The One and Only Youngblood

Youngblood (Not the 80s hockey movie filmed in Canada starring Rob Lowe and Patrick Swayze …you know the one I’m talking about right? No? Oh ya…I’m old) is a musically talented electro-pop songstress and force of nature, full of ambition, humour and songs that make you feel like you’re dancing in a mystical trance.

Alexis Young, otherwise known as Youngblood, is just starting her solo career after four years in the new wave, dance rock (and totally awesome) Sex with Strangers. I sat down with Alexis recently to talk about her musical collaboration, female role models, and our favourite Spice Girls.

CG: First and foremost who’s idea was it to do a cover of Gowan’s Moonlight Desires?

YB: It was actually my brother Adam. We decided that we wanted to record a cover together so we went through a bunch of ideas and none of them were really what we wanted and then Adam said, “You probably don’t want to do this one, but what about Gowan’s Moonlight Desires?” I was like, “Yes. I love that song!”

CG: It’s a great cover. I really like it.

YB: Thank you.

CG: Did you send your version to Gowan?

YB: I haven’t sent it yet. I’m a little nervous. I want him to listen to it but…

CG: You’re scared?  I think he will like it.

YB: I think he probably will too. Maybe I will send it.

Alexis Young photo1
Photo by Lauren Zbarsky

CG: You have an EP coming out. I read that you wrote some of the songs with Parker Bossley (Gay Nineties). What was it like working together?

YB: Parker and I have a funny relationship where I have known him for a very long time and it took a few years for us to gain a bit of mutual respect — and I say mutual in a sense that I respected him first and it took him a few years to understand me as an artist.

CG: Hahaha!

YB:  I think it’s just that it took me some time to have a proper platform to express what I was doing. As soon as things aligned and I was at the fullest expression of myself, he wanted to be a part of what I was doing.

CG: You just needed to build your resume a little bit.

YB: Yes. Parker has a lot of experience in the music industry because he started at such a young age. He has a really great understanding of musical composition and song writing.

CG: It’s nice to collaborate. It’s more fun.

YB: It is fun and everyone can bring a piece of their own magic and wisdom. I really like working with Parker and I think some of my best songs are the ones I’ve written with him.

CG: Do you remember the first piece of music that you ever bought? And does that music influence the type of music you play today?

YB: The first tape I ever had was Spice Girls in 1996. I remember Franz Ferdinand’s first record when I was in high school, when you’re around 14 or 15 and you start to think you’re an adult and start paying attention to music. I grew up in Calgary when I started reading the local Fast Forward and Beat Route magazines. There was a good review of that album so I thought, “Ok, I’m now going to buy this CD and I’m going to be so cool because I read about this in a magazine.”

I listened to it to death. I had this alarm clock with a CD player, and the CD would start playing as the “alarm” to wake me up. Because I listened to the album so much it wouldn’t wake me up when it started playing because I knew it so well. It would start to become the soundtrack to my dreams… Haha. I’m not sure how much of an influence on me musically it is, but I really love that album to this day.”

Alexis
Photo by Amber Reyelle

CG: What about the Spice Girls? Who was your favourite? Mine was Ginger.

YB: I’m embarrassed to say that at the time Baby Spice was my favourite. But as an adult I think Ginger Spice would be the one. She was definitely the coolest.

CG: Ginger was more out there… She wore the crazy outfits.

YB: I have that union jack dress that Ginger wore because I went as her for Halloween a couple years ago. It’s actually become one of my favourite stage outfits. I wore it the first time I ever played with Gay Nineties at Ponderosa a few years ago—I was totally channeling my inner Ginger Spice.

CG: Nice! Can you tell me some of your strong female role models in music?

YB: That’s a good question! Personality-wise, I would have to say Grace Jones.

CG: I like her too because she is so fierce.

YB: She is a fucking firecracker.

CG: No apologies.

YB: She is not afraid to do whatever the fuck she wants and I love her for that. She has fully given me the courage to be a weirdo. To just own it. If you own whatever you do people will respect that.

Also, Blondie (Debbie Harry) is a bad ass bitch… Very cool. Getting closer to home as a teenager — Emily Haines was a big influence on me. I thought she was a bad ass. Same with Cat Power. In my bio I have Nancy Sinatra because I think she is effortlessly rad. She’s one of those people that you want to go to a party, sit on the couch, chain smoke cigarettes with, talk about life and maybe swap outfits, drink a martini… She seems like a classy lady.

CG: Can you tell me some of your favourite books?

YB: Yes, one of my favourite books of all time is The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera.

Another great book is called A Fraction of the Whole by Steve Toltz. I was backpacking a few years ago and I randomly picked it up because the cover had polka dots and I thought it looked cute hahaha! It ended up being one of the best books I have ever read. I have recommended it to pretty much everyone. Its laugh out loud funny and bawl your face off sad. I have read it four or  five times.

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CG: How about a film that you would watch over and over again?

YB: I’ve seen Wayne’s World about 200 times. Hahaha!

CG: I watched the first Back to the Future so many times…

YB: When you had a bunch of movies on tape as a kid you watch it over and over. Another I had was 10 Things I Hate About You.

CG: I can’t watch things over and over anymore.

YB: If you are going to choose to watch anything over again, it’s got be amazing because nowadays we have unlimited access to all movies, old and new, but I don’t think I will ever get tired of Wayne’s World. It could be playing right now and I would be stoked.

CG: A movie that I watched and referenced a lot as a teenager with its great one liners is the movie Heathers.

YB: It’s about time I re-watched Heathers.

CG: So good… My last question is: Have you always wanted to make music? Do you remember a time when you were like, “This is it! Sold!” or has it been a gradual thing?

YB: When I was around 15, I would write songs everyday and it was just like a thing I needed to do in order to feel normal. I didn’t play them for anybody except for maybe my sisters. I moved to Vancouver when I was 20 and I recorded my first real song with my brother in his apartment bathroom, a song that I wrote while I was traveling in India. That was the first thing I recorded and I remember feeling just so satisfied and feeling like this is what I want to do. The whole creative process — from feeling something and then needing to get it out and then crafting it — making it sound the way you want to and then hearing the final product…

CG: And saying to yourself, “I did that!”

YB: I did that. I made something. Now there is a thing in the Universe that wasn’t there before because I made it. It’s pretty cool.

CG: Yes. It’s a great feeling.

http://www.youryoungblood.com/