.

Young the Giant Returning With 'Mind Over Matter'

California band's second album due this January

Sameer Gadhia of Young the Giant performs in Dover, Delaware.
Rob Loud/Getty Images
October 28, 2013 8:30 AM ET

Southern California rock band Young the Giant will return with their second album, Mind Over Matter, on January 21st. The eclectic collection is produced by Justin Meldal-Johnsen (Beck, M83, Tegan and Sara) and finds the quintet exploring a diverse set of sounds. Rolling Stone got a preview of some of the new material and sat down with frontman Sameer Gadhia and drummer Francois Comtois to talk about writing and recording the new album, the band’s diverse influences and letting go of the pressure of trying to follow a hit debut.

The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time

The lyrics feel very literary. Were you reading a lot during the writing of this record?
Gadhia: Yes I was, I love contemporary and old stuff. At the time a good portion of my time was spent reading Anna Karenina, I enjoy just being able to tell an objective story, almost through a camera lens. But then I also didn’t want to get too stuck in that because being a lyricist there's something very stylized about lyrics, it's more like poetry. I was getting into Thomas Pynchon and some of the South American writers as well, trying to get more of that style into there as well.  

Is the lead single, "It's About Time," emblematic of the songs on the album?
Comtois: It's pretty diverse in general. I would say that it's certainly the most aggressive song on the album. But it kind of came from this realization we could do what we wanted to do and be honest about it. 

When did you realize you didn’t have to do 12 more versions of [breakout single] "Cough Syrup"?
Gadhia: It was a very gradual thing. After getting off the road, when we started recording and writing again we were more omniscient of the fact that we had an audience, that we had a group of people that we'd already connected with from the last record. So there was this great amount of pressure that we'd created among ourselves as we'd continued to isolate ourselves and continue to get in our own heads, to connect and continue to connect. 

What did you discover in the making of this record?
Comtois:
Just trust your subconscious. I think usually it's going to bring you in the right direction and then use that inspiration.

Was there a song that kicked off the writing process?
Gadhia: "Mind Over Matter" was that track for us. It was a great balance, because our influences range from Radiohead to D'Angelo, who for us, in terms of how they write and create, philosophically have two very different approaches. Radiohead take things very intense, very serious and D'Angelo is all about that experience and we wanted to be able to combine the two. "Mind Over Matter" was really that song for us, it came together in less than a day.

Were there moments on the record that were so personal you were afraid to share them?
Gadhia:
Most definitely. When I finally got to “Mind Over Matter,” the whole subject matter of the record finally broke out of me. Collectively as a band the record does tell the story of us trying to hone in on ourselves as a band. But individually I think a lot of people can relate to the idea of being able to battle their own selves – their doubts, the obsessions that they have, the idiosyncrasies they have, the things that they do to run away or get away from. And sometimes those things can be positive forces and sometimes they can be negative forces. I think some of the subject matter is quite personal and a lot of us have struggled with our own personal doubt. 

 

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

prev
Music Main Next

blog comments powered by Disqus
Around the Web
Powered By ZergNet
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.

X

We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“San Francisco Mabel Joy”

Mickey Newbury | 1969

A country-folk song of epic proportions, "San Francisco Mabel Joy" tells the tale of a poor Georgia farmboy who wound up in prison after a move to the Bay Area found love turning into tragedy. First released by Mickey Newbury in 1969, it might be more familiar through covers by Waylon Jennings, Joan Baez and Kenny Rogers. "It was a five-minute song written in a two-minute world," Newbury said. "I was told it would never be cut by any artist ... I was told you could not use the term 'redneck' in a song and get it recorded."

More Song Stories entries »
 
www.expandtheroom.com