First formed in 2013, A Year Today is part of the wave of Bristol punk-rockers currently making their mark on the alternative music circuit. Having shared the stage (and occasionally their bassist) with fellow up-and-coming bands such as Goodbye the Sunset and Syren City, AYT are building an impressive following. Their debut EP, We Are The Young, lays out their agenda from the onset: to write honestly, and to always love what you do. The record was released earlier this year at a sold out hometown gig – surely a testament to what can be achieved with enough passion and energy. In this interview, David Hackett, AYT’s vocalist, talks about the transition from their early material to their current sound, his motivations for making music, Pablina the Piñata, and the band’s not-so-guilty pleasures…
Natalie Bolderston: In your earlier demo tracks – Cattles, for example – I’ve noticed that you dabble in genres such as funk rock. However, I’ve read that you’re now considered to be a punk-rock act – how well do you think this identifies your music?
Dave: We did start out with a pretty funky sound, but naturally got heavier as we got to know each other better. We’ve been described as party punk rock, aha. We’ve never given too much thought on the sound we produce. We make music because we enjoy it, so we don’t like to give ourselves a genre; we just write what we enjoy.
NB: Your Shake It Off cover was awesome! What made you decide to rework this particular track?
Dave: Well, who doesn’t like Taylor Swift – Josh brought up the idea in practice and we all said yes straight away. It’s got an amazing reaction from everyone, and it sums us up, as we want to be known as a fun band.
NB: With regards to music, do you have any ‘guilty pleasures’?
Dave: Josh absolutely loves One Direction, and has been to see them live – although he wouldn’t call it a guilty pleasure! I’m secretly a big fan of UK grime.
NB: Who are your favourite bands/artists? Do they influence your sound in any way?
Dave: My favourite band is Brand New; from a lyricists point of view, all their songs are filled with passion and honesty which I try to put into all my songs.
NB: I’m a big fan of your latest EP, We Are The Young. Do you consider it to be about a particular phase of your lives, or is it a celebration of youth in general?
Dave: The whole EP is built around the struggle of growing up and dealing with the battle of work and a career vs your passions and hobbies. Everyone has to deal with this issue, which is why we have the lyric: ‘We are the young, but this is old news’.
NB: I noticed that 2607, the third song on your EP, has a notably more melancholy, bittersweet vibe than the other tracks on the record. I think it’s my favourite! Is there a story behind this track? Is there a particular meaning attached to the title?
Dave: This song is about someone very close to me who passed away, and it cut me up. I dealt with it by writing a song about him. The lyrics are quite open and exposed, so it’s kind of a song in his memory.
NB: I’ve always thought that “A Year Today” sounds pretty nostalgic. What inspired your band name?
Dave: Well, we couldn’t think of a name for the band, and Josh said “we’ll come back a year today and still not have a name”. We all looked at each other and thought it sounded quite cool, so there is unfortunately no cool meaning behind it.
NB: What’s the hardest thing about being a musician?
Dave: Nothing in my opinion; it should be something you love and care about, so if you’re doing it right then nothing. But I would say that – I’m just a vocalist, aha.
NB: What’s your favourite memory from any gig you’ve played? Where would you like to gig next?
Dave: It’s a toss up between our EP release show – where we sold out The Exchange in Bristol – or the last show of our first UK tour in Oxford, when we smashed up our Piñata mascot ‘Pablina’ live on stage during our set.
Featured image credit: Taken from Twitter (@AYearTodayBand).