”Written byHannah Mitchell
And there was Lost//Youth: looking exactly as effortlessly edgy as one would imagine a rock band to be.
I still remember when I first discovered rock music. I mean, we’ve all technically listened to it: we’ve heard of the most famous artists, and have a vague pop culture reference of Hendrix at Woodstock. Maybe you have a dad who played Pink Floyd on the car rides to school. But to actually appreciate the genre – my first experience in the form of classic rock album Led Zeppelin IV – was a different venture entirely. It transformed my perception of music, allowing me to understand the mastery of different musicians creating art together, a careful collaboration I hadn’t fully grasped before. It became my defining Apple Music genre: Deftones blasting during my gym sessions, scouring playlists for new rock artists – where I found Lost//Youth.
Was this realisation in part due to my musical naiveté? Definitely. But this love for rock music – and realising the vastness and richness of the genre – was what led me to interview Lost//Youth last Wednesday; a vivacious band that is challenging boundaries to rock music’s position in South Africa.
I wasn’t expecting the interview to play out as it did. On Wednesday evening, I sat in the dim corner of an impossibly cool Kloof street bar and watched the group walk to the entrance. And there was Lost//Youth: looking exactly as effortlessly edgy as one would imagine a rock band to be. It became quite clear that each member – lead vocalist Alanna Joy (25), lead guitarist Faghri Hendricks (28), drummer Teddy Frazer (26), and bassist Charlie Charles (26) – add a unique flavour to the band’s sound. And, of course, to the band’s dynamics.
I was expecting to ask them a few vague questions, sprinkle some isn’t-the-weather-quite-nice into the conversation, and maybe curl up on my sister’s couch with a cup of rooibos by 8:30 pm. Despite my plans for a quick chat, I wasn’t entirely surprised after falling into a comfortable conversation with the band for a few seemingly speedy hours that I asked the band: “so where are we going next?”
Lost//Youth exemplifies much of what I appreciate about rock music. The band is distinctively flexible – a combination of creatives with quite different forms of influence – who have come together to create a sound that bridges the gap between the soft lyricism of indie rock, and the heavier guitar riffs reminiscent of some of my favourite nu-metal bands. It’s a sound that comes from their vast variety of music tastes. We’re talking Hozier meets pop-punk in Blink-182, a bit of Red Hot Chilli Peppers, mixed in with blues and Ben Howard. As Alanna notes – “Car rides end up pretty interesting.” It’s definitely a road trip playlist like none other.
But don’t be fooled – it might outwardly sound like a bit of a wild patchwork of styles, but it just meshes perfectly. Lost//Youth recently released an EP, Chasing Shadows, a first chapter of sorts in the band’s exploration of light and dark. These are concepts that the band manages to play around with without sacrificing the music’s appeal. It’s raw, it’s authentic, it’s emotionally open – but not in a way that stifles the listener’s ability to apply the EP to their own experiences.
The band recently finished a tour – masterfully driven across the country by Charlie, who possesses the iconic 70s Jimmy Page curls: the ringlets just cementing the band’s alt-rock aesthetic. The tour was certainly a bonding experience for the lively bunch, who mourned the loss of Teddy’s spilt McFlurry to the wrath of a freezer and struggled up flights of stairs with what felt like tonnes of equipment. Despite dodgy hotels and roads riddled with potholes, it was a rewarding experience for the band. They experimented with covers, played some new music, and even had members of the audience come up to them and share how they related to the music.
I gained an even greater appreciation of the workings and musings of band life and the creative process that comes into play. Yet, the band is lucky – they share a similar dream, a similar vision for the future. It’s exciting, even just as an outsider, to consider where this group of vibrant creatives is headed. Rock music in South Africa has been begging for a revitalisation. It needs to be seen as a genre that is multi-dimensional, encompassing hundreds of different sounds and intentions. Lost//Youth is no doubt going to play a defining role in that.
Yet, the band is lucky – they share a similar dream, a similar vision for the future. It’s exciting, even just as an outsider, to consider where this group of vibrant creatives is headed.
Lost//Youth have become one of our favourite up-and-comers. With the right sort of energy, they’re going to be helping us keep kicking 2022 right in rear. They will be performing at District in Cape Town on the 17th of February, as well as the Retreat Yourself Festival on the 24th – 27th of February where we’ll be covering the whole Retreat Yourself experience. You can check out their website for more performances.