Young the Giant bring sold-out tour to Salt Lake City

One year after the release of their first studio album, Young the Giant are headlining their own tour with indie-darlings Grouplove. Fresh off of performances at the MTV Video Music Awards and headlining both Lollapalooza and the Austin City Limits Music Festival, YTG is one of the fastest-rising stars in the indie-rock genre. With accolades building, such as landing a spot on the Amazon.com Best Rock Albums of 2011 list, and being named Spin’s “Breaking Out” band and the USA Today “On the Verge” band, YTG is quickly becoming a household name. Their single, “Cough Syrup” was featured in a recent and controversial episode of Glee where a student attempts suicide after being bullied because of his sexuality.

To preview their upcoming concert, guitarist Jacob Tilley chatted with QSaltLake about how far they’ve come in the past year and what to expect from them in the future.

With venue after venue selling out weeks in advance, their stop in Salt Lake City on April 3, 6:30 p.m., at In The Venue, is likely to be sold out soon. Tickets are available at smithstix.com.

You’ve just kicked off the tour. How is it going so far?

The tour has been great so far. It’s been really fun and very smooth; just really great. We just spent a couple of nights in San Francisco, which was really terrific and we’re so excited because a lot of our shows are selling out. We love having all the energy.

What are the biggest differences between touring with bands like Minus the Bear and Incubus and headlining?  How did you prep for the tour?

We’ve had other heralding tours, but nothing to this scale; nothing this large. But overall, we really didn’t change much at all. I think that’s the way it should be. We’ll be doing a lot of the same stuff for our fans.

From the release of your first studio album to now, it’s only been about a year, but you’re really starting to get a lot of attention. How has the last year been?

It’s definitely been interesting. It feels like there are all these extremes – like how much work goes into it and how much we enjoy doing it. It’s been fun, though. And it’s what we’ve always wanted to do. We’re very happy to be where we are now.

From Lollapalooza to the VMAs, you’ve been hitting some big stages. How has that influenced your performances? What can we expect to see at your upcoming show?

Our shows are relatively similar – we go out and put on an energetic live show – just your basic no-frills rock. I think the biggest change is that we’re better at playing the songs. We’re way more comfortable and confident. I think we’ve really become more comfortable with our music and we can really own it now.

One of my favorite songs on your album is “Guns Out,” I was wondering if you could talk a little bit about that song and your writing process in general. How did you guys write the album? Was it a collaborative effort?

That’s one of my favorite songs as well. Usually, we all get together and jam.  That particular song just evolved from there. When we recorded that song we were pretty confident about it. And it’s one of those songs that I absolutely identify with it. I can honestly say it really grew on me – and now it’s one my favorites too. But that’s generally how we write, that’s usually how our process works.

Who are some of your inspirations? Who’s on your iPod right now?

Right now I am into TV on the Radio. I am a huge fan and they are a huge inspiration to me. They are such gifted musicians. I love how compiled their guitars are.

But normally, I am all over the place; show tunes, I love classical – especially Debussy and I also love Miles Davies. I don’t have a set genre because normally I get bored and have to move on.

Your live recording of “I Got” on the Salt Flats here in Utah is just terrific and showcases the raw musical talent of the group. How did you end up recording out there?

We were driving to Seattle and we ended up playing wherever we were. We stopped and went out with our videographer and had a real great session right there in the desert. It was such a blast.

What was it like performing in Utah?

I love Utah. I’ve got a friend who lives there and we just hang out. I’ve never had too many adventures in Salt Lake, but I always have a good time.

Last time we were there we played at a great little venue; I think it’s called Kilby Court. It was just awesome. I love that space.

What can we expect to see from Young the Giant in the future?

Well, we’ve got the tour that’s really going to be awesome. We’re excited to see all our fans. And then we’re going to start recording again.

Seth Bracken

Seth Bracken is the editor of QSaltLake

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