Last fall I wrote about Go Farther In Lightness, the second album by Australian indie band Gang Of Youths. At the time, Gang Of Youths had a low profile in the United States in spite of great success at home. While the band plays arenas, tops the albums chart, and wins ARIAs (the Australian version of the Grammys) back home, they couldn’t fill small clubs state-side. Nevertheless, I loved Go Farther In Lightness, and eventually put it at No. 5 on my year-end list.
When I met up recently with Gang Of Youths’ passionate singer-songwriter Dave Le’aupepe before a show in Minneapolis, he admitted that the band’s previous gig in town drew just 20 people. But on Gang Of Youths’ latest tour, things have dramatically shifted. Thanks to burgeoning support on streaming services and radio, as well as a recent appearance on Late Night With Seth Meyers, Gang Of Youths played to packed clubs on the most recent leg of its tour.
Le’aupepe seemed buoyed by the buzz around Gang Of Youths, though he insists that playing to 20 people can be just as inspiring. During our conversation, we talked about the band and the state of rock music, as well as his childhood and struggles with sobriety. It was a fun and emotionally intense conversation — just like Gang Of Youths’ music.