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Cherry-Coloured Psych

Dec 17, 2013 Photography by James Loveday Issue #48 - November/December 2013 - HAIM
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Two childhood memories seem to subconsciously inform, or perhaps retroactively explain, Younghusband frontman Euan Hinshelwood’s path thus far in music.

“My first memory of actually listening to music and going, ‘Wow,’ is probably The Beach Boys,” says Hinshelwood from his hometown of London. “A typical childhood story, really: family holidays, The Beach Boys playing in the car, driving down the coast.”

The second memory is of one of Hinshelwood’s older brothers and a musical shift in style.

“My oldest brother was really into metal, but it was strange because he then started listening to dance music,” says Hinshelwood. “He shaved his head, bought a car, and started listening to techno rave. As a kid, I was like, ‘What the hell is going on?’”

Hinshelwood’s own experience relates in that he started Younghusband as a bedroom recording project after spending a time as the bassist of pub rockers The New Shapes. He released a single and two EPs in the late 2000s on a small label called Culturedeluxe, and another single in 2011, before deciding to form a proper band.

“When I started Younghusband, I had this romantic sense of being the prolific loner, I guess,” says Hinshelwood. “Just putting out loads and loads of records, records with like 40 tracks on it, like a Sebadoh kind of thing.”

Then a chance encounter with Cocteau Twins’ track “Cherry-Coloured Funk” (from 1990’s Heaven or Las Vegas) served as the catalyst for Hinshelwood’s musical transition.

“I heard it and was like, ‘Oh my god!’” says Hinshelwood. “I listened to it about 40 times in a row. You know when you have moments when you hear a new song and it’s maybe in a style that you hadn’t really explored before and you start to realize that it’s like Narnia, there’s a whole world behind the song that you haven’t really explored? After hearing that song, I went out and got into many similar bands.”

Hinshelwood’s epiphany led to Dromes, a debut album that marks a change from the more poppy, modish rock style of his earlier singles and EPs to swirly melodic shoegaze, filled out by his band of bassist Joe Chilton, guitarist Adam Beach, and drummer Pete Baker. Hinshelwood sings and plays guitars and keys. To add an air of mystery to the process of writing the album, most of Dromes’ songs were composed while Hinshelwood was living in a building that had formerly been a drug treatment center, which has since converted to affordable housing units.

“It had the weirdest atmosphere,” says Hinshelwood. “There was a room opposite my room, and when I moved in, the door was slightly ajar. I walked in, just out of curiosity, and there was just this awful stench. I looked at the walls and there was blood handprints scraped down the walls from like 30 years before.”

As for the band’s name, Hinshelwood took it from the book Seven Years in Tibet.

“I opened the book and on the first or second page, one of the characters’ last names was Younghusband,” says Hinshelwood. “I really liked how it looked on the page, and I liked the way it sounded like a ‘90s band name, just two words put together, like Slowdive or something.”

So how did he like the rest of the book?

“I had every intention of reading it,” says Hinshelwood, with a laugh. “But no, I never actually read it.”


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