Gang of Youths

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Gang of Youths
Gang of Youths (26637995948).jpg
Gang of Youths performing in 2018. From left to right. Donnie Borzestowski, David Le’aupepe, Max Dunn.
Background information
OriginSydney, New South Wales, Australia
GenresIndie rock, Alternative rock
Years active2012 (2012)–present
LabelsSony Music Australia / Warner Bros. Records / Warner Music Group
  • Donnie Borzestowski
  • Max Dunn
  • Jung Kim
  • David Le’aupepe
Past members
  • Sam O'Donnell
  • Joji Malani

Gang of Youths are an Australian indie rock group from Sydney. The band consists of principal songwriter David Le'aupepe (lead vocals, guitar), Max Dunn (bass guitar), Jung Kim (keyboards, guitar), Joji Malani (lead guitar) and Donnie Borzestowski (drums). Malani is Fijian, Kim is Korean-American, Dunn is from New Zealand and Borzestowski is Polish-Australian, while Le'aupepe has Samoan-Jewish heritage. They are known for their 2017 single "Let Me Down Easy" which became their first top 50 single in Australia. Their debut album, The Positions, peaked at No. 5 on the ARIA Albums Chart in May 2015 and was nominated for multiple ARIA Awards.

Their second album, Go Farther In Lightness, debuted at No. 1 on the ARIA Albums Chart in August 2017 and was nominated for eight awards at the ARIA Music Awards of 2017, winning four: Album Of The Year, Best Group, Best Rock Album and Producer of the Year (Gang of Youths and Adrian Breakspear).


Le'aupepe performing with Gang of Youths in 2017

Gang of Youths was formed in Sydney, Australia in mid 2012, with original drummer Sam O'Donnell.[1] Le'aupepe and Malani first met in 2002, both aged 10, attending Hillsong, an evangelical church in northern Sydney. In subsequent years they befriended O'Donnell and Chicago- born Kim at the church's youth group. Although Le'aupepe described himself during this time as a 'loner'[2] and stated that while "I still align myself with Jesus," he was "just not a great poster-boy for it."[3] In 2008, after leaving his previous school, Le'aupepe started attending the more prestigious Mosman High School, where he continued performing his own songs at school concerts, along with Harley Streten (soon to be known as Flume). Also at Mosman High was Kiwi Max Dunn, who befriended Le'aupepe during their final year of high school in 2009.

The band's first gig was at Sydney's Hibernian House on 21 June 2012, supporting local band Tigertown. Tigertown's drummer Kurt Bailey was so impressed with the performance he soon became their manager. For the next 5 months the band practiced and recorded some demos until their next gig in late December of that year. They started playing regular support gigs in small Sydney venues and local community station FBi Radio began playing some of their demos, including 'A Sudden Light' and 'Strange Diseases'. Word started filtering out about their impressive live show and on 27 February 2013 they played their first headline show, at the re- opening of Sydney nightclub Candy's Apartment. They released their first single 'Evangelists' on 16 August 2013 and were featured on national youth station Triple J's Unearthed segment. They then embarked on a national tour, supporting Cloud Control.

They started work on their debut album, The Positions, in 2013.[1][4] In September that year some tracks were recorded in New York's Marcarta Recording studio with Kevin McMahon.[5][6] By June 2014 they were in the Sony Music Australia recording studios in Sydney.[5] Drums on the album were shared by O'Donnell, Novacastrian Dom "Donnie" Borzestowski as well as session drummer Joel van Gastel. In October 2014 O'Donnell left the band and was replaced by Borzestowski. Le'aupepe is the sole songwriter and his lyrics on The Positions deal with his relationship with his former wife, her melanoma diagnosis and treatment for the cancer, their separation and his suicide attempts.[6]

The band performed with Kean Edwards[7] at South by Southwest festival in March 2014.[8] The Positions peaked at No. 5 on the ARIA Albums Chart in May 2015.[9] At the ARIA Music Awards of 2015 Gang of Youths received five nominations: Breakthrough Artist – Release, Best Rock Album, Best Cover Artist (by Nathan Johnson) for The Positions, Engineer of the Year (Adrian Breakspear, Peter Holz) for "Radioface", and Best Australian Live Act for the Gang of Youths National Tour.[10] In December they were recognised as the Live Act of the Year of 2015 and Best Domestic Tour in The AU Review.[11] Their single "Magnolia" came in at number 21 in the Triple J Hottest 100, 2015.

In June 2016, a single, "Strange Diseases", was released, followed on 29 July by the six track EP Let Me Be Clear.[12] The 5 original songs on Let Me Be Clear were originally written as part of material for The Positions, whilst the 6th track was a cover of "Both Sides, Now" by Joni Mitchell. The band played at Splendour in the Grass in the same month.

In February 2017 the band finished recording their second album Go Farther in Lightness with a release date announced as 18 August. They then relocated to London amidst issues with the renewal of keyboardist Jung Kim's Australian Visa.[13] In April and May the band toured the UK and Europe, followed by a June tour of the USA. An Australian national tour in September followed the release of Go Farther in Lightness, after which the band returned to London for another UK/Europe tour in October. Three tracks from Go Farther in Lightness were voted into the Triple J Hottest 100, 2017, taking out 2nd, 5th and 10th in the countdown. Their song, "The Heart Is a Muscle", was used by Fox Sports (Australia) to promote the 2018 NRL season.[14]

On 12 March 2018, the group made their US television debut featuring on Late Night with Seth Meyers, performing their single "What Can I Do If the Fire Goes Out?"[15] In July 2018, the band were the first artist to perform on MTV Unplugged Australia.[16][17] The concert was recorded at the Cobblestone Pavilion in Melbourne's Metropolitan Meat Market and released on 26 October 2018. On 30 September 2018 they played before the NRL Grand Final in front of a crowd of 82,688 at ANZ Stadium in Sydney. The band supported Foo Fighters for 7 nights in the US during their Concrete and Gold Tour in October 2018, and Mumford & Sons for 16 nights during the European leg of their Delta Tour in April/May 2019.

Band members[edit]

Current members
  • David Le’aupepe - lead vocals, rhythm guitar, piano (2012–present)
  • Jung Kim - keyboards, guitar (2012–present)
  • Max Dunn - bass guitar, backing vocals (2012–present)
  • Donnie Borzestowski - drums (2014–present)
Past members
  • Sam O'Donnell - drums (2012-2014)
  • Joji Malani - lead guitar, backing vocals (2012–2019)




Title Album details Peak chart positions Certifications
The Positions
  • Release date: 17 April 2015
  • Label: Mosy, Sony
  • Formats: Vinyl, CD, digital download
Go Farther in Lightness
  • Release date: 18 August 2017[21]
  • Label: Mosy, Sony
  • Formats: Vinyl, CD, digital download
1 [A]

Live albums[edit]

Title Album details Peak chart positions
MTV Unplugged (Live in Melbourne)
  • Release date: 26 October 2018[23]
  • Label: Mosy, Sony
  • Formats: CD, digital download

Extended plays[edit]

Title EP details Peak chart positions
Let Me Be Clear
  • Release date: 29 July 2016
  • Label: Mosy, Sony
  • Formats: Vinyl, CD, digital download


List of singles, with selected chart positions
Title Year Peak chart positions Certifications Album

"Evangelists"[26] 2013 non-album singles
"Riverlands"[27] 2014
"Poison Drum"[28] The Positions
"Benevolence Riots"[29] non-album single
"Radioface" 2015 The Positions
"Strange Diseases" 2016 Let Me Be Clear
"What Can I Do If the Fire Goes Out?" 2017 Go Farther in Lightness
"Atlas Drowned"
"Let Me Down Easy" 49
  • ARIA: 2× Platinum[31]
"The Deepest Sighs, the Frankest Shadows" 93
"Heroes"[32] non-album single
"The Heart Is a Muscle"[33] 37 Go Farther in Lightness
"Still Unbeaten Life" (Live)[34] 2018 MTV Unplugged (Live in Melbourne)
"Fear and Trembling" (Live)[35]
"—" denotes items which were not released in that country or failed to chart.


  1. ^ Go Farther in Lightness did not enter the NZ Top 40 Albums Chart, but peaked at number 3 on the NZ Heatseeker Albums Chart.[22]


APRA Awards[edit]

The APRA Awards are held in Australia and New Zealand by the Australasian Performing Right Association to recognise songwriting skills, sales and airplay performance by its members annually.[36]

Year Nominee / work Award Result
2019 "The Deepest Sighs, the Frankest Shadows" Rock Work of the Year Nominated

ARIA Music Awards[edit]

The ARIA Music Awards is an annual awards ceremony that recognises excellence, innovation, and achievement across all genres of Australian music. Gang of Youths have won 4 awards from 17 nominations (two pending).[37]

Year Nominee / work Award Result
2015 The Positions Breakthrough Artist Nominated
Best Rock Album Nominated
Best Cover Art Nominated
Gang of Youths Best Australian Live Act Nominated
Gang of Youths Engineer of the Year Nominated
2016 Let Me Be Clear Best Rock Album Nominated
Gang of Youths Best Australian Live Act Nominated
2017 Go Farther in Lightness Album of the Year Won
Best Group Won
Best Rock Album Won
Best Cover Art Nominated
Gang of Youths & Adrian Breakspear Producer of the Year Won
"The Deepest Sighs, The Frankest Shadows" ARIA Award for Best Video Nominated
Gang of Youths Best Australian Live Act Nominated
2018 Gang of Youths 2017 National Tour Best Australian Live Act Nominated
Patrick Rohl for Gang of Youths – "The Heart is a Muscle" Best Video Nominated
2019 MTV Unplugged (Live in Melbourne) ARIA Award for Best Original Soundtrack, Cast or Show Album Pending
Say Yes To Life Tour Best Australian Live Act Pending


  1. ^ a b Mordue, Mark (5 September 2015). "Gang of Youths' Difficult Positions". The Saturday Paper. Schwartz Media. Retrieved 15 December 2015.
  2. ^ "Track by Track: Gang Of Youths - 'The Positions' - FasterLouder". FasterLouder. Retrieved 12 April 2016.
  3. ^ "Gang Of Youths' David Le'aupepe Talks Jesus, Blackface, New Music & Life As A Lonely Millennial - Music Feeds". Music Feeds. Retrieved 12 April 2016.
  4. ^ Anagnostellis, Antigone (30 July 2015). "Why Gang of Youths' David Le'aupepe Is Looking for Bad Luck for The Positions Follow-up". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 15 December 2015.
  5. ^ a b Fitzsimons, Scott (5 June 2014). "In The Studio with Gang of Youths as They Finish Their Album". Retrieved 15 December 2015.
  6. ^ a b "Rolling Stone Australia — Gang of Youths: A Matter of Life and Death". Rolling Stone Australia — Gang of Youths: A Matter of Life and Death. Retrieved 15 December 2015.
  7. ^ Richards, Jared. "Gang of Youth MTV Unplugged". Junkee. Junkee. Retrieved 17 August 2018.
  8. ^ Garrett, Jonathan (15 March 2014). "SXSW Friday Round-Up: Bully, Happy Diving, Viet Cong, Gang of Youths". NME. Retrieved 16 December 2015.
  9. ^ Hung, Steffen. "Discography Gang of Youths". Australian Charts Portal. Hung Medien. Archived from the original on 22 December 2015. Retrieved 15 December 2015.
  10. ^ ARIA Music Awards for Gang of Youths:
  11. ^ Woollams, Renee (9 December 2015). "AU Live Music Awards Announced in Sydney, Gang of Youths, Meg Mac Amongst Winners". the AU review. Retrieved 16 December 2015.
  12. ^ "Gang of Youths return with a cracking new single, Strange Diseases".
  13. ^ "Gang of Youths drop first taste of album #2 'What Can I Do If The Fire Goes Out?' - Music News - triple j".
  14. ^ "Gang of Youths Fox League". 2018. Retrieved 14 April 2018.
  15. ^ "Gang of Youths to Make US Late Night TV debut Next Week". The Music. 5 March 2018. Retrieved 15 April 2018.
  16. ^ "'MTV Unplugged' To Make Long-Awaited Australian Debut With Gang Of Youths". Music Feeds. 18 June 2018. Retrieved 2 July 2018.
  17. ^ "Gang Of Youths to feature on debut episode of Australia's MTV Unplugged". Tone Deaf. 18 June 2018. Retrieved 2 July 2018.
  18. ^ a b c d Peaks in Australia:
  19. ^ "Discography Gang of Youths". Hung Medien. Retrieved 18 June 2018.
  20. ^ a b "ARIA Charts - Accreditations - 2018 Albums". ARIA. 26 December 2018. Retrieved 26 December 2018.
  21. ^ "Go Farther in Lightness by Gang of Youths on Apple Music". Apple Inc. Retrieved 9 August 2017.
  22. ^ "NZ Heatseeker Albums Chart". Recorded Music NZ. 28 August 2017. Retrieved 18 June 2018.
  23. ^ "MTV Unplugged (Live in Melbourne) DD". iTunes Australia. Retrieved 28 September 2018.
  24. ^ "ARIA Australian Top 50 Albums". Australian Recording Industry Association. 5 November 2018. Retrieved 3 November 2018.
  25. ^ "Gang of Youths – Chart History: Adult Alternative Songs". Billboard. Retrieved 18 June 2018.
  26. ^ "Evangelists - single". iTunes Australia. Retrieved 15 April 2018.
  27. ^ "Riverlands". iTunes Australia. Retrieved 15 April 2018.
  28. ^ "Poison Drum". iTunes Australia. Retrieved 15 April 2018.
  29. ^ "Benevolence Riots". iTunes Australia. Retrieved 15 April 2018.
  30. ^ a b c "ARIA Charts - Accreditations - 2018 Singles". ARIA. Retrieved 31 December 2018.
  31. ^ a b "ARIA Charts - Accreditations - 2019 Singles". ARIA. Retrieved 22 September 2019.
  32. ^ "Heroes - single". iTunes Australia. Retrieved 15 April 2018.
  33. ^ "My Heart is a Muscle- single". iTunes Australia. Retrieved 15 April 2018.
  34. ^ "Still Unbeaten Life - single". iTunes Australia. Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  35. ^ "New Music Releases For 28 September 2018". Noise11. 28 September 2018. Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  36. ^ "2019 APRA Awards nominees announced". noise11. 27 March 2019. Retrieved 29 March 2019.
  37. ^ "Gang of Youths ARIA Awards search". ARIA. Retrieved 14 April 2018.