A New Era For The Young Novelists

by Bobby Foley, Interrobang

The Young Novelists
Photo credit: JEN SQUIRES
Graydon James and Laura Spink front the band The Young Novelists, set to perform at the London Music Club May 2.




I write about random things a lot. I write a lot about random things. On a hot summer evening in 2014, The Young Novelists gathered together a small group of friends, insiders and network contacts and held a listening party in Toronto to share material they had been working on for a new album.

The gathering was abuzz from start to finish; the band – fronted by Graydon James and Laura Spink and rounded out by Shawn Jurek, Mike Paddags, Alex Dodd and John Law – mingled with guests, scattered in socks throughout the house with glasses of wine and clipboards to make notes on the music of the evening. Roughly 20 songs, in different states of completion from skeletal demos to rehearsal space recordings, were sampled and weighed for possible inclusion.

The result is finally upon us; new album Made Us Strangers is available on April 28. The band prepared the album independently but has launched a campaign through PledgeMusic.com to offer unique pre-order incentives and experiences, from vegan-baked goods to shopping trips to private performances. Get details on those and many more at tinyurl.com/theyoungnovelists.

The Young Novelists are also appearing here in town only days later, performing at the London Music Club on May 2 as part of its album release tour. The band is supported by local duo The Marrieds, tickets are $10 or $7 in advance at the Club. Doors open at 7:30 p.m., 8 p.m. show.

Preceded by the singles “Brothers in the Garage” and “Always Make the Mistake,” which premiered at the beginning of March and April, respectively – the album marks a period of transition for The Young Novelists for a number of reasons, including the band’s first time working with the notable Toronto producer.

“It was a nice experience having Carlin involved, because he had a lot of ideas,” James said. “As much as we’re democratic [among the band], we’re also pretty insular – someone else comes in out of the blue and has all these different ideas, and you start thinking, ‘oh yeah, there are different directions we could be taking this.’ That was a good move for us, and it expanded our sonic range.”

After the summer listening party, James, Spink and the ensemble used the feedback they received to whittle down the song selections for Made Us Strangers. They shared the results with Nicholson, who encouraged them to pursue the tracks for which they felt most passionately.

“He didn’t want to limit or restrict our idea of what the album could be, but when we got down to individual songs he was like, ‘let’s change this, let’s move this around, let’s put that there,’” James said. “Which is kind of a good thing – as a group we have our story, and he’s just trying to help us tell it in the best way.”

The year is already shaping up to be a busy one for The Young Novelists, who are committed to a touring schedule that will see them in the U.S. as much as here north of the border. For the more distant shows, James and Spink travel as a duo to be as economically efficient as possible, although their experience this spring and summer may impact the lineup moving forward.

“We’ve gotten comfortable as a group of six, but two of our band members are moving on to other things – one co-owns a bakery and the other, a teacher, is about to be married,” James said. “So there’s been a lot of shifting of what the band is and what it means, it’s much more of a transitional time than I thought it would be.”

“But that’s all post-album; it’s not something that fed into what the album was or what we were making at the time, but there is kind of a sense of, ‘well, that was one era of the band,’ and now we’re going to go through a lineup change and the band will just naturally be a different thing.”

For more on The Young Novelists or its coming album Made Us Strangers, visit them online at theyoungnovelists.com or follow along on Twitter @young_novelists. The band’s PledgeMusic campaign will extend right up to the album release date of April 28, and pledges of only $10 will receive a digital copy of the album, direct artist updates and exclusive downloads from the band.

And for the latest music news, album streams and concert previews, follow this column on Twitter @fsu_bobbyisms. This is the sixth school year I’ve closed on the Interrobang team; I’m thankful to John Said and Stephanie Lai for the opportunity and the rest of the Interrobang team for making the paper look so good in print and online every week. Be safe this summer, I’m out of words.

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