What happens when you’ve got a story to tell, and a dedication to doing so?
Well, in the case of the Gospel Youth, after launching debut single ‘Kids’ in 2014, have shared stages with the likes of Mallory Knox, Deaf Havana and We Are The Ocean and are now embarking on a single-per-month challenge across 2016.
There’s almost a sense of inevitability when bands who lay it out there in songs connect with others and start to reach new people, and their self-dubbed “pop rock with a bit of soul” seems to be doing just that. The rise has been stark, their ambition clear, so as they stand at the edge of their latest project, it’s a fine time to chat to vocalist Sam Little about the road of the Gospel Youth.
Let’s begin with the journey from ‘Kids’ to today. “It’s been a lot of fun,” Sam admits. “We’ve had a really good reaction to a lot of stuff. We had a bit of an issue with drummers but in terms of the members we’re in a good place now and we’re really happy to push forward to 2016.”
As for the momentum, he adds, “I think we kind of just got lucky in a way. We’ve all been in bands before, The Auteur, Fleeing From Finales. We’ve all, I guess, already earned our stripes from different places. So for us when we came together and started writing songs we already had, unbeknownst to us, a bunch of people who were already willing to listen and to share it. I guess we just got lucky.”
That sense of support from the start has been part of the band’s self-imposed musical challenge, with support of crowdfunding from those who have helped them get here, and anyone who’d like to jump in for the ride. They’ve opted to write and release a single for each of the remaining months of the year, starting with a ‘Resolutions’ / ‘DST’ double single in February. “I personally think it’s the best thing we have ever done,” Sam notes. “We have kind of found ourselves and the sound that we want. We have found how we want to be doing things.
“With the double release, the idea is that we are going to be releasing a song every month for the next twelve months as almost a singles club, but a bit more interesting. They will kind of work like chapters. Each one’s going to be how a chapter of my life is.”
Crowdfunding isn’t new, but it remains an effective way of allowing bands like them to really take control of their music and work closely with their fans. It offers a freedom many other routes wouldn’t allow, and an experience they’re happy to remain flexible over. “There is the element of if ‘it goes up in flames, we will have to change something’!” says Sam. “But as far as it goes, we have got the opportunity to constantly change it and work with what people want. If we can offer more then we will offer more.”
The impact this approach has could dictate the route the band take from here on in – when your main goal is to make the music you want to make for people who want to hear it, the world of crowdfunding is your oyster. “It’s one of the reasons why we wanted to try it. As much as having a label is cool, for us we want it to be as skilful as we can.
“We don’t want to make music because we want to make money, or want to be known in every house in the UK. It’s because we’ve got stories to tell and we have been through things that, if they help out other people, that’s awesome. At the same time, I guess it’s for my own sanity; it’s a way that we can give back to the people who actually share – we can really look after the people who really believe in this as much as we do.”
For the next year, what they are all about is documenting a musical journey of experimentation, taking life as it comes and then slapping it on a track. “Last year, I had a really bad stint of mental health and this is like an anniversary of getting through this last year. That’s what the start of this is about, and the opportunities from it.” There are also a lot of plans to tour, many of which remain under wraps. “We are basically just going to do as much as we can, try and get to as many places as possible play as much music as we can – tell all the stories that we have got.”