Andy, Dylan, Julian, and Steve are piled on a small cluster of leather chairs, polishing off whiskeys in a dimly-lit corridor above Brooklyn Bowl. With its singular round window and the rumble of the crowd beneath the floorboards, it seems more like you’ve set sail than snuck backstage. And once you’ve spent a few moments with Young Rising Sons, the feeling that you’re all holed up on a boat together is not such a crazy thought – and not a bad one, either. The brotherly camaraderie that radiated throughout their Let the Kids Riot tour is even rowdier when they’re spilling stories (of which there are plenty) over Jameson and Jack (of which you could always use more).
“We used to give each other haircuts,” said Dylan, running his fingers through his own. “I used to cut everybody’s hair. I cut Andy’s hair on his very first day.” “To save money, or just for fun?” I asked. “Both!” they all roared. “We picked up some 20-dollar clippers. We used to have these crazy haircuts we would do ourselves, and nobody else really knew how to do them.” “If you went to a barber and asked them to do a – I don’t even know what we were doing – they wouldn’t know how,” laughed Julian, flashing a boyish grin that matched his skinned knee (hopefully unrelated to 20-dollar clippers). “I think Andy got a mohawk one time by accident.” “I did.” Andy confessed in a comically grave voice.
It’s one of many bonds that come with growing up in the same hometown and playing together for years, long before they were the aptly-named Young Rising Sons. “We have this one thing that we’ve done since we started playing music together forever ago,” said Steve. “We always try to figure out creative ways to give each other the finger while we’re onstage, because it’s hilarious. I’ll be playing drums and do it real quick – and it’s even funnier when they don’t see you doing it,” he said. “Last night I was doing it to Julian and I got him good. I looked over and saw these fans cracking up. But it was the first time I thought about it, and I was like, ‘People probably think we’re so fucking weird.'” “Do you all do it at least once a show?” I asked. “Ohh yeah.” they all agreed, breaking into sly smiles. “It happens a lot.”
Interestingly, the hidden cues that send their middle fingers flying are the same ones that make them so wildly cohesive during shows. “You start to learn what the other person is going to do,” said Dylan. “Andy and I play so close that it’s like we’re almost going to hit each other and fall over. But I know exactly what he’s going to do, so I’ll move really quick. But sometimes it’s just ridiculous. I think people probably think we’re wasted. It’s super flail-y.” As they proved during their performance that night, they’re equally as intuitive with variations in the music. “We just have an interaction where we know what we’re going to do – even though we change it every night, which is the crazy thing. We never rehearse. We didn’t even rehearse to come on this tour.”
“It’s kind of second nature,” added Steve. “One of us could just completely improv an entire song and the rest of us would know exactly what to do. We’ll change entire parts of songs on the spot, without even telling anyone. That’s one of the cool things about being together for so long. We’re at the point where we feel comfortable to do that.” “We do different things every single night,” said Dylan. “If it happens that night, you’ll see it in Brooklyn, and then you’ll never see it again.”
Article: Olivia Isenhart
Photos: Shayne Hanley