25 May 2024

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Young Lyre - Interview with Young Lyre

24 May 2019 // An interview by Paul Goddard

Young Lyre is still about making great music for others to have great moments listening to, and we'd have to agree. Their recently released third EP Providence is more than enough proof of that. Paul from Muzic.net.nz spoke to Kiran and Jordan about what keeps them together, their songwriting process and the new EP:

You have been around for a while now, forming back in high school through Rockquest, then through name/line-up changes, Uni, moves overseas etc. What is it that has kept you together and making music?

We've always been tight as a band because we're mates, regardless of the music stuff. The fact that we get to make music that we love with some of our closest mates is a buzz for us. Like any band, we have our moments where we annoy each other and disagree, but we always seem to work it out. 

Would you say that you have a “New Zealand” sound? A few of your songs have that summery vibe. Do you think that where you come from is something you can’t or shouldn’t try to escape?

The first thing that comes to mind when I think of a New Zealand sound is a nature soundtrack of NZ native bush. So, in that sense, no, I don't think we have a New Zealand sound. But I think it would be hard to pin down a New Zealand music sound these days, which is a good thing. We write music that we enjoy, which has been influenced by artists all around the world, so it's probably a mix of different things. 

Is there a process to your songwriting that you use, or do you try to change things up? Some bands are a democracy and some a dictatorship. Is there a dictator in Young Lyre?

That's a dangerous question to try and answer on the record! But no, we don't have a dictator. We generally run things pretty democratically, which can be slow at times, but we usually end up with something that we're much happier with. We've tweaked our songwriting process along the way, but it's changing all the time. 

It took a few years to get the first EP out, but it was a success do you think you would still be making music now if it hadn’t done so well? Is success important to you and does it need to be measured by record sales or chart placing?

Yes, we would be making music now even if it had only been our mums who had bought the first EP. Success for us is producing music that we believe in and sharing it with people who enjoy it and find it meaningful. We're stoked that our music has reached people around the world - it means a lot to us. 

Some of you have been travelling. How often do you guys get together? 

Whenever we can - there's no set routine at the moment, but it works for us fine. We keep in touch online all the time. 

How would you describe the new EP?

Energetic, patient, expansive, wandering.

Was it easy to make/record?

It took us quite a while to get to the point where we had finalised the tracks we wanted to include (there was a long list of potentials), but they came together fairly easily. We had a great time (again) working with Simon Gooding at Roundhead Studios, and he really understood what we were aiming for with each track. 

The recording process can sometimes be very sterile but this EP (and your others) have great production that seems to have captured the songs without losing any of the energy. What is your tip for any bands going into the recording process?

Spend time finding a producer/engineer that gets your vision. Pay attention to the way the songs make you feel. If you're unsure of any layers/parts, take them away and see how it changes the track. 

It (the new EP) has some great melodies blending with personal lyrics and all wrapped in a vibe that is overall upbeat. How comfortable are you in sharing personal feelings through the music? Do you find the music therapeutic or is it more the lyrics that provide that?

[Jordan] I think the creative process in general is very satisfying, there are few things as rewarding as creating something completely new that you are really proud of. Whether it is a lyric or a vocal hook or just the feel of a song when you genuinely like something that you have made yourself it is very satisfying. I am pretty comfortable sharing feelings and experiences in my lyrics but it aIl tends to leave them a little bit up to the interpretation of the listener.

How difficult has it been to keep the band funded for so long in this age of Spotify and music being shared for free?

We've always put any money earned by the band straight back into the band - we've never taken personal income from it. This has meant we've had to work jobs outside of the band the whole way and put money into it, but we've prioritised that. Along the way we've had some generous people support us in different ways, and we're really grateful for them. NZ On Air has been amazing too. In all honesty it's been hard work to keep it funded, but we love getting to do what we do. 

Which NZ bands are you currently excited about?

Mountain Boy, Leisure, Matthew Young, Merk, Chelsea Jade

What is next for Young Lyre? 

New music, and maybe some more music videos...

One last random question. Is Jacinda Ardern a better DJ or PM?

Is there a difference? 


About Young Lyre

You know that band that you love to dance to? You know the one... the one where you get off your seat no matter what mood you find yourself in, or who you find yourself around? Young Lyre is the New Zealand supply of that very same sonic goodness. These Auckland lads make the sound a dance move would make if it had lungs and a smoke machine.

Experiencing Young Lyre live is like being a... part of an explorative people-prompted flash dance. Their sound has been likened to Two Door Cinema Club's breakout album Tourist History. They sure know how to play their instruments which makes for a quality live show that sounds extremely overseas-ish.

All 5 of Young Lyre's characters are friends from way back when. Simon on the drums is the one with the voluminous hair and an impressive cardio regime, Matt on bass disguises his love for hardcore with a soft luscious beard. Sanjay on Guitar dons the mexi-moustache complimenting his ability to play almost any song he hears. Kiran on the Guitar is the guy who can make any instrument sound like an atmospheric sensation of joy, and Jordan on vocals sports a manly ginger beard to justify the weird vocal noises in an attempt to feel a part of sound check.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Young Lyre


Night Swimming
Year: 2012
Type: EP

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