CONOR O’DONOHOE FOR WILD YOUTH // Q&A

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PHOTOGRAPHY CREDIT: RAY KEOUGH // (FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: ED PORTER, DAVID WHELAN, CONOR O'DONOHUE, CALLUM MCADAMS)

WILD YOUTH IS AN EUPHORIC, ENERGETIC, AND AUTHENTIC POP COLLECTIVE OUT OF IRELAND. WITHIN THE PAST YEAR, WILD YOUTH GIFTED AUDIENCES AN EP WITH SOUL AND NOSTALGIC ELEMENTS THAT APPEAL TO THE HEART. THE RELEASE INCLUDED THEIR HITS, “NEXT TO YOU” AND “THROUGH THE PHONE.” EMPLOYING POP, ELECTRONIC, ROCK, AND ALTERNATIVE INFLUENCES, WILD YOUTH CURATES A SOUND THAT IS DISTINCTLY THEIR OWN.

EJ SAFTNER: MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION, HOW ARE YOU? 

CONOR O’DONOHOE: “I’M GOOD, THANK YOU. YEAH, I’VE HAD A GOOD WEEK. BEEN IN THE STUDIO ALL WEEK, WORKING ON NEW MUSIC, WHICH I’M EXCITED BY. SO, YEAH. EVERYTHING’S GOOD.”

SO FOR READERS AND LISTENERS WHO ARE UNFAMILIAR, OR UNINTRODUCED, TO WILD YOUTH… WHY DON’T YOU JUST TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT WHO THE BAND IS? 

“WILD YOUTH IS A FOUR-PIECE BAND, FROM IRELAND, CONSISTING OF DAVID WHELAN, CONOR O’DONOHOE, CALLUM MCADAMS, AND ED PORTER, AND WE ARE, LIKE, A POP BAND.”

SO, ON A PERSONAL NOTE, WHAT WAS THE FIRST SONG OR THE FIRST ARTIST THAT STRUCK A CHORD WITH YOU AND MADE YOU WANT TO PURSUE MUSIC?

“WOAH, UM… PROBABLY HAVE TO BE BEACH BOYS BECAUSE IT WAS ALL MY DAD USED TO PLAY WHEN I WAS YOUNGER. FROM LIKE THE MINUTE I WAS BORN I JUST REMEMBER THE BEACH BOYS BEING PLAYED ON REPEAT IN MY HOUSE, ALL THE TIME. YEAH, SO IT WOULD HAVE TO PROBABLY BE THE BEACH BOYS.”

ANYONE WHO FOLLOWS YOU ON INSTAGRAM KNOWS THAT YOU HAVE SOME OF THE BEST FITS. TELL ME ABOUT HOW FASHION INFLUENCES YOUR PERSONALITY AND YOURSELF AS A WHOLE?

“UM, IT’S A MASSIVE BURDEN ON MY LIFE… NO, I’M JUST JOKING. I LOVE CLOTHES. HONESTLY, A LOT. IT’S BEEN A HUGE PASSION OF MINE THAT ALWAYS HAS BEEN, EVER SINCE I WAS A KID I WAS LIKE ABLE TO PUT OUTFITS TOGETHER IN MY HEAD THE NIGHT BEFORE, ON MY BED, WITHOUT EVEN HAVING THE CLOTHES IN FRONT OF ME. BUT YEAH, IT’S ALMOST LIKE AN ADDICTION, LIKE, YEAH, I LOVE IT. IT’S A MASSIVE PART OF MINE, OBVIOUSLY ALONGSIDE MUSIC, PROBABLY ONE OF THE OTHER THINGS I’M MOST PASSIONATE ABOUT IN THE WORLD. I HAVE SO MANY FASHION MAGAZINES AND YEAH, I JUST LOVE IT. I’M ROCKING NONFASHIONABLE WHITE TEE. BUT YEAH, ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT. I THINK IT’S JUST A WAY OF EXPRESSING WHO I AM THROUGH MY CLOTHES. I’VE NEVER DONE IT TO STAND OUT OR BE DIFFERENT THAN ANYONE ELSE… I’VE ALWAYS JUST WORN WHATEVER I WANTED TO WHERE. AND I MEAN, THAT PROBABLY CAME WITH A LOT OF STICK IN DIFFERENT PLACES BUT, I MEAN IT STILL PROBABLY DOES BUT SOME PEOPLE LIKE IT, SO. BUT I DO IT MORE SO FOR MYSELF THAN FOR ANYONE ELSE.

WOULD YOU EVER WANT TO PURSUE SOMETHING ALONG THE FASHIONS LINES… DO YOU STYLE YOUR MUSIC VIDEOS OR YOUR COVER ART? IS THERE AN AVENUE YOU WOULD WANT TO GO DOWN WITH FASHION?

“YEAH, I THINK THE GUYS KNOW HOW I HAVE SUCH A PASSION… A PASSION FOR FASHION. YEAH, THEY KNOW THAT I’M SO INTO IT AND THEY’VE ALWAYS BEEN OPEN TO ME SUGGESTING THINGS IN TERMS OF STYLING FOR VIDEOS OR STYLING FOR ARTWORK. BUT YEAH, DEFINITELY, IT’S SOMETHING I’M LOOKING AT RIGHT NOW… MAYBE EVEN DOING A COLLECTION OF MY OWN CLOTHES, CREATING MY OWN BRAND. BUT YEAH, IT JUST TAKES TIME BUT I’M DEFINITELY LOOKING AT IT RIGHT NOW.”

IF YOU COULD DESCRIBE WILD YOUTH IN THREE WORDS, WHAT WOULD THEY BE? 

“KIND, ENERGETIC, TALENTED.”

TELL ME WHAT THE PRODUCTION IS LIKE FOR WILD YOUTH. YOU’VE RECENTLY PUT OUT AN EP, BUT IS THERE A SPECIFIC ROUTINE YOU GO THROUGH TO MAKE A SONG, IS IT CHAOTIC CREATIVITY… WHAT IS THE PROCESS OF PRODUCTION?

“UM, I’LL KIND OF GO INTO THE STUDIO… OK. I GO THROUGH A ROUTINE, SO I’LL FEEL LIKE I’M READY TO KIND OF WRITE AGAIN FOR WILD YOUTH AND I’LL THINK IT’S THE RIGHT TIME. SO, I’LL GO INTO THE STUDIO FOR LIKE A MONTH OR TWO MONTHS AND I’LL WRITE ALMOST EVERY DAY. AND THEN I CAN WRITE LIKE 25-30 SONGS AND THEN I’LL PICK THE FOUR OR FIVE THAT I LOVE THE MOST…”

HOW DO YOU NARROW THAT DOWN?

“I JUST KNOW, I CAN ALWAYS JUST GRAVITATE TOWARD THE FIVE THAT I KNOW. THEY ARE THE ONES I GO BACK AND LISTEN TO ALL THE TIME. AND THEN THE ONES I ACTUALLY PLAY FOR PEOPLE, THEY GET THAT REACTION OR YOU KNOW THEY GET WHAT IT’S LIKE. I’M ALWAYS BEING ABLE TO NARROW IT DOWN. I KNOW WHAT SUITS WILD YOUTH OR WHAT SUITS DAVE’S VOCALS, THAT WOULD BE FUN LIVE.”

WHAT DRIVES YOU AS AN ARTIST, AS A CREATIVE MUSICIAN?

“UM… I THINK MAKING MUSIC THAT JUST SPEAKS TO PEOPLE. I THINK THE BIGGEST THING, HONESTLY, FROM ME AS AN ARTIST IS NOT WHAT I GET FROM IT, BUT WHAT OTHER PEOPLE GET FROM IT. THE HAPPINESS THAT THE SONG THAT MAYBE YOU’VE WRITTEN AT THE PIANO IN YOUR HOUSE CAN BRING SO MANY PEOPLE, OR HELP PEOPLE THROUGH A TOUGH TIME. WHEN YOU DO A SHOW, AND SEE PEOPLE COME TO YOUR SHOW WHO SAY, YOU KNOW, THEY FELT SHIT ALL THIS WEEK BUT NOW THEY FEEL GOOD… IT’S THE FIRST TIME IN TWO WEEKS THEY HAVEN’T THOUGHT ABOUT ‘X’ OR ‘Y’ … OR THE LOVELY MESSAGES YOU GET ONLINE FROM PEOPLE WHO LIKE OUR SONGS OR CONNECT TO IT. THAT’S HONESTLY WHAT DRIVES ME MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE IN THE WORLD, IS LIKE I DON’T KNOW, THE FACT THAT YOU CAN WRITE A SONG THAT CAN HELP OTHERS OR INSPIRE OTHERS, CAUSE LIFE IS FUCKING HARD. SO, IF YOU CAN DO SOMETHING LIKE WRITE A SONG THAT HELP SOMEONE OR FOR A LIVE SHOW THAT CAN ALLOW PEOPLE TO ESCAPE THEIR MIND FOR AN HOUR OR TWO AND JUST HAVE FUN… THAT MAKES ME THE HAPPIEST PERSON IN THE WORLD.”

SO, IN TERMS OF MUSIC THAT MAKES YOU HAPPY, IF YOU WERE STUCK ON A DESERT ISLAND AND COULD ONLY BRING THREE RECORDS, WHAT WOULD THEY BE? 

“THAT’S SUCH A GOOD QUESTION… THAT’S SO HARD. THE SCRIPTS FIRST ALBUM. UM… I THINK ‘AFTER HOURS’ BY THE WEEKND, AT THE MOMENT. THAT’S SO HARD, THERE ARE SO MANY ALBUMS. MAYBE ‘LET IT BLEED’ BY THE ROLLING STONES. I’M SURE TOMORROW MY ANSWER WOULD BE DIFFERENT, BUT FOR RIGHT NOW… THAT’S WHAT I’M STICKING WITH.”

WHAT IS NEXT FOR WILD YOUTH?

“WELL, WE HAVE SOME SHOWS NEXT WEEK. WE ARE DOING A LIVE STREAM ON WEDNESDAY, OR THURSDAY, SORRY. WE WERE MEANT TO DO A LIVE SHOW, AN INTIMATE SHOW, BUT IT’S NOW A LIVE STREAM BECAUSE THEY JUST NEVER WANT TO PUT LIVE SHOWS BACK IN IRELAND EVER AGAIN. AND THEN, WE HAVE MORE SHOWS IN SEPTEMBER AND OTHER THAN THAT, JUST WORKING ON NEW MUSIC. WE HAVE A TOUR OF IRELAND AND THE UK AT THE START OF 2022.

IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU WOULD LIKE TO SAY, THAT YOU WANT OUT IN THE WORLD, THAT I DIDN’T ASK YOU ABOUT? WHETHER IT BE RELATED TO WILD YOUTH OR SOMETHING ELSE YOU FIND IMPORTANT?

“YEAH, I JUST THINK THAT EVERYONE SHOULD JUST TRY AND FOCUS ALL THEIR ENERGY ON SUPPORTING PEOPLE AND BEING KIND, BECAUSE LIFE IS FUCKING HARD, ESPECIALLY AT THE MOMENT. THERE’S SO MUCH SHIT GOING ON, SO, LEAVE PEOPLE ALONE ONLINE. JUST SUPPORT PEOPLE, DON’T TROLL PEOPLE AND JUST BE NICE AND THE WORLD WILL BE A GREAT PLACE.”

LISTEN TO WILD YOUTH BELOW.

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