Young the Giant comes home

It has been a landmark year for Young the Giant, who recently concluded their 46-date, sold-out headline tour playing to more than 70,000 people across North America.

And, as the alternative rock band continues to play shows throughout the United States and Canada this spring and summer, its members — Irvine natives Francois Comtois, Sameer Gadhia, Jacob Tilley, Payam Doostzadeh and Eric Cannata — will return home to play a show at 7:30 p.m. Sunday at the Pacific Amphitheatre at the Orange County Fair.

"We started out completely local, only Orange County shows," lead vocalist Sameer Gadhia said in a phone interview. "So, finally being able to come back home and play the Pacific Amphitheatre at the O.C. Fair has kind of been a big dream. I remember seeing the Decemberists there. I had always gone when I was younger over summer to go watch these acts. So, it feels like full circle for us."

"[After summer touring] we'll be completely done with the record cycle and can be left to our devices and finish the next record," he added.

According to Gadhia, a rough release date for the second album is spring 2013. In the meantime, the band continues to write and has already played a few new tracks for eager fans.

"We started to play some new songs from the next record on the shows," Gadhia said. "It was great towards the end of the run to see people singing along to the songs, because they were listening to it on YouTube, or something from a previous show. It was really interesting."

But after months on the road and a string of appearances on Jimmy Kimmel, Carson Daly, "Glee," and "The Today Show," the band has gone into writing mode.

Gadhia said the band was staying in Malibu in late June, courtesy of good friend Mike Einziger from Incubus, who is letting them crash and do pre-production at his residence while he is on the road.

In the studio, the band writes and records their music together. Gadhia said the process can be "chaotic," but it feels natural considering that the members met in elementary and middle school and have been playing with each other since high school.

Young the Giant's self-titled debut album, which the band co-produced with Joe Chicarelli (The White Stripes, My Morning Jacket, The Shins), was recorded and tracked completely live.

"At the time, it was something that we were unsure of," Gadhia said. "But in retrospect, [we are] so happy that we did it, because it made us such stronger musicians and made our live shows that much tighter. And, we don't want to lose that feel, so this next record is, for the most part, going to be recorded live and that's what we want. We really feel the importance of that vibe when we are all doing it [playing] at the same time and it has its own pulse."

Their method seems to be working.

Young The Giant's first single, "My Body," peaked at No. 4 on the alternative chart. Second single "Cough Syrup" reached No. 2 at alternative radio and was the No. 5 alternative song of 2011 behind The Black Keys, Coldplay, Bush, and Foo Fighters, respectively. "Apartment," Young The Giant's third single, is continuing along the same path as it climbs up the charts.

"It's very flattering," Gadhia said. "It's amazing to be considered in a relative realm with those bands, because when we were younger, we used to look up to them. It's kind of anyone's dream."

"I think the coolest part of it is being able to do these festivals and meet all of these bands that are playing the slots," he continued. "It's just so humbling."

Gadhia said the past year has been "a dream," especially after every member followed their instincts and put college on hold to pursue music. Shortly thereafter, the group lived in Newport Beach together, near broke, writing songs and just waiting for something to happen. And it did.

"We try everyday to not take it for granted and stop for a second and realize what's happened this last year," Gadhia said.

"We're just constantly surprised by the people that come to the shows," he continued. "They are always so warm and welcoming, and open to new sounds and music. It's really amazing to see that these people are coming out to the shows and really digging what we are doing — not just what's on the radio. They're listening to the whole record and singing along to the other tracks."

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