biography for Young Husband, single out November 26th, 2007
One look at the earnest, wide-eyed Young Husband, aka Watford-born twenteen year old Euan Hinshelwood, and you’d be forgiven in thinking him a kid navigating his first tread onto the stage. One deft strike of a chord, however, and a note from his strong, measured voice, and you will realize – ah, he’s done this before.
In fact, Young Husband has been forging his musical path for more than half a decade, playing the pub circuit before he was even allowed at the bar. At the age of 18, in scuzz-pop band the New Shapes, he had his first taste of the rock and roll dream when they were signed to a label and picked up for a Bacardi advert. Touring the country and playing sessions for nationwide radio, he started to hone his skills as a performer, but it wasn’t till it all fell apart that he found his true voice.
“I’ve always written songs, and people have always asked me to do gigs, to the point when it was getting in the way of other stuff,” he explains, “so I just got rid of the other stuff.”
Essentially an introvert who has struggled in the past with ‘thinking too much’, Euan’s initial output was pure, acoustic based self-observation, beautiful, romantic songs about being a boy with a conscience, trying his best to understand the world around him. Lyrics like I’m just a novice, remember that, cause you make me confused, and we overreact knock you dead with their simplicity, delivered with a solemn, puppy dog glance that makes you want to wrap him in a blanket and put him to sleep. As he became more engrossed in the recording process, however, different influences began to creep in.
“I used to be really into Elliot Smith,” he admits, “and almost got sucked into that singer-songwriter vein of sounding quite like him, but things have shifted now.” Talking about the need to have a band, he adds, “I listen to more noisy music these days, bands like My Bloody Valentine, Stephen Malkmus, so it would be great to get a band to demonstrate that.”
If the first thing that sets him apart from other singer-songwriters is his personality, the second thing will be his commitment to recording things his own way. Like Smith, he records onto an 8 track reel to reel (“though mine is a little better,” he confides), lovingly set up in the corner of his bedroom. “I don’t even have a proper bed anymore,” says Master Hinshelwood, “I’ve got a fold up that comes out at night, and the rest of the room is a little desk, some nice old mics. I sit there, press record, play the song, then put stuff over.” Clearly reveling in the process even as he describes it, he continues, “I usually get to record a song straight after I write it, then I just experiment with scuzzy guitars and weird drum beats.”
Certainly, there’s the air of the studio bear about Euan. He may look fresh faced now, but in his already full beard and grungy long locks, you can see his future self holed up in some analog paradise, taking tea and bread in from a hole in the door. At the mention of this he laughs, “some of my friends tell me I remind them of Robert Wyatt. I think that’s really cool, but maybe I’m not there just yet!” He also cites experimental outsiders British Sea Power as a inspiration, so not much hope for a life spent in daylight…
Before the inevitable lifetime of hibernation, comes Young Husband’s very first release – a digital single called Could They be Jealous of Us. Recorded over a year ago, it’s a song he’s proud of, but eager to move forward from.
“I’m ready for the next thing,” he declares, “I’m happy to play the song and promote it, but I’m also ready to move on.” On the subject of what moving on is, he proudly replies, “I’m gonna carry on recording in my bedroom and get an album together. I can’t be bothered to think about labels and stuff, cause I just want to keep being creative.” It’s a refreshingly non-careerist attitude and also sensible for someone who so values self-sufficiency and the evolution of ideas. So there you have it, Young Husband, a bright young talent miles away from the fleeting teen-pop revolution, happy to play the long game and perfect his craft.
“It’s exciting to be my age and already on my way,” he says, “but there are younger people doing it too.” Pragmatic and modest to the end, he finishes, “all I really do it float around with a cold.”