The band that is now Young Cities started in the summer of 2007 under the name Hearts Like Lions. After years of gigging under that moniker, the members — Chance Scott-Burke, Tyler Briskie and James Morrison — decided it was time for a change, not only in what they were called, but in the goals they had when they had first started out. In late 2009, the group changed its name to Young Cities, and its members traveled to L.A. to visit a famous friend who helped them book time at a famous studio to record their first, self-titled EP. We sat down with vocalist-guitarist Scott-Burke recently and discussed the new record, the band's recent lineup change and why some houseguests are more beneficial than others.
Westword: Describe the experiences of traveling to L.A. to record at EastWest Studios. How did Drew Brown of OneRepublic become involved?
Chance-Scott Burke: We grew up with Drew, and he will forever be family to us. In the spring of 2009, while he was recording the sophomore OneRepublic album in Denver, he was living in our basement in Broomfield. Young Cities was writing a billion songs a week at the house, and Drew stepped in to listen from time to time. One day he said, "You know this stuff is really good, right?" It turns out he wasn't just being nice.
Young Cities EP release, with Monroe Monroe, Sun Red and more, 8 p.m. Friday, November 5, hi-dive, 7 South Broadway, $6, 720-570-4500.
Three months later, we were driving to L.A. with a keyboard, a bass and some pedals in the back of a VW. We partied for a day, and then it was straight to work. I was initially intimidated by the studio's history — Beach Boys, Mamas and the Papas, Weezer, Red Hot Chili Peppers and, shit, Sinatra himself. By the end of the week, we all felt like it was our home away from home, and were putting our cigarette butts out on Sunset Boulevard. It was an indescribable feeling to be inside those walls making an album.
You originally recorded enough songs for a full-length. Why did that turn into an EP? What are the plans for the other songs?
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It was a decision made a few months after we had gotten back from Los Angeles. First and foremost, we wanted to release something in Denver, and second, we wanted to have something "official" to shop around for labels and support. We decided that it would be more appealing to labels if we had an EP rather than a full-length. We wanted to catch someone's attention and offer them a full-length or to re-record a full-length. If it ever comes down to either throwing out the other six songs or releasing them, we would definitely release them. Each of those six songs is just as important to us as the other five that we are releasing.