The Underground Youth Live at Control, Bucharest – Interview & Photos
The Underground Youth is a post-punk band currently based in Berlin, known for their raw, darkly psychedelic sound and ridiculously amazing live performances. We were lucky enough to meet the band earlier this month in Bucharest while they were touring their latest album “What Kind Of Dystopian Hellhole Is This?”.
They gave us the chills performing the dreamy “Strangle Up My Mind” on a dark stage and moments after, the band made sure to bring us back to reality, leaving behind the stage and playing right in the heart of the crowd.
Control is nightclub and a music venue located in the center of Bucharest. Supporting the underground and indie scene for a decade, it easily became the cultural sanctuary of the city and created a large community around it.
Special thanks to Iulian Morar from Liveland for making this possible.
Craig, Manchester United or Manchester City?
Neither. I mean I don’t follow football, but my ‘home team’ would be Blackpool.
Some of the most influential bands come from Manchester: Joy Division, New Order, Stone Roses, The Smiths, Oasis, Buzzcocks, even The Chemical Brothers. How come? Is it something about the city or the people?
Something in the air probably. It’s a very creative city, or certainly was in the past. It’s suffering from gentrification, old venues closing and things like that. It’s a shame to see but I guess it’s happening in a lot of places. Anyway, now we’ve moved away.
Now you live in Berlin – I would say one of the coolest places in Europe. How is it treating you?
It’s an amazing city, full of history and culture and it’s very inspiring. It has a great scene too, musicians, artists, filmmakers. There’s nowhere else we’d rather be right now.
You have such a busy month touring – 21 dates. How is life on the road?
It’s a way of life that you get used to for however long it lasts. Being on the road is equal parts enjoyable and tiring. You experience so much in such a short space of time. A different city, a different culture each day. Personally I love it.
I see you just played in Russia and Ukraine. Uncertain Magazine is popular there and we often see photographs from underground parties and the punk scene, techno scene looks incredible. How is your public there? Is it different from Western Europe?
It certainly has a different feel to Western Europe, but it’s hard to describe. I’ve spent a lot of time there in the past with Olya being Russian, but it’s always different to visit somewhere with the band and play a show. The crowds were amazing and we met some great people.
How was playing Control for the third time?
It’s always strange to revisit a place where you had such a great time previously. Like, how do you top the last time? But this was probably our best show there so far.
Craig and Olya, you two are a couple. What’s the best part of playing together in a band? How about the most difficult one?
I think the best part is obvious, you have that person with you through all these incredible experiences. As a band we have an amazing time on the road and we get to share that together. There really is no down side.
Olya – There are a lot of badass women in the music industry, from Kim Deal to Kim Gordon, Carrie Brownstein. Is there anyone who inspires you, who you admire?
I try not to focus on the sex of those who inspire me. Whether a musician or artist is male or female doesn’t affect their importance. People focus too much on that sometimes. Nick Cave is probably my biggest inspiration.
Any newcomers that caught your eye?
A couple of dates of this tour we were supported by a band called Holy Motors. Well worth a listen.
What new bands would you recommend?
It may sound awful but I’ve not been really excited by anything new I’ve heard in quite a while. Regrettably I go through these periods of not listening to much new music. Saying that, it’s always only a matter of time before something new grabs me.
What’s on your playlist?
As I write I’m listening to A Place to Bury Strangers.
If you guys would have an argument – who would most likely win?
Olya. No question.
Do you have any superstitions before a concert? Anything that you do for “good luck”?
No actually, none of us are superstitious in that way.
We always wonder what band members whisper to each other on stage.
Ha, could be anything. Maybe something about you. You’ll just have to keep wondering.
Your artwork looks really great. How do you choose who you’re working with and who are the artists?
We’ve had covers designed by Olya, others by an amazing Mexican artist named Lorena Sequeyro. The most recent was shot by a friend of ours, Berlin based photographer Miriam Marlene Waldner.
What’s next for The Underground Youth?
As I write we’ve still got a few shows left on the tour. Once back in Berlin we’ll get to work on a new album, then we’ve got a UK tour in May, plus more lined up for later in the year. There’s a lot I want to do and I don’t feel the need to slow down just yet.
The Underground Youth (Craig Dyer, Olya Dyer, Max James, Leonard Kaage)