Tag Archives: The Dirty Youth

Interview with I Divide, Southampton, 11.10.14

It was with great pleasure that I got the opportunity to have a chat with three fifths of Exeter rockers, I Divide, before their show with The Dirty Youth back in October.  Standing in a freezing car park next to a dodgy looking church, Josh (guitar), Henry (guitar) and Kristen (bass) waxed lyrical about festivals, social media and what their plans are for world domination.  Or something like that … enjoy!

I Divide band pic

How did you enjoy your appearance at the recent alcohol and drug-free Butserfest?

Josh:  Yeah, it was awesome.  We’d never been there before so we didn’t really know what to expect – I’d seen some stuff online but yes, we really enjoyed the set and it was a good crowd.  We hadn’t played for a few weeks, so it was just nice to get back on stage and play a show.

You also did an acoustic set, which was awesome and one of the best sets of the day. How was it for you?

Josh:  It was cool.  Although we’ve done some acoustic sets before, we never really done one in front of a live audience as it’s normally for radio or for a video interview. To do it in front of a little audience was really nice!

Henry:  I didn’t expect there to be that many people there, really.  Walking outside and seeing the queue and realising they were for us …

Awesome. So, you’ve been supporting the Dirty Youth on their UK tour, has it been enjoyable?

Henry: We get on with them really well, we’ve had a few messy nights out with them but it’s been a really fun tour over quite a lot of dates. You get a mix of tours where some you only do a handful of dates across bigger cities, but it’s nice to actually go to a few more places on this one.  We’re covering the span of the UK, we went up to Aberdeen …

I’ve heard that the Scots like to party …

Henry:  We love the Scots!

Josh: They’re amazing!

You’ve had a pretty good year, really – you’ve toured with some big names and you’ve done Takedown and Butserfest … what’s been the highlight so far for you?

Henry:  Belgium was pretty cool, we played a festival over there with some awesome bands like Heart in Hand, Anavae, Carcer City …

Josh:  Loads of British bands!  We got to play with some big American bands over there as well though.

Henry:  We haven’t done a lot of European touring, so it was nice to go over there and play to a big crowd.

Your debut album, ‘Last One Standing’ is excellent. Have you had positive feedback?

Henry:  Thank you!  Yes, we’ve had loads of good feedback so far.

I Divide album artwork

You released an EP before that, there was a bit of a gap in between the two?

Josh:  Yes, not quite two years in between them. We released ‘What’s Worth More’ in 2012, it was nine tracks, seven ‘proper’ songs and two instrumentals.  A few of us played in a band before and some songs on that CD were written before we really, properly formed I Divide.  What we began with was to get some music out there and some songs to play live, whereas ‘Last One Standing’ was us sitting down and writing an album, recording it together and that was the one we wanted as our debut album.  To answer your question, the reaction has been wicked and we’ve had some really good reviews for it.  It did really well in the iTunes chart.

Henry:  We didn’t expect that, really.  We weren’t sure what to expect!

What’s your favourite track to play off of the album?

Kristen:  I like ‘Tell Me Something’.

Henry:  I really like ‘Tell Me Something’ as well.

Josh:  I really like quite a few to play live – ‘Runaway’, we’ve been playing that for quite some time, as we wrote it quite early on. It’s a really bouncy song, really energetic, it’s the one that makes me sweat the most!  I really like playing all the songs off the album.  ‘Monster In Me’ is a bouncy one and ‘I’m Not Leaving’ is a good one to jump to.

Kristen:  It’s been good this tour – we’ve got a whole new set and everyone’s singing along, they know the words.

(At this point Kristen is stretching like a pro-athlete in the car park and it’s clear that they take this VERY seriously …)

Josh:  When you play a load of live shows in a row, we always warm up anyway but …

Henry: The last few nights I haven’t warmed up and I regret it quite a bit now.

Kristen: We’re getting older now, as well.

Oh, come on – you’re only 23! Anyway, moving swiftly on to a boring question, who are your biggest musical influences when you write and who does most of the writing?

Henry:  I would say Josh, mainly.  He writes a lot of the lyrics and the music.  I just kind of come along and get my guitar and start writing lead stuff.

Josh:  I’m not the best guitarist in the world, but I love song-writing.  I’ll sit down and write the rhythm, the lyrics and the melody – obviously I’ll get Tom involved for the melodies and the lyrics, then we’ll grab these guys and get the instrumental stuff put in.

You put a lot of pictures up on Facebook and you use twitter too, do you tend to interact with your fans a lot, or do you not really bother? You seem to be quite sociable and open to people.

Josh:  We try and put a lot of effort in to talk to our fans.  We do a lot of stuff on social media and spend a lot of time trying to write back whenever people tweet us and message us, to make sure people’s questions are answered and they feel like they have that interaction with the band.  I’ve been speaking to a lot of people tonight who can’t believe that we message them back!  Obviously it’s getting harder and harder as we progress as a band and we get more and more messages.  We were just chatting to some guys at the bar, one’s been a fan of the band for ages and wanted to buy us a drink and every night that we play a show we always go down and just talk to everyone, take photos with everyone and get involved and make sure that everyone who wants to meet us at a show can definitely meet us; we don’t ever want anyone to go away and say that they didn’t get the chance.

Well, that’s going to get harder as your popularity increases! Let me throw in a question to mix things up a bit.  Who’s the biggest pain in the arse on tour?!

Josh:  Henry’s the biggest drinker.  We went out in Sheffield the other night and Henry got himself into a bit of a state where he couldn’t really stand up and we had to carry him halfway across Sheffield to get him back!  He then decided to sleep on the floor of the van.

Henry:  It was £2.50 for triple vodka and cokes with free shots and the Jagerbombs were £1.00.

Kristen:  To be fair, we were all sick that night …

That brings me neatly to the next question. What are the best and worst aspects of what you do?

Henry:  It’s great to get out and meet people, to have connections with the music and stuff.  It’s an honour.  We had fans who came from Cornwall going up to Aberdeen to see us and they spent two days travelling. Sometimes people don’t understand how much it means to us to see people from home when you’re this far away.

Josh:  One girl has travelled from Paris today to see us, she flew in to London and got a train down here.  We were like, we had better play well!  There aren’t many bad aspects to it though, apart from missing home, that’s the only difficult thing.  When we were away in Belgium I had some family stuff going on and I found that quite difficult.  Being away from my girlfriend is always hard.

You’re playing the Zombie Ball at Halloween – what does it mean to you to be playing alongside bands such as Skindred and Glamour Of The Kill?

Josh:  Skindred are getting so big now, it’s ridiculous. It’s going to be sick, we’re really looking forward to that show.   We’ve always loved playing shows on Halloween because it gives us an excuse to dress up as absolute idiots and Skindred are one of my favourite bands to watch live. I got given a ticket to see them down in Exeter and now I’ve seen them about ten times.

So what’s next and what’s your long-term plan for the band?

Kristen:  Just getting our name out there, and to start writing for the next album.

Any festivals lined up for next year?

Josh:  That’s kind of where we are – at this point in time, over the next few months we’ll be looking to get festivals.  I was saying to Kristen earlier that next year is just going to be the year where we do try and get on to every festival going.  We’re obviously going to be thinking about album number two and doing bits and pieces for that, but we’ll be touring as much as we possibly can and just keeping busy.

Do you have any longer-term goals or ambitions that you want to cross off of your lists, or do you take things as they come and enjoy it?

Josh:  We all want to travel the world with the band – if we can get to the stage where we get enough international followers to make it worthwhile enough for us to fly around and see the world doing this, we would be happy.

Henry:  If we make it as far as Australia that would be awesome.

Indeed, it would. Finally, a question I should have asked at the start – how did you arrive at the name I Divide?

Henry:  We get asked that loads, but there is no answer – we need to make one up.

Kristen:  We need some kind of epic story …

Josh:  It’s lyrics from a Brand New song, actually.  We came to the decision because we all came up with about thirty or forty names each that we thought were good, put them into a massive list and took it in turns to cross names off.  We wanted something short and snappy that didn’t really mean much else that people would quickly associate the words with us.  We really need to make up a better answer for this question!

Well, I had a blast chatting to these guys and although they’re not currently touring as such, they have just announced a show on 28th November at the Zombie Hut in Corby – check their Facebook page for more details and tickets.  You can also buy a physical copy of their album from the usual outlets, or online at iTunes.

www.idivideband.com

www.facebook.com/idivideband

Check out the videos for ‘I’m Not Leaving’ and ‘Follow Me’ here –

http://youtu.be/YEcA_EsnBek?list=PLsqIiBny50NvR1K_bTTpJT-AwJKO75yb1

http://youtu.be/rNobv67EEnQ

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Interview with Funeral For A Friend at Voodoo Rocks Summer Ball, June 2014

Those Bridgend boys Funeral For A Friend are back with a vengeance, having just announced a headline tour next January, to coincide with the release of their new album, ‘Chapter and Verse‘.  Back in June, they had top spot at the prestigious Voodoo Rocks Summer Ball at Electrowerkz in London and I was lucky enough to interview them after they smashed their set.  So, in case you missed it the first time around, sit back, relax and have a read!

FFAF pic

Did you manage to catch any other bands playing tonight?

Pat:  Yeah, I managed to catch two songs from The Dirty Youth – they’re from Wales so, big up The Dirty Youth.  It’s not massively my type of music but you have to support good, positive people who just do it for the love of the music.  They’re out all the time working hard and that’s what touring is about – people paying their dues and cracking on and they’ve been on it from the get-go.

Your sixth studio album ‘Conduit’ came out last year, was it well received?

Pat: It got to number two in the rock charts in the UK and we broke the top 40.  It was a big success and surpassed expectation.

You’ve got a huge number of fans on Facebook so you must have had some really good feedback on social media?

Pat:  Yeah, I think YouTube views and comments were good.  There are a lot of avid, serious Funeral fans that give our videos and singles time, so yes, it’s always good.

You did the ‘Hours’ headline tour back in April, was it sold out?

Pat:  Yes, every date was sold out.

Do you prefer playing live or being in the studio?

Pat:  I think it’s a mixture.  When you’ve done your fill of live shows, you’re stoked on new material that you’ve been writing in dressing rooms and meeting up at people’s homes and when you go into the writing process, you fully launch yourself into it.  For us, on the new record (the seventh album) we just set aside two weeks and smashed right through it.  It’s in the bag and it’s coming out, probably early next year.

FFAF new album pic

We’ll look forward to it! What do you listen to when you’re travelling?

Pat:  We’re going to go from extremely cold to extremely hot here, but ‘m going to say Predator, Rude Kids and a lot of drum related things that I like to listen to, as well as hard-core and metal.  It’s a massive varied spectrum of all different musical tastes.

Let’s talk about the Wrexham Comic Con (FFAF are performing at the after party) …

Matt: We were asked to do it in April, but we were already on tour with our shows.  Jamie, the guy that runs it was talking about next year, but then he put on a second event; we could do the date, so yes, we’re going to be playing to a shitload of geeks.  We’re looking forward to it – we get to hang out at Comic Con all day!

Voodoo Rocks FFAF

Funeral For A Friend with myself and Natalie Conway from Red Dragon Records, Voodoo Rocks Summer Ball, June 2014 (Photo courtesy of Emma Radwanski, Emma Radwanski Photography)

You’re going to be doing some smaller festivals, like NASS, Godiva and those sorts of events this year; what are you aiming to achieve in the next couple of years?

Matt: There’s no real goal or plan, we just want to play.  There’s no world domination theory.  We love playing, especially to people who give a fuck about what we do.  We never really set out with any kind of goal to be big or successful; the success we’ve had has come through people wanting to come and see our band, which is awesome.  We’ve been a band for 13 years now and like everything, there have been peaks and troughs.  We feel privileged that people still care enough about what we do to come and support us.  We can’t ask for more than that, really.

You’ve been at it for so long, what sort of advice would you give to any up and coming bands that may be struggling?

Matt: Don’t set out with a goal to make a lot of money, be successful and sell a lot of records.

Pat: Further than that, don’t set out to be in a band, set out to be good with your instrument; be passionate about singing, or be passionate about playing the drums.  Don’t buy an instrument or kit to go and join a band, it’s stupid.  Have fun playing, fall in love with your instrument, your voice, yourself and then be in a band.

Matt: Do it for the fun of doing it, for the love of music.  As soon as you write for anybody else, rather than yourself, then you may as well just stop.

Pat: Trust me, you’ll stop loving it when you get to 22 and realise you can’t play your instrument.  Get good and then be in a band, otherwise you’re saturating an already over-saturated market, if you’re shit and you can’t play music.

Well, you guys should know, you’ve survived the digital revolution …

Matt: So many people are doing bands now that have never toured, that have never put the work in but are becoming successful.  In my eyes, if you want to be in a band, playing live shows and getting out there is the first thing you should be looking at; it’s the key thing.  If you’re not good at what you do and you can’t play live, there’s no point in you going any further.

Pat: The more you need to rely on digital aids, the more you mug yourself off.

Matt: God, anybody can make a record now.  All the shit bands will fall at the wayside and eventually we’ll be left with the good ones …

What do you think about the changes to YouTube? Do you think it will have a big impact on you?

Matt: To be honest with you, little by little everything is being taken away from the independent sector anyway.  Anyone that is trying to rape an artist’s ability to progress and get their stuff out to more people … it’s terrible.  It’s a misguided way to try to claw money back from an industry that’s trying to figure out how to operate now, with the way technology is moving forward and the way people consume music.  For me, one of the things I like currently is the resurgence of people getting into vinyl again.  It actually makes you a part of something, you have to invest time into a record and you end up caring about it.  You can download a track and just forget about it the day after.

Well, although rock has been outselling pop in the UK, a lot of people are saying that 2014 will see the death of the album. Do you agree?

Matt: I think that within this kind of music, albums will always be something that people will be into, even if it’s just collecting them.  I collect vinyl, as do a lot of my friends and even the kids coming to our shows.  If you’re, say, Coldplay, or a proper mainstream act, it might change drastically in terms of physical sales of records, but for metal and hard-core and punk it will always be there.

Pat: Thank God you can’t download merch.

Do you sell a lot of merch?

Pat: It’s what keeps bands like us going on the road.  When records cost £250,000 to make, bands aren’t going to see anything off of that. When you sell out shows and you’re selling merch by the bucket, that’s where you make a little bit of money, but even then it’s percentages.  As long as a band can stay on the road doing what they love, it’s all good, money is not the biggest thing.

It’s sad, though, because back in the day, record sales were everything.

Matt: We’d like to go back in time and be immersed in that situation again.  I got into records in the nineties so for me it was the last decade where music actually meant something.  With my generation I think there’s still a need to be part of something physical in terms of music, whereas kids who are brought up in this generation, they’re the iTunes and Spotify generation; it’s all done on the click of a button.  There’s no hard work involved and no emotional investment in bands any more.

Do you have anything that you would like to say to fans that have supported you all the way through your journey so far?

Matt:  Just, cheers.  We really do fucking appreciate it.

The new Funeral For A Friend album is released on 19th January 2015 via all the usual channels – interestingly enough, as well as vinyl and CD, they’ll also be releasing a cassette version!  You can catch them live – check out their website for the most up to date gig listings.

FFAF tour poster

www.funeralforafriend.com

www.facebook.com/funeralforafriend

Work hard, play hard, engage or die …

So.  I’ve just had a bit of a rant over on Facebook (no change there), but it actually made me so cross that I actually felt I had to write a ‘piece’ about it.  Of course, it’s only my humble opinion, but it makes sense to me!

Bands that quit when the going gets tough.  There.  I’ve said it and I’m almost foaming at the mouth again just with those eight words.  I went on to a band’s Facebook page this morning, only to discover that they have changed their name and started again.  Fine, no problem with that.  The pinned post at the top of the new page, however, was a great long diatribe about how they’ve given their all for however many years but feel that they can’t continue, blah, blah, blah.  It was a self indulgent whine about how hard it is these days, what with venues closing up and down the country, the music scene dying off and basically slating the very people who have kept them going, because they’re moaning that no-one ever came to see them.  It may not surprise you to learn that I have some thoughts on this.

Firstly, your music was probably mediocre anyway.  You can get quite a long way with the support of a few hundred fans even when your music is crap.  It’s called ‘loyalty’ and these are the people that will come out and see you, buy your tee-shirts and wristbands and spend money they haven’t got on travelling to some godforsaken hole in the middle of nowhere, even if they know in their heart of hearts that actually, you’re not that good.  Hey, you might improve and they’ve already invested time and money, so they’re sticking with you because they feel part of something and are glad to be involved from the start.  I know, because I have done this many times (and just occasionally, I’ve backed a winner).

Secondly, everybody accepts that the music scene, particularly rock and metal, is changing.  If it doesn’t adapt to roll with the way the music industry as a whole is evolving, it will die.  All those millions of fans (yes, they’re still there, contrary to popular belief) don’t want it to die, so they keep buying the music and merch.  If the band is good enough and fully committed, they will make the effort to get off of their sofas and come and see them.

This brings me to the heart of the problem.  I don’t consider myself to be an expert in all things music, nor do I claim to be some kind of social media guru or have a degree in the music buying and gig-going habits of the general public.  I do, however, listen to a lot of music, spend a lot of time on social media, talk to a lot of musicians and have some contacts in the music industry who like to wax lyrical about every music fan’s favourite topic these days.  So, based on my experience and in my humble opinion, I’m just going to put this out there.  Bands that quit – YOU’RE PART OF THE PROBLEM.  There.  I feel so much better …

These days, musicians have to roll their sleeves up and get their hands dirty.  They need to get on the phone, become a keyboard warrior, engage to a new level with their fans and basically work their fine arses off just to exist in the world of rock and metal.  Yes, it’s hard.  Yes, venues ARE closing up and down the country (and I’m not commenting on that specifically – it’s a whole other article), but I see it this way; when I go to a gig with a band who is good, whether it’s a well-known and loved venue or some flea pit that nobody has ever heard of, they will pack it out.  If it is a band that is, at best, mediocre and who are giving a half hearted effort (and who haven’t bothered to create a buzz around them and build a fan base online as well), of course it’s not going to be busy and they won’t get invited back.  Word will spread and yes, they will find that nobody comes to see them.  Stick with me, I do have a point and I am getting to it.

My memory of the nineties ‘heyday’ is hazy, but I don’t recall there being quite so many bands who were on the local gigging circuit.  Also, musicians seemed to stick with one band, for the most part and worked bloody hard at it (and played hard too).  I don’t remember many crap bands, although I’m sure there must have been some, but the gigs that I went to were always pretty much packed.  These days, there seem to be bands coming out of our ears and sadly, some of them should never have picked up instruments in the first place.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s great that virtually everyone has the opportunity now and feels able to give it a go, but frankly, it’s a cut-throat business and it’s over-saturated with new music.  If you don’t take it seriously, or you’re in it for the money, then you may as well hang up your drumsticks because you’re never going to make it, unless you get through via some steaming pile of excrement that passes for a talent show these days.

I’m going to name some bands here – I have chosen them purely because I have seen first-hand how hard they work to keep their heads above water.  So, bands such as Heaven’s Basement, The Dirty Youth, and Feral Sun actually work their arses off.  They cane their social media, making sure they engage with their fans – you can knock me for saying that all the time, but it’s the only way to go these days.  They make a superhuman effort to make sure that they keep selling their merch, because let’s face it, that’s where the money is nowadays, it certainly isn’t going to come from album sales alone now that we’re in the age of the digital download.  The Dirty Youth have successfully got people involved with going down the crowd-funding route.  Feral Sun have risked everything by self-financing their debut album to get it out there into the public domain.  Most importantly, each and every time they get up on that stage, they make sure they give it 110%; and on the rare occasions that they don’t, they acknowledge it and make damned sure that they do it better the next time.

All of these bands started from nothing and whilst they’re not yet at the top of the mountain, they’re making sure that they have everything in place to be able to reach the top whilst other bands are dropping off around them.  Crucially, they are also extremely approachable with fans and will bend over backwards to make a gig an experience that people will remember and want to repeat.  Music has become a customer service industry and if you’re not a people person, then you need to become one, or make sure that the rest of the band are.

There’s so much competition out there these days that bands need to be doing it bigger and better than everyone else.  If you turn up to a gig, have faces like smacked arses, don’t engage with the people that support you, play your set in a somewhat mediocre and uninspired fashion and then leave without seeing any other bands or speaking to your fans, you don’t deserve to be taking that slot.  Give it up to someone who is hungrier for it than you are, because they’ll give it everything they have to try and get to the top.

www.facebook.com/themusicjourno

Interview with Danni and Matt from The Dirty Youth, Brighton, 30.03.14

I caught up with Danni Monroe (vocals) and Matt Bond (guitar) of The Dirty Youth before their gig in Brighton on Mothers’ Day to talk touring, drinking and weird fan behaviour … read on for the lowdown.

How was Takedown Festival?

Danni: Awesome. It was manic, to describe it in one word.

Matt: So many bands that are new as well, it was good.

How is it touring with Glamour Of The Kill and Heaven’s Basement?

Matt: It’s such a blur.

Danni: I can’t believe we’re on week three of the tour already. I can’t break down the days, can’t even remember what I was doing three days ago.

Matt: You always wake up not knowing where you are, or what day it is.

Danni: I knew it was Mothers’ Day today because I set a reminder on my phone! It’s been good though, we’ve had a wicked reception and it’s good that it’s three bands that aren’t really put into one genre or scene. It’s a good audience really, a mixture of ages … in fact it’s quite an older audience, compared to others that we’ve done.

I saw you at the Electric Ballroom last week which was a great show, did you enjoy playing there?

Matt: We enjoyed that one.

Danni: That was a manic day, lots of press.

Who’s been the best band that you’ve toured with so far?

Matt: The best band was Korn, that was really cool. We heard some horror stories beforehand about them not liking support bands. After we finished the first show, Munky (James Shaffer) came and stood in the dressing room doorway and just looked at us, then he said “you guys are really good” – he said we were his favourite support band!

Danni: We did a cover of one of their songs just before we went on tour and Jonathan Davis came up to me and asked if I wanted to sound check with them, which was pretty cool. I didn’t know the words to all of their songs, but luckily they had karaoke style TV’s with the words coming up which was amazing – I looked like a pro, singing the songs! Karaoke with Korn – not many people have done that! The guys came running in, Matt had just got out of the shower!

Matt: I was, like, is Danni singing with Korn?!

Awesome, that’s how memories are made! What do you do when you’re off stage, how do you kick back and relax?

Danni: It depends on what kind of cycle we’re on with albums and touring and really. Obviously, if we’ve got an album to write we’re fully into that, or concentrating on the live performances.

Matt: We film a lot of stuff, we’re doing another DVD at the moment, ‘The Dirty Youth Project’. We did a pledge campaign for the last DVD (‘28 Gigs Later’) and it went really well. We just film everything and there isn’t a lot of time to do anything except recover from the night before and drive and do press.

Is it literally a blur of different towns on tour? Do you ever get time to see anything?

Danni: No. Not ever. I‘m a massive ‘Friends’ fan and we went to Chester the other day, where they have a replica ‘Central Perk’ café. We literally didn’t have time to leave the venue, go in a taxi fifteen minutes away to see it. It was on my list of things to do on this tour.

Matt: Last time we went to Europe we had time to go to the Coliseum in Rome. We had a day off luckily.

Danni: That was the only thing we saw, though. It is a big blur when you’re on tour.

Matt: It’s so funny because when we watch the DVD back it’s like “Oh yes, we’ve been there!” The only other thing to do really is drink.

Danni: I have one or two every day but I don’t get drunk, I wouldn’t be able to sing.

I won’t mention the Heaven’s Basement tour bus incident then …

Danni: That was the only time I’ve been drunk on this tour. We were drinking Jagermeister and Tequila – I did tell them I would be sick if I carried on drinking.

Matt: Usually Danni can drink most men under the table.

Danni: Me and Jager don’t get on.

I’m not surprised, it’s evil stuff! Are you all on the same bus, then?

Danni: No, there’s 8 of us in a van, and Glamour and Heaven’s Basement are on the bus.

Moving swiftly on, you’re managed by Rob Ferguson, of Transcend Music?

Danni: Yes, he manages us, but we’re still independent and unsigned.

Matt: We’ve always done everything ourselves, really, but it got the point where we needed a manager and we know where we are with Rob, known him a long time. We told him we wanted to play one of the main stages at Download and he told us we could do it. It’s just been announced for this year for the second stage …

Danni: There’s not many unsigned bands that can do that!

Matt: Playing on the same stage as Status Quo! That was my first ever gig …

That’s what it’s all about! Tell me what sort of feedback you’ve received for your first album ‘Red Light Fix’?

Matt: It’s kind of weird … obviously we took the album seriously, but we were just a band having a jam. Then we released ‘Fight’ which got so many plays on YouTube and featured on loads of games. We do all of our own post as well and now we’re posting to Japan, Australia, America, Italy, Mexico and Brazil, we can see it spreading.

Danni: It’s just gone crazy, the other day we posted a batch of about 80 things to 20 different countries. We have quite a growing fanbase in Transylvania which is random as we’ve never been there!

What inspires you when you write?

Matt: Our experiences, things that we’ve been through, or people that we know, or even films we’ve watched. It’s all very real, just drawing from every day experiences.

Danni: Everyone is shouting on this tour for earlier songs, like ‘Requiem For a Drunk’ and you can tell that we wrote that when we were 18 and going out and getting smashed. We wouldn’t write a song like that now, but with the new album that’s coming out people will be able to see that we’ve grown, especially lyrically.

When you go back to Wales, do you find that people treat you any differently? Do you get recognised a lot?

Matt: If we go somewhere together.

Danni: Until this tour we had pretty much a year out to do the album and we don’t really do that much locally, we’re not a ‘scene’ band. I used to go the Blue Banana about three years ago and everyone would recognise me. I went in there the other day and even though our song was the Blue Banana song and video of the week, no-one said anything!

Matt: If people see one of us it isn’t so much, but when they see all of us … we were in a petrol station in Birmingham the other day and this car just stopped and these two girls got out and started running towards Leon (Watkins, drummer) and they were playing the songs in the car, it was nice.

Danni: That’s my tiny bit of exposure of getting that feeling of what Take That used to go through, with their crazy girl fans.

Matt: Someone had a panic attack when they saw us, which was really weird. We were in Italy and some girl ran across the road, grabbed Danni and just started crying. We’re small and we’ve got so far to go, but we’re starting to see little bits like that now. Someone bought us food yesterday as well which was amazing.

Danni: I broke my sunglasses on the first day of the tour and I updated my status on Facebook and a girl bought an amazing pair of aviator sunglasses to the show for me. Someone bought me a bottle of Jack Daniels, too, it’s been amazing.

Matt: I did put a status up saying I forgot my Playstation 4, but I didn’t get one of those.

Aw, it’s nice that people give you gifts! What’s the weirdest thing you’ve had?

Matt: We got given some ducks, rubber ducks. They drew our faces on them and Danni’s even had lipstick on it! The strangest thing that happened to me though, was that someone followed me round Asda and started tweeting about what I was buying! They tweeted that they didn’t know I was a vegetarian because I bought vegetarian sausages. I’m not a vegetarian, but yes, I did buy veggie sausages!

Danni: Someone made us some TDY keyrings, they were cool.  I always get people tweeting me saying that they saw me but they didn’t want to come and say hi. I always find that weird, like, why didn’t you just come and say hi?!

Matt: I think it’s a good indication of how it’s spread, especially in services; if you get recognised at the services, you know it must be working, people are paying attention.

Danni: Generally, you draw more attention to yourself if you walk through services wearing sunglasses and a hoody because you look like shit, with pink hair sticking out of the side.

I find that hard to believe, Danni, you always look amazing!

Danni: Dry shampoo is the way forward on tour, definitely! Talking gifts, I did share my bottle of Jack, although Mikey from GOTK drank half of it, even though they get tequila and vodka every night on their rider. We’re hardcore drinkers on this tour and if I didn’t have to sing every night, I would drink them under the table.

Matt: They’ve got a reputation for partying and so have we; so many people thought it would be carnage with all of us but we’ve been quite well behaved.

Do you find, as you’re a female-fronted band that you have to deal with any preconceptions or prejudices before people hear you sing or see you live?

Matt: I think the classic mistake that people make is that people see “female-fronted” as a genre. It’s so ridiculous. It’s like putting Metallica and Busted in the same genre because they’ve got male singers.

Danni: It’s always going to happen though, I remember when I was growing up, bands who were absolutely nothing like each other like Skunk Anansie and No Doubt were always compared because there wasn’t really anybody else. It’s annoying because we’ve been going for 7 years now and people still see us as a new band, because we’re only just getting our PR campaign sorted.

Matt: It takes so long. So many bands come in and they think they’re going to get a deal straight off. It takes time and when you do get offered a deal, you have to look really carefully at it.

Danni: It’s easier to take out a loan and do it yourself. Keep your costs down, you make more money.

So, do you think that the music industry as we know it is dead?

Matt: No. There are loads more outlets for music now than ever. CD sales and the music used to be the meat of the dinner and now it’s not, it’s a side dish. The other avenues, TV, games, are massive now.

Danni: We’re on a game that’s coming out soon, on the PS4.

Matt: Because you’ve got Facebook, twitter and all of the other outlets for music – when we were first in a band we used to have to come to London with a CD and hope an A&R man turned up. Danni and I hounded people for 10 hours a day on MySpace, every day when it started. Eventually we broke them down.

Danni: It’s not that people don’t appreciate or want the music any more, it’s just that they don’t all pay for it. So you’ve got the same audience and amount of people wanting it, just not all wanting the physical copies.

Matt: People really love music and that’s not going to change. Vinyl’s coming back.

Danni: We still sell twice as many CD’s as tee-shirts every night. The quality is better on a CD as well, I think.

What are you listening to at the moment?

Matt: Our new single, that’s a track!

Danni: It’s a cheesy answer, but I’ve been listening to Heaven’s Basement and Glamour a lot before this tour. Our driver is into loads of up and coming bands, so he’s introducing me to some new music. The guy out of Mallory Knox has got a great voice.

Matt: I watched a band the other day called Fat Goth. I quite like Kvelertak too.

What’s the best and worst thing about what you do?

Danni: Seeing people singing back the lyrics is amazing.

Matt: The bits in between are the worst. The uncertainty, the constant onslaught of people saying that music is dead and that bands are never going to make money.

Danni: You get quite a lot of negative interviews these days.

Matt: If they dropped the prices of Mars Bars from 50p to 10p, they wouldn’t say chocolate’s dead. You’re not going to earn millions unless you’re in a massive band.

Good point … so what’s next for The Dirty Youth?

Matt: The new single, we’ll be doing a headline tour and a massive support tour and, of course, Download.

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(Photo courtesy of Charlotte Whittingham)

Thanks, Danni and Matt – I can’t wait to catch TDY again! You can buy the music on iTunes, Amazon, etc.(or a good, old fashioned record shop!) and you can also check out their new video, for ‘Alive’ here – http://youtu.be/eHdzXO0vZ3E

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