Young the Giant on Playing at the VMAs [Relive the Excitement on Video!]
Merenda Carter/OC Weekly

Young the Giant on Playing at the VMAs [Relive the Excitement on Video!]

A few days before Young the Giant's electric performance at the VMAs, we talked to the Irvine natives in LA. Having just flown in from Amsterdam on their European tour, they were excited and nervous about the whole thing. It truth, they were probably too busy to be sitting around for interviews (there were meetings with MTV, private parties to play, fittings with jean companies and rehearsals to take in) but in their defense, Young the Giant were really accommodating and super nice, for the whole 30 minutes we could have them.

For a young band (they all just recently hit 21), its members are really good about keeping their heads on straight, even with accolades from MTV, Time Magazine, Jools Holland, and yes, Morrissey. ("Now we go back and forth over email, which he just started using. Apparently he used to only fax people. He's an eloquent guy--and dramatic and we're really grateful he's on our side," lead singer Sameer Gahdia says.)

"[The thing about performing "My Body" at the VMAs is] it's a song we've been playing for a really long time, so we're going to trust ourselves to do a really good job," says drummer François Comtois. (And they did, as evidenced by the clip above.)

Performing at the VMAs was a huge break for the band, especially considering the sheer amount of people they were exposed to: "When we lived here [in LA], we literally couldn't get shit, so its cool to get back and do the VMAs and Hollywood Bowl," frontman Sameer Gahdia says. (The fact that Kanye West was going to be at the awards show didn't hurt either; the band says they're huge fans, and the rapper's records were on perpetual repeat when they went on tour.)

The band formerly known as the Jakes have been playing locally since they were teens, and have put in their time on stages such as the Heritage Park's battle of the bands, Chain Reaction, Hoagy Barmichaels and Detroit Bar. Still, the last two years have been crazy: after they released their debut on Roadrunner Records, they moved to LA, then hit the road with Minus the Bear. This week, they began their tour opening for Incubus.

"We didn't expect it ... we didn't know what we were getting ourselves into," Gahdia says. "It's our first album, so it took a bit of time to adapt. Everyday we're learning new things." He paused. "I wouldn't trade it for anything."

Unfortunately, these days, being in a band isn't quite what it used to be. "It's a lot more work nowadays because no one sells records anymore," guitarist Jacob Tilley says.

Plus "it's hard to party when you're constantly jetlagged," bassist Payam Doostzadeh says. "Our schedule can't accommodate a nightlife."

At their 22-day European tour, the band had one day off. "You want to go out and meet locals and go to bars, but you gotta wake up early and work and do press everyday," Doostzadeh says. "Luckily our work is primarily play," he adds, but there's constant social networking to worry about as well: "Now it's all about Tweeting every 3 seconds and reaching out to fans--" 

"It's a culture of hyperexposure," Comtois finishes.

There is a break in sight: In December and January the band will take a break to start preparing for their next record. The next release will definitely have more than just a Newport Beach/LA state of mind: Young the Giant expect that their new world experiences will seep into their music.

Follow OC Weekly's music blog, Heard Mentality, on Twitter @ocweeklymusic and like us on Facebook!


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