From a young age, Aron D’Alesio and the members of Hamilton’s Young Rival were astute enough to learn about the history of rock and roll. Having a broader musical palette forces one to perhaps be even more forward looking and individualistic and while Young Rival oft betray their love for garage rock, there is just so much more to what they do. They have delved back into the music of fifty years ago but continually built upon that. Not a retro act, Young Rival take the essence of rock, indie rock and even pop and distil it into a raucous rock and roll party in and of its time. A true music fan might see as much of the Yardbirds as they do of the Walkmen in what Young Rival might do but either perspective may be as valid or moot. With Stay Young, their second Sonic Unyon full length produced by Jon Drew (Fucked Up/Arkells/Tokyo Police Club), Young Rival continues to encourage the world to keep that rock and roll spirit alive.
“I think we took that aesthetic from the ‘50s and ‘60s rock and roll and modernized it,” says D’Alesio. “When you’re writing what you’re listening to influences you and I grew up on a lot of the classics but things in and around the world seep into the music and it becomes modern because it is of its own time even though some aspects of the music will harken back to elements and aesthetics of older styles of music. What is indie rock these days? Rock and roll is just rock and roll and I’ve always thought of it like that. It maintains a lot of pop sensibilities. As a band we’ve never tried to fit into a scene, we’ve always been ourselves and do our own thing – we don’t know how to do anything else. People always want to compare the music to something else but it’s hard to pin that down with us really. There are all kinds of influences in there but it all falls under the umbrella of rock and roll music in its truest form. I’m really more interested in having people who care about music, care about what we do. That’s why we’ve always made all of our decisions based on keeping the band a credible force in everything that we do.”
With D’Alesio (vocals, guitar), Noah Fralick (drums, vocals) and John Smith (bass, vocals), Young Rival have had a near decade of experience (formerly as the Ride Theory with second guitarist Kyle Kuchmey) refining their presentation on stages across the continent and have found friends in fans in bands as revered as the Sadies and contemporaries like Born Ruffians. Savvy enough to understand a need to branch out; the band has employed the internet to better access a new audience. With a video that focused on the Chat Roulette trend on their last album garnered some attention, the newest video from Stay Young seems to be offering even more attention.
This time out, they contacted talented Michigan face paint artist James Kuhn, and Smith himself edited 25 clips into the latest video for the song “Two Reasons” and uploaded it for youtube.com’s audience to like it or lump it. At the time of printing, the video is showing signs of going viral as it approach the half million view mark, in no small part that the video is definitely striking, amusing and bound for repeated plays – not unlike the music it accompanies.
“We’re putting the video and song out there and finding our audience with it,” notes D’Alesio. “It’s just a tool to gain some attention so some people are not going to like it but they’re talking about it and any kind of talking is good. And it’ll eventually get to the people that we want to find out about it. When they dig in to the band, they’ll know that there is a history to the band. We want to get out there but we’re still trying to keep it real.
“It feels like a good record name for me,” he adds on the Stay Young album title. “It keeps a light frame of mind because we don’t want to get too serious. Music is just a conduit, you just open up a channel and whatever happens, happens. Sometimes you don’t know where it comes from but some of the stuff I have to really work at lyrically, I usually throw them out. Songs mostly write themselves.”
D’Alesio and Young Rival are excited about the upcoming tour in support of Stay Young and hope to capitalize on the growing internet presence with their live show, the format where the band particularly shines. While exciting and novel video presentations all help with getting the word out, the word of mouth developed from Young Rival’s live show has always been their strongest asset.
“We’ve been an international touring band for years but this has never been financially driven, we’re an artistically driven band and that’s important,” says D’Alesio. “We’ve been all over the place, and we’re trying to get Hamilton all over the world.
“Music is what we do and that’s serious but the important thing is to enjoy what we’re doing,” adds D’Alesio. “When we play, we are serious about the party. Wherever we play, it’s just going to be a big rock and roll show. We’re a band that entertains. It’s what music is about.”
Young Rival play Thursday, November 1 with The Great Bloomers at Casbah. www.youngrival.com V