Paul joined in on bass and was solely going to be a studio thing. Once we were a few songs in we knew we had something new and special. So with Brad's name suggestion Young Lyons (he used my last name Lyons) we stayed in the studio over a year recording Crash Course and now have assembled a live team to go out and be heard.

Paul Cristiano:  Approximately a year and half ago John had asked me to play bass for some new songs he was working on.  His previous band Ziff had come to a stand still and wanted to try something different.  I suggested he hit up producer Brad Mitcho first, he did - we started to collaborate on what would become the songs for 'Crash Course'.  Incidentally, we hadn't agreed to start a band, just work on songs.  That came later after we had some success writing.

Dave:  You recently released the Crash Course EP.  What’s the story behind the record?  Are there any plans for a physical release?

John:  It really was a Crash Course getting this EP finished over the last year. Just lots and lots of bumps and life lessons in my life personally. I really feel lucky to be working with Paul and have learned so much from him and Brad in the studio. Now we are performing this EP live which is a whole other music course lol and I'm learning even more from who I've surrounded myself with. Our focus now is creating a music video as we continue to promote Crash Course.

Paul:  The story is, at least to my ears and eyes - a shot at redemption for each of us - John and I had come from long term, but ultimately failed endeavors previous to Young Lyons.  For Brad, he had taken off his producers hat for a much needed break from music.  Collectively, I think we all thought the quality of the material was something worthy of re-introducing ourselves.

We would love to do a vinyl release, but that's in the future - we're working on a video right now which as you can imagine, is commandeering most of our resources.

Dave:  Your music seems to simultaneously pull elements from, to quote my review of Crash Course, “the poppy emo groups of the early 2000s to the alternative pop bands of the 1990s to the pop and new wave bands of the 1980s to the power pop groups of the late 1970s.”  What kind of music did you grow up on?  Which artists do you feel left a mark on you and eventually on your music?

John:  I owe so much to my dad. He properly introduced me to the Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel and Bob Dylan. He even had a specific plan for the order of albums and bands and at what age I would first listen to the album. Eventually I started discovering my own music and fell deeply in love with The Smashing Pumpkins, Beach Boys and The Get Up Kids.

Paul:  For me, things almost can't be 'pop' enough - so, the short list:

Burt Bacharach, Big Star, Beach Boys / Beatles

Dave:  Do you have any specific type of songwriting process?

John:  I almost always write the chorus first when I'm laying down just strumming on an acoustic. For Crash Course I took those songs that I thought were ready (boy was I wrong lol) and Paul and Brad did their magic. They pointed me in the right direction and helped get that sound out of my head and into a song. They had me try things that were completely new to me. My brain never thought that the things we were trying and the things we did would actually have that kind of impact on a song and its emotion.

Paul:  For this initial round of songs, the protocol was John brings in an idea - Paul and Brad 'bandalize' and take it from there.

Dave:  Do you have any plans to tour in support of Crash Course

John:  Oh absolutely and I think with Musebox behind us pushing us nationally we will get the exposure needed to help get us out there on the road.

Paul:  Yes, a regional tour is in order and we're currently gearing up for the college circuit and beyond.

Dave:  Do you have any plans for a full-length release?

John:  Even though we just released Crash Course and are doing all we can to get it heard I'm already itching to record again. I'm not sure on a full length. I kinda feel like its going to be singles leading to another EP for us next.

Paul:  For my taste, and the current climate - this EP represents a 'full-length' release.  Past this, I see releasing singles as we write and see where that takes us.

Dave:  What are your thoughts on the music scene in Oklahoma?

John:  I am a huge collector of albums released from Oklahomans. I think there is and has been alot of great bands and musicians from here. It just seems to not always be at once. It seems so scattered. But to be honest I think some great great music has come from here. I'm in the process of putting all my physical albums typed up in a spreadsheet. I plan on posting my top ten Oklahoma albums on my Facebook soon.

Paul:  "Mixed", Plenty of talent, just very unfocused.  While we've had some juggernauts associated with this general neck of the woods, the actual scene never seems close to fully realized.  Compared to surrounding metropolitan cities with thriving scenes - there really seems to be a common thread that we lack here: a stable of really good rock and roll bands.  I don't actually like admitting that, but unfortunately it's just the case at this particular point in time.  

Dave:  This is a High Fidelity inspired question.  What are your top 5 favorite bands/artists, albums, movies, television series, and books/authors?

John:  Bands: Smashing Pumpkins, Beatles, Beach Boys, Simon & Garfunkel & the Juliana Theory

Movies: Most of the Star Wars films, most of the Star Trek films, Vanilla Sky & Gattaca.

TV: Mad Men, Fringe, Battlestar Gallatica Remakes & Breaking Bad

Books: Any music related or music bio, tech and electronic related and alternative medicine related.

Paul:  Band: Beach Boys (any album between 1966-1974)
Movies - Actor: Woody Allen (Annie Hall / Broadway Danny Rose / Crimes & Misdemeanors / Deconstructing Harry)
Television Shows: Mad Men or Breaking Bad
Books: I'm a sucker for just about any rock & roll biography.  

Dave:  What’s next for the band?

John:  Continue to push Crash Course and Young Lyons. Continue to work at bettering myself for my family and friends.

Paul:  Work and more work.  Sometimes I think people who have never been in a band think this is a non-stop party, but the truth is - if you're not out playing you're in writing or bangin' away on the computer.  These days, the process seems non-stop.

Dave:  Any final thoughts? 

John:  This is my first visit to your blog and I am officially a fan. Thanks for checking us and our EP out.

Paul:  Thanks for your interest!

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