The Young Evils' twang-oriented, polaroid pasture snapshot songs are simple, pretty, and fronted by the he / she vocal blend of Troy Nelson and Mackenzie Mercer. Mark Pickerel plays drums, Barrett Jones produces and plays bass, and Cody Hurd slants in with guitar and mohawk aptitude. The Young Evils keep their songs on the shorter, straight forward side. The complexity is in their non-complexity. In letting the songs be. It's all open like a field in the fall. Coated harmonies in octaves, seemingly old, but being new. Main Evil, Troy Nelson, spoke about being the Young Evils:
The Young Evils: "Just Built Beaming Light"
Where did you record "Just Built Beaming Light"? Troy: Laundry Room Studios with producer / bass player Barrett Jones. Mackenzie and I wrote the album based on our affinity for short, two minute ditties. Two minute memorable songs, like the Violent Femmes, meets the Vaselines, meets Magnetic Fields. “Just Built Beaming Light” was the first song I wrote for it. It was during that big snowstorm a couple of years ago. I was trapped in my house for five days. I wanted to try and write a positive, short, catchy folk pop song. I also love word play and wanted to try and fit as many words into a two minute song as possible. I wrote five songs or so in that snowstorm and over the last year and a half, we recorded the album. It's going to be called The Enchanted Chapel LP.
What’s the song about? It’s about not taking yourself too seriously. And not questioning things. It’s a semi love song. It’s just kick drum, tambourine, guitars, and vocals.
And Mark Pickerel sucks. It’s funny, because we were like, “Who’s going to be our drummer, what are we going to do about a drummer?” Mark heard some of the songs and liked them, and offered to play with us. So we went from wondering what we were going to do about drums, to having like the best fucking drummer in Seattle.
You’re a music scholar. A DJ, and a record store junkie. Is it easy to break away from music scholar / DJ mode and get into a creative space with it? I don’t really think about it. I take little bits from all the songs I love. I don’t really have favorite bands as much as I have favorite albums.
What are your three favorite albums of all time? I’d have to say Television’s Marquee Moon, T. Rex’s Electric Warrior, and
Culture Club Colour by Numbers? No. No Culture Club.
Cyndi Lauper? No. I did like her hair though. She had that wrestler Captain Lou Albano in her video. Totally hot. That guy had rubber bands on his face. I’m gonna bring that back.
You're originally from South Dakota. Does the Young Evil sound hearken back to your roots? Maybe. But there was nothing in South Dakota musically for me. I didn’t really hear a lot of good music until I moved away. I didn’t find the Beatles until I was twenty-two. In South Dakota, I would ask someone if they had any musical suggestions and they’d tell me to listen to Korn.
I’ve heard South Dakota has a raging discotheque scene. A discotheque in South Dakota is three seventeen year olds in their basement with a strobe light.
And meth. The meth is actually in Montana.
What do they do in South Dakota? Drink and drive on gravel roads. And siphon gasoline. Other kids were siphoning gas and I was in my room watching Headbanger’s Ball, trying to figure out Metallica riffs. The only other kid in town who played music was my friend Shane Stoneback. I had my hair died red, he had his hair died blue. I came to Seattle finally, and he moved to New York and produced the Vampire Weekend records.
Did y’all have a band? Yes we did. We were called 4th in Line. We put out an album when we were juniors in high school called The Mystery Fruit. Some of the farm kids got mad at us because we had a song called “I Hope Your Crops Die”. The album was called The Mystery Fruit because he had taken a close up picture of my balls. We would show it to people and get them to guess what fruit it was. They would guess and guess, but it would just end up being my balls.
The Young Evils play Thursday, May 13th at the Crocodile with the Redwood Plan and Mal De Mar.
Talk about the sound on “Just Built Beaming Light”. That’s just the room sound and my old beat up Martin acoustic. No effects really. Minimal and rich. The Laundry Room’s main room sounds amazing. Barrett put the mic a foot or two away from the guitar. We wanted as much of a live thing as possible. Barrett added such a good feel to the songs. It was and is an absolute frikking pleasure to work with him.
I get a Patsy Cline vibe when I hear Mackenzie’s voice. There may be a slight tinge of country or twang with the Young Evils. Mackenzie’s an old soul. And loves Patsy Cline and Marty Robbins and old old, really good country. So yeah, Patsy, definitely. I will allow you to say that.