Poor Young Things need no sympathy. The rock ‘n’ roll band, made up of five
resourceful focused musicians, gave up a contented life in Thunder Bay, Ontario,
and headed for Toronto without knowing a soul. Within a year, the band had
recorded with their dream producer Jon Drew (Arkells) and signed a deal with
Bumstead Records. Poor them, indeed.
Their debut EP, Let It Sleep, a precursor to a full-length album to be released later
in 2012, is an emotive working-class rock release with songs primarily about the
culture shock of a big city and surviving there.
“Blame It On The Good Times” was written about Toronto’s Dakota Tavern
hideaway, hanging out until last call, soaking up the inspired music. “We can stay
here with the rounders and listen to the Lo-Fi,” Matt sings. “It’s about going out on the
town and having fun and getting swept away in all the downtown ruckus,” he
“Let It Sleep” is about the things you have to do to subsist in a big city when you’re
trying not to get spat out. “We’re one step ahead of dying/ We fight the war on the weekend,”
is one of the lyrics. “...maybe one day you get where you want to be.” “None of us have
jobs. You have to scrape by as much as you can. You have to eat noodles only,”
Matt laughs. “But it’s good; it shapes your personality.”
It also shapes the music Poor Young Things create, a kind of raw mix of Tom Petty
“This music has totally been affected by Toronto and a lot of the indie bands down
here,” says Matt. “You can go to the Dakota and check out a deadly roots band
and then go to the Horseshoe and check out an awesome rock ‘n’ roll band.”
When Matt, guitarists Michael Kondakow and Dave Grant, bassist Scottt Burke
and drummer Konrad Commisso first formed a band after high school, the early
incarnation had strains of roots and country. They adopted a rawer, rougher, rock
‘n’ roll sound once they relocated to the rawer rougher Toronto, at the behest of
The Trews keyboardist Jeff Heisholt (also of Thunder Bay).
“We were going to move to Vancouver, but Jeff said, ‘Move here. It’s the epicenter
of the whole music industry. I’ll help you get a demo together,’” says Matt. “We
found a place and packed up and we all live together in a big house in North
In May of 2011, the five cut a demo in Hamilton, ON, which got the attention of
The Trews management and label. They began working together on a handshake
when a fortuitous encounter led Poor Young Things to their fave producer.
“We had a chance meeting with his business partner,” Matt recounts. “He said, ‘I
have a studio behind the Horseshoe, why don’t you come and check it out.’ And
brought us there and Jon Drew was sitting in the room. We were like, ‘Holy shit.’”
Poor Young Things will continue to work on their debut album, while playing live
and happily living on noodles.
“Our goal is to be able to make a living doing this — doing music, touring, seeing
the country and seeing other countries,” says Matt. “We don’t want to make
millions of dollars. It would be nice, but it would also be nice to do what you’re
passionate about for a living and be comfortable doing that.”