10 Questions with Young The Giant’s Eric Cannata

With Movin’ On fast approaching, one act to look out for is Young The Giant, an indie rock band out of California. After bursting out on to the scene after their self-titled debut album, the band has garnered a lot of attention, and has played major festivals such as Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits in 2011. I had the chance to talk with guitarist Eric Cannata, and here’s what he had to say about Young The Giant, dinosaurs, and everything in between:


1. What has it been like going from virtual unknowns to the next hot thing that everyone is watching?

It’s been a blast being able to tour and play live shows across the country and I guess we didn’t think it would happen this fast, honestly. We went from playing coffee shops to playing in front of 2000 people every night. I think what we’re most excited about is all the opportunity we’ve been given.

2. Who would you cite as major influences in your music?

When we were younger, one of our first biggest influences was the Strokes. Now we all listen to a wide variety of music such as Spoon, TV on the Radio, R&B, and hip hop stuff like Mos Def.

3. As a band, what’s the most important thing Young The Giant needs to do in order to continue the success you guys have been having?

The most important part for us is to be writing as much as possible and also to not get lost in the business side of things. We can’t lose sight as to why we got into all of this and […] that we all love playing music together.

4. How does the songwriting process typically work? 

Certain songs come from certain members of the band, whether it’s a lick or a beat. Everyone tries to give ideas and we all have our own strengths. I’m mainly the rhythm guitarist, so that’s my focus. However, we really like the fact that it comes from all five of us. We’re kind of like a jam band in a sense, because ideas come from all of us.

5.  Will we be the first to hear anything from YTG’s sophomore album? 

Yeah, we’ll be playing three songs that we have written so far. They’re “What you Get,” “I Wanna,” and “Camera.” However, all of the names can be changed down the road. We will hopefully release the album by spring of next year.

6. Young The Giant covered “Remix to Ignition” for The A.V. Club Undercover series. Since Ludacris will also be performing as a part of Movin’ On, would you consider covering a Ludacris song? 

I never really dove in to Ludacris that much. I’d rather make the beat for Ludacris and play with him. I think we’d have to stick to R. Kelly or something ridiculous like Kanye or Dr. Dre.

7. A lot of people dream about being “in a band,” so to speak. What’s the best thing about being in Young the Giant?

One of my favorite moments is when we’re on stage and we see people sing along to our tunes. It’s kind of surreal because you see thousands of people dancing and singing to your song. But my favorite part in general is traveling and seeing the world. I’ve grown up a lot from that. When you’re out on the road for like two months you realize that so many people are coming out to see you play. It’s a lot of sacrifice and touring, but the tour has really taught me about people and cultures in general.

8. In your opinion, who is the coolest member of the band?

I’m obviously the coolest. But in all serious everyone has their thing. Jake [Tilley (drummer)] is a killer surfer. Payam [Doostzadeh] is crazy. He was kicked out of high school for changing kids’ grades, but got into UC San Diego. Everyone’s cool in some way. Everyone’s got a different background and it’s really cool to see.

9.  If Young The Giant was able to make one album made up entirely of covers from any prominent 80s band, which would you choose and why?

It would be Paul Simon for sure. He’s a great storyteller and I love his voice and melodies. He’s definitely one of my favorite [artists]. It’s very cool that he took African rhythms and put those into American storytelling. Paul Simon is just a boss.

10. If you were a dinosaur, which one would you be and why?

I would be Petri from Land Before Time, so a pterodactyl.  As a dinosaur, I wouldn’t want to be on land. I would rather be up in the air all like “Screw you guys, I’m a bird.” I would be too scared to be on land as a dinosaur.

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About the Author

Greg Schlosser

Greg is a senior majoring in energy engineering at Penn State. He is a big fan of Pittsburgh sports and sandwiches with coleslaw and french fries. You can email him at [email protected] or find him at the Phyrst drunkenly requesting the band to play "One Headlight."

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