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Interview:
Young The Giant at the Fillmore; 3 things to know
 

By GARY GRAFF
Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

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Having successfully passed the sophomore slump, the third time feels charmed for Young The Giant.

The modern rock group from Irvine, Calif. -- best known for singles such as "My Body" and "Cough Syrup" -- released its third album, "Home of the Strange," in August for a No. 12 debut on the Billboard 200. "Something To Believe In" became a Top 10 Alternative Rock chart hit, and the 11-track set -- produced by commercial hitmakers Jeff Bhasker and Alex Salibian -- is easily the most diverse the group has delivered so far.

"I think there was a sonic ambition, something that we had been trying to figure out for awhile and maybe were unsure how to get ourselves there," frontman Sameer Gadhia says by phone. "I think we wanted to find the balance between a really contemporary sounding album, almost like a hip-hop feel, but at the same time just really warm and something that felt like a real band."

That mission accomplished, YTG is on the road to promote it, and Gadhia, 27, has a few things to say about living in the "Home of the Strange"...

The album's loose theme centers on the group members' families and their immigrant history in the United States. "We never really tend to make a concept album, and I still don't think this is," Gadhia explains. "We're an American band from southern California, but there's something different about our narrative, just in the fact of where we come from. I'm a first-generation American, and a lot of the guys in the band are, too. We all feel American; We certainly feel ownership and patriotism to a certain extent. We feel disillusioned to a certain extent. We feel wonder to a certain extent. Sometimes we feel like we belong and sometimes we feel like outsiders, and we wanted to share our story of our relationship with living here."

Not surprisingly, Gadhia and his bandmates are tuned into a presidential campaign where immigrants have been a frequent and controversial topic between candidates. "I don't thin anybody could have imagined the situation the country's in right now, this xenophobia that's kind of swept the nation," Gadhia says. "What has happened with Trump's rise, it's not just a phenomenon. It's something that's been brewing and boiling for awhile. Traveling the country -- that's essentially what we do -- you can kind of sense the feeling there. There's a lot of tension, especially on the college campuses, and I think that was really resonating with us. That doesn't necessarily make this a political record; It's just young people trying to figure out where it is we want the country to be in the next 50 years."

Three albums in, Gadhia says YTG is starting to feel like a band that's been around for awhile and has a devoted following. "I think for the first time there's an understanding there...truly an understanding between us and the audience, and I think we can see that when we play shows," he explains. "People are always singing along to songs that are released just on the album, not just the singles. I remember the day after we released the full (album) there was a young band somewhere in the States, and they did a cover of a song from the album the next day. It's so exciting to see people share that and take your art and then make it their own. It's just fun to see."

Young The Giant and Ra Ra Riot

Friday, Sept. 23. Doors open at 7 p.m.

The Fillmore Detroit, 2115 Woodward Ave.,

Tickets are $27.50-$45.

Call 313-961-5451 or visit thefillmoredetroit.com.

Web Site: www.thefillmoredetroit.com

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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