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Aktion Unit and Young Lions

Aktion Unit and Young Lions

Monday 9th August, 2010 11:49AM

Just before embarking on their first tour of New Zealand, noise-rock collective Aktion Unit and fellow tourmate Young Lions chat to UTR about inspiration, the collaborative process, the influence of surroundings on making music and dark chocolate peanut slabs.


Having started as a one-off project in 2007, how have you guys changed and evolved your sound and objectives?

When we started it was definitely much less adventurous... as we've gotten comfortable with each other and learned more about the way we work musically, we've gotten less afraid to try anything.

What musical ideas are you trying to get across?

There's a scene at the end of Lucio Fulci's film 'The Beyond' where the actors appear in a painting of a wasteland that's supposed to represent Hell... it's all weirdly serene. I often feel like we're trying to make music for that scene.

Where do you get inspiration from? Who are your musical heroes?

Alice Coltrane, Snapper. Jan Terri. Scott Walker. Einsturzende Neubauten. The first Tangerine Dream album, 'Electronic Meditation' is a big one for me. We're both big Dead C fans.. hence the homage art.

You often bring other artists into the mix to help out and contribute. How do you view the collaborative process?

It helps us to keep things fresh, mainly. There are people we collaborate with regularly, like Dimitra (Scratchplate) and Marc Reguiero-McKelvie (Popolice). We enjoy the feeling of having a new band every night i thinkā€¦

Do you have any recordings out recently/in the pipeline?

We have a new 3" CD-R which we'll have at the NZ shows, called 'Angel Smear'. That's got Dimitra and Matt Gleeson (The Stabs) on it too. There's also a few older CD-Rs we forgot to bring with us..

What are you looking forward to the most about touring New Zealand?

Visiting Dunedin and seeing the house from 'Scarfies'. That will be sick.



With a history of playing in punk bands, what drove you to start a more relaxed, lo-fi solo project?

A push-pull combination of itchy feet and hesitation eventually pushed me to just see what i could do myself and how it would sound first, and then worry about finding an appropriate name or audience for it second. The first step to doing something is just doing it, and young lions quieter sound is just something that is music without a regard for its future.

Who are you influenced by? Do you feel that you have a definitive sound?

I cover Astronautalis, Bruce Springsteen, Jeff Magnum, and sub pop band The Constantines among others in my set when played on guitar. The young lions of Cobbadah Avenue, Pennant Hills is totally different! I played different instruments - piano and more percussion - in a different landscape, very specific to the place, so on my tape, which was recorded at home, there's an evident response to my surroundings - more relaxed. The delivery of my guitar songs, as you'll see, is a bit more deliberate.

What do you enjoy most about creating music?

Imitation is a bit of an underrated joy. I look like I'm making music.

What are your thoughts on touring your more upbeat music with two much darker, moodier artists?

If it's all a bit weird it's all good! I don't feel a lot of pressure with Young Lions to make songs that are complete or even "good" in the same terms that whatever else I'm listening to is good. Experimental music is something you have to let come into its own, leaving the hand of the artist a bit obscured at times and I think the group I'm touring with does that as much as I do.

Where do you see Young Lions in the future?

Wherever my home is. The songs will always be a response to my neighbourhood and home, and what can be heard out the window.

What are you looking forward to the most about touring New Zealand?

Meeting other musicians, looking at the kind of space and environment they use, and sharing food with them! I love eating. Someone told me you can get dark chocolate peanut slabs here. It's my mission to seek these out today.

Ryan Eyers

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