It's been a busy 12 months for Stoke-based four piece All The Young, what with the release earlier in the year of their début album Welcome Home and a constant schedule of touring. Made up of brothers Ryan (Vocals, rhythm guitar and omnipresent sunglasses) and Jack (Bass) Dooley, Dave Cartwright (Lead guitar) and power house drummer Will Heaney, after supporting amongst others The Kaiser Chiefs, The Courteeners and Morrissey, they're now proudly bringing their own brand of anthemic indie rock to a town near you via their own headline shows. Contactmusic caught up with them before their gig at Leeds' famous Brudenell Social Club.
CM: So - 2012 - how's it been?
RD: Great! We couldn't really have asked for much more from the year. We've had sell-out gigs, we've been to Australia, our album's done really well, we also did V Festival, Rockness and Wakestock.
CM: Welcome Home got a bit of a mixed reaction from the critics - do you pay any attention to reviews?
JD: We always find the best thing to do is not get carried away with good or bad reviews.
RD: I do read them.
JD: But if people pay you loads of compliments you can't say "I'm it" and the same applies if people say bad things. You can't get carried away.
RD: We've had people say the album sounds very slick compared to the live show, which is very constructive feedback. We've also had people saying it's over produced, and that's just wrong. Over produced is strings, choirs, all that. Welcome Home is just full on guitars and it sounds good. I do think it's almost like we weren't allowed to sound good, because we're from Stoke, and we're a rock 'n' roll band. A lot of the big name (Websites) liked it, some of the smaller niche ones didn't. For me that says people can't make their mind up about how they feel about the band.
CM: Do you think your mission statement to bring back guitar music influenced any of the critics unduly?
JD: I think some people looked at us and decided to never give us a chance. We don't really bother too much about that though, because they never really supported this band anyway.
WH: No one could ever accuse this band of not earning their stripes! We've spent the last two years gigging and gigging around the UK, Europe and Australia, doing it the most organic way that any band can do these days.
CM: A lot of people have made comparisons in your sound to Oasis, but we also hear elements of bands like Doves.
JD: That's a huge compliment to us.
CM: And also Shed 7, Echo & The Bunnymen, The Icicle Works...
RD: All four of us are into different bands and it's true that we do listen to some of the eighties post punk outfits.
CM: We read somewhere that you'd signed a six album deal (With Warners) - that sounds amazing...
RD: Well it is a six album deal, but we know we need to repay the faith the guys at the label have shown to us. We've recorded about a dozen new tunes already for the second album. I'd like to get about another ten finished before we get into the studio. Writing is something this band doesn't struggle with - and long may that continue.
CM: So had you written the songs for Welcome Home before you got in the studio?
JD: Yeah. Song-wise some of it's spanning back from now almost five years.
RD: I was 19 when I wrote Quiet Night In - and that's on the first album.
JD: It was almost a case of writing the second album whilst we were recording the first one. We always knew what songs we wanted to put on Welcome Home, so it's been a continuous process really.
RD: It was quite a frustrating process really (Recording Welcome Home) because we'd been in decent studios recording some of the songs once or twice before, so we were going over them again. I'm much more excited about our next album...
JD: It feels like we're creating more this time round.
RD: We're going to be murder to record next as well, because we've got very confident at doing it ourselves. We're pretty self-sufficient now compared to the first time we went in to the studio.
CM: Have you thought about self-producing it?
JD: No, we won't do that but we haven't really thought about who we'd like to do it with. We're still getting the songs right at the moment. We've got a few people in mind though. We'll see what happens.
DC: It's always good to get another point of view as well. If you just make it how you want it to sound, then it's probably not going to end up sounding as good as it could be.
CM: You're touring almost constantly - are you writing on the road as well?
RD: Yeah - more so as a band, we all get little ideas individually and then discuss them with each other. For us though touring is like a reward for all the hard work you put in. If we're not touring then we're writing, or recording. I find that your experiences on tour really help the process of creating songs.
CM: Have you ever thought about letting someone remix some of the songs?
RD: It depends. I'd like the Chemical Brothers to remix us, but I wouldn't go into the studio and say "Can you just drench this in synths please, so we sell more records?", it's got to be what we're good at doing, otherwise it's not going to sound like us.
CM: It is possible to do well though without compromising your ideals.
RD: We had a "dubstep" mix done of one of our New Education (The band's old name) songs. It was good, but it just didn't feel right. We've had another one done more recently though, and the less said about that the better!
CM: Go on.
RD: We ended up sounding like Another Level. Let's leave it at that. It won't be seeing the light of day, that's for sure. The guy who did it was also fairly critical of us on Twitter, so we put him straight as well.
CM: You mentioned Stoke earlier, and you've talked in the past about All The Young creating some momentum for bands in the area, is there a scene building now?
RD: Definitely. When we first got a deal and played a home town show we couldn't find anybody locally to support us. We ended up getting a friend's group who'd broken up to reform for us, just for that night. Since then though, after getting about a thousand people to that gig we've definitely seen a lot more local bands starting up, or getting back together again.
CM: So you could do something similar for Stoke that The View did for Dundee.
RD: Yeah but The Likely Lads who're touring with us at the moment, they're from York, but they're a great band and if I hear a good band, then anything we can do for them we'll do. I reckon they're one of the best unsigned bands in the country at the moment and if I owned an indie label, I'd sign them!
WH: We played The Sugar Mill in Stoke last week and one of the lads in the support band came up to us after the show and told us that we were the reason they'd started playing music. To hear that, you can't help but be proud of what you're doing.
RD: I think if I was 16 and living in Stoke, looking at a bunch of guys in a rock 'n' roll band going off touring around Europe and Australia, then I'd say to myself: "I wanna do what they're going to be doing".
CM: Stoke seems to be a place influenced by its big neighbouring cities like Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester.
JD: There's a lot of Mancunian swagger sunk into the minds of a lot of lads in Stoke. We all got started listening to Oasis and The Stone Roses, that's where everyone begins. The feeling's pretty pervasive.
RD: Not many people you speak to outside the UK know where Stoke is: We just end up shrugging telling them it's about an hour away from Manchester and that seems to help them understand.
CM: Plans for 2013?
JD: We'll keep writing over Christmas, it never really stops.
RD: We'll go and see the label and get the next record going. It doesn't matter if one day we're in a magazine or one day we're not, we're a band that writes records. That's what we do. All the greatest artists to me - Weller, Dylan for example - sometimes they're thought of as cool, sometimes they're not, and yet they last the longest.
CM: Martin Rossiter of Gene was quoted last week as saying they'd sold a million albums.
RD: There's a lot of bands who get nowhere near the radio and do very well. There isn't really a movement at the moment that someone's unofficially in charge of. There's lots of different scenes going on - dubstep, folk, metal - all at the same time. It's great.
WH: It's become harder for just a few writers to influence what everyone listens to now due to the internet. There's thousands of opinions out there and it's very difficult for one person so say what's cool.
RD: There's definitely a middle class vibe in the charts at the moment, with people like Mumford & Sons. You can't knock someone for their background, but for me there isn't much grit in the charts at the moment, that working class element if you like is being provided by urban artists. A lot of the people we meet in our scene - well, they're basically toffs.
CM: Finally, have you played the Brudenell before?
RD: No, but we've heard loads about it. And I can see why.
JD: It's a wicked room to play in.
RD: I've been here for about six hours today, it's brilliant. You soundcheck, then have a game of pool, then hang out with all the old lads in the bar, if I lived anywhere near here, my social life would be all about this place!
CM: All The Young, thank you, and see you again soon.
"Welcome Home" by All The Young is available now.
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