Indie Rock band Fossil Youth has risen from relative obscurity to become one of Billboard’s Top New Artists of 2016 – ranking at number 16. No one was more surprised than the band members themselves – Scottie Noonan (vocals/guitar), Hesston Sween (vocals/guitar), Derek Neef (bass) and Zack Jones (drums). From their hometown in the heartland, they spent a good part of the year crisscrossing the U.S., including a stop in Syracuse last summer.
Just last month, Fossil Youth released their debut album, A Glimpse of Self Joy, through Take This To Heart Records. This poignant concept album is a meandering journey through a heartbreakingly painful relationship and its inevitable dissolution. However, some of the songs, like “Forest Eyes” and “Watercolor Daydream,” have stood on their own as singles. At times soft and lamenting, and at other times heavy with angst, the music is always genuine and authentic.
Fossil Youth is embarking on the East Coast leg of their headlining national tour in January, with plans to play The Vault in Syracuse on January 27th.
Frontman Scottie Noonan spoke with NYS Music about their music, the response to their album, their humble reaction to ranking on the Billboard Top New Artists List, and plans for 2017.
Paula Cummings: Tell me a little about how you formed as a band.
Scottie Noonan: The first release is 2014. But we started getting this all figured out in 2013. We all happen to live in the same small city of Oklahoma. We consider our home shows and home town Oklahoma City. We’re actually from a small city called Enid, which is an hour and a half north. In a way having to travel to other cities to play prepared us for touring. Having to drive two hours just to play local shows is helpful for the rest of the year, when we basically do that every day.
PC: You put out an EP in 2015, Intertwined with You.
SN: Yeah, and in 2014 we had the split. It was such a small thing. It’s also kind of cool to look back on. One of the songs from the split we actually rewrote and put on our new full-length. If you look it up online, you might actually see that.
PC: And you did the Little Elephant recording. Tell me a little about that.
SN: That was actually extremely cool. They’re a few guys out in Toledo, Ohio. And honestly, how it looks in the video is almost actually how it is. We showed up at their house. They already have experience recording bands, so they decided “Let’s put all this in our living room.” I think there was like 30 minutes of prep time and they say “Hey, go.” They set up a few cameras standing in places where they won’t actually get shots of each other and do these live sessions in their home. It’s honestly a whole lot of fun. Very, very nice people. I think that’s what helps make them unique, too, is the general experience.
PC: It looks really cool. And they said they give half of the money from vinyl sales back to the bands.
SN: I’m so excited about that because we’re trying to get back in there and do another session for our new songs. And it would be so cool to have a second vinyl release through them.
PC: You know what else just came out was the Billboard Top New Artists of 2016 – you’re in at #16.
SN: Out of 150. So to be that high up is truly insane, the most surreal feeling.