One of our favorite young bands out right now is Young Culture, an emerging pop punk band originally from Albany, NY. The band was founded by friends from childhood Alex Magnan and Gabe Pietrafesa. Although things have certainly changed for everyone over the past three months, the end of 2019 and the start of 2020 was the lean-in for some momentum for Young Culture that’s now a three-piece featuring Magnan, Pietrafesa, and guitarist Troy Burchett. They were readying the release of more new music to pick up on the momentum that the band established with their last two singles, “Waking Up in Vegas” and “Drift.” Now, there’s a lot up in the air, but we can be certain that whatever the future brings for music, Young Culture will be in the mix.
Alternative Addiction recently talked with the band’s frontman and songwriter Alex Magnan about writing music, his lifelong friendship with Pietrafesa, the band’s last single “Waking Up in Vegas” and the new music that their working on.
“It started out with me and Gabe,” said Magnan when talking about the band’s origins. “We’ve been best friends since we were about 11. He didn’t play music or anything like that, but he skateboarded, and we did some similar stuff. We were friends and I decided I needed him in my band. We started working things out, he started playing guitar and that grew into what it is now.”
Magnan elaborated on how he and Gabe found each other and why they gravitated towards each other to form the band.
“We went to a reasonably large school, we graduated with 500 people or so. Everybody in our hometown was into sports and other things like that, but Dave and I were into different stuff. I was into music and pop punk like Fall Out Boy, All Time Low, and Dashboard Confessional and Dave was into skating and some other stuff like that. We met each other and kind of started hanging out and that led to us playing music together. From there we’ve been best friends since. Then we met Troy at a music camp a few years later. We didn’t talk to him for a few years, but I posted on Facebook that we needed a guitar player and the rest is kind of history.”
Young Culture’s latest single is “Waking Up in Vegas” Magnan explained that the music and lyrics for the song started out from two different sources but both began in a really simple way.
“That song came together when we were working on stuff that will eventually turn into our next release,” began Magnan. “The song came about from Troy sending guitar riffs. He sent this simple, but awesome guitar riff and it grew from that. I figured it out on guitar and then I wrote the song in my room. For the lyrics, I had the first line ’You taste sunkissed because my girlfriend and I were drinking on the beach and she said that. It was just this line that kind of stuck with me, so I wrote it down. The lyrics started with that line and the music started with that one riff and then everything else fell into place after that.”
Pietrafesa is based in Massachusetts now, at least until the COVID era eases up, while Burchett is based in Kentucky. With Magnan being in Albany the three work on new music in different locations. Alex talked a bit about how they’re working on new stuff and how that compares to how they would usually write new music.
“Our first EP was a lot of just writing an acoustic guitar and me bringing it to the table. Then Gabe would kind of fill in the music from there. When Troy joined the band, he did kind of the same thing. For the most part, a lot of the songs come from me in a room with an acoustic guitar. They can start other ways though. Gabe will make beats on his computer and I’ll write over them, Troy will make a riff and send a voice memo and we’ll start from there. We work that way because we all live in different places and bounce things back and forth. It’s a complex way to work, but I wouldn’t want to be working with anybody else.”
Between the music that they already have written and recorded and the music that they’re randomly working on now because there’s not much else to do, Young Culture has a lot of creativity in the can. Magnan talked a bit about the new music and what excites him about it.
“All the new stuff we have already made and the new stuff that we’re writing feels like the stuff we always wanted to do when we started this band. It took us a while to figure it out. This music feels like what we’ve always wanted to make.”
So, is there a plan to release the new music? There’s a plan, and like everything else there’s a plan that has be ready to be modified at a moment’s notice. Magnan talked a bit about the new music coming out to close the interview out.
“It’s hard to say right now because everything that’s going on. Truthfully, I can say that we have new music coming sooner rather than later. Maybe not in the capacity that we wanted initially but it’s coming. We’re going to push the envelope for what we want to do creatively, and I hope everyone loves it.”-aa