If you never heard of 19&YOU, then perhaps its about time you familiarise yourself with the band. The L.A.-via-Australia alt-pop group has just released their eponymous debut EP featuring seven self-penned tracks.

The narrative of the album deals with coming-of-age trials and tribulations. The songs touch on heartbreak, transition, longing, and the pursuit of self-discovery, which is also tied into how the band came to be.

The idea of 19&YOU began when Noah Taylor pursued a girl all the way to Sydney, Australia.  There he ended up crashing at a friend’s place where he met Cameron Graves, Jackson Leitch, and Liam Wallis. An instant camaraderie took flight, and the four guys started a band within days.

19&You band
From left: Cameron Graves, Liam Wallis, Noah Taylor, Jackson Leitch

With Taylor executive producing and Graves on vocals, Leitch on guitar and Wallis on drums, the group began collaborating on the music making process. In the following months via virtual sessions, the newly formed group completed their first batch of songs in one week.

Coming up with their name, the band says ‘19’ was chosen as it represents an age in life between adolescence and adulthood that’s full of transformative moments. Upon realising their calling in music, the boys made a move to Los Angeles in June last year. The result of that musical journey has resulted in their debut EP and it’s a story that the boys are more than eager to share with us.

Q:The band sort of came together a bit unexpectedly. Looking back at how 19&You was formed, how does it feel to be where you guys are now?

A:It feels surreal! We joked when Noah left Sydney at the start of 2020 that it’d be cool if we moved to Los Angeles one day for music, not realizing we would be there only five months later. We feel so fortunate to have found an incredible team and have had incredible support from the start. To say we feel lucky is an understatement.

How long did this journey take to realise your first EP?

Four of the seven songs were written and mostly completed during the two weeks Noah was visiting Sydney, but the rest were completed over zoom. ‘Part Of You’ and ‘Adrenalin’ were the only two songs we did after we moved to LA. It feels like the record came together quickly, but we’ve waited a while to release it so we could make sure everything surrounding the release was done right.

Your tracks are somewhat personal, with narratives that each of you have experienced in life. Why did you choose these life experiences as inspiration for your music?

At the time, we wrote about these experiences as a way of expressing what we were going through. When we first started writing together, it was right after we had all gone through breakups. We bonded over that shared experience and used music as our way of expressing the emotions surrounding the events. We write about the things that are the most emotional because they’re meaningful to us. It’s important that we tell our stories using our own experiences, even though we write about situations anyone can relate to.

Who would you say are your biggest musical influences?

We listen to so much new music on a daily basis and are constantly learning. Our biggest influences would probably be each other. We’re constantly learning from one another and being impacted by each other’s individual taste. Outside of that, we also love The 1975, Boy in Space, Troye Sivan, Jeremy Zucker, Lauv, and many more. We’re always inspired by the spaces they create through their production and melodies.

19&YOU EP
19&YOU make their debut
How did the band uncover its music/sound?

We try not to hurt the creative process by deciding what our sound is or isn’t and instead focus on creating music we love! Noah makes a lot of deliberate production choices to keep things sounding cohesive even when they are contrasting sounds. Our only real rule for creation is if it feels good, it is good.

How was the collaborative process involving everyone in putting together this EP from start to finish?

To say this EP has been a journey for us feels like an understatement. We started off in an apartment in Sydney, bent over a laptop with an awful pair of speakers just having fun. Then we moved across the world to L.A. as an actual band tasked with creating a full body of work. The music is reminiscent of the time we wrote them in and the experiences and emotions we were feeling while it all came together.

Each song has its own unique feel while still being cohesive and telling a story when placed side by side. We’re so grateful to have someone like Noah produce our tracks because we each bring something unique to the table and he’s able to really help us bring our ideas to life. We would stay up writing until 4am some nights and would go car test what we had recorded with late drives to the beach. It was just exciting in those moments because you were with your best friends doing what you loved and all experiencing the same thing. Also, special thanks to Carlie Hanson for joining us on ‘Part Of You’. She really brought a new life into the track and we love her!

Did the pandemic hamper the creative process?

For us, it only helped fuel it. We were living together with nothing else to do but make music. It gave us no excuse not to create. Living together also helps us keep each other accountable and helps us push one another. Since we couldn’t do a whole lot else, this album came together faster than it may have otherwise.

The only downside for us creatively has been working in the same room every day. Sometimes when you enter the same space to create day after day it starts to feel monotonous. It can definitely negatively affect the creative process when you don’t have new and exciting environments as inspiration. We had to start thinking outside the box to create concepts to write about.

19&YOU group
19&YOU is well on their way in music
Breaking into music today differs from what it was years ago. Has the digital age made the process easier or more difficult?

Today’s biggest challenge as a musician is that you can’t just be a musician. If you want to be an artist, you’re expected to be a social media influencer, a marketing expert, a content creator, graphic designer, etc. Creating music is really only 30% of the job.

That said, we have embraced it. We don’t believe in being inaccessible artists in an age of social media. We love communicating with our fans and knowing their names. We don’t consider ourselves to be “too cool” to talk to anyone. We’re so grateful to have people listening to our music and want to be connected to our fans!

Which track on this EP stands out as a personal favourite and why?

The track ‘19&YOU’ is special to all of us. It’s the song we named our band after, the second one we ever wrote together, and the one that makes us feel the most nostalgic for our time spent in Australia. It was one of the songs we car tested right after we wrote it, driving along the coast of Sydney. There was something special about that night.

Following this EP what else has the band mapped out for its immediate future?

We are so proud of every song on this record and feel like we really created a special sound for the project. This EP is introducing people to the start of 19&YOU and getting people excited for what is to come. There’s plenty more music, merch, and visuals on the way. We’re starting to talk about shows and plan out what that looks like as soon as Covid allows. Fingers crossed we get to see you all in person soon, but for now we hope you enjoy the EP as much as we do!

Discover more about 19&YOU and their music here.

written by.
Richard Augustin
Former chef turned writer; Richard has tip-toed around the publishing industry for two decades. When not busy chasing deadlines, you can still find him experimenting with recipes in the kitchen.

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