photos by @electric_spaceinvader
Young Elders are an SF-based cosmic soul-pop band bringing groovy psychedelic tunes to venues in the Bay Area and beyond. We hung outside the Rickshaw stop with Nick Castro (lead vocals, keyboard, guitar) and Everett Katigbak (guitar, organ) after their show on night one of Sea Witch fest and talked about their upcoming album and creative process. Peep it!
SEA WITCH: How do you feel about the show?
NICK CASTRO OF YOUNG ELDERS: It was great! Larry from Death Valley Girls is an old friend, we worked at Amoeba in LA when we were kids and then we played Levitation last year and I saw them from like 600 feet away but I didn’t realize that it was Larry and I hadn’t seen them in like 8 or 9 years and then my friend was like isn’t that ur friend Larry? But then I couldn’t find them after that cus it was the cancellation cus of the storm. So I just emailed them later and they were like yeah we’re coming through, you should do these shows with us. So yeah we were bummed that they didn’t come but they asked asteroid to do it and I was like well I'm also in asteroid so I get to play twice!
SEA WITCH: So is it true, do you love debris?
YE: Yeah, it was true when we wrote it. There were a lot of crazy things going on!
SEA WITCH: So what’s the current lineup for the Young Elders?
YE: There have been a lot of lineups. Young elders used to be an acoustic thing in like 2007. So currently the lineup is me, Nick Castro, on guitar and vocals, Everett Katickback on organ and guitar, David Volker on drums, and then Nick Lyonwright, it was his first show with us tonight on bass! We’ve been through like 4 or 5 bass players in the last two years so yeah its like a rotating cast, its kind of whoever can fill in. But its difficult because the songs are difficult. Its not like one of those bands you can just jump into.
SEA WITCH: Yeah I guess its all about how the bands intertwine.
YE: or don’t intertwine, in some cases!
SEA WITCH: What’re you working on now?
YE: We’ve been working on this record that we recorded at a studio in the tenderloin that we cant divulge the name of, ‘cus its kind of a museum and we’re trying to keep it preserved. We’ve been working there for the better part of a year. And we’ve got a handful of tunes recorded. We’re just experimenting but also writing new material as the band kind of evolves. There’s gonna be a single coming out in the spring on a label from Mexico City called Chez Nobody and then hopefully the record will be out by the end of the year.
SEA WITCH: Do you guys have a certain person you’ve had a really sweet time playing with?
YE: Chicano Batman at the independent! I think they’re my favorite modern band. Partially because im Chicano, partially because I just think theyre the best fucking band around.
SEA WITCH: Where are you from?
YE: LA originally, but my family is mostly from Jalisco. I’m the first generation born in the states.
SEA WITCH: How do you feel like your music shifted when you went from acoustic to electric?
YE: It got really loud. Its kind of just a fast version of what you do on acoustic guitar. It’s really not that different. Just a lot of pedals. It’s really fun for me. It’s like aging backwards. I started playing old man music when I was a kid and now I’m old and I’m like growing into it. Like Picasso said, “It takes a lifetime to learn how to be young.”
SEA WITCH: You record analog, have you always done that? Do you do it to preserve the vintage vibe?
YE: In a sense, yeah. But I’m not so lofty about it. I do it because its fun. It’s a pain in the ass and its so much easier to do it all on a computer. It’s the same reason why I wont play a new guitar. Its not as fun, not as romantic, so why would I want to do it just ‘cus its easier? Despite it being difficult, I’d rather do the thing that makes me feel good.
EVERETT: It definitely has a different vibe. If you play back the same thing on analog vs. digital, there’s something about the aesthetic sound of it. But also when you’re in the studio it just forces you to think differently because it’s just a more straightforward way to do it. In the computer you can just like record something and mess around with it later, but you kinda have to nail it when you do it analog. It’s more about musicianship and the feeling. But that’s also why its been a year and we’re only halfway done with the record. It’s a labor of love. Slow music movement.
SEA WITCH: Whats your go-to liquor store snack when you’re on the road?
YE: His [Everett] is flaming hot cheetos. I [Nick] will usually just go hungry and wait, I can’t do it. I used to, but not anymore. One time I was on tour and we were in Alabama and I ate this thing called the gut buster and it was like mashed potatoes with sausages stickin out of ‘em, smothered in gravy, like home cooked fried. We all ordered it cus we thought it was hilarious and we all got so sick and I never ate junk food on the road again.
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