Rising British rock band Young Guns are due to play at the Big Weekend in Cambridge, thanks to presenting partner Coca-Cola, to mark the Olympic Torch’s passing through the city, on Saturday July 7th. As the city heats up in anticipation of the Torch’s arrival, localsecrets spoke to Young Guns' drummer, Ben Jolliffe, about this coming together of music and sport.
How does the band feel about being involved in such a special occasion for the city?
Ben: It’s unbelievable. We’re so excited about it. The Olympics is something that everyone wants to be a part of in some way; it’s such a great thing for the country. The fact that we got asked to play some shows for it is just incredible. Playing at the Cambridge event is absolutely fantastic. We’ve been to the city quite a few times; it’s an incredible place.
For those who are unfamiliar with your music, what can they expect from your performance?
Ben: We’re a melodic rock band. We always try and make sure we’re energetic. It’s all about the energy that live bands bring. It’s something that a lot of pop bands can’t give off as much. We like to use the fact that we’re a rock band to full effect. Whenever we play, we always try to get the crowd participating in whatever way, jumping up and down, singing words back to us... We’re just a loud, heavy band that tries to make it as exciting as possible for the crowd. Hopefully they’ll enjoy us.
You’ve played several festivals; how do large outdoor gigs compare to playing indoor venues?
Ben: At festivals, we try and make the set a little livelier. When you’re playing headline shows, everyone knows the songs, they’re from your fan-base, they’re there to see you; you can get away with playing some of the slower songs. At festivals, people see bands all weekend and just want to have fun. We’ve really tailored our set for festivals at the moment. We stick to the more exciting songs. With festivals and these Olympic Games shows, there’s going to be a lot of people who might not know who we are, or who have heard the name, but not the music; so we’re really there to try and impress people, to try and make them excited.
You recorded the album Bones in Thailand last year, and have toured abroad quite a bit since then. How does it feel to be back in the U.K. for the Olympic summer?
Ben: To travel the world is a dream, and such a great experience, but it’s really nice to be back at this time of the year. It’s good to be in the country for the exciting part of the Olympic build-up. We’re off most weekends doing festivals, in the U.K. and Europe, so we’re back-and-forth a lot. It’s nice to come home from a festival, and chill for a few days, to try to be human again. Touring is brilliant, but it can be tiring towards the end; festival season is always great fun. Being around for the Olympics is exciting; but I haven’t even tried to get tickets for events. I never really know if I’m going to be around for events that far in advance.
It sounds like you’ll be watching the action on television, like most of us. Are there any events you consider a must-see?
Ben: I’m quite excited about the football event. It’s going to be interesting seeing the likes of David Beckham playing. I love loads of random sports; I love table tennis and I’m looking forward to seeing some of the more obscure events. There’s something about the Olympics, we’re not great at all of the events, but we take competing seriously. If we get time, we’ll definitely go into the city and try and get wrapped up in it all.
Drumming can be physically demanding. Do you play any sport or exercise, or is drumming enough to keep you fit?
Ben: I used to play a lot of football growing up. Whenever I’m around, I try to go to the gym, go for a run, or play squash. At school, I loved the Olympic-style athletics competitions; the relay races and the hurdles. For a musician, I’m quite a sporty person.
Finally, what’s next for Young Guns? Will there be a return to the studio soon?
Ben: We’re basically touring for the rest of the year. Festival season ends and then we have the album release in America in September. From October onwards we have a headline tour around the U.K. and Europe, which will be the biggest tour we’ve done. Early next year we’re going to start recording our next album, which we’re starting to write now.
Young Guns will play on Saturday 7th July, at the Olympic Torch celebration, on Parkers Piece, Cambridge.