Head Walk (Matt): First and foremost, let’s hear the story about how all of this became reality. With most of the members hailing from Pennsylvania it seems evident that more and more talent is just being produced from the Keystone State. Why is it that such high caliber acts are just being poured out from this part of the country? Do you feel that there is a strong correlation or is it only coincidence that the band has had a steady following due directly from the states scene itself?
Chris: Well, the band was started in mid-2013 by Chris (guitar) and two former members. Young Graves was a side project originally that a former member wanted to do in lieu of their pop rock band they had in the works called Summer Scouts and are still a very real thing. Ross and Tom (original two along with Chris) were just in a writing process with that while Young Graves was picking up momentum.
We reached out to Hector (vocalist) by suggestion of friends after we realized that the vocalist we had at the time just wasn’t the style we were looking for. The whole first EP (Temper) was written and recorded before Hector was even in the band. Then in late 2014, two of our original members left. All while leaving Hector and Chris to find new members. After releasing the “more to life” video in mid-2015, Young Graves, began to write for the latest EP (RESET) that was released in June of this year.
The scene over by us (Allentown/Bethlehem) is regaining a lot of momentum again. We’re an hour and a half south of Wilkes-Barre, and an hour north of Philly. A lot more kids have been starting bands lately. Even packing out shows. There was a lull for a while due to kids being ignorant and not appreciating other respective genres of music. Metal core fans and emo kids not attending hardcore shows and vice versa really. But it seems now that people are starting to be less judgmental about their music tastes. Which is the way it should be because who fucking cares?! Yeah, in the last three years alone show attendance has gradually increased. In regards to inception becoming reality for this band, or any band for that matter, is risk. You have to take risks. More importantly?
Don’t be an asshole.
A lot of strong, talented bands come out of the state due to the major areas that have always had reputable shows (Wilkes-Barre, Philadelphia, NYC, New Jersey, etc.) Kids loved going to shows and seeing their favorite bands from that area mature and move on to successful things, motivating them to start their own projects. It’s been nothing but a thriving scene full of kids who genuinely enjoy what they do. It’s honestly really cool.
We’ve gotten to play Mixtape Fest and a handful of incredible shows with national acts because you have to earn your dues of playing those shows where no one shows up. We’ve played to crowds that were there to see deathcore and have literally booed us off stage. But when promotors/booking agents see consistency, loyalty, and optimism then you'll get those incredible shows. It just takes time. You have to be patient, and not walk around with a distorted sense of entitlement.
HW: Pennsylvania has been known for its contribution to the heavier side of music. Wilkes Barre, Philly, and Allentown specifically noted as it brought up some worldly acts and arguably the best festival (TIHC) to house it. Since the band has matured over the years (especially through various member’s changes), why continue to be Young Graves versus being something entirely new? In New Jersey one of the key problems with being able to host shows entirely was generally related to violence. I mean growing up seeing bands from Jersey such as Shattered Realm or Years Spent Cold? Fights were only a matter of fucking time and even appreciated in a sense as culture. Liability alone from the inherently violent nature of this style of music would deter any venue. Would you say it was the alterations that ensued at these shows or just general disinterest from the scenes community that delivered period of low attendance?
C: I would personally only change the name of the band if the genre/style drastically changed. We started out as more of a metal core band, now we’re more-so melodic/post hardcore. Definitely not that earth shattering of a change to stop being Young Graves. Our areas scene dying down for a bit was simply attendance. No venues shut down due to violence or destruction. Just lack of attendance. Kids hyped up event pages and just wouldn’t come out even to weekend shows. It’s gotten phenomenally better, and shows in the Allentown/Philly area are packed more than ever.
HW: Would like to take a minute and discuss the risks of being in a band if that’s cool. Was there any point (or points for that matter) when the band just thought it was time to put the endeavors of the band on hold or even completely disband? Headaches ensue from just being within the band. Everything afterwards could be a nightmare or a dream everyone longs to have. What keeps you guys going when the world comes down on you all?
C: In terms of almost calling it quits? There have been a few times where we thought YG was going to die out due to inactivity or constant member changes, but hector and I loved what we do and really enjoy what we've done with YG.
We never saw quitting an actual option.
It took time, but we’ve found dedicated and talented members (Quinten on drums with James on bass) who were committed to the idea of just writing what the band as a whole wants to hear while just going with the flow. I’ve never had more fun playing in this band than I do now!
HW: Entitlement is a huge issue. Hardcore alone has questioned authority while having a stable ground for those to prove their worth. What are some of things you think kids these days just getting into this music should understand or if this helps better: what do you wish you could tell your younger self you should’ve known when you came into this style of life?
C: There’s going to be times when you have writers block. When you have to cancel a show. When your friends fall through. When you don’t have money…
…but if you love what you’re doing and it makes you happy? You’ll find a way. Keep your chin up. You’re not going anywhere if you’re looking down at the ground.
HW: Let’s talk a bit about the music video that we have as our featured video. What was the inspiration and direction behind that and besides how great the song sounds why choose that one? On the end note what bands, venues, and shout outs would you like to give and is there anything you want to talk about?
C: “Overwhelm” is a song about wishing you could’ve prepared your future self for lessons you face in life. I feel like that’s something we all wish we could have done in a million different scenarios. We all really enjoy that song the most on the EP, and it was pretty unanimous to go with it for a video.
HW: Before we let you go how about we discuss the new record you guys will be producing next spring. Musically speaking, where are you guys aiming in terms of musical and lyrical direction? Has the band decided on who’d you all want to record the next record or is this still all up in the air at this point? Just to add, what gear should be noted that gives you guys that Young Graves sound?
C: Definitely more emphasis on the post hardcore vibe (bands such as Underoath, From First to Last, etc.) while still maintaining our melodic hardcore roots.
Lyrically, we’ve covered a lot of feelings and sensations of dealing with inner confusion and finding solace within yourself. While that’s a pretty repetitive instance people find themselves in, we’ll most likely continue to develop speaking about things that have helped us overcome and adapt a lot to those feelings. We have a few friends & studios in mind that have reached out to us, but no definitive answer at this time in terms of where it’ll be recorded at.
As far as gear, I (Chris) use orange amps and Gibson guitars. The majority of the RESET EP was actually recorded using a single coil fender tele that I thought gave it a great, rich sound but I feel that my Gibson gives our live sound so much more of an atmospheric assault. James (bass) uses an orange terror head, Ampeg 6×10 cab, and fender jazz basses. Really crushing low end.
HW: On the end note what bands, venues, and whoever else would you like to give a shout out?
C: Bands we’d like to thank: Capsize, Gatherers, Heroes, Past Hope, Foreign Hands, Varials, Kaonashi, Misgiver, Bungler, Shots Fired.
Venues: Voltage Lounge (PA), Webster Underground (CT), and Heirloom Theater R.I.P. (CT).
Huge shout outs to literally all of our friends who come to our shows and retweet our videos/posts. We have so much fun playing music for people that need an outlet from the daily grind. We are forever grateful.
We’d like to personally thank Ross Huber, Tom Geschardt, Calin Yenser, Steve Pedini, and Viktor Pacheco for being a part of our journey and helping shape Young Graves in your own unique ways. Thank you so much.
Young Graves is:
Well there is much to wait for from these gents so definitely be on hot stand by for it. Young Graves will be hitting the road rather soon with support from Artisan. Going to be an eastern seaboard tour so check the tour flier below for more on details. Until next time.
Hector Sabino (vocals)
Chris DiBella (guitar/vocals)
James Reilly (bass/vocals)
Quinten Fernandez (drums)