Young Legs is the musical moniker of queer NJ native and NY state transplant Steven Donahue. For over a decade, they’ve released whisper-quiet bedroom folk, blown out garage rock, lo-fi curios, and hi-fi pop anthems, and almost always all on the same record. Self-recorded and produced, but often welcoming collaborators into the fold, he has spent years focusing his critical ear for arrangement on his latest release, ‘Rare Earth Dream’. Inspired by science, science fiction, love, longing, dreams, and reality, she hopes these nine tracks will send you on a journey you want to take again and again. In their ample time spent not working on music, they enjoy reading sci-fi/fantasy paperbacks, playing Dungeons & Dragons, Pathfinder, and Nintendo, gardening, moongazing, staying up late, and sleeping in. ‘Rare Earth Dream’ the song and album represent a pinnacle most artists don't achieve, so for Young Legs you should start mentioning them in the same breath as The Shins, Vampire Weekend, Fleet Foxes and other huge bands as their contemporaries.  

How did the band form and what does the band name mean?

I started this project when I was 18 and wanted to make an album by myself, start to finish. The name comes from something that my grandmother and aunt used to say - if the phone was ringing or they wanted a glass of water: “You’ve got young legs, could you get that for me?”

Previous musical projects? How'd you first get into music?

I’ve been a part of many bands over the years, so I’ll just speak on the most impactful. My highschool band, The Maple Faust, taught me to have fun and harness chaos during the recording process, a lesson I find very valuable to this day. After that, I was in Rabbit Troupe, which provided many additional lessons in collaborative songwriting. I played bass for The Big Drops for a few years, as well as played bass and helped produce both Trim Tabs and Pixl-Visionary, both of which were incredible experiences. All of these bands formed or strengthened lifelong friendships with some of the best songwriters I know.

As for how I first got into music, it has always been a part of my life. My mom, dad, and siblings all play instruments and sing, and being the youngest of four meant that I always had to get creative to find a harmony that no one else was singing.

First concert that you ever went to?

The first national act I saw was Weezer at MSG when I was in 8th grade, while they were on the Red Album tour. I reluctantly admit that Pork and Beans was an alright pop song, in a cash grab sort of way, but my oldest sibling took me because we loved their first 3 albums so much. Naturally, they played all the hits we cared about over the course of the set, but I also had to deal with drunks sitting behind us messing with my hair for some obscure reason.

I’m not 100% certain about the first local show I ever went to, but I can tell you within a reasonable margin of error that it was most likely a “TI Band Jam”, a highschool DIY show series run by students part of something called the Teen Institute. I probably went to see my dear friend Zera Bloom, part of two of the bands I mentioned earlier, in a chaotic ska band named Superior Headgear. That name was a parody of another local ska band named Crown, who were way less fun.


 What's your writing process like?

I approach each song differently, or rather, each song comes forth in its own way. Sometimes a song will crystallize around a single lyric which has an inherent cadence or suggests a certain melody, other times the melody comes first out of the air between passing moments, or I’ll slap a few chords together in a way I’ve never done before, or perhaps even just start with an idea for what a song should feel like. In other words, the process is very organic, and if I find myself forcing something it’s usually not worth it.


What other artists or songs inspire your music? 

I had fun with this playlist - each track directly represents some core element that corresponds with the equivalent track on Rare Earth Dream. Besides Dry the Rain, I never thought about any of these songs or even artists during the writing or recording process - they’re just each doing something more or less that I also tried to do with my respective songs. As a result, the playlist is like a sort of alternate universe version of the album. From the top, we have: pure power-pop, slow build ultra vibe, lo-fi bop, wall of sound, heartstring vocal extravaganza, atomic lounge, bedroom folkpop singalong, circular groove, and finally, how many chords and parts can I fit into a catchy pop song?

Notably, my greatest musical inspirations are entirely absent from this playlist. There are many artists who are just part of my genetics at this point, and everything I write is surely subconsciously influenced by them.

What's the live experience like and your philosophy on playing live? Do you think the music live should be identical to the recorded version or should it be it's own thing?

At the time of writing, my new live band has not yet been tested by an audience, but we are all extremely hyped on how we’re sounding. The most critical thing has been the total enthusiasm from John, Kristin, and Zach - they fell in love with the recordings first and have never stopped being excited to bring them to life. From the get-go, we agreed that we should start by replicating the core 4 piece arrangement of each of the tracks, with the understanding that some elements would take on a sound of their own. Some of the songs are nearly 1:1, whereas others are able to rock on their own despite not having a full concert string section in the wings.

 Has the band toured? What has the touring experience been?

I don’t expect that we will be going on an actual tour, but we’re looking forward to the possibility of playing some one-off shows in cities further afield.

What's up next for the band?

For the live band, affectionately referred to as Young Legs & the Vacation Friends, up next is our first show, with more to follow this summer!

For Young Legs, the musical project, a 5 song Dungeons & Dragons EP is cooking on the backburner. Stay tuned 

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