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EXCLUSIVE Interview: whenyoung

Whenyoung have shared their latest lullaby-esque single, 'The Prayer', with the proceeds going to Women's Aid UK and Ireland. I last spoke to the band when their debut album 'Reasons To Dream' was released in 2019. You can read that interview hereI spoke to Drew from the whenyoung about how lockdown is treating them, how it is affecting their creativity and news about their second album.

How are you?
I'm good. 

How is lockdown life treating you, and where are you?
Lockdown's been OK. We're actually in Ramsgate, which is like an hour and a half outside of London, by the sea. It's quite nice to be by the sea and to have that to go out on and to walk by the sea every day is nice and to not be in the city. Lockdown's been OK. This year we've...since January, we started recording our second album so we've kind of been in writing and recording mode. We've been locked away ourselves a lot anyway, writing new material and recording so it hasn't affected us too much in that we didn't have many live gigs booked in for this half of the year. We're doing OK. 

Where did the idea for 'The Prayer' come from?
We wrote it in the first week of lockdown, really. Just because that first week or two was quite anxiety-inducing, trying to get your head around things, how everyday life was going to work and function and, you know, if people were going to be OK. And that song just kind of poured out, really. As we came to go through the subject matter of it, it felt right to try and release it during this period. Maybe try and work with a charity on it. Do something good. We ended up recording it ourselves from home here, we got it mixed and released last week which was really nice to be able to do. 

Aoife described 'The Prayer' as a "virtual hug" in another interview, what does that mean?
I guess it was like... the way we wrote this song, it was ourselves trying to relieve our own anxieties and hoping to do that with others. Our families are all across the ocean in Ireland so it was almost like us speaking to them. And then even people farther and wider, sending love their way, like sending a virtual embrace. It just felt like that kind of meditative, soothing song that could hopefully do that for people. 

What was it like recording the track by yourselves?
It was cool. It was fun. We always make/do our own demos and stuff but [we'd] never recorded something and released it so it was fun to do it. I guess it was a little bit challenging, because we were limited in what we could do here. We don't have a proper studio set up but we still managed to do it. It was good fun. I guess it was rewarding to be able to do that.

It feels like an emotional track, was it emotional to write?
Yeah, I guess it was but, like I said, it came together quite quickly as well. It definitely felt healing and accomplishing to write.

What is the message behind 'The Prayer'?
So the message is sending love and positive energy far and wide really. Relieving anxieties, both our own and hopefully other people's.

What was it like making the music video?
The idea for that obviously came after recording the song. We wanted to obviously make a video that we could do ourselves and we could make from the confines of our own flat so we just had the idea to record time lapses of the sky and sea because [it's something we all share] and that affects us all and is something quite soothing and meditative. It kind of just reflected a lot of the ideas within the song and then we used that and made it almost like a lyric video. 

Why did you choose for proceeds to go to Women's Aid UK and Ireland?
We were going for the charity that was in Ireland and one in the UK so we could kind of split between the two. At the moment, there's obviously lots of fundraising going on for health charities and NHS, so we just wanted something that might have been overlooked slightly, because obviously there is a massive rise at the moment in cases of domestic abuse. There's a lot of people out there at the moment that really need the help of organisations like Women's Aid right now. 

How is the second album coming along?
It's coming along really well. It was anyway, up until this period. We'd recorded...We'd written a lot of it in Ireland back in December/January time and then we'd started recording in Wales [in] February and March. We've done, I would say, almost half and yeah, we were due to be back there right now, finishing it but that's not happening at the moment but hopefully we'll be able to get back there some time later in the year to get it finished. It's been going really good. It definitely feels like a development from the first album which is refreshing for us. When we were writing it, we didn't feel as constricted as the first time around. We've kind of experimented a bit more. It's definitely a little bit different but it's still whenyoung.

Does the future feel daunting, with the music scene changing so much?
Yes, definitely. I guess so yeah, but we're powerless to it so we just have to roll with the punches at the moment and see what happens in the future. It's cool at the moment that we can still interact and do livestreams and stuff. It would be great to be able to get back out as normal and play shows and stuff but [we] don't know when that's going to happen. I'm sure we'll just adapt and I'm sure, in the next six months, there'll be ideas developed that we never thought possible before and I'm sure there'll be new ways of playing shows of some sort or reaching out to fans. So yeah, it's scary but I'm sure we'll get through it. 

What's next for you?
We're here until lockdown finishes. We're just writing at the moment, really. We're just taking time to continue working on the next album. As soon as lockdown is lifted, I guess we'll be back recording and hopefully releasing new music as soon as possible.

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