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Young Rising Sons

By Luanne Lim  ,  September 09, 2014

The Young Rising Sons were recently featured in our Spotlight. As their name says, this New Jersey-based band continues to rise up in the music world. This Fall the rockers are heading on tour with the KONGOS.  

I got the chance to interview lead singer Andy Tongren to learn a little about the up-and-coming band.

Luanne Lim: What’s the story behind the name of the band?
Andy Tongren: We actually wrote a song, “Red and Gold,” that’s on the EP. In the second verse, the words “young,” “rising” and “sons” are in there, and we really identified, not just with the song but with the second verse in particular. It’s just about getting back up after you’ve been knocked down, and having persistence to keep going through tough times and that’s what our band’s always been about. It’s been a long road for us, and a lot of what we did didn’t work. But we kept getting back up and trying again. So we really identified with that and it just stuck.

LL: Have you always wanted to play music and be in a band?

AT: Yeah. Growing up for me, it was either sports or play music. In middle school I wound up getting several concussions and kept getting hurt in sports, so I kind of took it as a sign that I was not meant to be doing that, so I decided to stick with music to see how that would work for me.

LL: What kind of sports did you play in school?

AT: I played baseball and football, those were my big ones. We’re all huge sports junkies. We love playing ice hockey and just love watching really anything. Yeah, we’re kind of nerds about that.

LL: Alright, so 2014 has been a pretty big year for you guys. What would you consider as the bands’ biggest accomplishment thus far?

AT: Aw man, it’s been pretty amazing. When we first started getting into music, obviously our ultimate goal was to find a major record deal, and once it happened we were like, “umm, alright… what’s next?” But it’s been awesome, we realized it’s just the beginning… of the work, but we’re excited to dive in and start working… and continue to keep working. It’s been amazing, but, I don’t know, we’ve always joked that we want to be the biggest band in the world, so I think it’s kind of taking it one thing at a time and continuing to keep trying to grow and our fanbase.

LL: Well, you can only go up from here!

AT: Yeah, that’s awesome.

LL: Who would be the band’s music mentors, if you had any mentors?
AT: Well, we’re a Jersey band so Bruce Springsteen, you have to like him, if you live in New Jersey, otherwise I think you’re just banned. If I was to pick one collectively as a band, it would probably be Bruce. I mean, we love everything he’s done. He’s such an icon in New Jersey. So, yeah, it would definitely be him.

LL: So last month you released your debut EP through Interscope, how surreal was that for you?

AT: Pretty wild. It’s all kind of been a whirlwind, everything kind of happened so fast. We’re still kind of catching our breath. But it’s been amazing… I don’t know how to explain it. Last night was kind of the real icing on the cake… Every time we play a show and people know the words, and are singing along, that’s the real, I don’t know… just to see that it’s affecting people, and what we’re doing is real. It’s really cool.

LL: Your first single “High,” is kind of like a pick-me up, mood-lifting song. It’s really catchy by the way, I love it.

AT: Thank you. I’m glad you like it.

LL: Who or what inspired you to write such uplifting songs?

AT: You know, it’s funny… It’s good that people take that away from “High,” but I think that really “High” is really about the ups and downs, and we’ve had a lot of those as a band. And that song kind of sums us up. It’s similar to “Red and Gold,” like a lot of what we did didn’t work for the five years we’ve been playing together, but now stuff is kind of changing. We’re kind of seeing what we’re doing come through and pay off. All the time that we spent trying things that didn’t work, it’s all worth it now. So that’s kind of what “High” is about and why we wanted to write it. We saw this change, and we could feel it sort of happen from the very beginning. And we knew something was different, and we wanted to capture that in “High.”

LL: The music video for “High” was featured on YouTube’s new music page, and seeing how successful it was, what do you want to be the next song that you’re going to make a video for?
AT: We’ve got a lot of videos in the works. But one of our best friends, Jesse DeFlorio, actually filmed the “High” video. So he comes out on the road with us, he filmed a lot of footage for us. So there’s definitely going to be more stuff coming out. As far as our next single, though, I’m really not sure. We’re still kind of playing our options, I think. But right now we’re really just focusing on “High” and trying to push that, so hopefully we have a lot further to go with it.

LL: Do you think there’s going to be a full-length album in the works in the near future?

AT: Yeah, yeah! We’ve actually started working on it, and it should be due out early next year. We’re really excited to show people a little bit more… During live sets we play new songs, and it’s been cool to see their reaction and see how people feel about those as well. Yeah, it’s been fun. We’re going to the studio for a couple of weeks here and there throughout the fall, so trying to finish it up, but, yeah, we’re really excited to get more stuff out.

LL: I’m sure your fans are really excited to hear the new stuff, too.

AT: Yeah, hopefully!

LL: So you’re currently on tour now, and you’ll be going on the road continuously throughout the end of the year, actually, right?
AT: Yeah, we’re going to be touring, meeting our fans and seeing what we’re building grow. It’s been really cool. We actually just… last night at the Troubadour, was the last night on this tour with Little Daylight, so we’re home for a little bit. Have a couple one-offs here and there, then Boston with Mr. Riot and Pittsburgh with Bleachers, but that’ll be awesome. Then we’re back out with KONGOS for a few dates here and there. Yeah, it should be fun.

LL: How was life on the road? Any cool stories or cool adventures you want to share?
AT: We’re a pretty tame band. I would say our one miss is casinos. Not me in particular, but Dylan and Julian, they just have an affinity for casinos, and they’ve been pretty lucky, they’ve done pretty well for themselves, but yeah. If we see a casino and have the slightest amount of time I guarantee you we’re going to stop by it… Steve and I, we just go for the, hopefully, free drinks that they serve at the table, so that makes it worth it.

LL: Will there be a headlining tour in the near future?
AT: We haven’t really talked about that so much. I’m sure eventually, but right now we’re just… we kind of like the smaller shows and seeing it grow from the bottom up. I think the intimate shows are some of the cooler ones, too. You really get to interact with fans and meet everybody. That’s a really cool thing, what we do. We enjoy being able to do that. So, we’ll see… probably not for a little bit… but eventually.

LL: Eventually, on your tour, who would be the ideal line-up?

AT: We are huge fans of Kings of Leon… Obviously, this is a long shot, but Bruce Springsteen is like… our idol, so clearly that would be number one. But The Killers, Kings of Leon would definitely be the ones that we all really love. As far as modern stuff goes, I would think, yeah, bands like that… We really admire their journey and their careers, so yeah, if we can, one of them would be awesome.

LL: Why should our readers download your debut EP?
AT: Well, I think it’s a pretty good pick-me up. I don’t want to speak too much on it; I think they could just pick it up and listen for themselves… I think it’s uplifting, it tells the story of real ups and downs. It’s a little hit of optimism, which I think in this world, people could use.

LL: Do you have any last words to say to fans or potential fans?
AT: Just keep listening and we’ll keep putting out music that hopefully you guys will enjoy. We love doing this because of the way we see the bond build between us and fans. It’s such a cool thing to see that grow, so… We’re going keep going and hopefully keep building a family.
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