After having spent a year in the UK and being smothered with new bands, it became clear that Youthmovies took the cake as the year’s most interesting act. The Oxford-based quintet defies the trends of indie rock and any disposable genres suffocating the scene. Since singer/guitarist Andrew Mears had been one of Foals’ original members, Youthmovies may have always been destined to be on the right track, and judging from their tireless touring, intense gigs and cult following, things are on an upward slant. Their debut gem, Good Nature, came out in the UK on Drowned in Sound Recordings in March and was produced by Anthony Theaker (formerly of Hope of the States). If you can picture the avant-garde coolness of Hope of the States mixed with anything from jazz to alt-rock, you get an idea of the wonderful wizardry of Youthmovies.

So you’ve been doing a lot of press for the debut?

Andrew: More than usual.

When you mean more than usual, what do you mean exactly?

Andrew: More than nothing! [laughs]

You guys tour so much, it’s crazy!

Andrew: I think it looks like that more to the outsider, than it does to us.

Al English [guitar]: We find ourselves at home for three months doing nothing, so it’s like we’re waiting to go on tour.

Now that you have the album down, does it feel more structured?

Andrew: It’s here now and it’s exciting. It’s our first full-length… We’re settled in with it and we like it, so it will be nice to see how people react. It’s been positive so far.

Everyone will be familiar with the songs because they’ve heard them so much from live performances. And the album sounds really clean and sharp.

Andrew: Ant [Producer Anthony Theaker] did a great job. We basically recorded it all live, apart from vocals.

Graeme Murray [drums]: Ant kind of records in a classical way. It’s a return to the old way of doing things–he doesn’t indulge himself in computer trickery, and he wanted it to simply sound natural. That’s exactly what we wanted too.

So everyone agreed with what you guys ultimately wanted it to sound like. It’s funny when I keep reading about the album, and every article talks about your relationship to Foals.

Andrew: I think it’s probably quite natural. I was in Foals, our albums are came out in the same month, and we’re both from Oxford. It’s not doing us any harm, we’re pleased for them.

Do you love living in Oxford?

Andrew: The city is great; the music is great except for some of the Oxford student twats. It’s a different world though.

Al: They don’t drink in the same places, or go to the same shows. In their hallowed walls!

Andrew: Oxford has a healthy music scene. Scenes tend to pop up now and then, like a noise scene; some say a math-rock scene.

What is math rock anyway?

Andrew: It’s nothing. It’s what didn’t happen in England in the 90s. And it did happen in America.

Graeme: Overall, in Oxford, there seems to be an attitude that you can do what you want and you don’t have to adhere to anything for people to like it.

Back to the album, the title is Good Nature. Why did you choose that?

Andrew: It’s a lot about nature on the album, and it’s a thank you to all the people who were there for us. We also wanted something more uplifting because we were in a positive place while making it. We didn’t want something morose and full of gloom. [laughs]

I love the taxidermy theme in the press shots!

Andrew: We kept the more controversial animal shots out, like one with a rhino’s head, etc… [laughs] Some of them were really close to the bone! It was fun to exaggerate it all. The photos went well, but after a while the smell was really awful!

Al: We felt like we needed something really staged. In our films, interviews and photographs we always feel awkward, like five goofy boys who don’t dress alike, it’s dreadful! [laughs]

–Andrea D’Alessandro, Photo courtesy of RCRD LBL