There is so much weight put on the female adolescent experience that it often feels as if guys just breeze through those formative years with little to no worries. At least that’s how every coming of age movie feels sans a few classics; Rebel Without a Cause, The Breakfast Club and The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Nevertheless, it’s as if young men don’t struggle a bit in life. Which yes, male privilege is alive and well but toxic masculinity is too, and it hits many men hard…we just don’t hear many admit to their struggle with it. Which is why cleopatrick‘s “Youth” was a relief and a joy to listen to on repeat.
The story of one man’s mental battle during high school that I’m sure many can relate to, “youth” dives into what it’s like when you’re not the stereotypical alpha male in the halls. We talked about that, why they were skipping LA on their US run (totally not, they’ll be there at The Resident October 24th), and more.
Kendra: How many years is “youth” in the making? It’s obviously something that stuck with you since high school, but when did the song sort of start to form and take shape?
cleopatrick: There were pieces and parts of the song scattered everywhere from the end of high school, up until we actually recorded the song last summer. Even then I think it lived the majority of its life as little lyrical bits and conceptual ideas until last spring really. That’s when Ian and I finally came up with the sonic side of things, and everything kind of connected after that. 10 little separate songs I thought I was writing turned out to all be the one.
Kendra: Even in today’s sort of “woke” world, there still aren’t enough men out there singing, or even sort of talking about the subject manner you so beautifully deliver with just the right amount of aggression in “youth.” Do you think we’ll ever be in a place where toxic masculinity is obsolete?
cleopatrick: I fucking hope so. I mean I think we are on the right track, although its very clearly only the beginning. As Ian and I have both grown into ourselves, we have been happy to find a lot more like-minded and respectful dudes out there in the world. That could just be us finally escaping our hometown.
Kendra: Back to the music. We can hear “Youth” on the boys. Is the whole record a big ol’ “screw you” towards your adolescence?
cleopatrick: Essentially, yes. Although I don’t think either of us intended that. It just kind of happened that way. Our big thing with our music is we don’t want to fake anything. This whole “rockstar” mindset has turned the majority of guitar music into a complete a joke for almost 20 years. Kids don’t care about the fucking 40-year-olds on the radio, singing songs about rockin’ stadiums and sexy chicks. It’s stupid and fake. They’re married with kids.
So in trying to stay away from anything untrue, we ended up writing about the only stuff we were sure of; our youth. Sure, I’m a middle class, 21-year-old, skinny white kid from Canada; there’s obviously a lot more life to live, and a lot more shit to experience — but I’m not about to fake anything for the sake of a story. I’ve been a quiet and anxious observer my whole life, and although people seem to assume there’s no poetry in the mundane. We are called cleopatrick, and I have a lot to fucking say right now.
Kendra: It’s obvious from the music that you weren’t too into the whole party scene in high school. You’d rather sit at home and play guitar. Who were some of your earlier influences that kept you company when you weren’t partaking in stereotypical teenage Saturday nights?
cleopatrick: I know you’re talking about music here, but honestly — our best friends Jacob and Connor. We used to hang out in Jacob’s basement every weekend all through high school playing video games, eating mac and cheese, and consequently sheltering ourselves from everything our peers were doing. Without those guys, and that safe space to be ourselves, who knows what we would be writing about today.
Kendra: Have a lot of those same influences helped inspire you as an adult making music?
cleopatrick: Absolutely, although we are hardly adults.
Kendra: You guys have a lot of touring going on this fall. A lot. The UK in September and October, and then the US and Canada throughout the rest of the year. What are some places that you’re just excited to see as a tourist of sorts? And which are you going to geek out over as music fans?
cleopatrick: We are so stoked for everything in France, Germany, and the UK. Paris has been on our bucket list, as well as King Tuts in Glasgow. Our tour manager Jake is the world’s greatest Oasis fan, he’s going to be in heaven that night. Also so excited to get to California.
Kendra: Other than a lot of touring, anything else we should be on the lookout for?
cleopatrick: Man I feel we are honestly writing some of the best songs of our career right now. No idea when we will be putting these out, but just be ready. Nothing will be the same.