Interviews, New Music

Meet Emerging Irish Grunge-Pop Trio whenyoung

Read an interview with frontwoman Aoife Power and hear whenyoung's new single 'Actor'

whenyoung interview aoife power

Irish trio whenyoung strike the perfect balance of noisy guitars and pop charm on their expertly-crafted new single, ‘Actor’ (listen below). ‘Actor’ is a comment on social media and the everyday image of self that we project into the world. “You can be an actor for awhile,” sings frontwoman Aoife Power, “practice taking pictures with a smile.”

‘Actor’ is the third song released by whenyoung, whose members (Aoife, Niall and Andrew) met in Ireland and are currently based in London. Culture Creature caught up with Ms. Power via Skype; read an excerpt of our interview below.

Dan Redding: Did you grow up in Limerick?

Aoife Power: Yeah – so, I grew up in Limerick and moved here a few years ago, to London.

How would you describe Limerick to someone who’s never been there before?

It’s a small city – there’s about ninety thousand people there. It’s a very small-town vibe. We do have a lot of arts things going on, but there isn’t a massive music scene, even though there are some good bands that’ve come out of Limerick, like the Cranberries…. There was one indie bar where we would always go and [whenyoung] met there. It’s just a small town, I guess.

Did you form whenyoung before moving to London?

No, we formed in London.

And how long have you lived in London?

Four years now, but we only formed last year.

Did you go to University?

Yeah, I studied landscape architecture.

Really! Are you working in that field now?

[laughter] Kind of, yeah. I’m doing some garden design and stuff – but I’d like to be doing the music all the time.

You seem to be on track for that, but whenyoung is so new – you’ve only released a total of three songs, right?


Do you have plans to record or release a full-length anytime soon?

I think it would be something that we will probably be doing next year. At the moment, we’re doing a lot of recording, we have a lot of stuff written. We’re working with this producer, we’re going into the studio, doing bits here and there…. He’s a friend of ours, and he’s doing studio time for us in between when he’s recording pop acts. We’ve got a lot of stuff together, and next year we’ll be definitely releasing another EP, and then I’d say later in the year, we’d consider maybe doing an album.

whenyoung interview

Let’s talk about your new single, ‘Actor.’ The lyrics are about the image that we project of ourselves into the world. As a performer, do you feel especially conscious of that?

Definitely, yeah. You’re being looked at even when maybe you don’t want to be looked at. Even though you wanna show people your music – but you’re being analyzed, and that can be difficult. These days, it’s so obvious that so many people struggle with their identity. You can see people breaking down online. Maybe people weren’t as conscious of it before. It’s quite interesting – I don’t think it’s a negative thing that social media is so big in our lives, but it’s quite challenging. It’s quite an interesting subject, I think we all feel that it’s tough to be in the limelight at times.

I’m sure some people in bands – or performers in general – kind of crave that.

Yeah, absolutely – and there is a part of you that craves it.

The song talks about those issues, but it’s actually quite upbeat and happy. Do you consider the song to be a critique of media, or just a portrait of it?

It’s a comment. It’s just commenting on how it is. It’s up to the listener, really, to think of it how they want. I’m trying to open up that these things exist. If people identify them as being a struggle, maybe they can learn to… give themselves respect, and maybe not give so much away online. To love themselves more.

Given that whenyoung have only released three songs, what else is in your setlist? Do you have cover songs in your setlist?

No, we actually don’t. But last month, we did a cover show for Halloween and we did Roy Orbison’s ‘You Got It.’ That was really fun, so we were thinking maybe we’d work that into our set somehow. But in general, we just like to do our own songs. We’ve got quite a lot of stuff. We’re always writing, so I think to do covers at the moment – we don’t wanna do it, really.

Here in America, many bands are drawing on nineties rock influences. Do you find that to be true in Britain or in London as well?

Yeah, I guess there’s a lot of grunge-influenced bands around. I like that type of music, too.

Is that something that you grew up on?

Yeah, definitely. I loved Nirvana ­– I still do. I like Sonic Youth, bands like that, Pixies – I love them.

Aoife Power is a really amazing name. Do you think that being in a rock band is the only suitable occupation for someone with that name?

[laughter] Maybe I could work as an electrician or something.

[laughter] Oh yeah, I didn’t think of that! That’s pretty good. Tell me more about Limerick. When did you meet your bandmates?

We met when we were teenagers. The indie club I mentioned earlier – we used to sneak in there when we were sixteen. Then we continued to go there… Even now, when we go home, we go there. There’s nowhere else that plays good indie rock music. I think we met like most of our friends – through going there. It was like our sanctuary within a city where everyone loves dance music and fast cars.

When did you write your first song?

I first started playing guitar when I was about thirteen or fourteen. My dad plays music so there were always guitars around. The first song I learned to play was Shakira’s ‘Underneath Your Clothes.’ Then I was like, ‘Oh my god, I can play anything I want on this!’ From then on, I was writing songs, but not really finishing them properly, but always making little things. I didn’t take it seriously until about four years ago.

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