Surfing, Skateboarding, Music, Photography, Travel, Culture and general antics of the youth on the run.

Conversation With: The Memories And watch their sampler video for new album Royal United Song Service

The Memories, if you didn’t know, make music that’s both tongue-in-cheek delight and thoughtful, sometimes whimsical sincerity, thrown together in a heap of lo-fi garage arrangements that can make you laugh and cry at the same time. Their lyrics are simple, yet expressive and compelling. I first fell in love with the Memories years ago at a Burger show, when I saw them perform “Dad’s Not Home,” a song about unsupervised sex set to a doo-wop tune. “Dad’s not home, it’s safe to bone.” It doesn’t get much better than that.

Hundreds of songs about getting high and falling in love have poured out of these crackerjacks. And now, on their 8th full-length Royal United Song Service, The Memories have some new tricks up their sleeves. Originally conceived as a way to fund their European tour, the album was marketed on social media as a “hit-making machine for real people willing to pay $100 for a private gift: a fully-customized song.” “Every song was based on other people’s memories,” says front man Rikky Gage. “There’s a song about an OK Cupid romance. Someone’s dog. A guy named Rivers. Stuff like that.”

Packed 28 songs deep, Royal United Song Service presents a new platform for the band, while maintaining their trademark vibe. And to wrap it all up, the Memories compiled each song into an epic five-minute, one-shot video “sampler” of the album, premiering exclusively on WY. It’s a whirlwind, and one of my favorite videos I’ve seen all year. So sit back, twist something up, read our interview with the band, and then press play. You won’t be disappointed. —Maya Eslami

Buy Royal United Song Service here

WHAT YOUTH: Sup Memories. What are you guys doing right now?

The core of us (Rikky, Izak, Funkle, and Jimmy) are at the Gnar compound right now. Izak is asleep on the couch in the record store, which is the front building, and I’m (Rikky) at my desk in the studio building, which is across our small parking lot behind the record store. We just got back from playing shows in Europe. I’m not sure where Colleen is today. Lucas I think is still in Texas for some family stuff.

Tell me about Royal United Song Service, and how did you guys come up with this genius operation?

The Memories’ Royal United Song Service is an idea inspired by a trend that happened decades ago called Song Poems. We call ours a Song Service because we do our songs a little different. With the old song poems regular people would right a poem or lyrics and send it into a production company with a studio band who would cut these songs for people for a fee. With our Song Service, we take ideas or stories from regular people and write our own lyrics, as well as the music. Our main studio band is the core Gnar group, but most of the songs only feature 1-3 members of the band at a time. Colleen also sings in the back of a few songs, and Lucas has a whole song to himself. (I’m the only original member of the band, and I come from the school of folk-style family bands; where members come and go as they please and songs are made with who/whatever is around.)

The idea came in February 2015 when The Memories needed to make flight ticket money for the Gnar crew’s 2nd European tour. We reached out to our fanbase entirely through social media and received far more submissions than we expected almost immediately. Pretty much starting then we knew it was going to be an album and we knew we had to make each and every song as good as any we would release to the world. These are very special songs, haha. Each track has a reason to exist beyond the artist’s whimsy.

You guys are called the Memories. And now you’re making songs about other people’s memories. What is it about “memories” that inspires you guys to make music?

That’s a deep question with many deep options to answer but I’ll try my best to answer. Memories are all we have to go by to assume we are who we are. In that movie “Dark City” everyone’s memories are changed every day and the people are different every day. We are the same (as much as we can) person every day because our memories dictate our reality. Also The Memories is primarily a romance band; our songs are almost always love songs or romantic in some way. And when I started the band (Portland, Oregon, 2010) I was listening to a lot of 50’s music and 80’s music that was trying to sound like 50’s music.

Your new video for the album is amazing. Whose idea was it to do a sampler?

Mine and the director, Nesto. I had the initial idea as there was so many songs, and we’re not a very well known band, it would be better and funnier to do as many as we could in one go. I had originally thought a cheesy infomercial style video but Nesto came up with the continuous shot idea. He was inspired by the set where he’d done a sci-fi horror short a few weeks prior, which actually stars Funkle and Jimmy. Nesto also directed the video for “Drugs I’ve Taken” by our other band White Fang.

The whole thing is one continuous shot. How many takes did you guys have to do to get it down?

We did maybe a dozen practice runs and then shot it once, maybe twice. It was a really fun shoot.

Where did you guys shoot it? And who is the cool old dude in the beginning??

We shot it at a set studio building thingy in Burbank. The cool old dude is Graham Mackie; he’s in the iPhone 7 portrait mode commercial, a few Wiz Khalifa videos, a bunch of other music videos, the CHIPS movie, and a bunch of other stuff. He’s also a star in the “Drugs I’ve Taken” White Fang video. He’s rad. He pops into the Gnar compound from time to time.

What’s next for you guys?

Tonight is the Season 3 premier of the Gnar Tapes Gnetwork and our flagship show Gnar Tapes Gnight Live. When we aren’t tour we are doing live video streaming from the Gnar compound almost every day. We have a green screen and really cool graphics. Lots of guests and crazy shit. We have a cooking show, a karaoke show, a paranormal show, etc. etc. Season 3 starts tonight.

We also have a bunch of tapes coming out on Gnar Tapes. Particle Kid is next. That’s the lo-fi project of Micah Nelson, who’s daddy is the one and only Willie Nelson. We also got another R. Stevie Moore reissue. We got Jimmy’s new album “Raspberry Radio” under his Jerry Rogers name very soon. I got another solo tape; my 27th I believe. Lol. No joke. We just released Jimmy Whispers, Jib Kidder, White Fang, etc.

The Memories have a new album “Single Player Game” coming early 2018 on Bufu Records, which comes with a board game.

Our record store GnarBurger is always open 12PM-8PM at 3436 N. Figueroa St. in Los Angeles.

Conversation With: Susan Plus the premiere of their new video, “Somebody New”

Susan is a band, and we’ve been in love with them ever since they let us use their song “Windows Down” in Episode 1 of 4 Cities with Ozzie Wright (by the way, watch that). Comprised of Jessica Owen on guitar, Beth B on bass and Katie Fern on drums, Susan mixes elements of pop…

conversation with yung

Conversation With: Yung Because we’re obsessed with this band

We told you to listen to Yung a couple months ago, and not only are we taking our own advice, but we’re still basically obsessed with them. Their debut album, A Youthful Dream, has been dominating our eardrums since we first hit that play button. So read our interview with the band below, and keep…

Conversation With: Audacity Plus the World Premiere of their new video for “Not Like You”

Orange County’s staple garage-punk band Audacity is pounding on your door with another ruckus album, and you’re bound to fall in pop-punk-love with it. If you haven’t had the privilege of growing up with Audacity records through your punk rock teen years, or had the chance to get high off their endless energy at one…

kera and the lesbians hood on

Conversation With: Kera and the Lesbians Elvis, that name and their new record

Kera Armendariz, the frontman and lead singer of Kera and the Lesbians, is, and ignore my cheesy cliché, in it to win it. “I see myself as a longevity artist,” she says with calm confidence. She’s been writing and playing music since she was young, when she discovered what would become a lifelong love for…

what youth conversation with robbie simon

Conversation With: Robbie Simon “If you’re happy where you are, every step along the way was right.”

Robbie Simon, the Los Angeles-based artist, is modest when speaking about his talent. “If you would’ve told me even three years ago that I would be having a show of paintings, I wouldn’t have believed you.” He’s most recognizable as the designer for Allah-las posters and flyers and merchandise, essentially their contributing art director. But…

what youth issue 13 william strobeck

Conversation With: William Strobeck Filmmaker behind Supreme’s Cherry, Joy Ride and more

William Strobeck is a filmmaker. And he’s the kind we need. A creative mind so rooted in the world he documents that he cannot help but document it exactly the way it is. With an attention and attraction toward the colorful world it exists in. Unfortunately, this is a rare thing. He wants you to…

what youth night beats music

Conversation With: Night Beats “We’re just playing music that makes us feel good”

Danny Lee Blackwell, singer and guitarist of the soul/psych band Night Beats, chooses his words wisely. He speaks softly, humbly, almost like a musician who’s been asked the same question one too many times. And with good reason. The band he formed with drummer James Traeger back in 2009 has been incredibly busy lately, and…

Conversation With: Billy Changer Salty mutant pop from the bassist of Corners

We’re big fans of the dudes over at Crap Eyewear. They make great shades, sponsor our parties like a bunch of bosses and have great taste in music, which, for me, is a major turn on. So when Brand Manager Tony Accosta sent me Billy Changer’s album, I couldn’t wait to swallow the jams. Billy…

Death Valley Girls, Music, Conversation With

Conversation With: Death Valley Girls “Rock ‘n’ roll is how you say I love you.”

Death Valley Girls look like they moonlight as a biker gang and sound like a combination of riot grrrl attitude mixed with Link Wray fuzz appeal. If it weren’t for their contagious smiles and supernatural predilections, I probably would’ve been too scared to even talk to them. Just last year, the band – currently Bonnie…

Conversation with: Javier Mendizabal Catching up with European skate royalty

Javier Mendizabal is European skate royalty. He’s been appearing in Cliché and Quiksilver ads since the beginning, and we recently had the pleasure of traveling with him during the filming of our short film Postcard Oregon. He’s a wealth of knowledge and we wanted to share just how legit the man is. WHAT YOUTH: Javi!…

Conversation with: Meatbodies On Sabbath, Opera, Martinis and more with a good rock band

 Chad Ubovich has been a musician almost all of his life. He grew up surrounded by instruments – his father was a music teacher – and by the end of high school, had battled in Battle of the Bands and found his way in the LA music scene. He’s toured with Mikal Cronin, Charlie and…

what youth conversation with jamie brisick

Conversation with: Jamie Brisick Author of Becoming Westerly talks about his new book on transgender surfer Westerly Windina

I’ve always loved Jamie Brisick. For many reasons, but one important reason being that along with Derek Hynd and us, he considered surfing to be one of the most conservative, uptight and close-minded of all the sports. This should sound baffling, because surfing was born of rebellion and outcasts and characters, but it’s changed.  A good…

Sign up for letters from What Youth

By enabling this page, you are acknowledging and accepting our privacy terms and conditions.