We've been desperate to hear the fruits of electronic duo Young Wonder's labour ever since they dropped their infectious first EP, Show Your Teeth, in 2013.
Thus we're today delighted to share the pair's commentary of their eclectic debut album Birth - from musings on loss and war to the magpie-like borrowing of world music samples that has so enriched their sound.
Stream the album and see what the duo have to say about each song below:
This was a poem which was not originally written with Young Wonder in mind. We wanted to encapsulate a feeling of transience and growth which mirrored how I (Rachel) was feeling at the time of writing it. We wanted the first and last tracks of our album to be similar sonically and we wanted to create a feeling like the whole album was encompassed within itself - that it was an album as a whole and not just a collection of songs. We used a lot of tuned percussion elements on the album so it made sense to strip everything back for this and just let the emotion breath through with simple elements and simple lyrics.
This song actually began during a rehearsal session with the three of us. I We had been working on a drum loop that was created from sampling unusual sounds like the opening of a can. This was the moment the album really started and it felt like we had discovered something new. Something that carried the space and depth that we wanted in our music. Lyric wise - it felt right to create something which was very visual, dream- like, and idealistic. That was when the idea of ‘feel the rocky planet move, just for us’ was born.
To You was written in 2012 after a close family friend died. This was the beginning of our interest into the idea of human loss and suffering. To You was received really well and we felt it had touched so many people on a personal basis. We always felt it belonged on the album as it really inspired a lot of what has been written since. We went back to re-track some of the vocals and tided some of the production and mix so it fitted better sonically with the rest of the album.
We were influenced by distinctively ethnic sounding records we had bought in India. Lyric wise, I (Rachel) was inspired by the idea of an angel, a saintly type figure that I could pray to when in need. I came across this saint called ‘Verena' who was a saint of children and sick people and I felt I related to her in some strange way. The idea of the song was born from the idea of praying to her for help, the idea of giving up your uncertainties to a higher power and letting fate intervene.
We wanted to create a sound and mood that was more electro-pop, so the idea of this song came to us one day. The lyrics were inspired by To You, and in many ways it is a continuation of To You. Moonlight is written about the loss and devastation that happens after you lose a loved one. The small things that people reminisce about, the smell of a pillow, the silhouette once seen in a mirror. The reality that ultimately you must move on and try and forge a meaningful life once more.
Enchanted is a really emotional song which was inspired about peoples experiences living with depression. I was reading a lot of books at the time about depression and how people cope and I felt it truly inspiring. I think a lot of people can relate to the line ‘I’m nestled in bed, hiding from the things I dread’. For me, its such a poignant line and refers to the sheer fear and anxiety which happens in every day living, never mind living with depression as an illness. I wanted to leave the song on a question mark per se, ‘am i giving up, is this just too much?’ Does the person learn to cope and free themselves of their illness or is it inevitable that some of us were made to suffer?
For us, this is the most ‘pop’ inspired track on the album. We spent a lot of time developing our song writing and production skills as we did want to write something more radio friendly. Saying that, we wanted more than anything to stay true to our ethereal, dream-like sound, and in many ways, this is the epitome of a dreamy song which is refreshing, spacey & tranquil. The lyrics tell the story of how I would do anything for love, but ultimately, I am a being who is constantly growing and trying to find myself.
The lyrics are inspired by the dark times of WWII and the human suffering which took place as a result.. I (Ian) have been influenced a lot by hip-hop so it made sense to use that inspiration in a track for the album. This track features Marce Reazon, an awesome writer/ producer who has worked with acts like Kanye West, John Legend and Kid Cudi to name a few. We are super excited to have him on the album
We were both stimulated by the idea of time, and how it is subjective to everyone experiencing it. I (Rachel) was working in a hospital at the time and was moved by a certain patient who was dying. I imagined that she would have wanted to ‘borrow someones time’. I wrote from her point of view, pointing out the mundane but repetitive things which happen in a hospital such as familiar voices and noises.
I was energised by the idea of never wanting to come from a summer holiday. How another country can soak into your skin and you don’t want it to leave you, or for you to leave it. It’s quite a simple, summery song, but it makes me happy every time I sing it.
It’s quite unusual - but Birth was actually the last song written for the album. In a way it was a metaphor for the start of things to come for us. We came to a point in writing the album where we just wanted to write for the sheer enjoyment of writing - and this is the product of that. Sonically, it’s a little different from our other stuff, but we love for what it is, the beginning of something special for us.
I have always wanted to write something in our native language Irish. For a long time I have appreciated Sean Nos singing and the beauty of the Irish language, culture and music. This is a song inspired by all of those, and it’s a simple song about wanting to go to sleep and that the night belongs to us in our dream-like haven.