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The Days of Young andRestless' Lives

As at least twenty-five young men and women in various stages of inebriation started to
jump in unison I knew it was time to make my way out of what promised to be an
energetically violent mosh. As I made it to the wall a young bloke came crashing into me
and my head hit the wall. It was time to get out of there, so I crept out to the edge of the
lounge. As I left, someone was hoisted above the crowd, passed hand over hand with his
head barely avoiding the roof and light fittings on many occasions.

This was not your
ordinary gig, local up and comers Young and Restless were playing for a mates
birthday back in Canberra. This week they’d also played Club 77 in Sydney and to a sell out
crowd at Sydney’s Spectrum on Friday night. But tonight the five members of the band
were crammed into a small living room playing for friends. Leading the band is
Karina Utomo on vocals, Ash St Ives on guitar,
Mark Falkland on guitar as well, Ross Paxman on
bass and Nugie Utomo on drums. For Ash St Ives, one of the two
guitarists, the hardest part of returning home, was returning to the cold of Canberra’s
winter.

When I contacted the band’s manager about doing a story on them he suggested
that I turn up to this house party to see the band play live and then interview them. When
he told me the party was a 21st, I was taken aback, but decided I’d check them out.

As I
walked through the front gates I was almost bowled over by a bloke on a BMX. The backyard
had been turned into a BMX haven, ramps everywhere and BMX boys jumping them. When
the band finally arrived it was decided that the lounge was to be the venue for the
impromptu gig. There was no room for the band to set up so the room was gutted; couches,
coffee tables, everything gone.

With the band positioned in a corner of the loungeroom,
waiting for a film crew to arrive; 11pm rolled around and the decision was made to start the
set, regardless. That’s when the action began and the living room erupted.

With the
show over it was time to speak to guitarist, Ash St Ives. When asked to reflect on the set
they’d just played he commented that the gig was “pretty mad, pretty crazy”, and that
whilst the band had played house parties before, they’d never played a set inside
someone’s lounge room.

The members of Young and Restless have known each other for
a while. Ash, Karina and her brother Nugie played together in a pop-punk band at
Canberra’s Narrabundah College. After finishing Year 12, Ash went off to Adelaide. While he
was there, Karina met Ross and Mark and decided to start a band. When Ash returned he
was instantly recruited as part of the new outfit. The Young and Restless got together as an
entity in April 2005.

Whilst their early influences were pop-punk, under their new guise,
singer Karina wanted to make their sound harder, more aggressive. For Ash it was something
he decided to have a shot at, and it’s worked.

Breaking into the Canberra scene has
been hard for Young and Restless as the “kids” in the scene are heavily into hardcore, so
for Young and Restless the Sydney and Melbourne music scenes have proved happier
audience hunting grounds, with their sound slotting in better within those more diverse
music environs.

Young and Restless have become frequent guests of venues such as
Spectrum, Club 77 and the Rebel, Rebel nights in Sydney and back alley venues like the
Ding, Dong Lounge and Pony in Melbourne; home to the indie cool crowd.

The
band’s big break came quite by accident. After recording their debut single with Chris
Colonna from the Bumblebeez in Australia, the record went off to the UK with him
where James Ford who produced the Test-icicles STRONG>heard it. He then offered to mix the record. Bits of the six initial tracks went up
on MySpace, where Triple J’s Scott Dooley heard them, he
downloaded the song and showed it to Triple J’s music director Richard
Kingsmill
, who thought the record was awesome and showed it to everyone at
Triple J.

Initially getting a spin on Home and Hosed, the record quickly went on medium
rotation at the J’s and it has snow balled from there. For many aspiring young musicians this
is the stuff that dreams are made of. The people at Triple J have become fans of this
Canberra band. The reviews on the Unearthed website from on air presenters have been
nothing short of glowing, with the discerning ear of Kingsmill saying “Yes. A song about the
devil. And by God, it’s good. I’d be angry if I lived in Canberra too. More please.”

The man
who broke them, Scott Dooley is equally as gushing “One of the rare bands that can capture
the energy of a great live show on tape. (Tape, I’m stuck in 1962). A tight song with great
vocals. See them live and argue with your friends over who’s you’re favourite member.”
These aren’t half bad reviews considering the band’s only been around for a bit over a
year.

The band’s sound draws on influences such as The Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs and
Sleater Kinney. Their music, which doesn’t sit easily in any genre, could be
described as any one of many things, from dance punk, to hip metal, yet Ash prefers the
term dance punk.

With all this hype behind them, there are dreams of a label deal. For
the band success would mean pulling them out of the poverty caused by the interstate
travel required to maintain the band. To do this they would have to follow up that debut
recording. Conventional wisdom would state that the recording everyone’s gushing about
would be good enough for release, but the band feel they need to polish more for their
debut in Australia. That’s not to say they’re not putting out releases, as next month they
have their first seven inch to be released in the UK. The band has been picked up world
wide, with American college radio cottoning on to their sound.

Producers are also
knocking on the door to record them, but at this point in their career money is an issue.
The list is the who’s who of Australian producers including Dean Turner STRONG>, Phil McKellar from Triple J’s Live at the Wireless, and
Tom Larkin, the drummer from Shihad. They’ve told them that
if they can do an album for a certain amount then they’ll use them. Additionally they have
indie label Inertia on board to distribute the record.

If the band have a release out by
January, they see a slot on the much coveted Big Day Out tour as feasible. Of more concern
is getting their music out to a worldwide audience. The band have plans to tour the UK in
February and March, and have a bunch of grant applications pending. They also hope to
make it out to the prestigious South By South West festival to showcase their sound to the
world’s music community.

Unfortunately Canberra’s music scene just isn’t big enough, so
Young and Restless are all gradually packing up their bags and moving to Melbourne. Karina
is already down there, with Ash and Ross set to follow soon. Mark will leave at the end of
the school year, as he is a Maths and IT teacher at one of Canberra’s private schools. Nugie
will remain in Canberra until he finishes his graphic design course; commuting to be with
the band keeping a drum kit both here and in Melbourne.Whilst they must move from
Canberra to achieve success, it is still in their hearts. They plan to keep coming back,
hopefully bringing some big name headliners back with them. With such great reviews and
the support of some luminaries of the Australian industry, if they’re debut release lives up
to the hype, the path looks good for these current, yet soon to be, ex-Canberrans.

Comments

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Comment Added
gin-in-teacups

gin-in-teacups said on the 28th Aug, 2006

Just thought you'd like to know that her name is Karina, rather than Corrina. :)