Features Interviews Young Galaxy's Colossal Creations

Young Galaxy's Colossal Creations

Young Galaxy
Young Galaxy
Interview by: Natalia Buia

Although 2010 was a stellar year in music, 2011 is even looking brighter, thanks to many great Canadian bands. One band in particular, Young Galaxy, plan to make the earth move under our feet come February 8 with the release of their 3rd album, Shapeshifting.

In a recent phone interview, Stephen Ramsay (vocals, guitar), who was in his hometown of Montreal at the time, says the trio is more focused and entrenched in their creative process than ever before.

“We’ve learned to become more fearless in the process of learning who we are musically. Traditionally, as fans of music, we like bold statements,” he says. “Nobody could deny that bands like The Smiths or artists like Leonard Cohen didn’t somehow create their own sound and work in their own bloody minded way.”

Ramsay goes on to say the band is no longer tied to their influences of other shoegaze, dream pop bands. Nor does he scoff at fans and critics pigeonholing them as said genres. When recording, the band didn’t want to be subject to the influence of the outside forces of the industry.

“You have to wear a different hat when you’re being creative,” he says.

The different hat paid off. The result is 11 bold, celestial tracks with a more positive energy than their last record, Invisible Republic. The band has given themselves that extra push to reinvent their sound and to produce groovy yet ethereal pieces that each stand out on their own.

“We have comfortable places we can always refer to as songwriters. That’s easy to do. I can always write the same songs I’ve written before but I don’t want to do that. I need to go a little deeper. I need to surprise myself.”

Shapeshifting deals with themes of metamorphosis and transformation. The band has shielded themselves from the industry’s expectations when writing and recording. At the risk of being cheeky, the band has perhaps transformed into Older, Wiser Galaxy.

To produce this highly anticipated album, Ramsay says they reached out to Sweden’s superhero Dan Lissvik of the band Studio. Having been a fan for years, Ramsay says the notion of working with Lissvik outweighed the fear of leaving it in the hands of someone the band doesn’t know.

“If I ever had advice for anyone, it would be to work from the places that inspire you,” he says.

In the end, it paid off to mix business with pleasure. Now, with beautiful music comes an album cover that holds its own. The photograph of the woman under water is actually an Italian performance artist Ramsay says he found online. It was chosen as the cover because the ambiguity of the photo really spoke to him.

“When you look at that picture, it feels like there’s something happening and you’re in the middle of it. You can’t tell if it’s a peaceful moment or a grotesque moment,” he says.

As poetic as that sounds, when it comes to the actual album itself, ambiguity is fleeting. There should be no question in any loyal fan’s mind that this album is a carefully and beautifully constructed collection of songs that will be talked about and listened to for years to come.