Depending on which country he’s in, Dave Le’aupepe might be regarded by passersby as a full-fledged rock star, a mid-level indie musician, or a total unknown. At the moment, as the 25-year-old Australian talks passionately about his band Gang Of Youths to an American music critic over a bad cell phone connection from a furniture store in London, Le’aupepe exists at the midpoint between stardom and obscurity.
Back home, he’s a big deal, with a recent No. 1 record and eight ARIA nominations (the Aussie version of the Grammys) earlier this month affirming Le’aupepe’s regional reputation as one of rock’s best young singer-songwriters. In the United States, however, Le’aupepe and Gang Of Youths definitely falls on the “unknown” end of the spectrum. While the band’s stirring sophomore effort, Go Farther In Lightness, has battled the likes of Ed Sheeran and Queens Of The Stone Age for supremacy at the top of the Australian charts, the album hasn’t even been reviewed by most music publications and websites stateside.