Gimme Your Answers: An Interview w/ The Young Knives

Young Knives are a band who’ve been delivering their dynamic, clever and eccentric music to ears for years now! They hooked listeners in with their first full-album Voices of Animals and Men as I remember friends and I yelling “she’s attracted to!” wherever we went. This is a band we’ve been wanting to ask questions to for some time now! So when The Young Knives said they were down for an interview, we were very excited for their answers!

AMBY: Human Again is a great EP, so what have you guys been up to since then?

YK: Well since Human Again we have been touring Ornaments and writing a new album that we are in the process of recording right now. It’s a funny thing being in an indie band these days. You have to really be in it for the joy and not the cash because it doesn’t really make financial sense to follow your artistic vision. Much better to write some bloated commercial pop/rock and get it on a Gap commercial. As a result we have all had to get part time jobs so that we can pay the rent, write and record an album and not have to sell out  to the man. It’s actually been quite life affirming in the same way as having a fight or someone you love getting run over by a truck. It makes you realize what’s important to you and how you want to live your life.

AMBY: I Love My Name is such a funky tune off your latest album Ornaments from the Silver Arcade, what direction is the band taking on their sound for the next album?

YK: It really depends on the song. Some songs are Krautrock inspired and motoric, some more industrial (think Throbbing Gristle with a pop sensibility) and some are more inspired by rhythmic music: MIA, Liars, Gamelan, Beyonce (always a favourite). We are recording it ourselves so expect it to be a lot less high fi than our last few records. Hopefully we will get someone awesome to mix it who can iron out some of the cracks and accentuate some of the chasms. Gaslamp Killer are you reading this?

AMBY: Young Knives have a knack for writing extremely catchy songs, what’s the songwriting process like?

YK: It’s like a fight. It’s generally long and painful. It usually means 6 or 7 complete re-writes  that have different lyrics tunes and notes and then reverting back to the original.

AMBY: Which three Young Knives songs have to be on everyone’s player?

YK: None. Only deeply hip people are allowed to listen to and claim to understand Young Knives songs. Manics/Oasis/The Twang fans will never get this stuff, young conservatives, fleece wearers and waitrose shoppers aren’t allowed to listen. The new Young Knives album is invite only.

AMBY: What cover songs do you like to play?

YK: Fast loud songs, Dark slow songs, Sexy songs, Crazed out of time/tune songs.

AMBY: What’s one of your craziest live moments?

YK: We once played a gig at the Betsy Trotwood in London to 2 paying customers while Oliver vomited into a pint glass while playing drums. We should have cancelled the gig as he was really ill but we were just really eager to be the best band in the world. Later that night everyone else got the same disease. We also had a similar night in Middlesborough town hall where house vomited a lot of blood and then still played. I don’t think we have ever actually cancelled a live show.

AMBY: Where would you like to go in a time machine?

YK: I would go and catch a Captain Beefheart live show or maybe some early Free Jazz stuff in New York in the 60’s like Albert Ayler of Ornette Coleman. Something  really cutting edge and of the time. Maybe a Zappa of Fuggs show.

AMBY: What album are you most embarrassed to own?

YK: Morcheeba, It was a present but I never got round to chucking it away.

AMBY: I love the feel of the track Watch the Birds, how did that song come about?

YK: Henry wrote a very droney Keyboard part and them Oliver and House wrote a very simple and together rhythm part . Then some words were added about thinking about leaving your wife.

AMBY: How do you feel about the state of modern music?

YK: It’s OK. There is a lot of shit but I think there always is. But as long as there is a load of shit there will always someone who will come along and do something to blow everyone out of the water. Hopefully someone will do it soon.

AMBY: Who do you wish would just go away?

YK: Manic Street Preachers, Scouting for Girls, David and the Camerons, The Ed Milli-Band, Spector, The Janet Street Porters and the Manic Street Sweepers.

AMBY: Lastly, tell me something about the band that nobody knows yet.

YK: What we will do next.


Check out Young Knives’ latest album Ornaments from the Silver Arcade here– it’s so worth taking the time to listen to their awesome track Love My Name. And lastly, thank you so much Young Knives, for giving me your answers!


Alicia Atout

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