May 6, 2015Feature

Heralded as one of the most original homegrown groups around, Eric Davidson recently had a chat with Ian Ring, one half of Young Wonder, in the run up to the release of their debut album 'Birth'

Having their roots firmly planted in the Rebel County, Young Wonder’s Ian Ring says that, musically, there’s something in the water in Cork.

“Cork has always had a sort of house blueprint. There was always a lot of house music around with the likes of Fish Go Deep, but it’s also a great centre for bands.

“I used to DJ a lot around the city, but when it came to shows with Young Wonder we were more selective. We didn’t want to over gig, so when big shows came around people weren’t sick of us. The Pavilion was a great venue, they brought over some amazing international acts. Now there’s places like The Savoy and the CIT School of Music.”

Performance art

Young Wonder’s first time on stage as a duo was at Castlepalooza, and for Ian, this was a huge step.

“Even now, it can be overwhelming for me being on stage. I’m more of a studio guy. I’m the production element to the group, so being on stage can be a bit nerve wracking sometimes!”

However, once the duo take to the stage you would be hard-pressed to notice a shred of shyness. Their performances are as visually enthralling as their music is aurally.

"It’s the 21st century, the vote should have happened at least ten years ago."

“We live in a world where people want to see something cool as well as hear it. Feel Good Lost do visuals for our live shows. Also, Rachel (Koeman) wears headpieces and incorporates different fashion elements into our gigs. She’s the front-woman, I’m the one hiding behind the keyboard!”

Originality

From the get-go, Young Wonder were commended for their wholly original releases and performances. So with a new album on the horizon, how do the band maintain their unique nature?

“You have to try and take influences from everywhere while also being careful not to straight-up copy anyone. I think that’s a constant battle everyone has, because you can get so influenced by a lot of different types of music and it’s a case of trying to merge together everything you like and create something fresh.

“There was no single influence on the new album, for example. I used a lot of ethnic percussion sounds and bells, just because I’m a sucker for any Asian instruments. There’s something really special about them when you get them right.

“In the last year and a half we’ve been working really hard on our production and song writing. We’ve been trying to get our sound to the next level, while keeping what people liked from us to begin with.”

Launch parties

Young Wonder’s album launches on 16th May in Cork, but they’re also playing a special show in Dublin on 22nd May. However, this gig falling on the day of the Marriage Referendum was not intentional.

“We have a big following in the gay community, and it’s such an important day. It’s great to be able to merge both the ‘Yes’ vote and our album.

“It’s the 21st century, the vote should have happened at least ten years ago.”

Photos by Sarah Doyle

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