Mustard had the pleasure of speaking with San Antonio’s Young Costello. Together we discussed their musical diversity, their EP “Maladies and Melodies”, their recent cover of “Party All The Time”, and so much more! Check it out below!
1. Mustard would like to thank Young Costello for joining them. How is everyone doing?
Doing swell! Just wrapped up a weekend of gigs in Austin and San Antonio!
2. Young Costello highlights the diverse musical background of each member. Could you share how everyone met? When did you decide that – that you collectively were going to become Young Costello?
Jacob and I (John Mike) met back in 2008 when we played in a metal band. We quickly discovered that we both had a love for ska and ska-adjacent (skadjacent?) music and decided to put some work into a few songs I had written for a solo project. Before we knew it, we had moved to Austin, TX and formed the first iteration of the band with Matt Ramos on drums, Tina Bartolucci on sax, and Evan Santiago on trumpet. At that point, we established the name and started gigging pretty hard. After a few lineup changes, we took a hiatus for a few years. During this time, Jacob was still interested in putting a ska band together and met Leo Tellez, our current sax player, in a FB group for musicians. It was at this time we decided to just do a full-blown YC revival. Leo introduced us to our current trombonist, Phillip Chavarria, and trumpet player, Felix Cruz III and our lineup is as strong as it’s ever been.
3. With each member having a diverse musical background you could you detail your creative process? How does a song typically come together?
Our creative process usually begins with a chord progression. I’ll come up with something that I like and then I’ll record it and program some drums over it so that I can pitch it to the guys and get their thoughts. This usually helps Nick get a feel for the style I’m going for as well, so he can begin writing his drum parts. Once we’ve established the direction we want to take the song, we determine which parts of the song are going to focus on the vocals and which parts will have the main horn lines and then the horn players go to work. They will typically have a writing session and then bring their ideas to a rehearsal and we put everything together. It helps to have members who have played all different styles because we never really know where our creative process is gonna take us.
4. In 2013 you released your debut EP “Maladies and Melodies.” There is such an eclectic variety throughout the EP. Were there nerves before its release? Did this EP feature all seven members or did more join Young Costello after its release?
There was absolute some anxiety when it came to dropping M&M, for sure. It was the first thing we had ever done in a real studio and we had no idea how people were gonna receive it. The musicians on this EP were myself, Jacob Guerrero (bass), Matt Ramos (drums), Tina Bartolucci (sax), Tiger Anaya (trumpet on tracks 1-4) and Evan Santiago (trumpet on track 5). Our current lineup debuted on the song, “On The Edge” back in 2020.
5. Ska Punk International is one of Mustard’s favorite labels. What is it like being apart of the Ska Punk International roster? Is it true that wherever you are, it’s ska?
Being a part of the SPI roster is great! It’s pretty much Chris doing a ton of work to take care of us while Jacob photoshops his face onto ridiculous pictures. Lol. And yes! – we can confirm, that wherever you are, it indeed IS SKA! I personally haven’t been anywhere that wasn’t ska since we signed to SPI.
6. “Patron Saint” tackles how humans broadcast their lives via social media. Do you see this as ever going away? Or an alternative to equally engage those hooked to social media? How does Young Costello handle social media?
Social media is a wildly complex thing to navigate these days. It’s become this strange practice of living to be seen living. I feel like people sometimes get more out of the reactions on a picture they posted of their food than they got out of actually eating it. Lol. However, no, I do not think it will ever go away. Humans are social creatures and I guess at a base level, social media is a way to interact without putting forth much effort. You can appear however you wish to be perceived, essentially, and I feel that that’s why it’s so addicting to people. Our own social media presence, as Young Costello, is certainly a fickle thing. As necessary as it is to make yourself available on all platforms, we often have so much to do in our daily lives that our social media accounts get a little neglected from time to time. But if I’m being honest, I like that about us. Come see us in person. I promise it’s better in real life.
7. Who (or what) influences Young Costello?
Musically, our influences are all over the place. Streetlight Manifesto is one of the most common comparisons people make when they hear our music, which makes sense because all of us are total SM nerds. Our trombone player, Phillip, is really into big musical scores and that definitely comes through when we work on arrangements. Lyrically, I tend to write about things that I have a strong opinion on or that I feel deserve attention. Of course, like any songwriter, I’m guilty of writing the occasional song that doesn’t mean much to me but that I know people will relate to (*cough* “Goblin” *cough*), but I try my hardest to keep my lyrics as real as possible.
8. Young Costello was featured on Holy Schnikes! “Christmas Day” along with fellow SPI mates Hans Gruber and The Die Hards. How did this song and collaboration come together? Does Young Costello have a favorite holiday song or tradition?
Mike (Mike Alvarez of HS!) loves Christmas and it was only natural to write a Christmas Ska song. At the time, HS! didn’t have a horn section so they recruited the YC & Hans Gruber’s horn players for the recording. Young Costello’s favorite holiday is Skalloween!
9. Mustard absolutely loves your cover of “Party All The Time” featured on “Songs For Mom Volume 2.” Could you share the significance of this song? Has Eddie Murphy reached out?
Oddly enough, we never intended to record and release the cover. It was originally supposed to be a fun cover to break out at a show once everyone had downed a few drinks. But the more we played it, the more people started to enjoy it. All of us are in our late 20s/early 30s and the 80s were a crucial time in our mothers’ lives so we figured this would be a great cover to include on the compilation! Unfortunately, Dr. Dolittle has not reached out but we’re hoping the good doctor likes what he hears, should our cover ever catch his attention!
10. What’s next for Young Costello?
The next big move for YC is going to be finally releasing our new EP this September. We’ve had to delay it a few times just due to logistical things, but it’s finally happening and we could not be happier. We’ll actually be shooting a music video for the first single this week as well! We’ll be taking a bit of time off from gigging because my son will be arriving around the same time the EP drops, but we’ll be back on the road before long to promote the EP!