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CelebMix Exclusive Interview: Wild Youth

Several months ago, CelebMix introduced you to Irish band Wild Youth – comprising of members Callum McAdam (drums), Ed Porter (guitar/vocals), David Whelan (vocals/guitar) and Conor O’Donohue (keyboard/vocals).

The quartet released their debut single ‘All Or Nothing’ back in 2017 and since then, have gone from strength to strength, releasing additional singles ‘Lose Control’ and ‘Can’t Move On.’ The four-piece’s music has been extremely well received, not just within their home country of Ireland, but worldwide.

Wild Youth recently supported Kodaline on the European segment of their tour, previously supporting artists such as Niall Horan and The Script. The band have also recently completed their debut headline tour around Ireland, performing in various cities to their ever-growing legion of fans.

In addition to completing their headline tour, the band have announced one of their biggest headline shows to date, taking place at Dublin’s Olympia Theatre in March 2019. Tickets for this show can be bought by clicking here.

CelebMix had the opportunity to exclusively speak with Conor and David from the band, prior to their Belfast tour date, about how the band formed, their music, plans for 2019 and more. Keep reading to check out our exclusive interview!

For anyone who may not know, how did you guys meet and then go on to form the band?

Conor: “This band formed from myself and David, who have been friends since we were kids. We used to try and do anything to avoid going to school – we used to meet up, play music and write fake notes. We did that for a long time. I started playing in a band and David started playing with another guy and as things just go round in circles, one night we were like ‘why have we never done this together?’ That is weird actually, because we used to love playing with each other. Not in a bragging way, but when we did used to play together, people used to be like ‘that’s really good.'”

David: “We just did it for the craic.” 

Conor: “Eventually, we were like ‘yeah, let’s do it’ and we just got in to a room and started writing songs and that continued. We knew Ed and Callum was in a band before and we knew him. We used to go and watch his band all the time and we also used to go and watch Ed’s band – we were like little fangirls at the front! They are so talented and their band split up.”

David: “We just fished them in!” 

Conor: “I know this will sound super cliché, but the minute we were in the room, we were like ‘this feels so right.'”

David: “There was nothing like it.” 

Conor: “From that day, we were like ‘this is it, we’re in a band now – all of us.’ There was never a question of anything and since then, it’s honestly been unbelievable.” 

Your music releases have had a fantastic response. How does it feel knowing that your music is so well received?

David: “It’s a big thing when you think about it – people go on their phone, go in to Spotify, type your name in, look up our songs and listen to it – that’s a good twenty seconds of their time that they’ve given you and these days, it is very hard sometimes to get a lot of time out of someone. It’s absolutely mind-blowing to think that there’s people out there that want to listen to our band and want to come to see us at gigs – it’s a pretty beautiful thing.” 

‘Can’t Move On’ was produced by several individuals, including Mark Sheehan and Danny O’Donoghue from The Script. What was it like working with them?

Conor: ”Working with them was the most surreal moment. As I said, me and David go back so long. We used to go to gigs together and I think we went to all five nights when they played the Olympia in Dublin. We went to see them in The Sugar Club, when there was about one hundred people there – we snuck in because we were underage! We went to all their shows. We honestly thought someone was pranking us when this came through, when they said they heard ‘Lose Control’ and they really liked it and they wanted to work with us.”

David: “When they said they wanted to meet us, we were like ‘what?!'”

Conor: “When we met them, they’re just the most down to earth people in the world and again, it just clicked. When the energy is right in the room like that from the very start, it’s such an amazing thing. They are such professionals and we have learned so much from them. It’s crazy because they’ve now become really close friends. We talk to them every day. They’ve produced, along with Jim, all the songs on our EP, which is a crazy to even be saying that – it’s nuts!”

You’ve recently completed your headline tour around Ireland, following your supporting Kodaline on the European segment of their tour. What has it been like for you to perform every night for your fans?

David: “We just came off the Kodaline tour as well, touring around Europe with Kodaline. It was mad to see that, because we’re obviously going through Europe for the first time. Most of the places we were in, most of us hadn’t even been to. The culture and everything was amazing! All the fans over there wouldn’t have known us, because we hadn’t been to Europe, but they obviously went and looked up our music when they saw that we were going with Kodaline. It was crazy because we had them all singing at the gigs and stuff. We found that when we came back to Ireland, there was all these fan pages – a Barcelona Wild Youth fan page and a Paris fan page. To me, that is so mind-blowing. There’s been girls on this tour that we’ve done around Ireland – two from Paris and one from Belgium and they’ve come to every gig, they’ve flown to all our gigs.”

Conor: “They stand at the front of every gig.”

David: “They stand with their Wild Youth T-Shirts on and all our merchandise on. They’re travelling throughout the whole of Ireland just to come see us all the time. That is the best feeling you can possibly ever get in your whole entire life. That’s why we do this. We love playing gigs. We literally play gigs just so we can get up and play in front of people, because the joy that we get from that and seeing them get joy it, is unexplainable.”

Conor: “It’s crazy. The strangest part for us is that we work incredibly hard. We put a song out and then we lock ourselves straight back into the studio and we go again. We kind of remove ourselves from day-to-day life. We’re not at home, wallowing in our own success of ‘Can’t Move On.’ We don’t even hear it that often! When someone tells us ‘you’re going to do a show in The Academy in Dublin,’ we’re like ‘The Academy?! That’s like 900 people!’ and then it sells out in a couple of hours. People come and sing all the words to your songs. There’s been so many pinch yourself moments on this tour.”

David: “I think sometimes we forget as well – we’ve only released three songs and ‘Can’t Move On’ has been the most successful one. It’s crazy that we can do this and get these people to come, off the back of three songs. We’re very privileged and we thank every person that comes to every single gig.”

You’ve supported artists such as Niall Horan, Zara Larsson and The Script. Have they given you any bits of advice that have helped them over the years?

David: “Especially with Danny from The Script, because we were in the studio together, it was my first experience being in a studio with a big, famous, successful front-man in a band, who is also Irish and came out of Dublin who I’ve looked up to, he kind of took me under his wing. When I was in the booth, he was giving me tips that he has learned over his ten years of being in The Script and being around other people he would have looked up to. For me personally, Danny, amongst the writing and recording process of everything, was a big inspiration and he was really cool to me. He opened my eyes to a lot of things that I never really thought of.” 

Conor: ‘Niall (Horan) has been great. I think Irish musicians in general as well are really great and so supportive. With Niall and The Script, they become your friends. It really is a case of you can ring them at any time, any place, anywhere. They’ve got so much experience. With Niall – what has he not done in the music industry?! He’s probably one of the most successful Irish musicians of all time. To be able to have him there and be able to send him songs and get his opinion, see what he thinks and in every kind of walk of life when you’re with him, just the little things you pick up that he says to you, is invaluable. It’s really been amazing.”

David: “The beautiful thing is they’re all so down to earth as well. We’re so lucky that we’ve been able to surround ourselves with these guys, working with them, meet them and do shows with them. For them to be so down to earth and want to help, that’s invaluable as well.”

As a band, who are your musical influences?

David: “There’s so many….Prince, Kings of Leon, The 1975, Imagine Dragons, The Script, Niall Horan, The Rolling Stones, Fleetwood Mac – we have a very broad, collective love of different styles and sounds of music as a band.”

Do you feel that such influences impact the music you write, produce and release?

David: “Massively.” 

Conor: “Totally. I think we try and incorporate more old-school stuff into our music, in a more modern way, if you get me? Even little things – I know David loves Freddie Mercury from Queen. We are always very accepting of the fact that they are our idols and we always tip our hat to them.”

When writing tracks, do you separate off and write individually, sharing your ideas after or do you write collectively?

David: “Conor would take the lead over most of it. He starts it off himself. He’d come up with it on his piano, come up with the idea, the melody – whatever it is. Then, I come in and I lay down a vocal with him and go through all that sort of stuff.”

Conor: “It’s a process.”

David: “We find it’s the easiest way to make it work. With too many chefs in a kitchen, it can get a bit too crazy, you know?” 

Conor: “I think we’ve a very good relationship, in terms of I’ll lean on David a lot, with what he thinks of a melody or maybe a lyric or something that could be tweaked or changed. He’s the first person I’ll send it to and then I’ll go ‘what do you think?’ And he’ll go ‘LOVE this one, but this one’s crap.’ He can obviously sing so much better than I can, so he’s like ‘what about if the note that you had there, you went up there?” Then he’ll sing it back down the phone and send it back to me and I’m like ‘yes, that’s it!’ It’s great – it’s a good process.” 

If you were to sum up Wild Youth’s music sound in three words, what words would you use and why?

Conor: “Fun. It’s definitely fun.”

David: “Sad, upbeat songs. Sad, dancey music. Sing while crying.”

Conor & David: “Dance while crying.”

What’s been your biggest achievement to date and what is something that you would most like to achieve in the future?

Conor: “Selling out The Academy (Dublin) was ferocious.”

David: “It was the biggest show we’ve sold out in our whole career as a band. That’s a milestone that we can be very happy about.” 

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Dublin!!!! Speechless!!!! Love you all ????????

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Conor: “Without sounding big-headed in any way, shape or form, our ambitions have no limits. We want to do the biggest possible shows all over the world, make the greatest possible music and the most successful music in the world. Whether you do that or not, who knows? But that’s always been our goal and our ambition.” 

What can be expected from Wild Youth in 2019 music-wise?

Conor: “At the very start of 2019, we’re going to have some new music – a new single and then we’re going to be bringing out an EP, our first EP. More touring.” 

David: “More stuff to announce in the new year especially.”

Conor: “Festivals….it’s going to be a crazy year.” 

Finally, do you have a message for your supporters?

Conor: “Thank you for everything, because if you didn’t buy tickets to shows, we wouldn’t be able to do this. We have the best time and the best lives ever.”

David: “We love the energy that you bring to every gig and if we can continue to do this for you guys forever, then we will make it our utmost best to make every show the biggest show you’ve ever seen, so thank you all so much!” 

Make sure you stay up-to-date with Wild Youth on their social media accounts:




Have you seen Wild Youth live on any of their recent tour dates? Are you looking forward to hearing more new music from them next year? Make sure you tweet us and let us know: @CelebMix.

Written by Rachel Dempster