It’s getting hard to write about singer-songwriters. Not that Monument Valley, the musical alias of the promisingly talented Ned Younger at all deserves to be pigeonholed into being just another post-Mumford singer-songwriter – he has a band for a start, and rather than being all hushed acoustics his music is something more intricate and electrified, and all the better for it.
It’s just that there’s only so many times the same adjectives can be used. Younger’s music is sincere, timeless and quite beautifully crafted storytelling. But you’ve heard us say all this kind of thing before. To save me having to be a bit more imaginative, we thought we’d get Ned Younger himself to do the talking.
So when I Google Monument Valley, I just find out a lot about Utah. Who exactly is Monument Valley?
It’s not particularly google friendly is it? Monument Valley, as well as being a tourist attraction in Utah, is the name under which I release music. It’s been going for a few months and Tongues, which is my first EP, came out in November.
What or who inspires your music in general, and specifically Tongues?
That’s always a hard question to answer because I think you’re expected to name bands and musicians, and obviously they do play a big role, but I think for me other things are just as important. I think broadly what inspires me are stories, whether those are in songs, books, photos or films. With this record in particular, the songs are based on photographs that I found in markets and car boot sales. I found, and still do find, that kind of image really inspiring in terms of writing songs.
The physical version of the EP has been released with a book, how does that tie into the music?
It was always conceived as a book because the songs are so intrinsically linked with the visuals, both in terms of the photographs that inspired the songs and the illustrations that accompany them. We pushed the book idea really hard and I can’t imagine it being in any other format. Once people see the book they tend to get it straight away.
I’ve heard you used to be quite into UK garage, what caused the detour from that route to your style of music now?
Well I never actually made any UK garage, though I would have liked to and would still like to at some point, so it was never a conscious choice to leave it behind. I think it’s probably influenced what I’m doing now in some way, though I’d be hard pressed to tell you exactly how.
What are your plans for the future? Is there a plan yet for an album release or another EP after Tongues?
There are plans afoot to record again in January, so you should be hearing from me again sooner rather than later. We’re just talking about what form that might take at the moment, and there are some ace ideas flying around. In the meantime I’m also continuing to work with my friend Mikey Smith, who did all the illustrations for the TONGUES book, on something longer form. I’m excited about that too.
Tongue’s is out now, and the first track Round & Round (from somewhere between Benjamin Francis Leftwich and toned down Los Campesinos!) is quite possibly the highlight, check it out below.