Youth Worship: “Simple, fuzzy, punk stuff.”

Remember Asobi Seksu?  That shoegazey dream pop band that did that song “Transparence?” Remember?  How fuckin’ great were they?  Well, they broke up… But James Hanna, one half of...

Remember Asobi Seksu?  That shoegazey dream pop band that did that song “Transparence?” Remember?  How fuckin’ great were they?  Well, they broke up… But James Hanna, one half of the core members, recently started a new project, which is pretty much different from Asobi Seksu in every way, except that it’s also pretty fuckin’ great.  Youth Worship has Hanna joining friends Will Donnelly and Larry Gorman (a former drummer of Asobi Seksu) to celebrate everything fuzzy, loud, crass, and brash that can be birthed by a guitar.  Although the majority of early characterizations of the band compared them to the kind of noise found on 120 Minutes, their debut LP, LP1, which hits shelves today, has drawn comparisons to Black Flag, Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr., Motorhead, The Stooges, and the golden age of Epitaph Records… All of which are pretty much accurate… at one point or another… The album assures listeners that Youth Worship are sincerely interested in and fond of charmingly obnoxious Rock’N’Roll of every era, locale, and “scene”… they do not discriminate… My personal favorite moments on the album are “No Summer,” which sounds like Joy Division making fun of R.E.M. (How fucking amazing would that be, if that could have actually happened?!?!?!) and “Natural Storm,” which I assume is what Thurston Moore would sound like in the hands of Dischord. The band has a record release show at The Acheron in Brooklyn on July 11th, supporting our friends Dead Leaf Echo and James and I recently had a chat about the thus far brief history of Youth Worship and what the future holds for the trio.

Izzy Cihak: When did the idea for Youth Worship first begin?  It’s funny because literally three days before I got the Email about this I was asking my friend if she knew if Asobi Seksu were still around.

James Hanna: After we disbanded Asobi, I started writing some songs with power chords. Just wanted to do some more simple, fuzzy, punk stuff. Didn’t want a lot of gear or anything complicated and I wanted to play with my friends Will and Larry.

Izzy: What have been the highlights of Youth Worship so far?

Boris: Opening for our friends Boris at St. Vitus when they did their drone set. Also, learning how to record and produce my own music.

Izzy: You get compared to tons of really great bands from a handful of brilliant musical eras and scenes but I’m curious, who are your actual favorite acts or biggest influences of recent years, whether bands of the past or present?

James: Mudhoney, Spacemen 3, Trail of Dead, Dinosaur Jr, The Wipers, Husker Du, Melvins, Stooges, Sonic Youth…

Izzy: Do you have any non-musical influences that you consider to be especially significant to Youth Worship?

James: Our Holy Father Satan. The one true lord… Lots of books and movies make me not want to kill myself. I recently enjoyed revisiting Yojimbo. And I’m reading The Savage Detectives. It’s one of those annoying books that everyone on the train is reading, but it’s really great. I also really liked Inherent Vice.

Izzy: Often I’ll ask a band what’s there favorite song off of their latest album, but I don’t really want to do that because I think every one of these songs on your debut LP is so fucking great, but I will ask two related questions:  Which track are you most proud of and which track is the most fun to play live?

James: Thanks, Dude! Most fun to play live is “Eternal Scene” because there are lots of long screams and Larry plays hard as shit. The rhythm is really fun to dig into. I’m just glad that the record sounds decent overall because it was my first time recording a full drum kit and mixing!

Izzy: What do you have planned for the second half of 2015?  I saw you have an upcoming date in July, but any chance of some more substantial touring or possibly just a Philly date?

James: Totally unrelated but I’m starting school in the fall to be a clinical social worker. The band just finished recording an EP and we plan on recording an LP in the fall. Would love to play a Philly date. We have had so many fun shows in Philly with Asobi!

Izzy: Finally, and this doesn’t really have to do with the band (sorry), but on a related note, I have to ask your thoughts on Philly.  Any favorite experiences?   There was a period around half a decade ago when it seems like you were playing here like every few months.

James: Philly is awesome. We have always had a good time there. It doesn’t hurt that we also have good friends in Philly. Most importantly, you have great food, fun crowds, and we can easily drive home after a show. Let’s Go Mets!

Band InterviewsMusic

During the day Izzy Cihak teaches transgression, subversion, and revolution at Temple University. At night he haunts Philthy's best venues to cover worthwhile acts for Philthy Mag. Morrissey is everything to him and, in their own heads, all of his friends see themselves as Zooey Deschanel.