[INTERVIEW] The Dissident Youth

We caught up with metalcore foresome hailing from Carlisle, Cumbria, roasting them on current political stances and their first studio roar.

“When tyrants rule the free world, it’s time to take it back”. These are the ‘from the rooftop’ type proclamations of The Dissident Youth, conveying a somewhat stirring message on their frenetic opener ‘My Apocalypse’, of the bands’ debut self-titled and full-length growling auditory fist of fury (available on iTunes and Spotify, of course). You would have been able to guess that from the anti-authoritarian derived name, the lads may themselves be partial to some opposing of policy and totalitarianism within current landscapes of ruling.

“They all seem to be filled to the absolute top with corruption to be honest. The entire system is botched. It needs rubbed out and start all over,” states Rhys, the ‘screaming’ lead vocalist, in a blatant statement of objection to ‘the system’. When quizzed about any intended meaning regarding the cartoon-like album cover art, featuring a relatively young looking female — presumably disillusioned — complete with the bands’ trademark in red signified upon her face, the band states as follows. “She had had enough. She’s walking away from all the systemic fucking bullshit..basically.”

If you’re pondering on what their sound is like on their first studio conception, it is a consistent collection of stern punches to your auditory cortex. Repeatedly. For well over 40 minutes. It’s a coagulation of aggressively rolling drums  and an odd expected death growl here and there. Nothing too disturbing then. However nothing too ‘wall flowery’ either. When asked if they had any prior ideas sound wise they wanted to bring to the table, bass guitarist Ky explains, ” We wanted to make our mark. It was never going to be too tame,” he laughs.

The sixth gut punch on the album, named ‘Bury the Giant’, was up for discussion also. “It borders on glithcore in one segment. The drums just hold the whole thing together like glue, we are all very proud of our collective achievement.”

When asked about any intended ulterior themes, whether deep or shallow during the composition process, the band chime in on a kind of singular tone. “We never actually set out to convey a particular message. But as the recording process went on, it became a tad political,” Rhys says. “If there is message within the music, it is to open your fucking eyes. Open them up and see for yourself, the disillusionment. The corruption. We felt we had to portray that through our music.” Echoes upon echoes of endless chants of “oh Jeremy Corbyn” taking place earlier in the year at Glastonbury spring to mind, when strands of political issues manage to seep through to the domain of music, whether live or recorded. “I guess music and the current political surroundings of that time will always have a strange relationship eh,” states drummer Scott.

When questioned further over whether politics and music should always be kept separate, the Youth state, “we create music as a form of expression and when we look around us, it’s hard not to spot politically charged issues,” Scott goes on. “All genres of music have lent from this. Punk, metal, soul, jazz etc. All forms of music have expressed the need to zoom in on social, economic and/or other serious talking points time and again.. it’s to be expected.”

Variations of metal music and affiliated sub genres and sub sub genres is much like a club. A biker club. And not just in aesthetic. Tightly knit. Niche. Communal almost.  It’s to be expected that while The Dissident Youth are strident in the aim to remain unique, they also listen out for other portals of sound. “We all have different tastes,” Rhys says. “Our material definitely has influences from the likes of Lamb of God, Killswitch Engage, Black Stone Cherry and Dream Theatre, to name but a few.” To be expected, The Dissident Youth have a penchant for varying other forms of metal, rock and who knew it, even hip hop. “Yeah, Kendrick Lamar is tip top,” says Ky. “His message is always meaningful, passionate and deliberately aimed at someone, somewhere”. A message of some meaning or truth, whatever the origin or the aim, appears to be somewhat paramount to the Youth.

Lastly, when I asked the fiery North Westerly four-piece about how others have received the album the lead singer states, “The reception off the back of the album has been amazing to be honest,” Rhys says. “We have massively filled our calendar for next year, which is always a positive sign.” The Dissident Youth have occupied The Brickyard -a cacophonous space and predominantly an indie and rock venue –  on more than one occassion, with obvious aims to branch out to wider areas surrounding Cumbria and beyond. Aims to release an EP next year are eagerly mentioned. “We have to see how it goes with our next shows,” the band say. “We have a few gigs lined up in different cities and further beyond, and a major fetival slot waiting to be confirmed.”  The band chuckle on – “The future is indeed bright, while being dark and heavy at the same time.” The Dissident Youth need their prickling sense of humour in these dark and depressing times, as do we all.

Words by Ryan Walker

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