The music of Mitchell Young, a.k.a. YvngError, distills the best of mid-1990s BritPop while adding YvngError’s own stylistic flourishes in his well-crafted and sleekly produced songs.
What’s impressive is that YvngError only returned to seriously playing and composing music over the past year after ending a sabbatical away from it. And he’s been on a roll ever since – as of this writing, YvngError has 30,470 monthly listeners on Spotify, all of whom are enjoying his 5 tracks: “Sometimes”, “Memories”, “AI Centric”, “Ecstasy” and “Box”. We’ll be discussing these individual tracks below.
As an aficionado of mid-1990s BritPop myself, I became a fan of YvngError’s music and I reached out to him for an interview. He kindly agreed to take time away from his hectic schedule to participate in the discussion that follows.
Where are you from and how did you get into music?
Hey man, I am from West London, Middlesex! Music has always been a massive part of my life when I was younger. I used to play the guitar a lot but then ended up being addicted to skateboarding so I put the guitar away. Then over this past year I managed to find my love for music again and have not stopped since!
I’ve been dying to ask – what’s the meaning of your stage name “YvngError” and how did you come up with it?
Ha ha ha – this has been coming up a lot recently! Basically, my surname is “Young” – falling back into music was a bit of an “Error” and the “V” was because I couldn’t use the word “Young” as so many other artists have already had the privilege of taking it, hence the “Error”.
Aside from the guitar, do you play any other musical instruments?
Not particularly, but I have been experimenting with a lot of piano stuff recently on my Midi keyboard and I’ve learned how to adapt the use of multi-effects pedals into my creative process.
Did you teach yourself to sing or do you have formal vocal training?
Not at all man! Literally just decided to give it a go and I thought to myself that I could probably have a good bash at the whole singing thing.
I think my voice being quite British pulls through nicely and it kind of just works. I’ve never particularly tried too hard with the singing but I feel now that I’ve found out who I am, and I know exactly where I am going with it.
Rather than adopting an American accent when singing (which a lot of British singers do) you sing with a very distinctive British accent. Was this a conscious decision?
Not really man, I guess just I wanted to home in on exactly where I am from and represent the British music scene the way it should be done and the way it used to be done. None of this fake sh*t.
You mentioned in one of your Instagram posts that you did some busking in London. How was that experience and did it develop your musicianship and your ability to work an audience?
It was an incredible experience – it was amazing to see people’s reactions to me just playing on the street with my guitar in a very organic situation. It gave me the buzz to play live at concerts and festivals in the foreseeable future because I haven’t had the chance to play live this year having only started my musical journey properly in February. I am buzzing to feel the crowd’s energy and vibe!
Your music is very reminiscent of 1990s Brit Pop (e.g. Oasis, Blur). Who are your musical influences?
It’s funny you say that – the comparison has come up a lot recently, which has blown my mind because they are some of my favourite artists and I would 100% aspire to be like them.
My other musical influences stem from the likes of Ben Howard who is an absolute wizard on the guitar and so lyrically talented his music sends shivers up my spine. I also love the 1975, Iron Maiden, the Beatles, Pink Floyd the list goes on!!
Are there any relatively unknown up and coming musical artists that you’re a fan of?
Yes! There is a band I am close mates with called Txttalk and they are literally on fire right now. They are an Alt/Indie/Pop band from Hastings, UK and have recently released their Debut EP “Text Message Love letter”. They have also been played on BBC Introducing several times recently which is amazing! Definitely check them out!
How do you go about composing your songs? Do you have a specific methodology or does it come from inspiration (or perhaps a mix of both)?
Not particularly man – I kind of just start with a few chords and a rhythm that I like and then usually have a concept or story in my head that I want to get out, so I then grab a pen and paper and just write, write, write until the song has formed.
Are the lyrics to your songs such as “Ecstasy” (about breaking up with a girlfriend) as well as “Box” and “Sometimes” (about being a misanthrope) based on actual life experiences or were you simply playing the role of a character telling stories in a musical format? If they are in fact based on real-life experiences, are there any stories behind the lyrics to songs such as Ecstasy?
All the songs I have ever written to date have been based on true life experiences and emotions.
“Ecstasy” was a concept song about breakups that usually last about 9 months – initially something that I’ve experienced alongside many other people, so I wanted to write a “break up” song in a different manner using a comparison to drugs such as “Ecstasy”, drinking and being confused about your emotions in a clever and unique manner. I think this sat quite well with a lot of people, who’ve been able to connect with it.
I’ve recently premiered the official music video for that as well! I think it really sets up a visual story for people to indulge in.
“Box” was my first ever single I released and I was extremely happy with how that came out. That song represented how I was feeling this year being stuck inside a “Box” within my own mind. Again I really wanted to portray my feelings in such a way that other people would be able to go “Wow I feel like this”.
“Sometimes” is a song that examines being sometimes lost in life, being happy, being confused, losing yourself occasionally but always still seeing the bigger picture that is out there through all the darkness and chaos that we experience as humans as life goes on.
“AI Centric” is interesting lyrically. Are the lyrics about the looming dangers to society of rapid technological advances?
I loved writing this song so much! I had a few beers then got really inside my own mind about how I see the future falling apart and yes, you’re correct: the lyrics represent how we are collapsing as a society / world and that technological advances could potentially end us.
The start of the song “My corpse has been designed” and “We’re spinning out of time” is literally expressing how we as humans are systematically controlled by governments which think they have the right to control us even though they are the same as us.
I think it’s outrageous. And the idea “that we’re running out of time” is that it won’t be long until the next steps of evolution kick in and we shall more likely than not destroy our beautiful planet that we’ve been given due to greed and money for the sake of “power” in a “wasteland” we shall one day still call home.
Are there any specific tips that you can give to aspiring songwriters who may be reading this interview?
For sure! I think that if you’re aspiring to write a song, you should always think of your audience as well as your own experiences. To really build a connection with your fans, I think it’s imperative they be part of your journey.
The other tip I have is: don’t force a song. If you have nothing to write about just don’t bother and wait until the moment the pen connects with the paper and the words come flowing out of your thoughts.
What’s the music scene like where you’re currently living?
Where I live, it doesn’t exist as I live on the edge of London, so there is not much going in my local music scene which is a real shame.
But a small trip into London opens a new vortex of underdogs absolutely smashing it, although I haven’t been able to really go to any gigs or venues this past year as everything has been shut (due to Covid)! But this situation has given new artists like myself a niche way into the music industry as a lot of people seem to have given up and haven’t utilised current circumstances to their advantage.
If Yvng Error of the year 2020 could sit down with Yvng Error of the year 2010 for a pint, what advice would he give to his younger self based on what he’s learned and experienced (both good and bad) over the past 10 years?
Ten years ago I would have been 16 and I would probably tell him to let life take you down the road it chooses and don’t plan anything. Let life lead you on a winding journey of beautiful experiences and if things are meant to be they will be. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to be successful and appreciate every little thing in life from waking up in the morning to the smell of coffee and the sun shining through your window. Life’s short – just be grateful for what you do and take each day as it comes.
What are your short-term (within a year), medium-term (within 5 years) and long-term (within 10 years) professional goals?
My short term goal would to be hit 100,000 streams with my first EP “Mindless Wandering”. I think it’s reached about 50,000 in 2 months so that’s something that I think could happen! To be honest I didn’t even think I would get even 500 streams, so I’m overwhelmed with the response I have had.
Within 5 years I would love to have played several moderately-sized stages at festivals and really show the world who I am and what my musical journey is about, as well as grow a nice little fanbase and give my fans music they can fully vibe to on a sunny day with a beer in hand.
I would also love to have a full band behind me that I could grow with as an artist. I’ve recently started working with another rock guitarist – Carl Alsop with whom I’m currently working on another album called “Definitely Tea”. But I won’t give too much away about that yet …
Within 10 years; hmmm gold record on the wall from a Number 1 single or album and probably headline Glastonbury or Reading? That would really be the icing on the cake for me; a lot more work and a lot more music – who knows!
My music only has to reach the ears of the right person in order to make that possible, so, if anyone reads this: “YvngError is READY”!
And of course, you can listen to his music over at Spotify and other major streaming platforms.