Knives Out

The Young Knives could moan for the Midlands. After a stressful weekend at V (their stage manager gave them a hard time, aww), they tell Impact why Radiohead are rubbish and why inviting them to a house party at your place would make for an awful night…

Whilst out having fun during Freshers’ Week, spare a thought for the residents of Ashby De La Zouch, the quiet village down the road from Nottingham. This town’s only claim to fame is that it’s the town furthest from the sea anywhere in the UK. It’s from its inland apathy that The Young Knives, the musical equivalent of Morecambe & Wise fighting a Jackalope with broken guitar strings, have cultivated their outwardly eccentric but underlying sarcastic canon of geek-rock that’s currently serving the country’s posterity in a manner akin to the trusty milk-float that keeps a village’s calcium intake at the daily recommended level.

Typically understated, Henry (guitarist/vocals) speaks of their talent with tongue firmly in cheek: “We are not really amazing in any traditional sense of the word, but we try our best to fool everyone into thinking we are amazing! We quite like criticism really, it’s like someone has thought about what we’re doing a bit more if they have things they don’t like about our clothes, or whatever it is. Mind you, it’s pretty odd that anyone would have an opinion on those things.”

Having now entered the world of popular music, with an album of indie-slaying hits like ode to heat-wave heartache, ‘Weekends And Bleak Days (Hot Summer)’, people casting odd opinions after them comes fitted as standard. Speaking about the press response to them, Oliver (drums) explains, “It’s definitely been better than we expected. We are trying not to get too carried away and keep our heads, so that we can still write more good songs. Otherwise, we might start thinking that this album can’t be bettered, which wouldn’t be very good!” It’s an approach that doesn’t leave scope for rock’n’roll excess, but having said that, the fat one out of Keane made it into rehab and who’d have predicted that?

Having grown up so close to Nottingham, they foster many great memories of it, as House Of Lords (eccentrically named guitarist/vocals) fills in, “We love all the venues around Rock City. The cafés and bars are really cosmopolitan but well cheap. We always end up staying out in The Social too late and regretting it the next day. I remember recently break-dancing until three in the morning with Jamie and Lasse from The Rakes. We were all a bit star-struck and got all over excited (and drunk) and then I woke up with a fucked back.”

If it’s a fucked back that marks a memorable night, Ashby De La Zouch must be bad. It has a great name, almost as good as Devon’s Westward Ho!, but what’s in a name anyway? “Nothing, if Ashby de la Zouch is anything to go by,” Henry considers, “I think a similar thing applies to Radiohead, they have a shit name, but they’re a good band. On the other hand, Ashby De La Zouch: cool name, shit hole. Westward Ho! sounds great, I think we would love to live there instead.”

What about if you were a student in Nottingham, can you imagine playing a gig in the living room at a house party? “It’d be awful. House Of Lords would be really drunk, chatting up the freshers. We’d be so loud that the police would turn up and we are all really bad in situations like that. We’d all run out the back door or hide under duvets and leave the others to deal with the heat. Being a student was fun, but not something you would want to be forever. By the end you start thinking ‘let’s get on with life’.”

So having experienced it all, what advice would you give to freshers caught in the headlights of the world? “Grow up fast, grab hold of time and don’t let it slip by with nothing happening. At the same time don’t worry about anything because life’s too short,” Henry concludes, proving that through all the cheek and charm, there’s a more serious side at the heart of the operation. So there you have it, don’t let uni daunt you – do it The Young Knives way and you’ll be just fine!


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