Childhood friends Cley Miller and brothers Jose and Carlos Sanchez have been making music together for quite some time. They now form Houston band Young Mammals, formed officially in 2005. They made their underground mark with the debut of the Carrots LP in 2010 and a subsequent string of 7″ releases. About to release their sophomore album, Alto Seco, they’re sharing an exclusive stream with us, unveiling ten tracks that range from blustery power-pop to hushed art punk, with a youthful energy pushing equally through evocative guitar chords and gutsy vocals. Alto Seco comes out October 7 on Odd Hours. Catch the stream of the album below, following a short interview with the band.
Describe your process of putting together the album. What is your creative process like?
We have been playing music together for quite a while, and have had plenty of time to analyze our songwriting. One thing that stood out to us about our previous material was that there were lots of excessive parts that really didn’t seem to serve a purpose or benefit the song in any way. This really bothered us, so we decided that we needed to be more cognizant of what we felt was necessary for the song. Another thing we felt needed change was the emphasis on vocals. On our previous recordings, the vocals were kind of buried and were not as confident. This time around, we wanted the vocals to be more upfront and to have more character. Overall, our intent with Alto Seco was to make a record that was simple and honest.
How did you decide on the album name, ‘Alto Seco’?
Carlos was in a Latin American history class and his instructor was teaching us about a town in Bolivia called Alto Seco. The name of the town really resonated with him, not only did it sound cool but he could relate to its English translation, “high and dry.” As we were writing/recording the album, we were all going through our own issues and we found the term to be very fitting for the album and for us personally.
Love the power-pop clarity of “Speedboy” – how do you get from that to the hushed psych of “Nance” and how would you characterize the heart of the album?
“Speedboy and “Nance” may sound very different from one another, but the content of the lyrics are very similar. Both songs are about how miserable it is to be in the hot weather. “Speedboy” is about trying to beat the heat while “Nance” is about suffering in it. The heart of the album is our experiences, both individually and collectively. A lot of our inspiration, lyrically as well as musically, comes from our experiences in the environment that we live in.
How has living in Houston shaped the kind of music you want to make? Any local peers making music right now the the rest of the coasts should know about?
Living here has had a serious impact on our music. Houston is a sprawling mass, it’s in a state of decay and feels like it’s inside a sauna. While the conditions are not the most desirable, we actually love it here. Lyrically speaking, there is a lot to draw from. Everything from the climate to the scenery, the people, it’s all very inspiring. The record wouldn’t be what it is without Houston. Bands you should check in Houston are Hooked Rugs, Wild Moccasins, B L A C K I E , Rosette, Secret Prostitutes, Buxton, Hearts of Animals, Far Out and a slew of others.
After the album comes out, what’s on the horizon?
We just finished mixing an EP that will be released sometime in 2015. Aside from that, we want to continue writing songs that further explore and expand upon the ideas that we had with Alto Seco.