Q&A with Young the Giant frontman Sameer Gadhia
It's a general rule of the music business that overnight successes never actually develop overnight.
In the case of Young the Giant, one of the most culturally-relevant exports from Orange County, Calif. since Fox's "The O.C.," the modern rock quintet's "overnight" translates roughly to "a decade."
It started under a different name, as The Jakes when the members were still in high school, and continued through the gold-selling singles "Cough Syrup" and "My Body" from the band's debut.
amNewYork caught up with lead singer Sameer Gadhia in the run-up to the band's back-to-back shows at Hammerstein Ballroom.
What's the difference between recording your two albums?
For us, our first record was a complete discovery. We were lucky to stumble upon some part of our voice that we found to be uniquely Young the Giant. The second record, for us, we tried to take what we learned, throw some of it away based on what we learned about ourselves on the road, and maybe build up some other things further, really explore the boundaries of the Young the Giant voice.
Young the Giant and its previous incarnation, The Jakes, have been around since 2004. When did you know you really had something special?
It was a gradual process. There were a lot of little things that came our way, and we got lucky to be able to get a couple of big spots on TV and a couple of support spots. The first time I felt like I knew something was really happening here was when we announced our headlining tour in 2012 and we hadn't done it yet as Young the Giant. We put up these shows at 500 to 1,000 capacity clubs and all of them sold out within the first couple of days. We ended up moving everything to theaters. That was when I really felt like we were cultivating this group of Young the Giant fans.
How true to life was Fox's "The O.C."?
I think parts of Orange County are like that. There are definitely young people by the beach who live a generally carefree, bourgeois existence. But there's also a lot of immigrants and hardworking people. We're all immigrant's sons, and there's this strong feeling where we're from of a do-it-yourself idea.