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INTERVIEW: meet hometown & young, the hottest new rock band out of california

hometown & young are made up of Erik Johnstone (19, lead vocals and guitar,) and Victor Cassizzi (18, drums and backing vocals), based in Los Gatos, California. They’re incredible, from the vocals to their sound, they’ve got something special and real that begs, no demands to be heard. Their recent single is Vaccine, a powerful track that's exactly what the world needs right now, no pun intended.

Check out the interview with them down below:

How did you two meet and form the band?

Erik and I met in high school, we were friends but we didn’t know each too well. We knew about each other’s musical talents and kept saying that we had to jam sometime. Then randomly one day months later, we text each other at the exact same time. I sent him a link to a band I had just discovered, cleopatrick, and he texted me asking if I wanted to record music with him.

How would you describe your sound?

Our sound is hard rock, inspired by bands like Highly Suspect, Muse, cleopatrick, and the Arctic Monkeys, but personally, I don’t think anybody has heard what we can really do. With these singles, we really wanted to try and keep everything in a similar sound, and now we both think it is time to expand. Don’t worry, we aren’t pulling an MCID and changing genres or anything, we will have the same hard rock music, we just want to be able to express more emotion within our music and tell stories that we couldn’t before. In 2019, we wrote a lot of demos and there was no common sound to it. I think our upcoming music will let us have a chance to show the different things we can do.

Who are your musical inspirations?

Some of our writing inspirations are the Arctic Monkeys, Muse, cleopatrick, and Highly Suspect. Erik’s main musical influences are Arctic Monkeys, The Killers, and Jimi Hendrix. Victor’s main influences for drumming would be Dave Grohl, John Bonham, and Travis Barker.

What have you been up to in quarantine?

Since stuck at home, besides finishing up our online classes, we started writing again by sending each other voice memos over text, creating some rough demos of songs. Then I dropped off an SM7B microphone to Erik’s house so he could record vocals and guitar in his bedroom, and that’s how we recorded our last two singles "Terrible 22’s" and “Vaccine”.

What message do you want listeners to take away from Hometown & Young?

The message we want our fans to take away is to always be yourself, fuck the people who bring you down because in the end it’s just you and only you. We hope that you can relate to what we are saying through our music and we really want to connect with our fans.

What's the best advice you've been given?

The best advice we ever received was encouragement. We sent one of our demos to cleopatrick in early 2019 and they were so enthusiastic about the song, it made us super excited that a band we love was reaching out to us and being so kind. The experience made us realize if anyone ever wanted to reach out to us, we would make them feel the same, because music is all about connection and we love talking and having a positive connection with our fans.

What are your top four comfort albums — albums you play on repeat when everything is bad, albums that bring you peace and feelings of safety?

We’ll do two and two. Erik’s two comfort albums are Harvest Moon by Neil Young, and Grace by Jeff Buckley. Victor's two comfort albums are the Color and the Shape by the Foo Fighters and Recovering the Satellites by Counting Crows.

Your latest single, Vaccine, what's that about?

Vaccine is written for the people who don’t put on a fake persona everyday, for people who deal with life’s struggles because it’s life and that’s how it goes. It’s a song that when you're pissed, encourages you to be pissed, or when you just want to shut out the world and scream, you can.

What's next for hometown & young?

More music for sure. We want to release an EP next since we feel like we have a solid amount of songs out already and a very active fan base. We are in the early process of writing that EP right now, and we hope to expand and develop our sound, and really show people what we are capable of. Aside from releases, since we can’t tour and play live anytime soon due the coronavirus precautions, so we are planning on playing online concerts where people can watch us from anywhere in the world.

Lastly, can you make a playlist for Buzzkill, just 12 songs?

You can listen to hometown & young on Spotify and Apple Music, follow them on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube.

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