Youth Code's Sara Taylor Talks Band T-Shirts, Industrial Music & Being Followed by Jesse Leach on Instagram.
Photo credit: Matthew Wonderly
American industrial duo Youth Code are set to kick off their first ever Australian tour this month, and we were fortunate enough to get some phone time with lead vocalist Sarah Taylor to chat about a great many things, including her favourite band t-shirts, what is was like working with the legendary Rhys Fulber on Youth Code's latest record Commitment to Complications, who she likes touring with the most, what her most prized music posessions are, and even what she thinks about her famous instagram followers, including the one and only Jesse Leach!
Scroll down to read the full interview, check out tour dates, and take a listen to Youth Code's latest music.
You've done merch for some really cool bands in the past (currently Behemoth!) - you must have quite the collection of band t-shirts. Do you have any favourites?
If I could send you a picture of how my closet looks, you'd know that this question is particularly difficult for me, because I think I have over 1000 t-shirts in my house. It's constantly a game of trying to fold them into smaller squares to fit them in my closet so Ryan doesn't lose his fucking mind at me for how much space I take up with gig shirts and stuff. I feel like the coolest shirt that I have is a really old original Mercyful Fate Melissa era T-shirt, that's so thin and so fucked up and I love it so much. Also I have a 101 Depeche Mode t-shirt that I pretty much can't wear any more bceause it's just holes and tissue paper and remnants of the screen print.
This will be your first time touring Youth Code in Australia. Is there anything that you're looking forward to doing while you're here?
Lord Of The Fries in Melbourne, and the Lone Pine sanctuary in Brisbane.
You've toured with some amazing artists. Is there a particular band you like hitting the road with the most?
If I could repeatedly do a tour with a certain band, and not have it be a tired, or tried thing, I would pretty much spend the rest of my life with Chelsea Wolfe.
Photo Credit: Nick Francher
You worked with Rhys Fulber on your latest record. What was it like working with a guy who has been part of the scene for over thirty years?
Rhys liked that we brought something new to the table which reminded him of how it used to be a while ago, when Industrial was this fresh, newer sound, and it wasn't what it turned into, with more guitar-based stuff. I think we both had a mutual admiration for each other.
What he did for me personally, is he really forced me to step out of my shell with doing vocals. And that to me was a really necessary thing. Rhys would get my lyrics, which were deeply personal and hard for me to write in the first place, and he would read them back to me to sort of egg me on with stuff. And I'd be like "oh dude you're making me feel a bit uncomfortable" and it would be like we have to do this. We have to nail this.
Do you feel that being forced out of your comfort zone is something that brings the music to that next level?
Absolutely, I would say that that engaged my performance with recording 100%.
It feels like a lot of the mainstays in the industrial scene have been doing it for 20+ years. What newer artists are out there that you think are worth watching?
HIDE is really good. Right now for me [HIDE] is one of my favourites as far as new takes on Idnustral goes. Some smaller stuff that hasn't cracked a lot of surface yet, but there was a project called Ffake Nnake that I thought was really incredible. As far as industrial goes though, it's still something which I think the rebirth of is kind of in its infancy, as far as people having a good take on blending old styles with new. It's kind of on its baby legs now.
Photo credit: Matthew Wonderly
Youth Code is your first band. It seems like you're jumping into the deep end starting out with an Industrial band. What is your musical background and what allowed you to do that as a first band?
When Ryan and I first met, and were listening to music together, getting to know each other through the taste that we had, we both really liked industrial music. At the time when we first started dating, like seven years ago, there weren't newer industrial bands. For us, doing this was like OK, we both know the type of shit that we're in to. We both like this, this is not an avenue that's being explored a bunch, so why don't we just try our luck? At the end of the day, if we're doing something no-one else does, no-one can say shit about it.
You can draw your comparisons from bands that are from thirty years ago, but none of these bands are drawing on the same level that we're drawing from. I don't think the dudes in Skinny Puppy, listened to death metal - in fact I know they don't. So for us to have our different influences, and bringing it in to industrial, at the end of the day it's the perfect storm for a first band. I would rather be in something that's completely out of the water than do a surf rock band or a garage rock band.
How do you discover new music these days?
I know a lot of people don't really like streaming, but something that I've found kind of cool and useful is to search for a band on Spotify and hit related artists. From there you can pick and choose based on what's popular from the suggested artists.
Also, Los Angeles is a never-ending wealth of new stuff continuously coming up, so you go out, you talk to people and you go "What are you into? What are you listening to?". I'm never in shortage of new things to get into.
Photo Credit: Matthew Wonderly
What's your most prized musical possession?
My dad was super into Industrial, and when we were starting my dad helped us out with a lot of gear, because he had rec gear, electronic drums, and things like that. One of the things that's prized to me is I have this bond with my father, and I'm able to use things that he bought twenty-five years ago every day.
It looks like half your Instagram followers are famous musicians. How do you meet all these guys?
[Laughs] I never give a fuck about what someone does for a living, but I've been touring and working for bands in the industry since I was like 15 years old. That's 18 years of my life that's been dedicated to working within music. Through touring I meet people, make friends with people, but I've also been noticing more and more that a lot of people who make music, like your music. Which is really strange to me.
I noticed that Jesse from Killswitch Engage caught us on tour with Chelsea Wolfe, and follows our band, and there isn't a day that goes by where he doesn't wear a Youth Code shirt in a Killswitch Engage picture or one of his own pictures, and then people are tagging us constantly like "Holy shit". I find that we're a musicians band in a way.
Did you ever think guys from these bands, which have been so influential in the heavy music scene would one day be wearing a Youth Code T-shirt?
Fuck no. I never thought I'd be in a band. Like I was always the girl who sold t-shirts. So for me to even be in a band, for people like that to be interested, at the end of the day I'm stoked. If what I'm doing has an impact on anyone, then that's cool.
Wednesday April 25 - Hell Hole, Perth
Thursday April 26 - Crowbar, Brisbane
Friday April 27 - The Chippo Hotel, Sydney
Saturday April 28 - The Evelyn Hotel, Melbourne
Sunday April 29 - The Bendigo Hotel, Melbourne