Q & A: Young Hunger (MI)

Young Hunger is Nick (bass & vox), Ben (guitar & lead vox), Ryan (lead guitar & vox), and Bob (drums).

Ø: What was the beginning history of ‘Young Hunger’? Did you see success and recognition early on or was it more of a grind?

NICK: I think our first show was at The Sanctuary, some little show, and then our second show was with Wilhelm Scream, Teenage Bottle Rocket, and Pennywise at Saint Andrews.

RYAN: We’ve gotten lucky, my previous band did pretty well and became friends with a lot of touring acts so like sometimes I’ll hit ‘em up if they’re coming through town or if one of them needs an opening act they’ll get at me, you know.

Ø: So did you expect the success and the playing of larger shows right away?

RYAN: Yeah, we kinda knew it was like that, like I said, I was working my contact and things like that, so, we were lucky in that aspect.

Ø: And [Ryan,] who was your last band?

RYAN: The Swellers

Ø: What was the craziest part of that second show with Pennywise?

RYAN: Well, the craziest part was that we didn’t have that many songs.

( Laughter )

RYAN: And we’re like, “shit, okay let’s just go up there and wing it”.

NICK: I mean, we made it work, we played 25 or 30 minutes.

RYAN: Went on a little late, didn’t even have any lyrics done.

Ø: How would you describe the Young Hunger live setup? Any sampling or anything like that?

RYAN: Rock n’ roll, baby.

BEN: Yeah, just effects pedals and guitar, bass, no samples or anything like that. I don’t think we need it, I think there’s enough stuff you can do with just pedals and screw around with that… they make sampler pedals and I could hook that up and click it and it could do like bass drops or it could do weird stuff which I’ve honestly debated with these guys about, but, we could do that but we would never add like a laptop or a keyboard, theres just no reason.

Ø: Would you consider yourselves gearheads?

RYAN: Yeah.

NICK: Like the ‘ol Guitar Center magazine, that was like gear porn. I think we all like that crap, we all follow, like, amp accounts -

RYAN: ‘Rigs of Doom’.

NICK: ‘Rigs of Doom’ on instagram [@rigsofdoom], ‘Rigs of Shit’ [@rigsofshit], oh man, check out ‘Rigs of Shit’ if you haven’t… I think we like all those gear companies and stuff on Instagram and online to see all the crap that we can.

RYAN: Yeah, so if anyone wants to sponsor us…

( Laughter )

NICK: Yeah I could use a new bass kit.

Ø: Which one of you is the biggest gear nerd?

NICK: I think we all like our own stuff but probably Ben, Bob’s just grippin’ and rippin’ back there on the drums.

BOB: Yeah, just got one pair of drumsticks.

( Laughter )

Ø: You’re online profiles say Young Hunger is ‘punk-ish’, do you find yourself as time goes on leaning more towards ‘punk’ or going more towards the ‘ish’?

BOB: It’s been a while since we’ve released anything, I mean, we had some stuff, we’ve scrapped some stuff, we keep some other stuff but some of it was definitely not ‘punk-ish’ and some of it still was, so I think we’re still trying to figure out exactly what we’ll do for the next release.

RYAN: We don’t even really practice much right now as it is, and every time we do we will write a new song or something and it’s totally different than what we’ve put out so we’re trying to figure out what we want to keep.

Ø: So with how it can be at the local level with all the spacing out of the writing process, is there anything that you think ties together these newer Young Hunger songs?

RYAN: Chorus pedals.

( Laughter )

NICK: It depends, like, Ben - you’ll bring something, a lot of times they’re pretty different and then it’ll meet in the middle. One guy will add some part to it and it will maybe start from the left and come over [to the right], or start from the right and move towards the center, so I think to me it depends more on who maybe brought the main riff or the main groove of the song, was it Ben or Ryan from the guitar standpoint, and that kind of sets it. It starts kind of at their sound but then it gets mashed into our overall sound.

Ø: So guitarists, when you’re writing songs, whats your ‘sauce’?

RYAN: My sauce? I like to just get riffy, I like to play a riff and I’m like, “alright that’s all I got”, and then figure out the rest.

BEN: I usually come up with the full song, but not usually lyrics though. Usually its musical first but my stuff is less riffy, you could say its more melodic, ‘Bad Religion’ type stuff.

Ø: Is Bad Religion a big influence of yours?

BEN: They’re… I could go on for hours.

RYAN: How much time do we have?

( Laughter )

BEN: You know, they’ve been around since 1980 and for the most part they’ve been the most consistent band, I think, of that genre in my lifetime in terms of putting records out and consistency among the records. I think the lyrics are a big part of it, too, I mean, Greg Graffin and Brett Gurewitz who is the guitarist and writes a lot of the lyrics too are both great lyricists, so it adds a different dimension to it that for punk is a little bit more intellectual, but not in a cheesy way.

Ø: How do you avoid feeling ‘cheesy’ while writing? Especially in the times we’re in when the topics people seem to want to hear are super political and have been covered so many different times?

BEN: I don’t know man, that’s a good question because I feel like now, I’ve kind of taken a step back from the world, like, everything is so polarized now -

RYAN: You gotta go back to the basics.

NICK: There’s too much shit just with social media, politics…

RYAN: You look back on the old [Blink-182] records, and Green Day, and its like, you didn’t even care about anything but like, butt stuff, you know?

NICK: Yeah.

BEN: Yeah

RYAN: Like your first girlfriend, it’s gotta be love. It’s about having fun. Fun, party, chicks, whatever you’re into.

( Laughter )

Ø: You actually see girls at your shows?

RYAN: …Used to.

( Laughter )

Ø: How many years have you guys been working together?

BOB: Five?

NICK: It’s gotta be four years at least, ‘cuz I - I got a kid, you know, he’s-he’s born outta wedlock, I’ll be honest with you, but it was before then and my kids four, and when you have a kid you just do the math on when you didn’t have a kid and you didn’t give a shit about anything and once you have a kid you have a reference for everything, like, “that was six months ago,” “That was seven months ago”.

( Laughter )

Ø: So you base most of the band’s occurrences off your kid’s timeline, do any of the rest of you guys have kids?

RYAN: Not that I know of.

NICK: No, just me. Everyone’s married, though,

RYAN: We call it the ‘Dad Band’.

NICK: I’m the only dad but we call ourselves the ‘Dad Band’.

( Laughter )

Ø: How has it been playing shows with Young Hunger that has maybe changed since you all got involved in the scene here in Detroit?

NICK: It’s totally different now. Even 10 years ago people would just go to shows. It’d be Friday or Saturday, “Oh, I’m just going to a show, I don’t care really who’s playing”.

BOB: It’s really difficult now.

NICK: It’s harder being older, too, you know; dragging guys out on a Sunday night who are like, “I work tomorrow,” you know, but I just kind of hit up friends. It helps when it’s a better show.

Ø: Do you guys turn down shows ever?

NICK: I think if its like a random Tuesday night at some place in Detroit where we don’t think we’re gonna be able to pull anybody and its not gonna happen…

BOB: It’s not often we turn ‘em down.

NICK: Its not often but part of the thing is if we can’t bring anyone to the show…

Ø: Do you think there is a trend with touring bands skipping over Detroit more than they used to? Is the decline of touring bands a trend in punk or rock music in general or is it that they are skipping over Detroit specifically?

BEN: Punk bands have had a bit of a resurgence, like, bands that were playing smaller rooms five years ago are playing larger rooms again, which is kinda weird but its cool to see it.

RYAN: I think bands in general, if the show goes well they make some king of connection to the history of Detroit with music, I think if it's a good show they go ‘Wow! The MC5, the Negative approach and Stooges and all these great bands-

NICK: The Swellers.

RYAN: -bands that came from Detroit and Michigan they make that connection, but if it's a shitty show, they go “Oh yeah, I hear Detroit can be kinda shitty”. I think part of it I notice is some of these bands don't come here on the weekends they'll come on a Wednesday and you can’t come on a Wednesday to Detroit. If you do a Friday or Saturday show you'll pretty much get a good show. I mean, it’s not gonna be like Chicago or New York but it’s not a weak town.

( Pause )

RYAN: you gotta write those setlists, Bob.

( Laughter )

Ø: Do you guys have a standard setlist?

BOB: We kinda switch it up a lot, but he always makes me write it out.

RYAN: Thats Bob’s punishment being in the band, he's gotta write out the setlist.

Ø: Any words for any touring bands thinking about coming to Detroit?

RYAN: They’re not gonna see this.

( Laughter )

Ø: Final words of wisdom for local punk bands who maybe haven’t yet seen the kind of national-act attention you guys have had?

NICK: It can be hard but its weird, you know, I had never played in a band before and then these guys hit me up, I start playing with them, and then a couple years later I’m playing the same stage with these bands that I've listened to where I’ve been like, “fuck, it would be really cool to play with those bands” and now I’m doing it. It all comes full circle.

RYAN: It’s an awesome community to be a part of.

NICK: Thats the best part of punk rock, anyone can do it.

Check out Young Hunger's newest release 'Wear Me Down' on Spotify.

Is there a band or individual we should be interviewing? Email us: noexperienceatall@gmail.com