Youth Fountain – ‘I still try to write music that I would listen to’

Words: Miljan Milekić

There are a few bands that we at Wasted Attitude, and I personally have a special connection to, as it feels like we grew together in some weird way. For years, it was a project named Bedroom Talk, before transforming into a band called Youth Fountain in 2017. For years, we worked for various outlets before starting FLD Magazine in – you’ve guessed it, 2017. Youth Fountain released their debut EP in 2018, and we were lucky enough to have Tyler Zanon, the mastermind behind the band for an interview. You can check it HERE. A year later, the band shared their debut album ‘Letters To Our Former Selves,’ and once again, we had Tyler for the interview which can be found HERE. Last year, Youth Fountain went through another change, with Zanon staying as the sole member, and released a brand new album Keepsakes & Reminders.’ So, the only sensible thing was to reach out, and have him on our website again, this time under our new name. And this time, we jumped on a Zoom call instead of email, and finally met the person behind the music we love. Check it below!

Hi Tyler! Whats’s up, how are you?
I’m doing pretty good, man. I just got up not too long ago. It’s about 10:00 AM here, so I’m just starting my day. And you’re just ending it! (laughs)

Your new album has been our for a couple of weeks now, and I’m seeing only the positive reactions. How happy are you with the feedback so far?
Totally, man. I’ve definitely put my whole heart, soul, and everything into that record to make it happen. And in terms of all the hardcore Youth Fountain fans and people that have been following the band for a while, they’re all stoked on it. They said that it was worth the wait, and they’re happy with it. We recently played our hometown release show, and it was wild. It was crazy to play a show again and play some new songs. There were some hardcore fans that flew out from The States to come see us. So it was wild, and it was great. And it’s humbling to know that lots of people enjoy the record. I couldn’t be more pleased, honestly.

READ MORE: Check our interview with the English band Trash Boat

Apart from the last year’s acoustic EP, this is the first release where you are on your own. Did you feel any additional pressure of putting the record out, knowing that everything, good or bad, is purely on you?
Tyler: I guess, a little bit. It’s a sophomore release. It’s a follow-up, and I know that the first record did well, and it resonated really well with a lot of fans. So there was pressure in terms of, hopefully, following that up, making music as good as that, and having fans that can resonate with the new record as well. But I think that’s the case with almost any band that releases another record if their first one was loved. You wanna achieve that same level of love, you wanna do that again. So there was pressure there, but in terms of writing and doing things by myself, it’s been that way since the beginning. So there was never really any pressure like that. That was the same. I would say that any pressure came from just hoping that fans like it, and you know, there are fans that do really like it. So, I’m happy with that.

I know this one is different for every artist, but do you feel like you ever adjust your writing to what you think your fans would want to hear from you, or do you just go all-in on what you like and see what happens? Where is that balance for you?
Tyler: That’s a good question. I think that, with the new record, I still wrote what I feel is cool. I still try to write music that I would listen to. I think that’s important. I think artists should make music that they enjoy and they would listen to. That’s what I do. And in terms of thinking about what fans would enjoy, I still try to keep that in mind. I feel like maybe, eventually down the road, I’ll explore different, experimental stuff, but even for the new stuff that I’ve been working on now, it still sounds like Youth Fountain. I think I’ll always stick to what I enjoy, though. Even if fans, you know, if it doesn’t necessarily speak to them or resonate with them, I’ll still be writing music that I enjoy. ‘Cuz, at the end of the day, if I’m not doing that, I don’t know why I’m writing music. I gotta enjoy it. I gotta be able to listen to it.

Because if you don’t, it’s just another office job.
Tyler: Yeah, exactly, man. Why would you be doing that? You might as well do something else.

So, how different was the writing and recording process this time around?
Tyler: Definitely different. The first record, I, kind of, recorded everything myself on, um, on my laptop. And I had a lot of these older demos that I turned into songs. And then, with this new record, I started writing stuff at the tail end of 2017, some stuff in 2018, then a lot of stuff in 2019, and the 2020s were when I really solidified it. But I had demos on my laptop all through 2018, and then through 2019, I still those demos. Then, when the pandemic hit, I contacted my friend, Tim Creviston, and he did all the engineering.

We did pre-pro, and he recorded real drums this time. He polished everything. He mixed and mastered the record, produced things, and recorded my vocals. So, it was like a whole different experience and a different kind of vibe, which I’m happy with. Whenever I put out new music, I would definitely want a different vibe. I wouldn’t necessarily want it to sound like the last stuff that just came out. So it’s good. It definitely helped me improve as a songwriter, too. It’s helped me improve as a musician, working with a talented engineer like him. So, it was a much different experience and vibe, and I really enjoyed it. It was a good time.

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Once again, you decided to talk about mental health, clearly, a very important topic to you. With you getting older, and with Youth Fountain getting more and more recognition, does it get easier or more challenging to be that open in your lyrics and to let people into your life?
Tyler: As I’m getting older, I think it was easier for me as a kid, as a teenager, to be writing angsty, really heart on your sleeve stuff. As I’m getting older, I wanna try to write smarter lyrics and try to say more intelligent things. And I think it will come to a point where I won’t just wanna keep writing the same stuff that I always write. I’ll definitely want to open up to different avenues, but whenever I’m writing new lyrics, I notice that I still write about how I feel and very internal feelings.

I’m sure that, down the road, I’ll probably open up and think about other ideas to write about, but it is still important to me to write about mental health and how you feel on the inside. It’s still a super important topic to me. I’m not afraid to open up to different stuff to write about in the future, but I think I’ll probably always stick with the emo pop punk vibe. I’ll still try to stick to my roots, but who knows what the future holds? Musicians grow and evolve, and it is a very normal thing to happen, but as far as it goes right now, I’m sticking to my roots. Even the new stuff I’ve been working on still has similar emo, pop punk vibe. I’ll be the same old Youth Fountain, for as far as I know. (laugh)

Until a couple of years ago, mental health struggles were really made even harder by the stigma society had put on it. It’s still happening, but I have a feeling that situation is now a bit better, and bands such as yours had certainly played a role in making it an open conversation. However, in the last few years, there is a slight trend of romanticizing mental health struggles among some people. It’s like some people are seeing it as something “cool” and wear it as a badge of honor, instead of treating and seeing it for what it really is. Do you see it happening, and do you feel like this is the next conversation we as a society will have to have, as it can have a dangerous effect on people who are struggling, and refrain from getting the help they might need?
Tyler: Oh yeah, dude. I totally understand that, and that is very, very true. It’s one of the things I’ve noticed. It’s a serious thing, and people aren’t really taking it seriously. Some are almost pretending just to be hip, in a way, and it is weird. And I do think that that is an issue. I don’t think that’s how it should be. It’s good to bring awareness and to speak up about it because there was a stigma for a long time. But that kind of a thing will, where people romanticize it a little bit, maybe that will fade away with time, and things will solidify a little bit better.

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Ever since your first EP, you’re working with Pure Noise Records. They must have done something right to keep you with them for the fourth release in a row?
Tyler: When you sign a record deal, you usually sign contracts saying how many records you do with the label. So, we’re still under contracts with them, and we’re working with them has been awesome. They put out two whole records with us, and we’re still working. There is gonna be a third one, maybe not anytime soon, but yeah. As far as the label goes, they help push the band, help to distribute the music all around the world, and help get it heard. And honestly, there couldn’t have been a better label to be on, in terms of the kind of music that we put out. I think a lot of similar or bands are also on Pure Noise, and it’s sweet. It’s a dream come true, that’s for sure.

One last – early next year, fingers crossed, you will be in Europe along with Cory Wells. If I’m not mistaken, this will be your first proper tour over here. How excited are you about it, and do you have any idea what to expect?
Tyler: Yeah, It would be the first, and I’m incredibly excited. I’ve been looking forward to it since the day we got reached out to do it. I’m looking forward to meeting fans from across the world, meeting people that have been following the band as well over in Europe, in the UK, Germany, Switzerland, Czech… I can’t even describe how excited I am. It’s insane. All I’ve ever wanted to do with music is to travel and play shows. And I don’t know what to expect. Since it’s an acoustic run, Cory Wells is doing acoustic, we’re doing acoustic, maybe a little less “energy” per se, like in terms of like a full band show, but I’m sure there’s still gonna be lots of kids singing up front and people that have been stoked on the band for years. And I’m just excited to meet new fans and people who’ve been following the project for so long. It’s wild, and I can’t wait to do it. 

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