“Imagine Richard Youngs as the junior member of a cabal of prolific and puritanical English musician-mystics, including The Fall’s Mark E Smith, Van der Graaf Generator’s Peter Hammill, Martin Carthy and The Clangers’ composer Vernon Elliot, and still his nature will elude you” Stewart Lee, Sunday Times.
Richard Youngs has been involved with music for most of his life. He discovered the power of the art form by thumping the family piano as an angry 5 year old. In the intervening 45 years he has attempted to harness the same experimental, naive, playful power in his live performances and in all of his 140 releases. This creative openness has led him to explore different musical genres.
He has performed floor spots at Hertfordshire folk clubs, and worked with members of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. He has recorded a modern pop album (‘Beyond the Valley of Ultrahits’), and a score for the BBC SSO (‘Past Fragments of Distant Confrontation’). He was commissioned to write music for the art film ‘The Poor Stockinger, the Luddite Cropper and the Deluded Followers of Joanna Southcott’, and his music has appeared in the 2013 feature film ‘Drinking Buddies’. He is the drum machinist of the Flexibles, singer of AMOR.
“The postpunk autodidact’s postpunk autodidact” Clive Bell, The Wire.
He is classically trained in piano and guitar, but musically he grew up in the shadow cast by punk rock. Adopting guerrilla recording techniques, the independent D.I.Y. ethic is at his core.
He is a solo artist who also works with a diverse range of artists. He has collaborated with Scottish filmmaker Luke Fowler, Arts Foundation of New Zealand Award laureate winner Alastair Galbraith, Portuguese organist David Maranha, and Japanese guitarist Makoto Kawabata (Acid Mothers Temple) among others. Since 1985 he has performed irregularly with Neil Campbell (A Band; Astral Social Club; Vibracathedral Orchestra). He was the bassist for Jandek’s inaugural live performance at Instal 2005, and plays as a duo with Damon Krukowski (Galaxy 500; Magic Hour; Damon and Naomi).
“Fearless…bonkers” Fielding Hope, Senior Producer, Cafe Oto.
He attempts not to repeat himself, every leap of faith is an expression of Richard Youngs’ essential Youngs-ness.
“THE iconic figure of the UK modern UK underground.” – Joseph Burnett, The Quietus.
Releases by Richard Youngs
Youngs recorded the album in his hometown, Glasgow, as a cycle of chamber songs, a 21st century update of the solo album – one musician playing all the instruments in a small one-room set up. The album itself began with Youngs collecting his own percussion samples: from handclaps, a battered old cymbal, an extractor fan vent, FM radio interference, cassette hiss and a kick from “a disastrously ‘80s sounding drum machine”. These were then used to programme beats, played back at randomly determined tempos in durations mapped to randomly chosen major label songs. The original plan was to send Belief out to the ‘major’ labels and collect the rejection letters as an art project. But, as soon as the album had been mixed, Daniel O’Sullivan (Grumbling Fur, This Is Not This Heat) played the songs to Tim Burgess and before the mail art project could take off, Belief became Richard’s debut for Tim Burgess’ O Genesis Recordings label.