Beau Young drops into Bangalow
GROWING up listening to the sounds of J.J. Cale, Bob Dylan and Neil Young on long coastal drives with a surfing legend father would prove fateful for a young Beau Young.
The son of world surfing champion Nat Young, Beau grew up with surfing in his veins, going on to be crowned a world champion surfer himself in both 2000 and 2003.
However, when the sun went down or the surf wasn’t pumping, Beau would pick up a guitar, strumming the songs of the greats he was introduced to by his father on surf trips.
It wasn’t long before he was writing his own music and, since retiring from competitive surfing, Beau has honed his energy into becoming a professional musician – a pursuit spurred on by his good friend, fellow surfer and musician Ben Harper.
Beau has just released the follow-up to his critically received 2005 debut Waves of Change with One Step at a Time – a folk/rock album.
Beau has hit the road in support of the album and caught up with Pulse on the eve of his Bangalow Hotel gig.
IT TOOK five years to write your second album, One Step at a Time. What took you so long?
(It was) A long time coming due to various things – management dramas, a life on the road combining music and surf-related responsibilities and crafting songs for kids at the same time. That’s what took me so long! (Laughs).
What have been the major influences on your songwriting during the past five years?
I guess, ultimately, I hold steadfast to being original and that involves having open ears to sounds from all over the world, living in the country, holding my friends and family in the highest regard, the beauty of the natural world. I’m influenced by a lot of musical styles from Krishna chants to independent rock – all these things have influenced my music over the years.
Your father is Australian surf legend Nat Young. How much of an influence has he been on your life?
Well you know, he’s my father, so he’s an influence on my life. Probably the same for a lot of people who have a well-known parent, it has its good and bad. I find his name gets brought up in conversation daily. I mean, I love him, he’s my dad, and that’s just life for me. We’re alike in many ways and different in so many others, just like everyone with their parents. He’s one of my favourite surfers hands down.
How much does being a surfer affect the music you write?
I think surfing and music go hand and hand. The ebb and flow of a guitar riff or a wave. Being at one with nature, immersing yourself in the ocean’s vastness and beauty has me coming back to land and feeling it out on the guitar.
You are good friends with fellow surfer-musician, Ben Harper. How did you meet?
We met at a Blues Festival going on eight years ago now. We had a few surfs together. He inspired me to sink my teeth into music. My fondest memory was paddling up to him during a surf, putting my hands in front of his face and saying ‘with my own two hands’. I believe we are like-minded individuals.
What has been the highlight of your career?
Gosh, there have been many highlights. Travelling the Indonesian archipelago by boat and riding through wave after wave of perfect cylinder. Or playing to a good crowd of people who are hearing a song for the first time and yelling the chorus back at you.
What about the most difficult time?
I guess I’ll just quote a song on this one. “They say life on the road carries a heavy load. Jet lag and white-line fever, a lot of shitty hotels with average coffee”. To be honest, working three jobs to travel half way across the world and lose in a surfing competition was always worth every penny. What do they say? It’s the journey, not the destination and I really don’t regret a second of it.
What can punters expect when they turn up to the Bangalow Hotel on Friday night?
Friday night will be a really great fun night of original acoustic music with three acts. Great friend Luke McConell is a singer-songwriter with an angelic voice. Dane Tucquet, from Bangalow, has a gravely haunting voice and is another terrific singer-songwriter. And me, myself and I with my friend Saia Hanlon on the drums. Together we will be playing everything from finger-picked blues to fast- paced indy rock.
Beau Young will launch his new album, One Step at a Time, at the Bangalow Hotel tomorrow night. Doors open 6.30pm. Free gig.