Week in Pop: Botany, Vesuvio Solo, Young Aundee

Sjimon Gompers

Rising star Young Aundee, oka Andrew Southard; photographed by Josh Johnson.

Young Aundee

Catching up with Young Aundee; photographed by Josh Johnson.

Catching up with Young Aundee; photographed by Josh Johnson.

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We last caught up with Young Aundee, born Andrew Southard, two years back with the release of his Caveat Emptor EP, where we also talked Vince Clarke synth fascinations, and a cover of Yaz’s “Young Tuesday” & more. Today we are proud to present the world premiere of the video for the new single “Leverage” that brings you up to date on all the new breakthroughs & evolution of the Young Aundee electric aesthetic. Taken off side A of the Young Aundee/End Xian split 7″ available today from Translation Loss Records; the single showcases Andrew’s latest atmospheric developments solo-wise with the flipside featuring his contributions to the Philadelphia noise collective End Xian. Under the visual art direction of Joshua Craig, the new ground broken by Andrew & Dusty Brown’s latest creation is treated to a host of visual effects that highlight the various zaps & zips that punctuate the song’s mix with artistic analog effects that warp the image according to all the audio & video distortions at play within the mix.

Those following the career adventures of Young Aundee will notice an extreme creative departure with “Leverage”. In the interview featured after the debut of the video, our discussion with Southard revealed a complete hard left of center push toward the world’s most esoteric sound shapers that rarely to never get their due. Singing the praises of Hot Guts, Emptyset, Raime, Eprom & so many more; Andrew trades in those glittering candy-pop synths for something far more avant-garde, innovative, alluring & intriguing where Young Aundee has moved to mold new sounds out of both noise & silence alike. The result is something more intimate, perhaps more visceral, where we witness Joshua Craig’s obfuscation & fuzzing of the film frame with every pluming bass explosion that expands like erupting underground gas lines. “Leverage” pulls you into the undertow where the safety harnesses & latches are discarded for what feels an adventure in observing screen tests subjected to celluloid film experiments. Young Aundee here finds a strange sort of grace in the gospel of the fleeting & temporal where Andrew delivers a benediction directed toward taking in the presence of the present & the now. Southard is seen here accepting the things that move away and pass on in the narrative of life where the winds & tides of change are welcomed with an embrace of the uncertainty that comes with each new ticking moment. And although the feeling is relayed with an open heart, the intricate & moody arrangement of well-treated synths & wailing strings point toward the cathartic pain found in accepting the things in this world that you cannot change. Immediately after the following debut for Young Aundee’s video for “Leverage”, be sure to read our candid interview discussion.

How did you join up with the industrial noise team in Philly?

In the summer of 2015 Giant Squid (the progressive rock group w/ elements of grave yard punk and doom metal I’ve played with on and off for over a decade) went on a mini tour with Hex Inverter (led by Christian Mckenna founder of the End Xian collective and co founder of Translation Loss records).

Christian and I developed a bit of a art crush on that tour and I broke the ice by entertaining the idea of doing a remix of the Hex Inverter track “Bruise” which I became fond of over the four night stint.

Instead of sending the stems for the aforementioned tune he sent one for a song on the End Xian debut in-titled “K The Opportunist”, Dusty Brown and I spent a couple evenings remixing the composition which later became track seven on the End Xian debut album Soft Rock.

What else is rad in Philly right now that you know of?

There’s this band called Hot Guts that is really good on the minimal/coldwave tip:

Christian also showed me a cool band he’s really into called Kohoutek. It’s an experimental noisy avant-rock project that his bands have supported locally.

I really enjoyed the venue Kung Fu Necktie it reminded me a lot of the Elbo Room in the Mission [in San Fransisco].

What’s good in the Sacramento scenes?

There’s a new promotional company called Lull Presents which is head up by Ean Clevenger. He’s been specializing in post punk and gothic dance/electronic music shows. He put us on one a couple months ago and it was a really great time.

Red Museum is a newer venue that occupies the building the The Hangar studio use to be in on 15th and C. Folks seem to enjoy the indie diy shows that have been happening there.

B Sides is an awesome dive bar on S between 14th and 15th that showcases all of Sacramento’s DJ talent playing off of real vinyl. My friend Benji (DJ Centipede/Mophono) have a monthly there which takes place every third Saturday called Sprokets. We play post punk and electro, Throbbing Gristle to Kraftwerk and everything in between…

Tell us about the latest progressions that have helped inform your single “Leverage” & the corresponding analog visuals?

Historically for me my best work is that which takes very little effort to make. Dusty Brown and I jammed out the progression for “Leverage” in a single evening—myself on Rhodes and ambient vocals and he on Bass guitar and MPC controller. The mantra style lyrics were written on the spot that same night. My long time best buddy Jeremy Dawson overdubbed the guitar part at a later date.

It’s message is simple: Things in life are inevitably temporal. Relationships end, career paths change, memories of happiness get lost along the way. Every material gain achieved in this lifetime can’t be taken with you once your body is cast into the earth. The fact that nothing remains the same is the only constant…

I was fortunate enough to have a crew of super talented artistically driven people to help produce the video for “Leverage”. Please watch through the end to acknowledge my team on this.

Catching up with Young Aundee's own Andrew Southard; press photo courtesy of the artist.

Catching up with Young Aundee’s own Andrew Southard; press photo courtesy of the artist.

How do you feel your own particular style has developed & evolved at this juncture?

Dusty and I are both really into the noisier aspects of electronic music. The projects Emptyset and Raime are consistent production style references. The new Eprom EP Samurai has also been on heavy rotation.

That being said I think we’ve been adapting said styles to our brand of electronic music that has a more tangible/ song writer element in it.

The video for “Leverage” is shot on VHS. I found two dead stock VHS cameras that were unused at an estate sale. The glitches were done manually by art director Joshua Craig has been working with tape in experimental design for the past two years in the form of stills. This is the first living inclination of his VHS art.

What else have you been recording?

Mophono, Ernie Fresh and myself along with the help of electro pioneer Egyptian Lover have had an old school style rap EP in the works that should be available via CB Records by the end of the year. Beginning of 2017 at the latest. It sounds as if Kraftwerk and Ice T hung out all summer with the Invisible Scratch Piklz and made a record together in their own time then transported to the future.

Since Giant Squid concluded last fall we’ve been demoing some new material with adjusted set up under the name Squalus. It has a post futuristic punk vibe with elements of sludgy doom in it. hoping to record the first full length in the summer of 2017.

What have you been listening to on repeat?

Very much in love with the Anohni album Hopelessness I nearly know all of the words at this point. That and the minimal grime artist Trim who’s self titled debut was release on James Blake’s 1-800 Dinosaur imprint. Also very in to Amnesia Scanner and Arca’s latest releases.

Hopes & goals for 2017?

Either a Young Aundee EP or full length.

Completing a project with my homie Evan Tha Fruitbat.

Finishing the Manga series Black Jack by Osamu Tezuka.

The Young Aundee/End Xian split 7″ is available today from Translation Loss Records.

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