St Andrews Scene: Youngerhall

We all know about The Other Guys, but surely St Andrews has more? Surely we can be a bit edgier than (very good and amusing) a capella, good as it is… Owl Eyes has been trawling the bubble web and the pubs' open mic nights to bring you a little info about what other musical talent there is in these 6.9 (according to evi) square miles. And while we have them, we’ve asked them what they’re listening to – now available to you on our 8tracks page…

Youngerhall playlist from Owl Eyes on 8tracks Radio.

Youngerhall have an elusive internet presence to say the least, so you’d be forgiven for not hearing of them before. The band comprises of David and James, two musically endowed fourth years who got together in 2011 almost by accident. Since their eyes first met across the St Andrews’ music scene, they have developed their identity and music; blending James’ acoustic sound and David’s more experimental tendencies.

While we all probably think naming your band after the large, Metropolis style building on North Street is a strange move, there is reason behind it. The two first started recording and rehearsing their music in Youngerhall, so the name is homage to their humble beginnings. Moreover, as David added in our interview, if you strip it of its St Andrews context, it is just a ‘kinda cool word’… The band in their St Andrews’ context, however, are still students studying management and economics struggling to find a balance between work and play(ing music).

Although they play gigs, their studio recordings involve more than simply two peoples’ work and thus even their stripped down live performances can end up being something akin to a live experiment. As we talk about possible future performances becoming acoustic to make them easier I feel I stumble upon a contentious issue: David is not an acoustic set man, James is. However, this certainly stops them being boring. While normally James is guitar and vocals and David jumps around from keyboard, to drums, to vocals, they’ve been known to record a didgeridoo in a cave, a ukulele, and pretty much anything else to make music. It can take a long time to figure out the balance between pushing boundaries and creating likable music but David and James’ goals mesh together to find a unique middle ground.

David delicately states that St Andrews is not a music hot spot, but the pair has an interesting perspective on what our small town can offer. ‘It’s a little town where we have a lot of free time, and a lot of friends to be social with, and we can just sit around and experiment. It’s a trial run.’ The fact that St Andrews social life is grounded in friends and drinking rather than music allows them to mess up and have nobody care, they are free to ‘brood and develop’ musically. I can assure you their dismissal of the music scene here and use of the term “trial run” was not meant to be offensive. In fact, I don’t think I have ever met two people who are less offensive, and more well-meaning. This is evident in their attitude to the people in music. Their love of creating new and exciting music is so prevalent that they resent those who would trample on their territory to gain status or a trendy reputation. They would never resent anyone who was doing what they loved, but making music to get likes on Youtube is not acceptable. Indeed, they also praise that about the musicians in St Andrews, no one here is too pretentious because they can’t afford to be.

I ask them to describe their music and they threw out ‘psychedelic Iranian funk’… We have no choice but to trust James that there is a resemblance in styles. Unless you know what psychedelic Iranian funk is like, in which case you can compare it here! So to clear things up I ask if there is another band they aspire to musically, despite David’s near apotheosis of Beck, they try not to let any single sound influence them too much. You can check out their very individual sound at their website