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Union Youth – the hard lot of a late birth

Union Youth hail from the quiet Bad Bentheim in Lower Saxony, a small town in the middle of nowhere. In 2002 the innovative alternative rock band drew attention when Fred Durst, boss of Limp Bizkit, got hold of a demo tape from the foursome, jumped for joy and wanted to sign Union Youth to his „Flawless Records“ label. The four „Krauts“, however, weren´t happy with the general conditions of the record deal „We felt uneasy“ and so they gave Fred Durst a refusal and thus rejected a seven-digit offer.

Their debut album „The Royal Gene“ was eventually released through Eastwest (Warner), in the meantime the band calls the label „Eat The Beat“ their home. There, the second outing „The Boring Years“ saw the light of day last June. With drummer Bowy and bassist Nosse K of Union Youth I got to know two relaxed, down to earth and eloquent chaps during the interview. Most of the time Bowy does the talking while Nosse draws a little x-mas greeting for the STALKER readers.

How did the last year go for Union Youth?
Bowy: There were ups and downs. We needed ages until we had recorded our latest album. During the time in the studio we had lost our record deal and had to look for a new label. Considering that, a cool album came about, we found a new label and a great tour followed in June. Thus there were both ups and downs.

How was the response to your new album „The Boring Years“?
Bowy: Frankly said, I don´t have any exact numbers at hand. But they won´t certainly turn out that good. No idea, you just don´t sell that many records nowadays anymore, this achieve only established or hyped bands. That´s the way it is, a lot is still burned. But that´s okay, it´s important that the people listen to our music. We played a good tour and there were people who liked our music. There are areas in Germany where lots of people come to our concerts but when we go to Bavaria only a handful of people show up. It´s very different but it´s always interesting to see what happens.

Are there some songs on your latest record with a special, deeper meaning for you? If so which and why?
Bowy:All songs have a special meaning otherwise they wouldn´t be on that record. We wrote not only those songs for the record but we wrote 40 or 50 songs and then we took those that stand for us and express what we are. But I think it´s silly to tell the people: With this song we meant that and with that we meant exactly this. This takes the possibility to discover the song for yourself and find a whole new meaning. For me personally „I Would Swear If I Could“ has a very special and personal meaning because the song came about in a very difficult time for me.

What on this tour left a lasting memory? Were there special incidents?
Bowy: Do you mean the Visions tour? Yes, I will remember that when you only play 3 days in a row nothing is kept in mind. You drink on the first day because the tour starts. On the second day you drink because you´re halfway through and on the third day you drink because the tour is over. Apart from that we tour with Blackmail, really good friends of us. And also The Subways and Revolt are cool bands and nice people. A totally successful tour! From my point of view at least.

How do you personally prepare for your show; do you have stage fright, how do you deal with it?
Bowy: This is very unspectacular, sorry! We don´t have any rituals except that we don´t have any rituals. Maybe the obligatory schnapps shortly before we go out…

What is for you a perfect show?
Bowy: The Beatles had the perfect show. No one else! Unfortunately I couldn´t see them anymore. The hard lot of a late birth...

Are there plans for a new album, do you work on new songs?
Bowy: Definitely, we´ve already worked on new songs when “The Boring Years” wasn´t even released because it always takes so much time until a record is finally in the stores. Often you get into some kind of in-between-phase where you don´t have anything to do.

How was the reaction from the crowd to the show yesterday in the Zeche in Bochum?
Bowy: Yesterday was great, the venue was crammed but I don´t know how many people fit in the Zeche. Four different bands – this attracts quite many fans and so a club is filled quickly. Let´s see how it will be today in Frankfurt and tomorrow in Stuttgart.

Have you ever played in Frankfurt?
Bowy: Here in the Batschkapp we once had a guest performance with the wonderful McLusky who sadly called it a day. This was 2 or 3 years ago within the “Hurricane Festival Club Tour”. Apart from that we are not very familiar with Frankfurt, the city is after all a 3 hours drive away from our hometown. Besides the Batschkapp we performed some time ago here in the Clubkeller.

Now a more personal question, how do you spend Christmas and New Year´s eve?
Bowy: In the family circle, as the phrase goes (laughs).

Bowy: Next spring we will have another 10 to 15 gigs in Germany. We have already toured extensively last June, after that there were some sporadic shows here and there.

Are you happy with your present life as a musician, can you live on it or do you wish for some improvements for you in 2006?
Nosse K. (jumps in the conversation after he has finished drawing the X-mas card): I think it takes quite a while until you can live on it. We can exist on it somehow but…
Bowy (interrupts, laughing): Every one of us has to buy a lottery ticket and hope that there´s a payout for every one of us in 2006. Then we can easily live on our art!
Nosse K.: It goes up and down. Sometimes there´s money, sometimes there´s no. And when there´s no money you have to think about what to do.

Do you have side jobs?
Nosse K.: Not regularly. But if worst comes to worst then yes.

What would be an ideal after show party for you?
Bowy: With good friends, good music, good drinks in a good environment – and without us.

Here the interview ends because it´s time to go back to the Batschkapp. The trio Revolt from Berlin which Bowy is enthusiastic over is in their starting blocks to open a first class Visions X-mas special (see live review).

Author: Christian Hoffmann, translation: Kathleen Gransalke
Date: 2006-01-08

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