Young the Giant's Sameer Gadhia Thinks OC's Living Through an Indie-Rock Reawakening

While working on last week's cover story about Orange County's music scenes, we ended up talking with Sameer Gadhia, lead singer for Irvine-born Young the Giant, formerly known as the Jakes. The group's self-titled debut is out digitally on Oct. 26, and come next week they'll be launching into a tour with the Futureheads. 

Below, Gadhia's thoughts on Orange County music and a description of what the band's new album will sound like.

OC Weekly (Spencer Kornhaber): What's your take on the OC music scene?

Sameer Gadhia: The OC music scene is most of all a close-knit family, and it's very, very far reaching; it's a huge diaspora with different acts, personas, styles. It seems like when we always go back to Orange County, there's that feeling of togetherness, that everyone's contributing to the general welfare and culture for the place. We all started playing in Orange County when we were really young. All of those bands we used to go see when we were little, now we play together or see the cool stuff that we're doing. It's very close, and people don't understand how important that is. It makes us always want to play Southern California, always play Orange County. A lot of national acts skip Orange County altogether for routing purposes which is really, really a shame. There's just so many people to play to. Especially in the past few years, there's been a huge revival in people coming to shows and supporting.

You said you think there's been a revival in the past year or so?

It's not terms of what's currently happening per se, as it is what's going to be happening in the future. Listening around with other bands, bands that are coming out in Fullerton, coming out of other places in Orange County, I do really think that this year, there has been a little bit of a revival. The indie scene in general in Orange County used to be few and far apart, but now it's beginning to grow.

So why do some OC bands go to LA and start calling themselves LA bands?

That's their personal way of doing whatever they need to do. In reality, the connections that are there still exist. Even though Local Natives and Voxhaul Broadcast are from LA [but originally from OC], Union Line and Voxhaul are both playing with Local Natives on this next national tour. That's all Orange County. Even though the tag name isn't there for whatever reason, it still means something.

Do you think there's an Orange County sound? Has it influence you guys, if so? 

The Orange County sound, I don't know what that really is because there's so much Orange County sound, in a good way. But the [new] album, we did really get a lot of inspiration from the beach. It is summery, kind of an Orange county sound. When we first stared doing this seriously and living together, Newport was just like eternal summer for us. We did draw from a lot of that. We solidified a lot of our writing when we moved to LA but that was all drawing from experience in Orange County. 

Tell me about the new record. What can we expect?
Obviously, we're very grateful to have had the opportunity to have done it. We're really excited about it. I hope people enjoy it. We'll see. Hopefully people get a take on the last two years, what it meant for us, lyrically, in terms of style of writing. We aren't trying to do the one formula song. Every band has their own writing style and their own writing strengths and weaknesses. We always trying to overstep some boundaries in terms of what we thought ourselves was possible, and trying to get outside of the box. I hope people appreciate us trying that, it's not just for the novelty. So, we'll see. 
So it's all hip hop is what you're saying? 
 It's nothing like too crazy. We take kind of like old style of Shake My Hand and The Jakes with new different things we've experienced in life in the last two years. Hopefully people see some maturity, not so much veering far away from the path but kind of like moving along that path.

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