This week we chatted with Alex Magnan of Young Culture about a lot of our favorite topics at Concert Archives like first/favorite concerts, bucket lists, etc. Young Culture recently released their debut, self-titled album, and you should definitely check it out!
Interview by Jac Winchester
Backstage Pass: What was the first concert you ever went to?
Alex Magnan: The first concert that I ever went to was a Pink Floyd tribute band in Cleveland, Ohio. It’s funny because I don’t even really like Pink Floyd. I was nine (laughs) and I went with my family.
BP: What was the best concert you’ve ever been to?
AM: The best concert I’ve ever seen, I would have to say it would either be seeing Beyonce perform live at Global Citizens fest or the 1975. They’re always really good to see live. When you start to get the budget to do the whole nine yards, it becomes a whole entire performance. Getting to see queen Beyoncé on stage doing her thing with her dancers and the increased production, it’s really cool to see!
BP: When you guys get the budget, do you think you’ll be going in the direction of The 1975 production-wise? Do you want your live shows to be an experience?
AM: I think that we would just do our own thing. Something different than what they do, but still keep it Young Culture. We always want to keep it fun.
BP: Before everything shut down and the music industry took an involuntary hiatus, what was the last show that you went to?
AM: The last show I went to was a show that we played. It was in Toronto, Canada, right before the pandemic had started. We were on tour with a band called Have Mercy, and we only had about four shows left. By the time we played that show everyone realized how serious it was getting, and we called the whole thing off just for everyone’s safety.
BP: What was the first show that you personally ever played?
AM: There used to be this Festival in my home town called Nervosity and it was a battle type thing. My first ever band played there. I think it was the first real show that I ever played, but I grew up playing in like the church band. I played drums for church services and stuff. I did it until high school. It’s where I got started playing drums and guitar, for youth group. It’s definitely a big part of how I started playing music and getting involved.
BP: What was the first show you ever played as Young Culture?
AM: We played a show at a firehouse in Troy, New York. It was cool, we just kind of went into it with a bunch of other bands that were also just starting out. I still find videos of it every once in a while and it’s just crazy to see.
BP: Is it crazy to see how much you’ve grown as a performer and as a band?
AM: Yeah, it looks like you’re watching a whole different band. For the most part it’s because there were only two of us originally.
BP: Do you remember the first big show or tour you booked?
AM: It’s hard to pinpoint one but definitely State Champs’ holiday show (Frozen Fest). That felt so cool and was the most amount of people we had played in front of at that time.
BP: What’s your favorite song to play live right now?
AM: A lot of the new songs on this album would be my favorites to play but I really enjoyed playing a song called Drift. I think it’s really really fun to play live.
BP: Speaking of the new album, you guys just put that out. What would you say you’re most excited to play off of that record?
AM: I’m really excited to play this song called Haley Beverly 2016. I think it’s going to be really fun because it’s different than anything else. It’s gonna be fun trying to execute it live since it’s so different than all the other singles.
BP: How is it different putting out music during a global pandemic?
AM: It’s very different. Typically, you would release an album to tour and then do that cycle. Now that you’re taking away 50% of that, you’re trying to find other ways to still be heard and make money if you can. So it’s very different. Am I bummed out that we had to put out a record during a pandemic? Yeah, of course, but that being said, I’m just grateful that it came out.
BP: As a band, did you guys have a moment where you contemplated pushing back the release or did you just want to 100% go through with putting it out through all of this?
AM: There was the initial, “Oh, well, this will blow over pretty soon and we’ll be able to put it out” but as it kept going on, we didn’t want to wait too long because that’s not a good feeling. It’s better to just put it out there for everybody to hear. We were hopeful that things would clear up and that shows would come back by now… But it’s okay. The record is out now and I’m really excited about it!
BP: With the pandemic going on, bands can’t play live shows right now. Artists are needing to get creative with how they’re engaging their audiences. How are you doing that?
AM: We’ve done a few different types of things. We did a few live streams and live sessions. We’re doing anything we can to keep our names in people’s mouths. It’s really easy for people to just forget about you when you’re not doing a whole lot. So we’re trying to remind people we’re still here and just put out an album.
BP: Do you have any plans for when things become safe to tour?
AM: You know, it’s always been kind of a yes and no thing because there will be a plan and then it’ll fall through because nobody has any idea when it’ll be safe again. Everybody’s in the same boat. I see some bands that are booking tours and that’s awesome, but it might also be a mistake. Who even knows if shows’ll be back by June or whenever? I’d like to think they will, but you can’t be certain with this.
BP: A lot of people have found themselves doing interesting things during quarantine. From baking bread to gaming, people are trying to find some sanity among the chaos. What have you been doing?
AM: For me, my biggest outlet and what helps me the most is performing and music. I’ve been writing a lot of music and just focusing on that. Practicing, getting better, stuff like that is the most exciting to me. Other than that, this is the first time in my whole life that I’ve been able to spend more time with my girlfriend. That’s been really great. I’ve been exercising every day. I’m a very simple person. I don’t really play video games. I’ve got the things that I like. I just like feeling good and being at peace.
BP: What have you been listening to during quarantine?
AM: There have been a bunch of albums that came out in the past few months that have been incredible. I was really into the Taylor Swift album that came out. I was listening to that one a bunch; it’s one of my favorites. Machine Gun Kelly’s new album is pretty good, too. I think it does really good for the pop punk scene. This band Haim put out a record. Also Phoebe Bridgers. Those are four artists that have been on the forefront of my music taste.
BP: If you could tour with any one band, who would it be?
AM: That’s a tough question. Right now, the one that comes to mind is this band from California called Haim. We always talk about how dope it would be if we were able to open for them on a tour!