In The Studio with Young Guns
Hailing from London, Young Guns have been climbing up the rock ladder ever since being featured in this year’s 100 Bands You Need To Know issue this year, and their latest album, Bones, featured a #1 hit on the Billboard charts. Along with spots solidified on a number of charts, their song "Bones" was the theme song to Wrestlemani a 29. Their as-yet-untitled new album, is slowly but surely coming along according to singer Gustav Wood. While they’re still wrapping up premieres of the last of their singles off Bones, we checked in with Gustav to see how their new album is coming along and their favorite number-one contenders.
Interview: Bridjet Mendyuk
How’s the album coming along?
Really well, actually. We’ve been in New York now for a month, [and] we’ve been doing some writing, fast demoing and pre-production all in kind of one big chunk. We’ve managed to get what I think is a pretty great amount of material [together] in a short amount of time. We’re really excited; we’re in a really great place right now. It’s inspiring to be—as a [group] from London—to wake up every day and go to Times Square and to make music with my mates.
What does the new album sound like?
I would say it’s probably quite an evolution. Fundamentally, we’ve always been [into] music that can communicate and connect to people. We’re definitely pushing ourselves to become a better band. This record is really about challenging [ourselves] to be more creative and hopefully a little more unique. We’re still [figuring out] our [sound] as a band, and this album is the next step in that process.
Why did you choose to record in America versus in England?
We did our first album in a little studio in London. My friend did it. The second album we did in Thailand, which was pretty crazy. This time our label [owns] a studio in Manhattan, which is where we are now. It’s a fantastic resource. We spend all of our time here. It allows us to be in an environment where we can actually come out with some really great material as opposed to a terrible, home-recorded versions of what the songs will be. We’re just taking advantage of this great [opportunity].
Who’s producing the album?
We have a shortlist of people that we’re excited about, but we haven’t confirmed the person we want. It’s kind of a done deal, but it hasn’t been confirmed yet. It’s exciting. It’s going to be a level above anything else [we’ve done].
What would you say your biggest influences are as far as this album goes?
In terms of as a band, I think we want to make a record that it doesn’t matter if you like rock music or like pop music. I hope at the end of day, a good song is a good song. That’s our only goal. We’re inspired by bands that we grew up listening to like, Placebo. The kind of bands that you felt were universal, but were still rock bands. That’s the stuff we listen to now. We’re not trying to emulate anything from those bands, but that’s the kind of vision we have for ourselves. That’s the kind of goal. We don’t want to be any kind of scene band; we never have. We don’t want to be an “active rock” band or a “mainstream” band; we just want to rock and have a good time doing it.
What was something that you wanted to do differently with the band on this album?
I wouldn’t say this album is completely different than our other albums. It’s still us and it’s still going to sound like us, just a better version. I think the main thing is that we’ve really opened up our writing process. We’ve always written together, but this time it’s really, “Everyone do this,” whether it’s a vocal hook, a guitar melody or whatever. We’ve totally opened up the writing process to be an [open] forum. Unless everyone is absolutely convinced by something, it doesn’t go down on tape or onto the computer... Everybody understands the point, “Is it evoking something?” To me, as a lyricist and vocalist, it’s really inspiring when you get it right and everyone [has their] thumbs up. I think it’s more fun, it’s more creative and it takes the pressure off.
You guys are going on tour in the winter with Asking Alexandria and Bullet For My Valentine, right?
That’s correct, and that’s a U.K. tour. We’re doing that in December. It’s an arena tour, which is really exciting. It’s an entirely British bill, which in the U.K. doesn’t happen very often. We’re going to be playing arenas with British bands, who have done so well over here and in the United States as well. It’s quite an honor, and I’m very excited for that as well.
What are you most excited about for the tour?
The nicest thing about that tour is that we’re probably going to be able to play a couple new songs, which we haven’t been able to do in a couple years. We released Bones in the U.K. and Europe, and [after] we finished that campaign we began to write our third album. We ended up signing the American deal and all of that got put on hold when we came over here and it all started again. We’re really desperate to get into the new album and to have that chance to enjoy playing new music again. It’s inspiring for us. It’s a big deal getting out there to play new music; I cannot wait to be able to do that. It’s been a while.
WWE used your song “Bones” as their theme song for Wrestlemania 29. Are you guys wrestling fans?
We all grew up loving the WWF as it was known as the time. That was a bit of a childhood dream come true to be involved with the WWE. It was something we won’t forget; it was special. It’s a big deal in Europe, probably not as big as it is [in America], but it is huge [in England].
Who’s your favorite wrestler?
Well, for me, it’s all about the greats. I love Triple H, Ultimate Warrior, the Undertaker, Hulk Hogan—all those kind of guys. They were amazing, larger than life.