In conversation with Whenyoung

If you have recently seen The Vaccines, Declan McKenna or Husky Loops on tour then you may well have seen Whenyoung play. The trio are currently based in London but descend from Limerick. Lead singer and bassist Aoife describes: “We all met when we were teenagers in the same city going to gigs and house parties.” Guitarist Niall adds, “Just being underaged and getting to know other like-minded people. We never played together at home but then we all individually moved to London. We were best friends and just set up a band together.”

I briefly spoke to the band following their performance on the DIY stage at the Brudenell Social Club during Live At Leeds. This was their second time playing in Leeds (“We were here supporting Husky Loops in February at The Church”), and they were happy to be back in the North: “It’s so nice up here, the architecture is amazing! Like we were just in Manchester and then here, and looking at the buildings it is so pretty, it’s really lovely. Leeds was really fun today, we didn’t know what to expect when you are doing your line check and you don’t know if people are going to come in and then it was really busy so we loved it.” Niall added: “When you come up north and places further away from London, it is kind of like where we are from and what we’re used to because we are far away from Dublin, we completely relate to that.” Moving from the small city of Limerick to pursue music in London was always something they wanted to do. Drummer Andrew described: “I think we always wanted to experience it, get out and figure something out”, with Niall and Aoife adding: “It’s an exciting place to be. So much going on, its inspiring. Really like it, its good fun. A lot different to home; home’s great too but just being in a big city is really nice.”

Given the referendum taking place in Ireland on May 25th to decide if the eighth amendment to the Irish constitution should be repealed, essentially allowing the legalisation of abortion, I felt that I had to talk to the band about this.

I have visited Dublin recently and saw huge posters displaying pictures of foetuses urging people not to ‘kill babies like they do in England’ as well as a campaign for the repeal, urging people to vote to give women the choice. I asked the band for their thoughts. Aoife begins: “We can’t [vote] unfortunately because if you have been living away for over 18 months you can’t return, legally, to vote. If we could, I would be there, we are all supporters of the ‘yes’ campaign.” Andrew adds, “Because we know we can’t vote we have been very vocal online about our stance and hopefully that has gotten through to some people. It’s quite hard to know.” Aoife continues: “It was quite shocking actually, when we went back the other day and we saw all the ‘no’ posters. I think when you are away, and we are with quite a lot of Irish friends in London who are all of the same mind and supporting the ‘yes’ campaign, going home and realising that it’s not set in stone, the ‘no’ campaign is quite strong and its really scary.” “You are in a bubble,” Niall agrees. Andrew concluded our discussion with this: “We really hope enough people come out and vote so it’s a fair decision, because we all collectively agree that it should be. It’s a very emotional referendum and a very personal referendum and I really think all those posters are so wrong because they just play on that and that’s why it’s very different to any other referendum that has happened in Ireland.”

Not wanting to finish on a complete downer, I left the final question to ask about plans for the future: “We are going on tour with Peace on Tuesday and playing the north tomorrow, then Great Escape in Brighton and then festival season starts, we are playing loads: Latitude, Truck, Ynot, Bestival and doing a few in Ireland as well.”

If you want to try and catch Whenyoung this summer you can see their tour dates on their Facebook page and follow them on twitter @whenyoungband.

Megan Jones

Featured image shows Whenyoung at Live At Leeds 2018, photographed by Andrew Benge

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