Lady Gaga captivated virtually everyone’s attention during this year’s VMAs with her gender-bending performance of “Yoü and I”. But Mother Monster’s power chords are not what were stuck in my head as the show ended and the credits rolled – it was up-and-coming act Young the Giant‘s performance of “My Body.” Their energy; hell, pure enthusiasm for being onstage at the VMAs pretty much blew my mind, and I haven’t been able to stop listening to them since.
A couple weeks back, the Southern California guys opened for fellow west coast band, Incubus. I sat down with YTG guitarist Jacob Tilley to hear about future plans, why their debut album is nothing like hit single “My Body,” and his penchant for a certain North Texas artist. Oh, and he has a British accent, so have that in mind whilst reading.
Young the Giant has had an incredible year performing at the VMAs, Lollapalooza and ACL. Now you’re touring with Incubus. How does that feel?
This year has really freight trained into absolute craziness. We played our first festival at Sasquatch [music festival], and there was a great turn out for that. At that point, I was like, wow this is totally worth taking time off school. All the sweat and blood we put into it; hopefully we can maintain some of this momentum for a while.
Have you had a moment yet where you thought, ‘this is real, everything is finally happening’?
I guess the VMAs. I guess Sasquatch, really. That was the first festival I had ever been to and the first one I had ever played. That was already like Oh my God, I just got back from a whole month in Europe and now I’m playing a huge festival and thousands of people are watching us on the main stage. That was enough for me, but it seems to me to have continued upwards from there.
Young the Giant has been on tour with Incubus for a couple weeks now. What’s going on behind-the-scenes?
Last night they took us out to dinner on a date [laughs]. They’ve taught us that we were too polite initially, which we can be. Last night they shared some of their wisdom with us. Those guys have been [touring] for a long time. They’re really nice guys, nothing too ridiculous and crazy. I’m sure they might turn up the pace now that we’re slightly more conjoined, but those guys have been doing it for a while and I think a lot of them take it easy now and just enjoy the road and don’t go nuts unlike we do sometimes.
What sort of wisdom did they have to impart?
Just things they’ve dealt with their label, and what it physically means to go on tour for that long, and maintain the fan base. All of them have learned how to balance their lives with playing and stuff. It’s cool.
“My Body” has clearly has been one of your most popular singles and it is drastically different from the rest of the album [self titled, 2010]. Do you ever worry that someone who grabbed hold of Young the Giant from that song might be confused when they listen to the record?
I guess, yeah, I have thought about it. That song came out of the writing process out of left field because we were frustrated and we wanted to try something different. It’s very simple, but it’s catchy. It’s a good closer to our set and takes the energy up to the next level.
I think for our next record we’re trying to broaden the parentheses and see where else on the song spectrum we can go. So yeah, I guess people can be confused, but it’s just a part of we don’t ever want to find ourselves playing in one genre.
What are some bands you’re listening to right now?
I just obtained the new Feist album, Metals. It’s a different pace than her last couple of records. I think she’s done more of an artistic approach and I think she’s stayed true more to who she is as a person instead of trying to go that commercial route. I really like the new St. Vincent record, Strange Mercy. I’ve been a huge fan of hers for years now. As a guitar player, she just kicks my butt.
Can fans look forward to another full length YTG record?
Yeah. We’re actually taking some time off for the first time in a long time, even though people have told us not to. We’re just going to write and work on our set and work towards the next year and start putting down tracks and demos. We’ve kind of been sitting on the Young the Giant album material for a while and it’s time for us to up our game a little bit and write some new songs. It’s time to just chill for a second and put the brakes on, and refocus and figure out what we want to do next.
Laura Stillo is the Arts & Entertainment Writer and Creative Social Media Producer for YouPlusDallas. Follow her on Twitter at @laurastillo.