Each week, “A Change of Tune” host Joni Deutsch will chat with up-and-coming artists and give Spotify-like music recommendations in a feature called “Recommended If You Like.” This week, Joni interviews Vancouver-based indie pop band Young Liars’ Jordan Raine (vocals, guitar) and Ty Badali (drums, percussion) about comic books, Madonna covers, and the band’s new record, Tidal Wave. If you’re a fan of Two Door Cinema Club, this band and interview are recommended for you.
Joni: As a bit of a comic book geek, I couldn’t wait to talk to you all about your band name. Is it true that you named yourselves after DC Comic’s Young Liars?
Jordan: That is true. Andrew [Beck, Young Liars' bass player] actually read it and came up with the name. I actually haven’t read the comic book. I think it was before our first show, we were nameless and had been nameless for months. Coming up with a band name is hard, so when that one floated to the top, we thought, “Yeah! Young Liars! I can get with that,” without realizing forever that people would think it was because of the TV on the Radio album instead.
Joni: Looking at the comic book, there’s Nazi spiders in space and all kinds of crazy teenage shenanigans. It sounds like a crazy, interesting namesake.
Tyler: [Laughing] It’s supposed to be really good.
Jordan: Now you’re making me want to go read the comic so I could have more context for it.
Joni: Did the author of the comic book series ever acknowledge the band or reach out saying, “Hey, why did you steal my comic book?”
Tyler: [Laughing] No, but that would be cool.
Jordan: [Laughing] I don’t know if he even knows we exist. Maybe one day we’ll receive a cease and desist letter and we’ll have to move away.
J: What’s been the most exciting thing about releasing Tidal Wave and getting to tour?
J: For me, it’s been a long process to finish it and to finally have it out there for people to listen to. It’s been some kind of relief to be able to play these songs that we’ve been working on for so long. I guess my favorite part is that now we can go play these songs that we’ve been hiding for a year and a half out in public.
T: Yeah, that’s pretty much how I feel, too. I’m just glad it’s over. [Laughing] It was such a long process. And it’s nice being able to practice those songs in our rehearsals and have full songs to play. Having more than ten songs is kind of a new thing for us playing live, so we have something to choose from.
J: Do you guys have any favorites that you like to play live?
T: I think my favorite right now is “Lovely and Wild.” I really enjoy playing that song.
J: Yeah, me too. Either that one or “Blooming Hearts.” Those are both really, really good live.
J: I like the music video for “Night Window.” There are so many things to look at, in a good way not in a bad way.
T:[Laughing] Yeah, that’s definitely the point.
J: We wanted to do something that was simple but wasn’t a narrative or just us sitting there playing like every music video from the 90’s where the band is just there in different movie camera angles. So we ended up working with a guy, Nathan Boey, out of Vancouver who thought we should do these tiny, little looping clips…
T: Like gifs.
J: Yeah, like these gif things that sort of tie together images and kind of relate to the lyrics and that are really kind of fun to look at. That’s what came out of it.
J: You’re totally right. It’s like 6-seconds of Vine-like storytelling that caters to our crazy bad attention spans.
J: It worked out, and I like it a lot actually. I like doing videos because so much of it is us giving a direction to the director, he takes it and carries it, and then we then get this cool representation that goes along with our music. It feels like we get this free, cool edition.
T: It makes you think about the song a lot differently.
J: Do you guys have any favorite cover songs that you’re doing on the road or maybe on your own time?
T: Covers have always been difficult for us. We’ve always shied away from playing them because we all want to choose one song to play and then we never perfect any of them. So we just play each once and then go back to playing our own songs.
J: I think the last one we did live was actually a Madonna song, and I don’t think we’ve recovered from it yet. “Hung Up,” I think?
T: Yeah, it scarred us for life. It was just quite a difficult song to cover, and we’re finally at a point now where all of our stage programming and live show are very tight. At that point, we were still trying to figure a lot things out.
J: Why Madonna though? Of all the artists, you chose Madonna and “Hung Up.” What made you think, “This is the one we should go cover.”
J: That’s a great question. I think it’s because we had so many ideas and that was the weird middle ground that we landed on.
T: Yeah, that was the one that everyone said yes to.
J: By the time we’re make it out there, we’ll have a proper cover that’s not Madonna that we can play for you guys.
J: Would you want to collaborate with Madonna then, or would you want to collaborate with a non-Madonna entity for the next record?
J: [Laughing] She wouldn’t be high on my list, no. There are others.
T: Little Dragon, maybe?
J: Aw man, that would be so fun. Hundred Waters would be so fun, too. It would be fun to get a female vocalist or female-fronted group and pairing the two together.
T: Grimes would be really cool since she’s from Vancouver.
J: How is the Vancouver music scene?
T: It’s good. There aren’t that many venues in the city, and I think there could be more. Pretty much everyone I know says the same thing. But there’s a lot of quality bands in the city. There’s just a lot of bands in general, and every jam space we go to is full. There’s a pretty good artist vibe out here.
J: Are there any up-and-coming artists from Vancouver that you want to give a shout-out to? Besides yourselves, of course.
J: Some of my favorite artists from Vancouver are The Belle Game, Aiden Knight, and We Are the City. There’s a lot of folks who I remember growing up with and seeing their early, early bands and going to their shows…
T: Like Supercasette and Oh No! Yoko and all those guys.
J: So it’s cool to see those bands mature and just release some really, really solid records.
J: Would you guys say that took more from Canada or outside countries/areas in terms of musical influences?
J: That’s an interesting question. I don’t think we necessarily fit into the Vancouver scene’s music genre. I think there’s a bit of more focus on folk and less on the electronic-kind of things that we’re interested in. So we all kind of grew up listening to a lot of electronic music and indie-type rock stuff, so we ended up looking through at a lot of UK bands and even some American bands.
J: When I was listening to Tidal Wave, I got the image of a Phoenix and Two Door Cinema Club music baby. Did either of those groups influence your music?
T: I don’t think so. I listened to a lot of Two Door Cinema Club when they first came out, and I’ve heard that comparison over and over and over about the band, but I seem to think it’s just Jordan’s voice maybe. I’ve had friends think it’s us on the radio when they hear a Two Door Cinema Club song, so maybe we do sound similar.
J: It’s not a bad comparison. The way Two Door Cinema Club tapped into an indie-electronica vibe was intriguing, and I like how you both are able to create infectious songs that are mix of highbeat and lowbeat.
T: Yeah, we really like The Cult and New Order, stuff like that. They’re songs aren’t all upbeat, but this album, for some reason, went strangely downbeat. A lot of the stuff ended up quite slow. We managed to get a lot of poppy stuff in there, and there’s quite a few driving songs. It’s a weird mix, this album.
J: With my saying Tidal Wave is an indie-electronica album, do you think that’s a fair description of your music?
J: I think it’s fair and good. We never come at it like a genre that we’re trying to get into, but I think that’s where we kind of ended up. Although I do like to watch what other people call it, and we’ve had some fantastic ones for this album. I think one was dream pop and another was psychedelic dance folk. These are wonderful mash-up genres that I don’t hear myself…
T: But we encourage it!
J: Do you guys have anything that you want to bring up about your record or your tour that people should know about you?
T: We’re going to be starting to tour. We’ve got a few dates for the summer, and we so we should be playing quite a few tours in the fall and spring. So if people want us to come play, we’d be happy to come.
J: And if they can let us know what their state food is, that would help.
Young Liars just finished the summer tour for their debut album, Tidal Wave, and will soon hit the road again in September for a fall tour. You can follow their musical hijinks on http://youngliars.ca/. To get a sneak peak of their record, tune in to Joni Deutsch’s “A Change of Tune” this Saturday at 10 PM EST on West Virginia Public Radio.