As a composer, producer, and multi-instrumentalist, Hal Ritson is the mastermind behind London electronic-dance group The Young Punx. Having been featured on or produced over 300 electronic tracks in his time, it was a pleasure speaking with Hal to discuss The Young Punx’s newest album All These Things Are Gone. Dive into our conversation below as we also spoke about signs of delusion, favourite recording memories, vintage muscle cars, and Nickelodeon.
AMBY: Thanks for speaking with us today, The Young Punx. What have you been up to lately?
The Young Punx: Well we made an album. I guess that’s not too unusual an answer for a band to give but I’ll tell you, making an album is F***ING MASSIVE AMOUNT OF WORK, particularly if you decide it needs a full 1930s big band and a yodeling choir on it. That’s why everyone cops out and makes EPs!
AMBY: How would you describe each other in one word?
The Young Punx: Hal of Nathan : Trouble. Nathan of Hal : Genius.
(NB Nathan was not consulted by Hal in answering these questions and all answers were given in proxy by Hal)
(Who is currently writing about himself in the 3rd person)
(Which is a sign of delusion)
AMBY: Your album All These Things Are Gone came out last month. What is the significance behind the album’s title?
The Young Punx: The title track is a melancholic but moving ode to all that is accidentally lost from the world in the name of progress. When you are a child you think everything will last for ever. But as you grow up you realize quite the opposite is true. The large and small. The important and the trivial. The public and the personal. Everything you love, everything you hate. In time, they will all be gone.
The title track is explicitly about this, but every song on the album explores this from some angle, particularly by drawing sounds and ideas from different points in music history that are now in the past.
Don’t think it’s all a big downer though. At its most glum its more like the Japanese concept of Wabi-Sabi which finds beauty in the “acceptance of transience and imperfection”. And at its most uplifting is purely a celebration of our favourite moments in 20th century music!
AMBY: What’s your favorite memory from the writing and recording process?
The Young Punx: There are so many possible ones! Writing the list of 64 ‘things that are gone’ while sitting in a Japanese airport the morning after a massive gig? Working on the song “Polaroid” which is about the importance of memories, by working with the guy who I formed my first band with when I was 7 years old (!) who is now the lead singer of rock band “Darktown Jubilee” but I hadn’t seen for many many years. Working with many of my favourite musicians in the world such as DIzzee Rascal’s drum Alex Reeves, and probably the most talented guitar player ever, Guthrie Govan.
AMBY: Which songs off All These Things Are Gone are your favourite?
The Young Punx: I am very proud of the title track, because it really seems to affect people emotionally, which is a rare thing in the … ahem… EDM … scene. Also the track Kowloon Kickback which has taken me 10 years to write and record as it involved writing for and recording a whole swing big band on totally 1930s recording equipment.
AMBY: What is one reason people should be excited to get their hands on the album?
The Young Punx: I just think it’s a record for people who love music passionately. It’s not about the latest trend or fad. In fact is deliberately quite the opposite – its about the things that have faded away in popular culture but still live on in our minds and memories.
AMBY: Who are some bands you’d recommend our readers check out?
The Young Punx: I recommend you check out Phonat, Alizzz, Bobby Tank and DiscoSocks. The more observant of you will notice they are all artists on the labels we run, MofoHifi and Heavy Disco, but that’s the point really. Running a label isn’t a profit making enterprise. It is a labour of love discovering talented new artists and sharing them with the world.
AMBY: What do you do for fun when you aren’t making music?
The Young Punx: Hal : Drive vintage American muscle cars… and cultivate a small coral reef in the studio.
Nathan : Cider. Cycling. Cider. Cycling. Repeat.
AMBY: If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?
The Young Punx: Arrange some kind of immediate karmic vengeance to be acted out on all internet trolls.
AMBY: What song could you live without ever hearing again?
The Young Punx: The one the guy in the studio next to me has had on loop for the past 3 hours.
AMBY: Lastly, tell us something about the band that no one knows yet.
The Young Punx: Hal used to present a show on Nickelodeon. About the internet. It was on before Rug Rats.
Thank you The Young Punx, for giving us your answers!
Alicia Atout | @AliciaAtout