The Underground Youth is a Manchester-born, Berlin-based group led by Craig Dyer, recently released their tenth album, ‘The Falling’, via Fuzz Club Records. The new full-length sees Craig and band trade their acerbic post-punk melancholy for a more refined and stripped-back sound that, instead, enters the world of romantic, shadowy folk-noir. A marked departure from the primal intensity often heard on the band’s previous work, ‘The Falling’ showcases a softer, more cinematic musical landscape shaped by acoustic guitars, piano, accordion and a heavy presence of violin and string arrangements. The Falling’ was recorded between Craig and guitarist/producer Leo Kaage’s apartments-turned-home-studios also in the band is Olya Dyer, and Max James.
Underground Youth 是一个出生于曼彻斯特的柏林乐队，由 Craig Dyer 领导，最近通过Fuzz ClubRecords 发行了他们的第十张专辑“The Falling”。新的全长曲看到Craig 和乐队用他们尖刻的后朋克忧郁来换取更精致和剥离的声音，取而代之的是，进入浪漫、阴暗的民间黑色世界。与乐队以前作品中经常听到的原始强度明显不同，“The Falling”展示了由原声吉他、钢琴、手风琴和大量小提琴和弦乐编排塑造的更柔和、更具电影感的音乐景观。The Falling是在 Craig和吉他手/制作人 Leo Kaage 的公寓变成家庭工作室之间录制的，乐队中还有 Olya Dyer 和 Max James。
Looking at your band I get the feeling that you are all very close to each other not just as band members, but also as good friends. It’s also really nice to witness the chemistry between all of you on stage. How did you all meet?
That’s very much the case, the band is literally a group of close friends. An important element to our chemistry in performing and writing / recording together. Olya Dyer, our drummer and the artist responsible for much of our aesthetic style, is also my wife. When looking for a live drummer back in 2011, Olya came to visit me in the space I was rehearsing, I was complaining about how hard it was to find the right drummer. I think she said something along the lines of “How hard can it be?” Not being entirely serious she stood behind two drums and started playing along with my guitar. It was perfect, just what I was looking for. Max James, our bass player, took over from our old bassist when he left the band in 2015. We went out a few times drinking, connected over music, films, literature and growing up in the north of England. He became a core member of the band from that point on. And finally Leonard Kaage joined, replacing our old guitarist in 2017. We knew Leo from years before, him having played with The Blue Angel Lounge and Tess Parks and Anton Newcombe. We became closer friends after moving to Berlin and he produced our album “What Kind Of Dystopian Hellhole Is This?” In 2016, he was the obvious choice to join us on guitar after that.
情况就是这样，乐队简直就是一群亲密的朋友。这是我们在一起演出和写作/录音时产生化学反应的一个重要因素。Olya Dyer是我们的鼓手，也是对我们的美学风格负责的艺术家，同时也是我的妻子。在2011年寻找现场鼓手时，Olya来到我正在排练的地方看我，我正在抱怨找到合适的鼓手有多难。我想她说了一句话：”这有什么难的？” 她并不完全是认真的，她站在两个鼓后面，开始和我的吉他一起演奏。这很完美，正是我所寻找的。马克斯-詹姆斯，我们的贝斯手，在2015年我们的老贝斯手离开乐队时接替了他。我们出去喝了几次酒，因为音乐、电影、文学和在英格兰北部的成长而联系起来。从那时起，他成了乐队的核心成员。最后LeonardKaage加入，在2017年取代了我们的老吉他手。我们在多年前就认识了Leo，他曾与蓝色天使休息室和Tess Parks以及Anton Newcombe一起演奏。搬到柏林后，我们成了更亲密的朋友，他制作了我们的专辑 “What Kind Of Dystopian Hellhole Is This？” 2016年，他是此后加入我们的吉他手的明显选择。
It sounds like a real solid line up right there! And your Autumn tour has just been announced – playing with The Vacant Lots and Kill Your Boyfriend, so I’m sure you’re very much looking forward to it. Are you anxious in any way about the fact that this pandemic could have changed the way we experience live shows?
Well unfortunately a large portion of these planned dates have had to be postponed. With the uncertain nature regarding travelling within Europe at the moment, it’s simply too risky to attempt the full planned tour. But, with regards to the shows we will play, I wouldn’t say that from the band’s perspective there’s any anxiety regarding the experience. I think there will be a fallout from the pandemic and it will take people some time to become fully comfortable with the experience again. But, from what we’ve already seen from the shows we’ve been able to play, I’m confident it’s something that will recover sooner than many expect.
这听起来像是一个真正坚实的阵容。你的秋季巡演刚刚宣布–与The Vacant Lots和Kill Your Boyfriend一起演出，所以我相信你非常期待。对于疫情可能改变我们体验现场表演的方式，你是否感到焦虑？
I think you’re right. Judging from the gig you played in Astra at the beginning of September, it felt like the pandemic never happened. Was that the first show you played after the global hiatus?
We’d played a few shows throughout summer, most of them outdoor and starting from seated shows in masks to people standing, to people proving vaccination and now to the point where it’s essentially back to normal. As I say, it’ll take time until everyone is 100% comfortable with that again, but it’s moving in the right direction.
Previously, you spent some time touring Australia and Asia. What are your memories from those concerts? What impression did Asia leave you with? Could you see yourselves spending more time on that continent?
Well like all “Pre-Covid” concerts, we have a fond nostalgia for being able to tour and travel to so many different countries. China was certainly one of the most memorable places we’ve toured as a band, in cultural difference it felt the furthest removed from the way we live and travel in Europe. In that sense it was the most exciting and educational tour we’ve done. We met some amazing people and I think we were all surprised by how successful the shows were, I mean travelling there we didn’t know how big our crowds would be, we certainly didn’t expect as many people as there were. We’ve spoken about going back for another tour following the worst of the pandemic (should we ever see such a time!) and I think doing this again for the second time, we will be mentally prepared for this experience, which differs so much to touring elsewhere in the world.
就像所有的 “Pre-Covid “音乐会一样，我们对能够在这么多不同的国家巡演和旅行有一种美好的怀念。中国当然是我们乐队巡演中最令人难忘的地方之一，在文化差异方面，它与我们在欧洲的生活和旅行方式相差最远。从这个意义上说，这是我们做过的最令人兴奋和最有教育意义的巡演。我们遇到了一些了不起的人，我想我们都对演出的成功感到惊讶，我的意思是在旅行中我们不知道我们的观众会有多大，我们当然没有想到会有这么多观众。我们已经说过要在疫情最严重的时候再去巡演（如果我们有这样的机会的话！），我想第二次再做这样的事，我们会对这种经历有心理准备，这与世界上其他地方的巡演有很大不同。
Apart from touring in those parts of the world – would you ever like to come back as a tourist or traveller?
It’s a completely different thing to travel somewhere as a band on tour as opposed to visiting as a tourist, but sometimes this can lead to a much more immersive experience. You meet local people, whether it be the promoters or fans, people who can give you a real insight into the country and / or city. It’s really the best way to get to know a place, and then of course if it’s somewhere that you enjoy then you will visit again in your own time, or in the case of Berlin for us, move there! I think we currently have a long list of places we’d love to visit again, and also places like South America that we’re yet to tour. They’re certainly on the list!
You were just at the beginning of your North American tour when Covid 19 began to affect us immensely. Apart from the obvious disappointment of cancelling the tour, and – I imagine – a financial loss, you managed to focus on creating a new album. Did the process become a coping mechanism of the situation at the time?
It was always the plan to record the new album when we returned from that tour, the majority of the songs were written before we left for the US. But it was in a way a lifesaver that we had the recording to throw energy into following the disappointment of the cancelled tour and the uncertainty of the lockdown that we were plunged into. As we were unable to meet and use our studio, we had to set up small home recording spaces in our apartments and send material back and forth, adapting to record in such a way. There’s no question that the album would have sounded different if the circumstances, both mentally and physically, were not this way. I mean if the pandemic hadn’t happened. But I’m very proud of that record and it will stand as a testament to this bizarre period it was created during.
“The Falling” differs from the previous albums you made. But at the same time, it kind of feels like a natural continuation of “Montage Images of Lust and Fear”.
Would you say this album was an evolution of your style or rather the adaptation to the situation at the time? Also, what was the biggest obstacle in recording in this way?
As I mentioned, I think the album was less of an “evolution in our style” and more an adaptation of something we could create in this unique setting. Recording from home, in most cases on very limited equipment, was certainly the biggest obstacle. Although I found myself trying certain things I perhaps wouldn’t have done were we in the studio together, picking up my grandfather’s old accordion and trying out melodies for “A Sorrowful Race”, or choosing to write “Letter From A Young Lover” on piano. Leo will also have countless examples of this with regards to him producing from home as opposed to his studio, intricacies in the record’s sound that would have been so different if not for the setting they were recorded in. But these parts of the record only came to life due to this situation, and that’s the result of the lockdown.
“The Falling “与你以前制作的专辑不同。但同时，它有点像《欲望与恐惧的蒙太奇图像》的自然延续。你会说这张专辑是你的风格的进化，或者说是对当时情况的适应？另外，以这种方式录音的最大障碍是什么？
正如我提到的，我认为这张专辑与其说是 “我们风格的演变”，不如说是我们在这种独特的环境中可以创造的东西的适应。在家里录音，在大多数情况下，在非常有限的设备上录音，当然是最大的障碍。虽然我发现自己在尝试某些事情，如果我们一起在录音室里，我也许不会这样做，拿起我祖父的老手风琴，尝试 “悲伤的比赛 “的旋律，或选择用钢琴写 “年轻情人的信”。利奥也会有无数这样的例子，关于他在家里制作，而不是在他的工作室制作，唱片中错综复杂的声音，如果不是在这样的环境下录制，会有很大的不同。但唱片的这些部分只有在这种情况下才会出现，这就是禁闭的结果。
It sounds like recording this album became a true adventure for you. Apart from “The Falling” being recorded in such an unusual way, I am curious which album was your favourite/most memorable one to make? And, at the same time, which one was the most challenging?
That’s a really difficult question to answer as I wouldn’t release an album if I wasn’t 100% happy with it, and so in some sense they’re all on an equal level. We had a great time recording “Montage Images Of Lust & Fear”, as we wrote and recorded it live together as a band, that was a great recording experience. I think “What Kind Of Dystopian Hellhole Is This?” is also one of my favourites. I can also look back fondly on “The Perfect Enemy For God” and “Delirium”, these albums I was recording on my own at home in Manchester, working a 9 to 5 office job and then getting home and recording into the night. The experience was deeply exhausting and consumed all of my time and thought. In hindsight I have no idea how I managed to do it, but I did, and I still look back fondly at those records. Any of the albums made earlier than that I find it difficult to listen to, hah, I’m proud of what I’ve achieved off the back of them, but they’re hard to listen to knowing that there’s so much of my own naivety laid bare on those tracks.
这是一个非常难回答的问题，因为如果我对一张专辑不是100%满意的话，我是不会发行这张专辑的，所以从某种意义上说，它们都处于同等水平。我们在录制 “Montage Images Of Lust & Fear “的时候很开心，因为我们作为一个乐队一起创作并现场录制，那是一个很好的录制经验。我认为 “What Kind Of Dystopian Hellhole Is This？”也是我最喜欢的作品之一。我还可以深情地回顾 “上帝的完美敌人 “和 “谵妄”，这些专辑是我自己在曼彻斯特的家里录制的，我在办公室里朝九晚五地工作，然后回家录制到晚上。这种经历让我深感疲惫，消耗了我所有的时间和思想。事后看来，我不知道我是如何做到的，但我做到了，而且我仍然深情地回顾那些唱片。任何比这更早的专辑我都觉得很难听，哈，我为我在这些专辑中取得的成就感到骄傲，但它们很难听下去，因为在这些曲目中，有那么多我自己的天真想法。
Speaking of Manchester, are there any things you really miss from back home?
Oh very little, and really this feeling increases as the UK falls deeper down the Brexit hole, the current government, this surge in inequality. No, aside from family and friends, there’s very little to miss. A good pint of Guinness in a cosy pub and a local seaside fish and chips.
To be honest, I noticed that feeling being shared amongst my British friends over here.
Knowing that Berlin has been your home for many years, I’m wondering if – as a band – you can imagine yourselves being based in any other city?
Well we were once a part of a European Union in which our British passports would allow us the privilege of being able to try that. In the past we’ve talked about Copenhagen and Lisbon. We’re thankful to have German residency, and are very happy living in Berlin, but our days of freedom of travel and the possibility of considering relocating to another European country are unfortunately, for now, behind us.
I’m really hoping this will change again in the future. But since you’ve been based in Germany for a while now, have you had a chance of exploring the country a bit? Is there anything in particular that you like about German culture?
There’s a lot to love about Berlin! If not then we wouldn’t have settled here and made it our home. But seeing Berlin as a sort of bubble within Germany, you have to appreciate the differences between the regions within the country. Fortunately due to us having a large fanbase within Germany, and also with the country sitting where it does in the centre of mainland Europe, we’ve toured through back and forth and up and down countless times, playing not just every major city but also tiny quaint towns dotted all over and festivals up mountains and in the middle of forests. You learn a lot about a country’s history and culture in that way, and whether it be the sides of it that appeal to you or not, it’s nice to have that knowledge of a country you call your home.
On a different note, could you share with us some reflections on movies that changed your life? As cinema references and cinematic feel of your songs and music are very much evident, I’m curious to know what influences you most.
Well once upon a time I was a film student with a desire to pursue a career in the field, then I found my calling more suited to writing and recording music. Though the lasting influence of my obsession with cinema at that time would continue to influence not just The Underground Youth’s music but our aesthetic style. The French New Wave, classic Hollywood noir, New German Cinema, really all the independent film movements from around the world I delved into I found some inspiration from. I still do from new films I see and fortunately due to the history of cinema that’s out there, there’s still so much to discover. I think to reflect on one specific film that changed my life it would be Godard’s “Bande à part”, without which my decades-long obsession with Anna Karina would not have been sparked.
很久以前，我是一名电影专业的学生，希望在这个领域有所作为，后来我发现我的使命更适合写作和录制音乐。尽管当时我对电影的痴迷所产生的持久影响不仅会继续影响地下青年的音乐，也会影响我们的美学风格。法国新浪潮、经典的好莱坞黑色电影、新德国电影，实际上是我深入研究的世界各地的所有独立电影运动，我从中找到了一些灵感。我仍然从我看到的新电影中找到灵感，幸运的是，由于电影的历史在那里，仍然有这么多东西可以发现。我想，如果要反思一部改变我生活的具体电影，那就是戈达尔的《Bande à part》，如果没有这部电影，我对安娜-卡里娜几十年的迷恋就不会被激发出来。
Admittedly, it’s all really evident in your music which makes listening to The Underground Youth such a unique experience.
Lastly, can you tell us what are your plans for the upcoming year? Are you gonna tackle North America again? Have you got a dream destination for a gig?
At the moment we’re focussing on any gigs that we can play. Rescheduling the European tour and putting all of our passion into the shows that will go ahead. Next year is already looking busy if things that are planned stay in place. And for sure as soon as we can we’ll look at heading back over to the US, we have unfinished business! We’d also love to head back over to Asia, Eastern Europe, the Americas, really we’re keen and eager to get back out on the road and play anywhere, they’re all “dream destinations” at the moment.
Interview 作者: Natalia Martynek
Translation 翻译: Emi
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