By LA Weekly
By Henry Rollins
By Weekly Photographers
By Shea Serrano
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Dan Weiss
By Erica E. Phillips
By Kai Flanders
"I said 'fuck you' to everybody; I'm doing my own shit. People were, like, 'Dude, you can't play instruments. What are you doing?' Blah blah blah," Younge laughs. "But I learned because I didn't want to deal with people anymore. That taught me how to really be a composer."
The finished product was the original soundtrack to Venice Dawn, a film that existed only in Younge's imagination. But upon listening to it, you could visualize the story in sepia, haunted by palace intrigue and cult ceremonies, sudden deaths, and lingering dreams. Only a thousand copies were self-pressed; they have become collectibles.
The process of scoring and editing Black Dynamite reignited Younge's passion for composition. Shortly after its completion, he began work on 2011's Something for April (Wax Poetics Records), a psychedelic soul masterpiece, which discovered the vanishing point between Morricone and Motown.
Younge's cult soon spread to include Odd Future's Earl Sweatshirt, his sometime collaborator The Gaslamp Killer and the similarly psychedelic super-producer Alchemist. The latter tweeted after the Mayan show that "[Younge] is fast becoming a living legend."
If you ask Younge how he's been able to resurrect a vintage sound with astonishing fidelity and a kaleidoscopic approach, he'll tell you that it comes down to dedication. "I don't cut corners. Everything I do is 100 percent," he says. "No computers in the studio. We don't save part of the tape; everything is linear. It doesn't mean I'm better; it just means that my process is more in tune with how they did it back then."
But it's more than replication. Younge's success hinges on his imagination. He doesn't record songs, he invents worlds for his sounds to inhabit. Spaghetti Western scores, lysergic soul and boom-bap all crack skulls.
It's natural that one of Younge's goals is to score a Quentin Tarantino film. His aesthetic and ability to artfully repurpose the past seem like they sprang from a Tarantino dream circa the Jackie Brown era.
"I've always wanted to work with The Delfonics and Wu-Tang, and now I've got the chance to push the old sound forward. This is the trajectory I always wanted," Young says. "It's validating but still surreal. It shows that if you study and work hard at what you believe in, you can be in that caliber. But I don't try to be as good as — I try to surpass. I'm trying to be better than my last album."
Then he finishes his coffee and politely excuses himself. It's time for rehearsal.