Interview – Gang of Youths


Amidst the chaos, art always perseveres. In the medium of music that holds true now more than ever. Luckily, there are plenty of folks who can help in that regard. One band in particular is ideal for this time and they are called Gang of Youths. Hailing from Sydney, Australia, the quintet is made up of musicians; David Le’aupepe, Max Dunn, Jung Kim, Joji Malani and Donnie Borzestowski. Despite the deep nature of their lyrics, their music in itself offers a strange haven for solace. The intensity of their poetry is only matched by their soul in their instrumentation throughout as can be heard in their latest release, ‘Go Farther In Lightness.’ David and Max were kind enough to elaborate on their contemporary work and musical journey.

On song that sticks out in ‘Go Farther In Lightness’ is the track, What Can I Do If the Fire Goes Out. Max gave thoughts on the tune. “That song is born out of the experience of disillusionment with the faith of your youth. What do you do and how do you keep moving and existing when something that was once so foundational seems distant or uncertain? Personally, I appreciate David’s honesty and clarity in the face of what can be a terrifying question, ‘What can I do when the fire goes out?’ I suppose it is asking the question about what is out there and what it all means, and how it feels to be a human existing in that limbo.”

Musical goals are often paired with a Muppet appreciation as David clearly points out. “[I love] Kermit for obvious reasons. How good are those ‘waiting by the window’ memes? My father actually built, chassis up, a bright green Volkswagen Beetle he called Kermit.” His dad has got some serious style and high praise.

Within the craft, Max hopes to remain engaged with the listeners. “I think we just want to keep challenging ourselves and making music that makes people feel and connect. It’s impossible to know where it will end up but I’m sure it will always include the human element [of] performance, real guitars, drums, keys and instruments you could use in a bar fight if necessary. I think David should try scoring a movie some day, he makes such beautiful string arrangements. Personally, I always wished I could play the cello, at some point that’ll move from the too-hard-basket to reality for me hopefully.” Make that cello life happen Max.

As their discography grows, favorite bits still hold sway as they progress. “I think the track Do Not Let Your Spirit Wane is the most complete work we have ever done sonically. Keep Me in the Open was a beautiful moment on ‘Go Farther in Lightness’ because it kind of just happened. Five best friends shooting shit in a studio one night and we just left with this enormous song. A sort of musical Kodak moment, ya know?”

When asked on specific venues to perform at, the obvious ones were easy to pick out. “There is all the big ones you grow up dreaming of, the Glastonburys’ and the MSG’s of the world. Actually, Radio City, [that’s one that would] be pretty cool. [In the end] I think we just want to work our arses off, play every show like it’s our last and take our music as far as it will go.”

As luck would have it, their tours have been relatively smooth save for some emotional toil. “Ah shit, well we haven’t had many [difficult shows] truthfully. There was this one show we did in LA that’s referred to as ‘Bad Taco’ night within the band, it shall remain a dark mystery of the past. There was this other show we did like four years ago at a snow resort. We were going through so much tragedy, ‘Google Gang of Youths The Positions about’, and devastation at the time. I remember the set ended with a random cover of With or Without You and we just kinda faded out, threw our guitars down and went for beers, good times.”

Inside of the music machine David loves it all. “[I’m] extremely fortunate that I get to be a part of it with the boys. I mean, people say endless things about the state of music, the effects of technology and trend-setting sites or whatever. We can’t control that shit so I suppose we’ll just keep making music that helps us live with ourselves.”

Music is not the only fine art that David enjoys. Even hardworking men need their time off. “[I love] classical Music, Everton football, baseball, rugby, philosophy, any book and beer. We are all very close. We usually just eat together, kick a footy around or go to daytime screenings of whatever movie is on, normal bro stuff.”

The band remains busy every step of the way. “[We] just got back to Australia for our summer tour so gonna go sink a few pints with some lads. Well, we released our sophomore record, so we’ll be touring [on] that for a fair while hopefully, come and say hi.”

Jam on.

Give What Can I Do If the Fire Goes Out a watch and a listen below: