Gang of Youths is an indie rock band from Sydney, Australia. This very diverse band consists of principal songwriter David Le’aupepe (lead vocals, guitar) who is of Samoan-Jewish descent, Max Dunn (bass guitar) who is from New Zealand, Jung Kim (lead guitar, keyboards) who is Korean-American, Donnie Borzestowski (drums) who is Polish-Australian and Tom Hobden (violin, keyboards, guitar) who is British. Though they are better known in their home country and have Sony Music Entertainment Australia as their label, they are considered untapped by me. They truly have the talent to be headlining and I hope they are soon.
The original group came together because some of them attended an evangelical church in Northern Sydney and others wound up joining after meeting through the church’s youth group. These guys began performing gigs straight out of high school beginning at Sydney’s Hibernian House in 2012. They performed their first headlining show less than a year later. Later in 2013, they released their first single “Evangelists” before beginning a national tour with headliner Cloud Control.
Gang of Youths debut album The Positions (2015) was born out of the trauma and regret of frontman Dave Le’aupepe. While making the album, he was the sole songwriter and his lyrics deal with his wife’s cancer treatment, their separation, and his suicide attempts.
The Positions peaked at No. 5 on the ARIA Albums Chart in May 2015. At the ARIA Music Awards of 2015 Gang of Youths received five nominations. They were recognized as the Live Act of the Year of 2015 and Best Domestic Tour in The AU Review.
To keep things going, in June 2016, a single, “Strange Diseases”, was released right before their six-track EP Let Me Be Clear. The 5 original songs on the new album were originally written as part of the material for The Positions, while the 6th track was a cover of “Both Sides, Now” by Joni Mitchell.
It was the follow-up, and now critically acclaimed album, Go Farther in Lightness (2017), that has put the band on the map internationally. As a matter of fact, they are best known for the single “Let Me Down Easy” from that album – which became their first top 50 single in Australia.
They then relocated to London amidst issues with the renewal of keyboardist Jung Kim’s Australian Visa. But that was just as well, because soon after they were touring the UK and Europe, moving to the United States, and then returning for another through the UK and Europe.
Following the release of Go Farther in Lightness, Gang of Youths went on to win four ARIA’s, land three songs in the top ten of Triple J’s Hottest 100 in 2017, tour the world extensively with Mumford & Sons and Foo Fighters, performed at Rock Werchter, Pinkpop, Austin City Limits, Boston Calling, plus a triumphant headline slot at St Jerome’s Laneway Festival.
They were interviewed by RollingStone Magazine in 2018, stating they had a dream of being “The Next U2”. What do you think?
STYLE AND INFLUENCE
The description on their YouTube page says a lot –
“The holiness of love, the chaos and rapture of surviving against all odds, these are what drive Gang of Youths. With lyrics drawn from some of the most miserable life experiences available to humanity and the band’s music taking cues from rock history’s most ambitious and theatrical preachers, Gang of Youths drag the beauty out of everything from hell to high heaven.”
They are a very light rock band with a lead singer that has a deep voice that sings spoken word lyrics about life.
In an interview with Rolling Stone Magazine, lead singer David Le’aupepe stated “As soon as U2 were culturally acceptable in the Christian world, every band started sounding like them.” Le’aupepe also lists Bruce Springsteen, Sonic Youth, and Mogwai as inspirations for Gang of Youths’ epic-punk thunder and his unrelenting self-examination as a writer.
COLLABORATIONS & CONNECTIONS:
The band has toured with the Foo Fighters and then toured with Mumford and Sons in 2019. The live cover of “Blood” by The Middle East with Mumford and Sons is out now on their Delta Tour EP.
See the video recorded live at the Stockholm Ericsson Globe Arena in May of 2019 – Mumford & Sons and Gang Of Youths – Blood. As a matter of fact, when Joji Malani (previously lead guitarist and backup vocalist) left the band in 2019, he was replaced by multi-instrumentalist Tom Hobden who was a touring member of Mumford & Sons.
ORIGINAL SONGS or DISCOGRAPHY
- The Positions (2015)
- Let Me Be Clear – extended play (2016)
- Go Farther in Lightness (2017)
- MTV Unplugged – Live in Melbourne (2018)
The band had begun posting on Instagram about an upcoming 3rd Album release in 2020. Lead singer, David Le’aupepe, said the songs he would be writing would be concerning the recent loss of his father. Of course, thanks to the pandemic, a lot of musical performances and goals have been cut back.
Gang of Youths still have hopes to attend any shows on the planned 2021 tour in England, depending upon where the travel restrictions land them. They are extremely excited about the Mad Cool Festival for summer in Spain.
The latest song releases have been in June and July of 2021 on YouTube – “the angel of 8th ave.” and “unison”. Both are on the new EP total serene which can be purchased here: Gang of Youths – total serene
FIND OUT MORE:
SOURCES: Wikipedia.org along with the artists’ own social media and website provided most of the information in the article.
If you are looking for more great artists to learn about and support then be sure to check out my other articles here.