Hopeless Youth

Montreal’s Hopeless Youth have been on the road since late May, touring in support of Disgust, their Candlelight Records debut. From the outside, it looks like their collective career has moved as quickly as their music. In two years (Hopeless Youth formed in 2012) they recorded an EP and album with engineer Frank Daniel Shooflar (Blessed By A Broken Heart, Abandon All Ships), they’ve shown up on a whack of compilations and they’ve played a helluva lot of shows. While still on the road, guitarist Denis Desfoges – with the help of bandmates Julien Gauthier (vocals), John Donnelly (guitar), Anthony Harrison (bass) and Yann Therrien (drums) – took the time to answer a few questions for Hellbound.

How did Hopeless Youth come to be? Where and how did the five of you join forces?

Hopeless Youth started out as a three piece doing party rock music and slowly evolved into what we are now. Before we recorded the EP we had a ton of party rock songs and a ton of hardcore songs. We decided last minute to go with the hardcore songs.

Are you all from Montreal ? What kind of a connection do you have to your local scene?

Just John and Denis are from Montreal proper. Everyone else lives in Montreal now, but grew up in the suburbs. We all met going to shows let it be local or not, and grew up at them. We still like to go see and support our friends and encourage new kids. Most of our Montreal shows are put on ourselves with the help of our friends. 

What do each of you bring to the band?

We all have different influences which directly affects the band. We all listen to similar music but none of us have the same favourite bands or are crazy about the same styles. You can hear it in each of our instruments and the way we write and play. Yann is very into hardcore while John is into metal. Everyone has different music on our iPods and it makes it fun. 

How would you describe the kind of music you make, your sound? 

We’ve never really tried to classify what we do… It just comes out as it does. It’s more fun to see how other people describe our sound. We’ve gotten a whole variety of answers that make us laugh and some we like. If we had to classify we’d just say that we’re loud and fast. There are too many subgenres now and it can be a bit of a headache. 

Are there any genres or subgenres you’re proud to be associated with? Or ones you’d prefer to have no connection to?

We don’t really care with who we’re classified with. As long as someone likes what we do, we’re happy. We do think that people can get a little crazy with subgenres, but if someone wants to classify us as dbeat-crust-metal-punk-core  so be it.  

Who or what has provided you with the most inspiration – musically or personally?

Our friends, life experiences and family has to be what have influenced us the most.  Everything around us has influenced us into what we do and how we write.

Tell us about your first EP and work with Frank Shooflar.

We had written our first EP without ever playing a show, which none of us had never done before. We’ve known Frank for a while and started talking about recording some material for Hopeless Youth. After a while we knew he’d be a great fit and were excited to get in the studio. Especially since he was in Blessed by a Broken Heart and we use to always go see them party.

How did you hook up with Candlelight for the release of your first full-length album?

After we recorded the EP, we had sent it out to every record label we could find. We went through all our records, cds and searched the net to find someone to distribute the record.  Candlelight were one of the labels who had hit us back. After we talked a bit, we felt like they would be a great fit for us.

You’ve been racking up some serious tour mileage lately. What has been your favourite show or experience on this tour so far?

We played a last minute house party in Toronto which was crazy. You’d walk in and there would be a dude DJing club music in between sets. People went from grinding hard, to moshing with the flick of a switch.  People just wanted to party and have a good time. That, and shooting fireworks out of the Van while driving is pretty fun.  We’ve been trying to stay on our best behavior this tour to make sure we all make it out alive.

What are your touring essentials? What do you absolutely need to survive life on the road?

Cell phone, Wifi, Alcohol, and Cherry cokes for John.  The rest we can do without or find a way around it. Like showers… They don’t really happen too often when you sleep in the van most of the tour.

What do you have planned for when this tour is over?

We’ve already started planning our next tour for early fall. We just want to be on the road and have fun doing what we like most. We’re also in the midst of booking a couple shows for when we’re back home until then.

What are your proudest achievements so far, or most significant obstacles overcome?

Getting to tour and seeing our country is pretty sweet. Having a label back us is pretty amazing, and being able to meet kids who actually like what we play can’t be put into words. 

What are your goals as a band – in the near future but also looking ahead down the road?

Our biggest goal is to tour the world – we want to play every country if possible.  

What’s the best way to get a taste of your music?

Seeing us live is the best way to get a taste of our music. If not, you can check us out on our Bandcamp to listen to the recordings.  Nothing beats a live show though… that goes for any band. 


If you don’t want to wait till the next time they set out on the road, here are a few more chances to check out Hopeless Youth before the current tour wraps up:

  • June 19 Club Absinthe Hamilton, Canada
  • June 20 Guelph Guelph, Canada
  • June 21 Sudbury Sudbury, Canada

Laura is associate editor of Hellbound.ca and co-host of weekly metal show Kill Eat Exploit the Weak on CFMU 93.3 FM. She loves doom, prog, cats and basketball, believes in equity and social justice and is not cool with any form of discrimination, marginalization, harassment or oppression.