Origin: Vancouver, British Columbia
It’s a story that’s almost too good to be true. The story of Young Liars began on a particularly cold winter afternoon in an Algerian basement bar tucked underneath the streets of Paris. Long before they rocked the effervescent rhythms of the Canadian band’s electrically angular, dance-in-your-underwear EP, Homesick Future, a bit of serendipity brought these five minds together.
Riots had split Paris in half, as hooded protesters threw Molotov cocktails at police officers, and the stink of tear gas wafted through the air. Backpackers Jordan Raine and Wesley Nickel ducked out of the cold—nothing like what they felt in their hometown of Vancouver—taking refuge downstairs in the darkened bar. In a corner booth, they heard the familiar sound of Canadian English—a contrast to the shouts and sirens outside—and there they sat down with three other Vancouverites, waiting out the war of discontent that lay beyond the bar door. Ty Badali, Andrew Beck and Angelo Ismirnioglou, who were squatting in a vacant apartment after their student visas expired, bought drinks for the two travelers, and while Paris burned, Young Liars began over beers and dreams.
These musicians talked of the sounds they heard in their heads and bonded over the rock bands that could ignite the dance floors without posturing or being cheesy. They connected on the idea that rock could roll…electro could be fun, without being a joke. Somewhere, some time, Miike Snow, Local Natives and Gang of Four probably have had that same conversation. And these five guys, so far from home, promised that someday, when they were back in Vancouver, they’d all meet up again.
Six months later, they held true to their promise.
In those first sessions in Vancouver, Young Liars felt something click. “We already knew we loved the same music, so when we played together, there was an instant fire in our connections,” singer Raine says. Then on a caribou hunt in northern Saskatchewan they solidified their band unity while living in igloos hand-carved by their Inuit guides under the celestial light show of the Aurora Borealis. Or was it Ontario? Maybe they actually met in Montreal in Klingon class at a Star Trek convention?
What does it matter?
It may seem too good to be true, because it is. In the world of the music industry, so many journalists and corporate suits look to spin a band’s story to make them fit into a particular demographic. Ridiculous names are cooked up like Chill Wave or Witch House, to make a band stand apart from the pack. It’s that desperate search for authenticity, for that band that is “realer” than the next, somehow closer to the devil-may-care wherewithal of old school rock. But let’s face it. It’s all fake. It’s a lie. Do you really think Jane’s Addiction met in a whorehouse? Did Meg and Jack White REALLY want to pretend they were siblings?
For Young Liars, their real story is similar to hundreds of bands across North America and the world. Five guys connected over music they loved and promised to build a band that wouldn’t compromise or settle. They’d only create the music that they wanted to hear.
However, Young Liars are a band apart. What distinguishes them from those bands that never make it beyond the garage? Emotion, intensity and sound that can boil you up or simmer you down. The tightly wound grooves and bouncing beats of Young Liars is very much real, and the effect is too. They will get you moving whether you like it or not; it’s just great music.
But, great music isn’t always made by the crazy ones; sometimes it’s made by the guys who work the hardest, who spend their entire day toiling at a nine to five, just to make that sound in their head into a full-length album.
This is the real story of Young Liars, a band that has sacrificed to make their vision into reality. Ty works manual labor at a warehouse, Wesley is an electrician. Angelo works demolition and Jordan is a web developer. Andrew sells mobile phones at the mall. It’s the sacrifice musicians have to make, that paradox that so many bands live in those days before they break.
Work a job you hate to do what you love.
In those hours, on lunch breaks and after work, Young Liars built themselves into the band they wanted to be. They wrote songs like “Colours,” an ecstatic rock song with the lightweight bounce of pop, and the piston-pumping electro anthem “Marathon,” which make their debut EP Homesick Future a fiery listen. They lost themselves in Ty’s percolating drums and Andrew’s muscular basslines, those arpeggiated synth waves of Wesley’s keyboards and the hopeful voice of Jordan that cries out with urgency and energy. With the strength of just a few songs, Young Liars caught the attention of music writers and bloggers without being kitschy or fake. They did it all by being honest with themselves, making unapologetic party music that is as smart as it is irresistibly catchy.
Now with the momentum of journalists in love with the music that Young Liars love so much, the band is at a crossroads. This is their chance to make it, powered by their commitment to an ideal bigger than each one of them individually. Together, these five guys are a band, a damn good band, on the brink.
That’s the truth.