Over the coming days and weeks, Already Heard will be previewing this years Slam Dunk Festival in detail through a range of interviews and features.
Anthemic Brit rockers Young Guns have a long history with the Slam Dunk Festival. Having emerged with a crop of bands such as You Me At Six, Deaf Havana and We Are The Ocean in the late 2000s, the festival played a part in helping pave the way for those bands. Now six years since their last appearance, Young Guns are back for a third time.
Having mastered the art of producing sky-high hooks in recent years, the quintet are made for the big stage so they’re sure to feel at home on the main stage. With an array of big numbers in their arsenal; ‘I Want Out,’ ‘Bones’ and ‘Weight of the World’, Young Guns have built a back catalogue of crowd favourites.
As they prepared for Slam Dunk return as well as their Vans Warped Tour debut, we spoke with vocalist Gustav Wood to talk about their past appearances, the festivals importance to new bands and more.
AH: Young Guns are no strangers to Slam Dunk. Are you looking forward to playing it once again?
True, we’ve played Slam Dunk a number of times over the past few years. We are really excited to be back and to share the news that we have around that time. It’ll be one of our only appearances in The UK this summer due to playing The Warped Tour in The USA so it promises to be special.
AH: With this being the festivals 10th anniversary, why do you think Slam Dunk is still here compared to other festivals that have fallen by the wayside?
Gustav: I think fundamentally it’s the fact that the line-up is consistently strong year after year. The locations are great and it grows every time. We’re happy to be a part of it once again.
AH: Like we said earlier, you’ve played the festival a few times over the years. What are you memories from past Slam Dunks?
Gustav: Slam Dunk has always been a place that we get to catch up with friend in other bands that we haven’t seen in some time so it’s always a great atmosphere where everyone is having a good time together. We’ve played outside which was great, indoors in different rooms/stages and every one has been a real event. I remember one time we played and Atticus had filled the room with inflatable beach balls that spent the majority of the set flying at my face – that was fun.
AH: It seems ‘Ones and Zeros’ had divided opinions. Does Slam Dunk give you an opportunity to prove a point?
Gustav: I think we have a point to prove every time we play live and so this will be no different. We’re a band that thinks we work well in the live setting, so we’ll just go out and do our thing like we always do. At this point having three albums under our belt, it’s a great opportunity to play a condensed festival set of our most popular songs across our catalogue.
AH: I recall you being pretty low down on the bill a few years ago. How important is Slam Dunk as a proving ground for new bands?
Gustav: Very, as are all festivals. We started playing SD at the same time as bands like We Are The Ocean, Deaf Havana etc and it was great to do that when we were all coming up together.
AH: This year’s lineup is stacked with acts both old and new. Are you looking forward to catching up with old acquaintances?
Gustav: Yeah of course, always. It’s a great bill with just enough variation across all the bands, I think.
AH: What bands will you be making the extra effort to go and see?
You never get to see as many bands as you’d like but I’ll try and watch Every Time I Die, Panic! At The Dicso, New Found Glory, our friends in Yellowcard, Miss May I, and Of Mice & Men.
AH: Shortly after Slam Dunk you’ll be heading to the States to make your Warped Tour debut. What are your expectations for the Vans Warped Tour?
Gustav: It’s a great opportunity for us to get out to a lot of new people and we’ve always wanted to play the tour so we’re thrilled. It’s a hard tour but we’re excited to get out there and be that British band that gets sunburnt instantly every day and hopefully make an impression on a new audience.
AH: There a few bands at Slam Dunk who are also playing Warped Tour. Do you consider Slam Dunk as a warm-up for Warped?
Gustav: Not really, but it shares a similar atmosphere, I imagine, of a sense of community which is always great.
AH: For people who haven’t been to the festival or Warped Tour, what are your survival tips?
Gustav: Just don’t peak too early!
AH: Finally how would you define the Slam Dunk Festival?
Gustav: A great intimate festival with a bunch of like-minded bands and audiences who just want to come together and have a great couple of days. See you there!
Young Guns will be playing on Main stage:
Slam Dunk North (Leeds) – 2:30 – 3:15pm
Slam Dunk Midlands (Birmingham) – 2:30 – 3:15pm
Slam Dunk South (Hertfordshire) – 2:30 – 3:15pm
View more of Already Heard’s coverage from Slam Dunk Festival 2016 here.
‘Ones And Zeros’ by Young Guns is out now on Virgin EMI (UK) / Wind Up Records (US).
Words by Sêan Reid (@SeanReid86)