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Kristeen Young Talks Morrissey and New Music

Performing with The Moz in Escondido Nov. 22

  • Kristeen Young
  • Kristeen Young
  • Kristeen Young
  • Kristeen Young
  • Kristeen Young
  • Kristeen Young
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Eclectic musician Kristeen Young has found herself in a comfortable and unique place in her career. Handpicked by Morrissey to be her opening act for a number of years, Young has had the pleasure of performing in front of sold out crowds from coast to coast. Yet after six albums and her well-received 2011 V TheVolcanic EP, Young still finds herself without a proper record label, something she ruminates about with mixed emotions. Currently in the midst of a North American tour with Morrissey, SanDiego.com had a chance to speak with Young from her home in New York City, and talked about her fascination with the film Blade Runner, misconceptions people have about her, and the pros and cons of being D.I.Y.

Why did you decide to move to New York?
Kristeen Young: I moved to Pennsylvania because I couldn’t afford to move to New York and I didn’t know anyone in New York and I had some friends in Pennsylvania that said, ‘Why don’t you mover here for awhile and you can drive in to all the major cities on the east coast and play.’ So that worked out well.

How long did you live there for?
KY: About a year.

Did you ever flirt with the idea of moving to Los Angeles?
KY: No. The only time I was ever on a record label, which was very brief, and they were based in Los Angeles. I wanted to move out there but they said, ‘No we want to base everything out of the Midwest where you’re from and build it from there.’ I ended up on the east coast because it seemed like that’s where I sold the most records. So I thought, ‘Well maybe they like me best there.’

What do you do preparation-wise before leaving for a big tour?
KY: Pray to Lucifer (laughs.) No, not really. I don’t have any plants so I don’t need them watered while I’m gone. I live a very streamlined life. But there’s a billions things I have to take care of because I do everything. I book the hotels and I’m renting a car for the tour. Then I have to prepare all the performance stuff. So yeah, there’s a lot of stuff I have to get together. It’s very time consuming but exciting at the same time.

So would you say you have a very D.I.Y. stance on just about everything?
KY:  Yeah, but not of my own volition. I have been for almost my whole career.

What’s the biggest misconception people tend to have about you?
KY: Probably what you just said, that I am vehemently D.I.Y.; that it’ something I really stand for so much. It has its good side and its bad side. I think it makes whatever you’re creating much more idiosyncratic. It makes it much more individual and you, but then maybe you don’t have a team behind you to really get it out there. To really have people know about you. And it’d be a little nice to have a little help in general. I wouldn’t turn that down; I don’t have any problems with non D.I.Y. people.

So you’re saying Kristeen Young is ready to sign with Warner Bros?
KY: I wouldn’t say that, but there are a lot of levels between doing everything yourself and signing to Warner Bros.

What level do you feel you’re at right now?
KY: Oh, the most basic level.  (Laughing)

You’re on the most basic level yet you’re opening for Morrissey.
KY: well that’s because he’s idiosyncratic too. It’s because he does his own thing. He’s the type of person that allows himself to choose an opener that isn’t on a label. Not many headliners would do that.

I’m sure he, along with a lot of other people see you as a diamond in the rough.
KY: I’m just a diamond minus the rough!

You’ve done a lot of touring the past few years, what’s been your most memorable show?
KY: I played the Viper Room about a month ago and it seemed like everything was falling together very nicely and the crowd was just right there with every moment. It was just a relief! It was nice!

Do you have any new songs you’ll be debuting on this tour?
KY: Yes, because I’m starting to write my next album now.

Is it going to be another concept album?
KY: No, this doesn’t have a concept so far, I just started writing. I don’t usually start writing an album with a concept. Sometimes it’s just a central theme. I usually examine it after I’ve written a few songs and I try to see if there’s some thread that’s going through all of them. Then maybe I’ll continue writing in that direction for the rest of the songs.

Do you remember the first time you saw Blade Runner?
KY: Yes, I do remember. I actually don’t think I liked it too much when I first saw it. I saw it when I was really young and I think a lot of it just went over my head. I was never really attracted to science fiction or anything that looked like that when I was younger. But it’s something I grew into I think and now I love it of course.

Does Kristeen Young have a message for the children?
Kristeen Young: You’re on your own. If there’s one thing people should learn pretty early is that in this life you’re on your own.

Kristeen Young performs with Morrissey at the Escondido Center for the Arts Tuesday, November 22