"I care for meaningful music that is written from the heart. That’s what is cool to me, and emo artists do it the best"
Youth Fountain recently released their new album 'Keepsakes & Reminders' via Pure Noise Records, and it is an absolute beauty.
The latest offering from the brainchild of Tyler Zanon, the record is an epic piece of emotional pop-punk that is as stark and as it sensational. Gripping, defiant and gutturally open, it's the most complete and cathartic that the band have ever sounded, and serves not just as a mental release for Tyler but a shoulder to lean on for all those experiencing the same levels of intensity inside their heads.
To find out a bit more about it, we sat down with Tyler and talked through the process of putting it together...
So, Youth Fountain is once again a solo project following your collaborator Cody Muraro joining Real Friends. How did that affect the build-up to this record, and what you wanted to do with it?
"It wasn’t too much of a transition. When I started the project, I had already been writing all of my own stuff, and of course, I played all of the instruments on our records. When I started learning to record more and write on my laptop, I met Cody, and we started collaborating. He helped bring the band up to a different level. He is older than me and knew how to promote things and show people your music, so he helped with those things that I didn’t. But as things go on and we toured more, dynamics can change. In terms of actual writing, it has never been that different. He always had more opinions on the production side from the emotional side. So that’s how I’m still able to do my thing now."
But what you’ve been able to gain is the confidence and experience to push the band in the direction you always wanted to…
"There are a few songs on here that me and Cody did collaborate on, like ‘Nosedive’ and ‘Vertigo’ in terms of the guitars. But then there are tracks like ‘My Mental Health’ and ‘Jinxed’ and ‘Keepsake’, which are very much about me and me doing my thing. But the mentality definitely is a lot more confident than it was. I’ve gained a lot of stuff from touring and the ins and outs of putting out music and getting it out to people. It’s awesome to be in that position, and really excited about what those things I’ve learned have brought to this album."
In terms of your last full-length ‘Letters To Our Former Selves’, what did that teach you about what you were able to produce with this new batch of songs?
"There was a lot. I recorded everything myself for that record, all on my laptop, bare-bones. But this record I had help, and it sounds a lot more polished because of that. I learned a lot about songwriting as well, in that it is very different on this album as well to what there was on the last one. I still write about my issues and the things I go through, but it felt like there was a lot more filler on the other record. This time around, there are more actual songs. I basically just tried to push myself more this time around and make things that felt more catchy and more infectious. That last record helps set the pace, but I feel like my maturity and craftsmanship have improved so much."
When you’re putting so much of yourself and exorcising so much of what you have been through to reach this point, you want to make sure that you are doing those experiences justice…
"I think that’s something that I gravitate towards this band for as well. A lot of the lyrics and feelings are very much like that. It’s an emo band, and it’s going to gain emo fans because of that. That’s the stuff that I grew up on, and it’s what has always made music what it is. I’ve never been much of a technical player. I’m more of an emotional and passionate player. I play for what makes me feel something. I’m always searching for moments that make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. I don’t care for how much someone can shred. I care for meaningful music that is written from the heart. That’s what is cool to me, and emo artists do it the best."
So what did it feel like when you realised what you had been able to create and put on paper with this album?
"After it was all done, I felt a sense of relief. I’ve had demos from this album dating back to 2018, and I’ve had riffs since before Youth Fountain was a thing. I was looking forward to it being real so much. I can write a song easily, but it takes me a while to finish the lyrics and figure out exactly what I want to sing. So I second guess myself and worry about whether something is the best way of saying something. But with it being done, it felt like such a breath of fresh air. Writing the last record, I was going through one of the worst times of my life and the songs that I wrote for that reflected that. But for this one, I tried to improve my mental health and improve the things that I have gone through. I’ve been on anti-depressants for a long time now, and they have been helping. But it all feels like a different period of my life. While I was writing for this one, I just wrote down whatever was coming to my brain, and I think the medication changed my creative thinking. Before, I was really fucking sad and would write out exactly what that was like bluntly. But the medication made my life a lot better, so it allowed me to write personally and with less second-guessing. I struggled and had some writer’s block, but I’m super proud of what I was able to make out of those feelings."
And because of that, people will surely be able to see the difference in you whilst listening to your music…
"I think they definitely will. People can see the progression, and I’m so happy to have such a dedicated fanbase who want to stick around and support the project and support me through this. Them caring about it is what makes me want to keep on going."
What was it that made you want to umbrella these songs under a title such as ‘Keepsakes & Reminders’?
"I can remember writing for the song ‘Dark Grey’ whilst on tour. I was dating someone at the time, and things weren’t going too great, but I started to think about how sometimes all you’re left with from the people you love and care for our photos and souvenirs. It’s a very human thing to collect things like that. I find it interesting how you can find pieces of someone in physical objects and trinkets that you pick up throughout life. In a way, that’s what these songs are now. That object is the album."
And what has this album provided for you as you look forwards to the future of this project?
"I think that it’s pretty complex. It’s made me realise how much I really love music and how much I want to make it an actual career. That’s the number one thing that I want to do, and I hope to make a living off of it one day. It’s made me strive to want to work harder and do all I can to keep ongoing. It’s made me want to keep on trying. There have been so many moments where I’ve wanted to give up and not do this anymore because it’s hard when you can’t even get by whilst juggling so many things. But if I feel inspired to write music, I will put everything down and do that. It’s the deep passion I feel inside me, and I don’t think that will ever fade."