Thursday 11 February 2016

High Plains Riffsters - An Interview with Bailey Smith from YOUNGBLOOD SUPERCULT

Today's guest is the lead guitarist from a band called Youngblood Supercult. To be honest I hadn't heard of this great band before I listened to their incredible new album – High Plains.

Once I pressed play on my MP3 Player, I was instantly drawn into the band's blend of hypnotic Doom/Stoner Metal riffs blended with heavy Fuzz based Psych sounds. If you're a fan of Uncle Acid and Black Sabbath then High Plains is going to blow your mind.

It's very different to their debut album – Season Of The Witch. High Plains is more direct and has heavier riffs than it's predecessor. This is a band who have progressed so much since their last debut album. You'll be hearing a lot more from Youngblood Supercult over the next 12 months or so. You can read my review here.

I wanted to find more about the band and I'm happy to say Bailey Smith (Lead Guitars) from the band is here to talk to us today...

Hi Bailey. How are things with you today.

Great, Hope things are well with you guys over at Outlaws of the Sun!

So why did you choose the name Youngblood Supercult for your band. Any specific meaning.

Well, haha…essentially I forced the name on the other members back when we formed the original line-up. We were trying to come up with something unique, something that would stick out, that we knew nobody else would have as a band name. I threw it out there, because I have a fascination with cults; Charles Manson, Jim Jones, David Koresh—all that counter-culture, dark side of humanity shit--and all the guys hated it. I kept pushing, and finally they just said “screw it.” I’m not sure Weston has ever really warmed up to it, but there’s no going back. Haha.

How did the band get together. Did you all know each other before forming the band.

In the beginning, it was Weston and I. We met through a mutual friend. Jammed for awhile and then I brought in Coder Potts, who I’d played with in a previous band. We had so much trouble finding a singer. This area is pretty dry, musically speaking. Especially in terms of our genre. There are some great bands here in Kansas, but not many free agents. We got in touch with Wyatt Desch, who we knew from the local music scene. He recorded the first album with us and then dipped out. When David came into the picture, we knew it was going to be special. Eventually Coder left, on good terms—he will always be one of my great friends—and David picked up the bass. He’s a guitarist at heart; this is the first group where he’s been lead singer.

How would you describe your music.

It’s a mixture of a lot of things. We get compared to Black Sabbath a lot, which is perfectly fine with me—they have always and will always be my favorite band of all time. We also put a lot of blues and folk influences into what we do, as kind of a reflection of where we come from. Some psychedelic vibes here and there, progressive rock time signature changes here and there. I’d say it’s Midwestern American heavy blues-psych. Really just the bastard child of so many of the classic rock and blues groups we love.

Your new album – High Plains – is superb. What can people expect from the record.

Thank you. People can expect a little bit of everything. You can listen to the songs independently, or as a concept. We ordered the tracks in such a way that it tells a story. It’s really all subjective, though. We’re happy with the response we’re getting so far, people seem to enjoy it.

Was it an easy or hard album to write and record for.

Fairly easy, we had most of the songs written, either lyrics or musical concepts, prior to the release of our first album. It was just fitting the pieces together and the line-up changes that made for such a long space in between the albums.

Now I must admit listened to your new album before your debut album. Though I could tell you've changed you're sound quite a bit from your debut album. Do you see your new album as a natural progression from your debut album.

Definitely. It resulted from the line-up changes and the desire to create something that was more “us.” David is a very talented vocalist, and having him come on allowed for a lot more vocal expression than the previous album. We also tried to dig in deeper to our core musical selves, and let that determine our direction as far as song structure and the utilization of musical styles we hadn’t explored in the first album. Our biggest regret is not recording harmonies on vocals we had written. Just ran out of time.

Was it an easy decision to make to change your sound for your new record. Were you afraid you might of alienated your fan-base.

Exactly the opposite. We knew this album far exceeded the first, musically, the first time we heard it in full. And I’m sure we will continue to grow into our own, and express ourselves through changes. Variety is the spice of life—nobody wants the same album 20 times.

I think the album cover makes the album stand out. Who designed the cover. Did you have much input into the final version.

I actually designed it myself, out of “financial necessity.” Haha. I’m an amateur graphic designer, so I went through several variations of what is now the final artwork. I wanted to reflect the tone of the album; I think it works for that. I was trying to rip off Pol from Branca Studio with it, he’s a fucking genius in terms of that throwback, metal look, but I failed miserably in terms of getting it to look as good as his work. He did our first album’s art, two of our shirts, and is currently working on something new for us.

The album is being released on CD/DD on February 19th. Now I've been asked by a few pals of mine who have heard your record are there any plans to release High Plains on Vinyl. OK, I'm asking for myself as well as I want to hear this on vinyl. Perhaps the best format to listen to.

Agreed! I will say this—later in the year your local record shop might be YBSC-friendly. It’s always been our desire to press vinyl.

How hard is it being a band in today's world. What are the most difficult aspects in being in a band.

Hard. You’ve got technology that is both helpful and harmful to the music industry. You’ve got these big dreams as a kid of being famous, living the Zeppelin lifestyle, but that era is gone. Not forever, I hope. The big record companies have all the money, but put out shit music. Getting people to come to local shows is like pulling teeth, at least where we live. We don’t mind the prospect of living out of a van, but we’ve all got families to support. It would be nice if the music industry would change course, but until then, hard work and sacrifice is what it’s going to take to get us there, and we’re all for it. Getting handed something doesn’t seem quite as satisfying.

What is the song-writing dynamic in the band. Is it a group collective or down to one individual.

Both, in a sense. I think the guys would agree that, so far, I’ve done the bulk of the songwriting. Lyrics, guitar riffs—that’s kinda how we start the songwriting process. Once we get a framework from those things, the song starts to come together. I think in the future it will become a more collaborative process, though.

What is your favourite song off the album and the reasons why.

White Nights. It’s just a beautiful song, in my opinion. Weston loves Before The Dawn. David, I think Forefather is his favorite. The subject matter is very personal to him, as well as me. You can hear that in his vocals, the passion that’s there.

Will you be touring this record heavily.

We certainly hope to. It’s a matter of compromise. We all have day jobs to support ourselves currently, it’s something we will have to carefully plan. Hopefully we can get some backing to take the financial burden off of us a little bit. It’s a matter of easing our way into it and thinking things through. Priorities suck. Haha.

Before you go, do you have anything to say to your fans.
Thank you for the tremendous response. We really hope to make it out on the road, and we really hope you enjoy High Plains as much as we enjoyed creating it!

Well folks, thanks for doing this. All the best with the new album as its' a great album.

Words by Steve Howe and Bailey Smith


Thanks to Bailey for taking the time out to talking to me. High Plains will be available to buy on CD/DD from Feb 19th 2016 directly from the band.