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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, October 21, 2016 - Volume 44 Issue 43
THE MUSIC LOUNGE
Arts & Entertainment
ALL STORIES
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Young the Giant's Sameer Gadhia discusses the presidential election, North Carolina and Halloween

by Albert Rodriguez - SGN A&E Writer

YOUNG THE GIANT
THE SHOWBOX SODO
October 28


In six short years since the release of their self-titled debut, Young the Giant has emerged as a must-hear alternative rock band. Besides putting out a string of good hits, including 'My Body,' 'Cough Syrup' and 'Apartment,' the SoCal-based group has also found success as a live act, performing to massive crowds at some of the most respected summer festivals, from South by Southwest to Sasquatch to Lollapalooza. Additionally, Young the Giant's music has been featured on a number of TV shows, most noticeably on 'Glee,' and on 'American Idol,' 'The Beast' and MTV's 'The Real World: Brooklyn.' The five-piece unit - Sameer Gadhia, Jacob Tilley, Eric Cannata, Payam Doostzadeh, Francois Comtois - released its third studio album two months ago, titled Home of the Strange. Via email, I caught up with lead singer Gadhia before the band headed back out on tour, which includes a Seattle date at The Showbox SoDo on October 28. For tickets, go to aeglive.com.

Here's what Sameer Gadhia shared with me inside The Music Lounge.



Albert Rodriguez: What comes to mind when you hear the word 'Seattle'?

Sameer Gadhia: Seattle was the jumping-off point in our careers. KNDD was one of the first stations to heavily spin the first album, and I remember it being one of the first cities where we realized we had an audience that was listening to what we had to say.

Rodriguez: How many songs from the new album is the band playing on this tour?

Gadhia: We're playing all of them. There's a healthy mix of the first and second albums as well, and we play a slightly different set every night. It's interesting to see, in retrospective, how the songs throughout the three albums are conversations with one another. You can trace the genesis of an idea and see it evolve album to album. I think our fans get that. One night in DC we played the new album in its entirety with the exact track listing. People have really been resonating with it; eager to continue that conversation.

Rodriguez: As 2016 winds down, do you have any favorite albums or songs from this year?

Gadhia: I've really been digging that Solange album. There's also an Australian artist I just got hip to. His name is D.D. Dumbo. His new album is a great dose of crazy.

Rodriguez: Any predictions on the upcoming election?

Gadhia: Oh god. I think people know where we stand. This album is about being sons of immigrants; about the journey our parents made, battling xenophobia and their own fears, to make a life here; to find a place to belong. I want to believe in America. If Trump wins I'll have to do a lot of reassessing.

Rodriguez: A lot of people first heard about Young the Giant when your song was covered on 'Glee.' What was your reaction to hearing it performed on the show?

Gadhia: Well, we had heard beforehand that 'Glee' had requested 'Cough Syrup.' Honestly, at first, we were on the fence. 2010 was just the beginning of the tolerable sync world, and we wanted to make sure the song wasn't hijacked for a different intent. But when the team came to us with the pitch and the idea, the concept of anti-bullying, we were 100% behind it. They did justice to the song.

Rodriguez: Several artists have canceled performances in North Carolina due to the state's controversial bathroom law. Has your band discussed this, or do you have a personal opinion on it?

Gadhia: We haven't played North Carolina since the ruling. At the end of the day, a concert shouldn't be just an echo chamber. Meaning, a concert can be a conversation, to illuminate other ideas and beliefs. If we go, it will be to raise awareness on the issue.

Rodriguez: Do you have any plans for Halloween? Will you put on a costume?

Gadhia: We're playing two shows with Gwen Stefani to close out our hometown amphitheater in Orange County, Verizon Wireless. Last year, we had a costume-making contest for our fans. We have a few ideas this year, but we are still concocting.

Rodriguez: How long do guys typically rehearse before a tour?

Gadhia: We take our live show very seriously. This time, we rehearsed for two weeks in Nashville. We always want our live show to improve. We rehearse for as long as it takes.

Rodriguez: Who's the best-dressed member of the band?

Gadhia: I'd say Eric [Cannata].

Rodriguez: Are all the band members involved in the songwriting process? And how long does it take to write a song, on average?

Gadhia: Yes, we write most things together, and the process gets a bit more complicated to explain after every album. We switch roles, use limitations as our guide, go on retreats, etc. Everything for the music. The shortest songs take 10 minutes. We've spent months on one song before as well. Literally fifty versions. Usually, the shorter the better.

Rodriguez: What city, country, or festival have you never performed at that's at the top of your bucket list?

Gadhia: We still haven't performed in Japan. Every time we get an offer, it clashes with our schedule. We need to make that happen.

Rodriguez: What is the most consumed item, food or beverage, on the tour bus?

Gadhia: Bulleit Bourbon.

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