As YOUTH FOUNTAIN prepares to move forward, the future perfectly mirrors the past.
What began as a solo project by guitarist/vocalist Tyler Zanon in 2013 under the name Bedroom Talk eventually blossomed into a full-blown band by 2017, with the Vancouver-based Youth Fountain (then a duo) proudly announcing their presence with the debut single “Grinding Teeth” and a pair of Pure Noise Records releases that expertly toed the line between pop-punk fervor and more reflective emo moments.
Alternative Press hailed the band’s 2019 debut full-length, Letters To Our Former Selves, as one of the year’s very best, dubbing it the “perfect blend of emo-tinged punk to soundtrack reflecting on every single life decision you’ve ever made,” while North American tours with the likes of Free Throw, Can’t Swim and Chris Farren cemented Youth Fountain’s sweat-soaked sound as something best experienced live – all while dodging a few stray elbows and overzealous crowd-surfers.
Now once again, Zanon finds himself as a solo artist following the departure of co-vocalist Cody Muraro in mid-2020 – but this time, he’s exactly where he wants to be. Youth Fountain’s new release, LETTERS TO OUR FORMER SELVES – ACOUSTIC EP (out Dec. 9, 2020 via Pure Noise), re-introduces Zanon’s project to the world, reimagining fan favorite material from the 2019 LP of the same name. The four-song collection tones down Youth Fountain’s trademark frenetic energy in favor of more subdued, melodic sensibilities, but expertly does so without sacrificing an ounce of the passion that captivated fans in the first place.
If anything, his toxic-tongued lyricism – much of it pointed inward in intense self-reflection – reverberates even louder without a sonic wall shrouding it. Not content to let the more serene setting mellow him out, Zanon pushes his vocals to the limit across the EP, stepping into the spotlight with the confidence and chops to assuage those concerned about the band’s future.
“A lot of people like the band for the energy and grit in our vocals,” Zanon says. “That’s what carries the project. I tried out the mellow things a bit on these songs, but couldn’t completely go there. Ultimately I’m just me.”
Fan favorites “Deadlocked” and “Blooms” make an appearance on the acoustic set, as does “Letters to Our Former Selves” (one of the first songs Zanon ever wrote) and “Rose Coloured Glass,” the band’s million-plus-streamed song. The latter serves as the perfect encapsulation of Youth Fountain’s next chapter – both musically and lyrically. As Zanon pulls double duty handling both sides of the previously dueling vocals, he wistfully looks back at past relationships before declaring himself better for not being in them. The song might be years old, but the new version here faithfully carries the source material’s self-identity and maturity, this time with a lyric that feels particularly resonant given the group’s recent personnel changes.
With a new energy and determination empowering Zanon, there’s a lot on the horizon for Youth Fountain. He’s been spending the pandemic hard at work readying the next full-band LP, slated for release in early 2021, and re-centering himself on why he began making music in the first place. In many ways, this musical rebirth is the best thing that could have ever happened for him, a chance for him to fall back in love with his own songwriting ability and bravely dare to continue pushing its limits under no one’s terms but his own.
“It’s so freeing to not have other cooks in the kitchen,” he says. “I have these visions of how I want things to sound, and it’s up to me now to execute on them. This all started as a solo project, so why not keep it going?”