If we music journalists are guilty of one thing, it’s trying to proclaim a band as ‘the next big thing.’ It’s a crime we’ve been guilty of since 1974 when Jon Landau famously wrote, ‘I saw rock and roll future and its name is Bruce Springsteen.’ Ever since then, we the rag-tag brotherhood/sisterhood of music journalists have desperately attempted to find the bands we can dub the next big thing. We do this, in many ways, to leave their own indelible mark, much like Landau, on musical history.
Right now, I could do the same thing for the alt rock outfit from Red Bank, New Jersey called Young Rising Sons. But I don’t need to make a grand proclamation about these guys. I don’t need to predict anything. The facts are right in front of us — Young Rising Sons are currently the big thing in the music world.
Don’t believe me? You know that earworm you have right now, the one from countless commercials with that infectious chorus of:
Is this the low, or is this the high-igh-igh-igh?
Just let it go enjoy the ri-i-i-ide
Without the low there ain’t a high-igh-igh-igh
That’s ‘High’ by Red Bank’s Young Rising Sons. That’s your song of the summer. That’s the soundtrack to our nights out, to the joyous times of 2015. That’s the anthem Young Rising Sons have created. It’s also the world’s gateway drug into the world of YRS. Yes, ‘High’ is just the beginning – the band plans on a full-length record to drop later this summer (or even early fall), and then hit the road for extensive headlining tours.
Recently, we caught up with the voice of Young Rising Sons, Andy Tongren to talk about the band’s upcoming Stone Pony gig, their new album, and whether or not being labeled, a ‘Jersey band’ is a good thing or not.
Earlier this ‘summer’ you just dropped a new single, ‘Fucked Up’ on iTunes. Can you tell me about the reaction you guys are getting form the audiences.
It’s been crazy. We started playing the song on a tour we went on in the fall with the 1975. We didn’t expect much. It’s a new song people haven’t heard, so we went into it not expecting much of a reaction. It was overwhelming the reaction we got when we played it live. So really since then, people have been asking for us to put it out, so it’s been building since then. It really didn’t disappoint when we put up the real version for sale. So, it’s been crazy so far. It’s very exciting.
Do you feel this is the perfect appetizer for the new record?
Yeah I think so. I think the EP, for lack of a better word, was relatively tame. The album really opens the door for a lot of different options for us. ‘Fucked Up’ is a small window for us for that, and gives the audiences a little taste of what the album will be like.
Can you expand on that, when you say its opening some doors.
When we wrote our EP, it was in the midst of signing to Interscope, and we wanted to really capture that moment in our lives, with a lot of positive things. For this we wanted to dwell a little bit deeper into the human perspective. Like, how life isn’t always sunshine and rainbows. We wanted to capture some of those down moments in life, not saying the album will be darker, but we wanted to certainly capture more of that emotions, and I think we did that.
Bands like Gaslight Anthem, and Bruce Springsteen tend to get this “New Jersey” band label. Have you guys received the “New Jersey” band label? And if so, do you guys consider that to be a good thing, or a bad thing, or a little bit of both.
I definitely think it’s a good thing, I mean bands like Gaslight Anthem and Bruce Springsteen, it’s an honor to even be mentioned in the same sentence as them. I think it can only be good.
Do you think it’s weird that we are one of the few states that get attached with a bands name?
I think it’s really cool. I mean I’m originally from Ohio, so when I moved to New Jersey, the culture here just blew my mind. Like with Bruce, and then seeing kids my age at bars just screaming every word to his song at two in the morning. That was something really cool and something we really didn’t have in Ohio. It was really cool to immerse myself into that culture and really dive in and see what it was all about.
Speaking of Asbury, you guys have a show coming up for Stone Pony on Friday with The Kooks and Joywave. Does this feel much bigger than the first time you guys played there?
Yeah, absolutely. It’s funny, this goes for a lot of the venues we played, we’ve been a band for almost six years now, and we used to play really small venues before. This time around it’s really cool to be playing sold out shows and seeing people really care. So it’s been really cool and an honor to watch that build, especially at a place as historic and iconic as the Stone Pony. We’re really excited about that one in particular. We are just played River Fest in Red Bank [which was a] really nice little appetizer for the Stone Pony. We[‘d] never played in Red Bank before, so that [was] really cool. There’s so much history and culture there, so we are really excited about that.
Back to the record, you’ve been on the road with The 1975 and I’ve seen you guys performing everywhere in the country. How much of the experience with national acts impacted you guys as writers, and as a band in general?
I think it tightens up the group even more. We are all living in a van, or a bus for however long a tour may be, and there is no better way to bond with a bunch of dudes — so it’s been a really cool experience. We’ve been best friends for years now, but it’s taken our friendship and our band as a whole to the next level. In the terms of writing, you would think being on the road would draw so much inspiration. When we are out touring we focus on the job at hand, and we know we have to leave a certain amount of energy on the stage. We save the inspiration for the studio when we are back at home. So other than that, we just focus on that task at hand really, and give the best we can every night.
Do you guys have an exact date when the record will drop?
We do, but I’m not sure if I can mention it yet (laughs), but early August, I can say that.
What’s the plan once the record drops?
We have some summer tour planned right now, and doing a headliner in July and beginning of August. In the fall it looks like we will be another headliner. It will be great when we are out there, once the album drops, and hear people know the lyrics to the songs, it will be really rewarding and play a little bit longer and tailor everything to exactly how we want it.
What is one thing you took from the last time you were on the road, what do you want to improve on, as a band, this time around?
I hate to use the word shock value, but its hard to separate yourself from all the music and bands out there. I think the art of live music is almost a lost thing; people really don’t value it as much, they use tracks instead of the real thing. It takes away from the point of live music, and that’s one thing we really value and appreciate — when a band can really play their songs. Also just separating ourselves with something crazy, rather it’s sprawling on the floor for a solo, which Dylan (Jackson Scott) does form time to time. You look at bands like Alice Cooper from back at the day and the stuff he did and that’s cool. We just want something people will really remember.
When Christmas rolls around, if you had a present and you could open it up to something that was an accomplishment you as a band really made, what would it be?
Honestly, I would be more than happy if we were just able to tour to sold out rooms for the rest of the year, to people who actually care and know the words to our songs. That’s the most rewarding thing to do as an artist, and as band, is having that connection with people and making eye contact with people in the audience as they sing your song. There is no better feeling.
Young Rising Sons performs with The Kooks and Joywave at The Stone Pony on June 19th. Tickets can be purchased, here.
Bill Bodkin is the Owner, Editor-in-Chief and Co-Founder of Pop-Break. Most importantly, however, he is the proud father of a beautiful daughter, Sophie. He is beyond excited that Pop-Break will be six years old in 2015 as this site has come a long, long way from the day he launched in it in his bachelor pad at the Jersey Shore. He can be read every Monday for the Happy Mondays Interview Series as well as his weekly reviews on Law & Order: SVU, Mad Men and Hannibal. His goal, once again, is to write 500 stories this year (a goal he accomplished in 2014). He is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English. Follow him on Twitter: @PopBreakDotCom