Young Empires first formed in Toronto in 2009, but only released their first full-length album, The Gates in 2015. A triumphant tour de force, the stunning debut deftly delivers chant-worthy choruses, and weaves together head-bobbing beatcraft and avant-pop melodies with gospel vibes, hip-hop savvy, and a modernist Motown feel that takes only one listen to be forever etched in your brain.
The Gates is the follow-up to Young Empires’ electro-house infused debut EP, Wake All My Youth, which was met with worldwide critical acclaim when it was released in 2012.
The genre-blending songs were birthed out of an intensely communal songwriting process. The group wasn’t sure about where they wanted to take their sound until they wrote the title track “The Gates,” an upbeat anthem that soars and swirls, exploring the palette that would educate the rest of the album. The song showcases the trio’s ability to bring disparate elements together – late night soul, Technicolor pop, vibey beats –to craft a sound that is uniquely their own.
Once in the studio, Young Empires were aided by a trio of top-tier producers – Stephen “Koz” Kozmeniuk (Kendrick Lamar, Nicki Minaj, Madonna), Jimmy Messer (AWOLNATION) and Kevin Seaton (Snoop Lion, Active Child) – the threesome meshed together their disparate influences into a stunningly singular sound. Further production was overseen by Messer and Seaton, while Tyson Kuteyi (Talib Kweli, k-os), Matty Green (Delta Spirit, TV On the Radio) and Joe Zook (Katy Perry, Modest Mouse) were in charge of mixing The Gates. All the continental crisscrossing and rigorous recording sessions paid off. Rich with complex electronic textures and acutely emotive songwriting, there’s a widescreen, transnational sensibility in The Gates. Epic, yet intimate, it draws the listener into Young Empires’ luminescent heart.