Wild Youth had an incredible 2018. Their track 'Can’t Move On' was the number one song on Irish radio, and their music has hit over a million streams on Spotify. We had a quick chat with David and Conor about their debut EP 'The Last Goodbye,' which released last Friday.
How was Friday for you all? You had the release of the EP, you performed on ‘The Late Late Show,’ you met Hozier…
David: Oh yeah it was amazing, it all happened in the one day it was a bit overwhelming. It kinda ticked off loads of the list on the one day - it was surreal. The 'Late Late' was ridiculous - it’s an Irish band’s dream to get onto it. And then to release our debut EP on the same day - we’ve been dying to get this music out for so long, for people to actually hear exactly who Wild Youth is musically, and to have both of them happen on the same day was just… at the end of the day, we were like “Wow, we did all of this in the one day!” It was kinda cool.
How did it feel to actually hold your EP in your hands?
Conor: I remember we were in Holland playing Eurosonic, and we were flying back to London, so we had to sign the EPs in the airport for pre-order. So we were in the airport and the box opened, and when I took it out - and to actually hold the EP, it wasn’t real - it was really emotional. I mean, me and Dave have played music together for so many years, this is our first body of work. So everything that’s been done over the last couple of years - whether it be singing lessons, or hours on the piano, or in the studio or whatever - has all come down to this. This physical CD in your hand.
D: He’s dead right. To be able to hold it and see what it’s actually like… I mean you can look at it on Spotify or wherever, but it’s not actually the same. But yeah it’s weird. You’re actually using your senses here, and actually touching it.
C: It’s your baby.
D: You can break it in half if you want to - which we didn’t do!
How long were you actually working on the five songs on the EP?
C: The first song was written in January of last year - ‘Can’t Move On.’
D: We do it all in London. We worked with a producer called Jim O’Barry, and we co-produced it and co-wrote it with The Script for the whole thing. There were little snippets where we’d come home, and then go back over to the studio with them. Because there were many more than just those five songs as well, there were other songs that were written that we just didn’t use. It was a cool year, it was really nice.
So were you and Danny (O'Donoghue) from The Script in contact quite a lot then?
D: Yeah, and Mark (Sheehan).
C: We were talking to them nearly every day. Still.
D: We were talking to them yesterday.
C: They’re become like, as well as within a working relationship, have become like family to us. They really have. Even over the Christmas, spending time with them back here - it’s become a really tight friendship. We’ve very lucky, it’s a bit mad for us. Because growing up -
D: - They were our idols -
C: - They were the reason we went and said, “let’s try and be a band,” because we wanna be like The Script. So the two of us went into town, bought leather jackets (still wearing them now), bought a sh*t load of hair gel - haha -
D: - They were our U2. They were our generation’s U2. They were the next big band to break Ireland, break America -
C: - We still had U2 -
D: - It was when we were teens and we saw these young guys who we thought were American, and then we discovered they were Irish. U2 are like my dad’s (generation), so yeah it was mad to shoot forward however many years later from when we first saw them to then in studio with them… It’s like, "What did we do to deserve this?"
I had a look on your Spotify to see where your top five listeners around the world are - and three of them are in the States. Have you ever played there?
D: Yeah that’s mental because we’ve never played over there.
C: We haven’t played there yet but we’re going to do some writing over there in February for two or three weeks.
D: We really want to get to America so bad.
C: We’ve got a team over there, and a US agent… so we have plans. America is a place we absolutely love and we’re into a lot of American music, taking big influence from American pop production.
If you crack America, you’re kind of set I guess.
D: That’s what they say.
C: And if not, we’re going to go around and play lots of covers in bars over there - haha!
How did it feel when you saw the Eir advert on TV - it was everywhere over Christmas.
D: I don’t watch TV that much, and I don’t think you do either, so I was never really flicking through the channels and came across it. I would just getting people sending me videos, or I’d be upstairs in my room and mam would roar "you’re on the TV again!" And then I’d hear it get blared up. It’s crazy to see yourself on national TV, on an advert.
C: All that stuff is weird for us, still. When we hear ourselves on the radio, we’re like "turn that up, it’s us!" And people are like, "you do know it’s one of the most-played songs on Irish radio, right?" But it’s still weird. Even being on the Hotpress cover, walking into your local shop and you’re staring back at yourself, it’s just so strange.
Do you get recognised on the street much?
D: A little bit more now than before. Yeah we get stopped every now and again. We get people writing on social media "Oh my god, I saw Conor, or Dave from Wild Youth and we were too scared to say hi" so we see that a lot. We love it though - we always encourage people to come up and say hello. If it wasn't for them, we wouldn't be sitting here talking to you. We love having a chat with our fans and finding out why our songs have a connection with them. We just love talking to people.
C: A lot of people will come up and ask for a picture, which is totally fine -
D: As long as our hair's okay, then it's grand haha.
C: Oh yeah. There was this one time over Christmas and I was feeling sick, but I had to go in and collect a present for someone in my family. And don't get us wrong it's not a thing where we walk into a shop and it's hysteria - maybe one person every six weeks -
D: - I dunno about you, but... haha -
C: - I was standing there, and I had a flu, and I felt terrible. I was wearing Nike tracksuit bottoms tucked into my socks, a zipped up green jacket down to my knees, and a scarf wrapped up around my nose... Walking down the street hoping to get in and out - and I stopped to watch Allie Sherlock on Grafton Street, because she's so incredible, you have to stop. So I was standing there watching her, and next thing this girl taps me on the shoulder, and I turn and it's a big bunch of girls. I was in photos with all of them - and I see the photos next day and my face is bright red, hair everywhere, looking like I was about to rob the shop I was going into.
You're doing your own Irish tour this March, and Sea Sessions later in the year - any other festivals on the horizon?
D: Yeah we've got some more coming up - that we can't announce yet. We're headlining the Olympia on March 23rd, and host of other dates around the country too. We're after coming back from London last week before the EP dropped, and we were over there writing again so new music might come out later this year. And as Conor said, we're going over to America as well - just for the craic like, haha! No, we put everything into this band, so the minute we stop doing one thing, we're onto the next thing. More music, more shows, more... TV ads haha! See what happens.
Would it be fair to say it's the best time for Irish music - at the moment?
D: It's at it's most competitive, and maybe it's best, I think.
C: I think Irish music has always been so good. I don't think it's like a new thing. If you go back to when The Script came out, The Thrills, U2 - it's always been such an unbelievable market. And I think it's because Irish people grew up, even when you were younger, our dad's used to bring us to bars and listen to trad music. You were always surrounded by music in Ireland. And schools are great for embracing music and putting on theatre shows. You're always exposed to it. It's not a shock really, we've always had Irish bands that we've aspired to be like.
Final question - what's your favourite episode of 'Father Ted?'
C: Father Damo!
D: Mine is the one where they enter the Eurovision - "My lovely horse..."