Poor Young Things need no sympathy. The rock ‘n’ roll band, made up of five resourceful focused musicians, gave up a contented life in Thunder Bay, Ontario, and headed for Toronto without knowing a soul. Within a year, the band had recorded with their dream producer Jon Drew (Arkells) and signed a deal with Bumstead Records. Poor them, indeed.
Their debut EP, Let It Sleep, a precursor to a full-length album to be released later in 2012, is an emotive working-class rock release with songs primarily about the culture shock of a big city and surviving there.
“Blame It On The Good Times” was written about Toronto’s Dakota Tavern hideaway, hanging out until last call, soaking up the inspired music. “We can stay here with the rounders and listen to the Lo-Fi,” lead singer-guitarist Matt Fratpietro sings. “It’s about going out on the town and having fun and getting swept away in all the downtown ruckus,” he explains.
“Let It Sleep” is about the things you have to do to subsist in a big city when you’re trying not to get spat out. “We’re one step ahead of dying/ We fight the war on the weekend,” is one of the lyrics. “…maybe one day you get where you want to be.” “None of us have jobs. You have to scrape by as much as you can. You have to eat noodles only,” Matt laughs. “But it’s good; it shapes your personality.”
It also shapes the music Poor Young Things create, a kind of raw mix of Tom Petty meets Powderfinger.
“This music has totally been affected by Toronto and a lot of the indie bands down here,” says Matt. “You can go to the Dakota and check out a deadly roots band and then go to the Horseshoe and check out an awesome rock ‘n’ roll band.”
When Matt, guitarists Michael Kondakow and Dave Grant, bassist Scottt Burke and drummer Konrad Commisso first formed a band after high school, the early incarnation had strains of roots and country. They adopted a rawer, rougher, rock ‘n’ roll sound once they relocated to the rawer rougher Toronto, at the behest of The Trews keyboardist Jeff Heisholt (also of Thunder Bay).
“We were going to move to Vancouver, but Jeff said, ‘Move here. It’s the epicenter of the whole music industry. I’ll help you get a demo together,’” says Matt. “We found a place and packed up and we all live together in a big house in North York.”
In May of 2011, the five cut a demo in Hamilton, ON, which got the attention of The Trews management and label. They began working together on a handshake when a fortuitous encounter led Poor Young Things to their fave producer.
“We had a chance meeting with his business partner,” Matt recounts. “He said, ‘I have a studio behind the Horseshoe, why don’t you come and check it out.’ And brought us there and Jon Drew was sitting in the room. We were like, ‘Holy shit.’”
Poor Young Things will continue to work on their debut album, while playing live and happily living on noodles.
“Our goal is to be able to make a living doing this — doing music, touring, seeing the country and seeing other countries,” says Matt. “We don’t want to make millions of dollars. It would be nice, but it would also be nice to do what you’re passionate about for a living and be comfortable doing that.”