Spreading the word about You Won’t sometimes isn’t easy. After I first heard them, I in turn told our friend Train about them. “Check out this new band,” I wrote him, “You Won’t.” His response? “Uh…yeah, I will.”
Even given these frivolous semantic difficulties, telling your friends about You Won’t is absolutely worth it. The band, which released its first full-length album, Skeptic Goodbye, in February 2012, plays an infectious, unpretentious brand of indie rock. Featuring lead man Josh Arnoudse and drummer slash multi-instrumentalist Raky Sastri, You Won’t offers a sound at once new and reminiscent of memories you had either let lie dormant or forgotten altogether.
A buddy of mine told me about them one Friday and I subsequently listened to Skeptic Goodbye approximately ten times over the next 72 hours. The lyrics are honest and plain, in this writer’s opinion fully capturing the soul-crushing nature of the conventional status quo. Each track on the album stands out from the others, each having its own unique defining characteristics; yet the undercurrent of the album is that life is confusing, and that if we aren’t careful, we can settle into the pit of “successful” mediocrity, only incrementing the confusion.
In a recent Q&A email correspondence, Arnoudse addressed what I took to be one of the pervasive themes of the record – settling for less than one’s personal best – by writing that he’s “not trying to pass judgment on anyone or tell them how to live their life…. One person’s idea of ‘settling’ is another’s idea of happiness and fulfillment. I’m just trying to reflect my own personal experience in a way that might resonate with other people.”
If this was the intention, with this album Arnoudse and You Won’t have succeeded. The overall sound across the twelve tracks is fresh and the lyrics will stick with you for days. Seeing these guys live is also quite memorable. They put on an impressive show at Union Pool back in September; due to their energy and wide-ranging instrumentation, even as an opener they did not fail to please the crowd. With Skeptic Goodbye and the tasteful strength of their live shows, You Won’t seems to be poised at the starting line of a promising career.
Below are more highlights from the Muffin’s Q&A with You Won’t.
Audio Muffin: You have been touring most of 2012 in support of Skeptic Goodbye, which was released in Februrary. What are your plans for 2013? More tour dates, or is there a plan to get back in the studio?
You Won’t: We’re going to be recording all winter with the hopes of having a new release in the first half of 2013. We’ll be back on the road as soon as March though.
AM: When I saw you guys at Union Pool in September, I was thoroughly impressed with the wide range of instruments you each played. What various instruments do you tour with, and what is your favorite to play?
YW: Well presently besides a few guitars and some drums there’s a 1980s-era Casio SK1 Keyboard, a melodica, a glockenspiel, a singing saw, a harmonium, a bunch of harmonicas, a non-stick cooking pot, some stolen wind chimes, 2 plastic paint buckets, and an accordion. The windchimes are an easy favorite since they require zero skill or concentration but look and sound pretty nonetheless.
AM: There is a recurring theme of a “quarter life crisis,” of growing up striving to figure it all out, only to resign oneself to the fact that there is no figuring it out. For you, is music a way to attempt to capture some meaning of life, even though it remains a constant mystery?
YW: Well I suppose songwriting can be a way to create order out of confusion. And I have definitely learned a lot about accepting uncertainty over the past few years. I’m in a rock n roll band after all.
AM: What’s your favorite song off this record? What is the most fun song to play live?
YW: “Ten Years Old” is a sentimental favorite, it’s one of the older tunes on the record, was kicking around for years before I ever sang it in front of anyone. It’s a lot of fun to play live cause we get to our LOUD-quiet-LOUD Pixies-Nirvana thing.
AM: When you do get back in the studio to lay down another record, what are some of the messages you want to relay or objectives that you want to achieve? Musically, what is next for You Won’t?
YW: We weren’t really a band when we recorded Skeptic Goodbye. We were just Josh and Raky [Sastri] making a record. We have a much, much better grasp of our voice and identity as a musical unit now than we did two years ago. That progress is visible in our live performances, but alas they are so ephemeral. So I’m really excited to apply all this growth and transformation to something we can record and take with us. That is to say, an album.
AM: Last, what is your favorite type of muffin?
YW: Cornball crunch