Great Young Hunters (Profile)

Local Indie rockers take their time to concoct a quality debut album


mptying change jars, digging through couch cushions, turning pockets inside out, shining a flashlight under the fridge hoping to retrieve a lost quarter from yesteryear — some bands will do anything to get into the recording studio. Rounding up some money to lay down a few tracks is a rite of passage nowadays. For Northern Kentucky’s Great Young Hunters, this wasn’t just a rite of passage; it was pretty much a monthly occurrence.

But when you’re heading into the studio to record your debut LP while simultaneously trying to establish yourself within an over-saturated local scene, battling the kitchen’s dust bunnies is the least of your worries.

Cincinnati has a vast and flourishing Indie scene. However, in an omnipresent scene, all the heartfelt lyrics and well-written chord progressions in the world won’t get you very far. It requires bands to be more daring with their music, both lyrically and sonically. It requires experimentation, expansion and determination. It requires a work ethic to which GYH’s singer/guitarist Nick Hill, guitarist David Coombs, drummer Benjamin Sims and bassist Brandon Lomax subscribe.

“We seem to play well under pressure,” Sims says. “It’s fun.”

The quartet has been playing as a band since last fall, but the members have been playing together since childhood.

“Brandon and I grew up next door to each other, took up instruments basically at the same time,” Hill says.

Sims was next to join the group, with Coombs joining most recently. He’s still considered the new guy, being the butt of most of the jokes during our interview.

These longstanding friendships do more than just craft a fun band environment; it has helped Great Young Hunters become one very tight and technical act in a very short period of time. The band’s sound is a mishmash of Noise, Indie Rock and Pop. Often, their songs veer off from one genre to another, crashing together sounds that, by all rights, simply shouldn’t work together. Hill’s love of wailing guitar distortion, effects and emotive vocals combined with Sims’ razor-sharp drumming technique, Lomax’s funky bass lines and Coombs’ growing versatility have helped Great Young Hunters craft a sound that, while always cohesive, keeps listeners unsure of what to expect next.

“That’s something we do very well when we write songs. Not every one sounds like the last one,” Lomax says.

With the completion of recording of the band’s debut, Civil Twilight, they are ready to unleash their unique brand of Indie Rock onto the world. But the band wanted to make sure the album wasn’t just some thrown together hunk of plastic. Recording the album frequently drained the band members financially, forcing them to constantly scrape together any cash they could to pay for the recording process. With such dedication to the final product, no shortcuts were taken.

“It’s not just, ‘Oh, this is what we can afford to make right now’ — we destroyed ourselves,” Hill says. “(We) bent over backwards to make this happen.”

When you hear the album, the dedication plays in stereo. Each of the album’s 10 tracks are layered and complex, but also catchy and distinct.

Providing some insight, Sims says, “There are 32 tracks at the end of the last song. We completely filled Mike’s (Mike Montgomery, the producer of the album) board.”

The tracks “On Orange” and “Rivers in the Country Rise Up! Rise Up!” are tailor-made for college radio. “Macondo” is a haunting jaunt through Hill’s psyche, complete with pipe organ synths. The rest of the album is just as unpredictable. Each song has its own position and pace, with deliberate tempo shifts. The songs are unique but definitely spawned from the same band. It’s a hard line to walk, but Great Young Hunters put enough blood, sweat, tears, money and time into the process to fall off the razor’s edge.

While the band’s efforts were not in vain (Civil Twilight is quite an accomplishment), all signs are pointing to bigger and better things. Each member says the recording process had helped them grow as musicians. And if Civil Twilight is to be considered the starting point, then Great Young Hunters should definitely be a band worth tracking down.

GREAT YOUNG HUNTERS ( celebrate the release of Civil Twilight at the Southgate House Friday with guests Sweet Ray Laurel and All Dinosaurs. Buy tickets, check out performance times and get venue details here.

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