Young the Giant

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Young the Giant
Young the Giant at Sasquatch 2011.jpg
Young the Giant performing at Sasquatch 2011
Background information
Also known as The Jakes
Origin Irvine, California, U.S.
Years active 2004–present
Labels Fueled by Ramen, Roadrunner
Associated acts Travelers
Members Sameer Gadhia
Jacob Tilley
Eric Cannata
Payam Doostzadeh
Francois Comtois
Past members Ehson Hashemian
Jason Burger
Sean Fischer
Carol Ann Boecker

Young the Giant is an American rock band that formed in Irvine, California, in 2004. The band's line-up is Sameer Gadhia (lead vocals), Jacob Tilley (guitar), Eric Cannata (guitar), Payam Doostzadeh (bass guitar), and Francois Comtois (drums). Formerly known as The Jakes, Young the Giant was signed by Roadrunner Records in 2009 and released its eponymous debut album in 2010. The band's first three singles, "My Body", "Cough Syrup" and "Apartment" reached the top five of the US Alternative Songs chart. The band member’s diverse backgrounds are reflected in their music. They have integrated their European and Middle Eastern cultures to generate a more worldly sound.


Formation (2004–2009)[edit]

The Jakes formed in 2004 in Irvine, California.[1] Consisting of Jacob Tilley, Addam Farmer, Kevin Massoudi, Ehson Hashemian, and Sameer Gadhia, the band's name was an acronym of the members' first names.[2] After several personnel changes, the group's lineup by 2008 consisted of Gadhia (born July 10, 1989), Tilley, Hashemian, Eric Cannata, Francois Comtois (born May 20, 1988) and Jason Burger. With two members still in high school and the others each attending different colleges, the Jakes recorded an EP, Shake My Hand, with producer Ian Kirkpatrick and decided to put their schooling on hold to focus on music. Burger left the band to pursue an education at Manhattan School of Music in New York City, and Comtois took over as the drummer. Shortly thereafter, longtime friend and collaborator, Payam Doostzadeh, joined as bassist.[3] In 2009, the band played four shows at the South by Southwest music festival in Austin, Texas.[4] The band's song "Texas Tea" was played during an episode of MTV's The Real World: Brooklyn, and "Paid the Piper" was featured on A&E's The Beast.[4] Another song, "Cough Syrup", received airplay on the Los Angeles radio station KROQ.[5] Shortly before signing to Roadrunner Records in August, keyboardist Ehson Hashemian departed the band.[6][7] In December 2009, the band announced they had changed their name to Young the Giant.[6]

Young the Giant (2010-2013)[edit]

Sameer Gadhia performing at Sasquatch 2011

The Jakes officially became Young the Giant in January 2010 during the production of its eponymous album. Young the Giant spent 2010 opening for Minus the Bear and Steel Train while working its debut album with Joe Chiccarelli at Sunset Sound Studios in Los Angeles. They took an old-school approach to recording the album. All the tracks were performed live so there was a lot of “chopping” involved. The band was very vigilant of their tracks but trusted the decisions of Joe Chiccarelli who had previously produced albums for The Shins. The Strokes, and Saints of Valory. The band believed in transparency; they only wanted to record what they could reproduce in front of an audience at a live show. It was important for them as a band to stick to integrity of who they really were. They envisioned an album that captured the reality of their sound, straying away as much as possible from new recording innovations (not implying they were completely avoided). An organic approach was taken to shape the album missioned for a wide expanse of audiences and outlets.[8] The aim was to do something different with every song.

After the band finished recording in early June,[9] they played additional shows with Marina and the Diamonds, The Futureheads, Neon Trees and New Politics.[10][11][12] Several songs—including "My Body", "I Got", and "Strings"—were leaked online in advance of the album's release.[5][13][14] On October 26, Roadrunner Records digitally released the eponymous Young the Giant album,[15] which hailed the third best rock album of 2010.[16] The album received a physical U.S. release on January 25, 2011.[17] The album was released in the UK on May 2.[18]

The band's first single "My Body" was released to U.S. radio in January and went on to peak at number five on the Billboard Alternative Songs chart.[19] The song was offered as a free download on iTunes for the week beginning January 9, and was featured on an episode of American Idol. The band performed the song that month on ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live! and Fuel TV's The Daily Habit.[17][20] The official video for the single, which features actor Bryan James, was directed by Justin Francis.[20]

In March, Young the Giant headlined the Billboard Showcase at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas.[21][22] In May, the band played the Sasquatch! Music Festival, the BBC's Later... with Jools Holland and The Great Escape Festival in Brighton.[23][24] English singer Morrissey, on the fansite True to You, declared Young The Giant as one of his favorite new bands.[25] The music video for the group's second single, "Cough Syrup", premiered in June.[26] The band was named MTV's PUSH Artist of the Week on July 4.[27]

An extended play (EP) featuring remixes by such artists as Two Door Cinema Club, Tokyo Police Club and Ra Ra Riot was made available in September for free through Young the Giant's Facebook page. Fans were invited to create their own remixes with the opportunity for their entry to be featured on the EP.[28] In August, the band played on the main stage at Lollapalooza.[29]

Young the Giant performed during the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards on August 28. The band began a tour with Incubus two days later.[30] The exposure from the VMA performance propelled Young the Giant onto the Billboard 200 albums chart, where it eventually peaked at number 42.[31] Sales for "My Body" climbed 220 percent on iTunes, helping the single reach number 65 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.[32][33] Young the Giant played at the Austin City Limits Music Festival in September, and a month later they performed songs from their debut album for an episode of MTV Unplugged which debuted online in November.[34][35]

The band released a music video for non-album track "West Virginia" in January 2012, and started their first major headlining tour in February.[36][37] They also headlined mtvU's first-ever Woodies Tour which began later that month.[38] Darren Criss' character Blaine Anderson covered "Cough Syrup" on the season three episode of Glee titled "On My Way". The song featured during the attempted suicide scene with Max Adler's character Dave Karofsky.[39]

"Apartment", the band's third single, was released in February and peaked at number 26 on the US Alternative Songs chart.[40] The music video for the song premiered in April 2012.[41] The group performed "Apartment" and "Cough Syrup" on a May episode of NBC's Today, and CNN Newsroom profiled the band a month later.[42][43]

On YouTube, Young the Giant is also known for their In the Open sessions, filmed by Alexander Shahmiri, from the self-titled album. In these videos, the band performs different versions of their songs in various natural settings that they find while on tour.

On May 3, 2013, Sameer Gadhia announced on the band's website that they will be going into the studio to work on their second album, which will be produced by Justin Meldal-Johnsen.[44]

Mind over Matter (2013–present)[edit]

On October 28, 2013, Young the Giant released "It's About Time", the lead single from the band's second album, Mind over Matter. On December 9, 2013, Young the Giant also released "Crystallized", another single from the band's second album. The album was released on January 21, 2014 via Fueled by Ramen. The band enlisted Grammy-nominated producer Justin Meldal-Johnsen to produce the album for the Southern California group.

The New York Times called the album "a sharp, electric album that has the cool reserve of the Cure matched with the arena mind-set of, say, Muse (though without that group’s mechanical air)." [45]

The next fall the band embarked on North American Tour starting in South Burlington Vt and ending Boulder Co,[46] the band was opened by Wildling Band who Gadhia helped in their search for a drummer.[47] Following the release of their second album, the group released another set of videos for their In the Open series on YouTube.

In 2015, the band released a song named "Mirrorball" for Record Store Day of that year.

Band members[edit]

Current members
  • Sameer Gadhia – lead vocals, percussion, keyboards, guitar (since 2004)
    • Sameer Gadhia is the lead vocals of Young the Giant. Gadhia comes from a family of musicians, especially Indian Classical. His sister, mother, and grandmother are singers. He began exploring a variety of American styles of music early on. The bandmates have been together ever since they attended Irvine High School and were initially known as the Jakes. Sameer Gadhia is a native of Irvine, California. He majored in Human Biology at Stanford University. He was involved in an acapella group, Talisman and in Greek life, as a brother of Sigma Nu. It was initially difficult to coordinate all the contributions of the members because they all attended different schools during the production of “Shake My Hand” which is a more eclectic track. In 2009, Gadhia put a halt to school and pursuing medicine to give his musical aspirations a shot. Although Gadhia does plan on going back to complete his degree someday, his heart currently resides in the studio. The band spends most of their time together which only makes them stronger as the fivesome withstand mainstream fame, success, and constantly being on the road. They all share a house in Los Angeles when not on the road.[48][49]
  • Jacob Tilley – guitar, synthesizer, mellotron (since 2004)
  • Eric Cannata – guitar, vocals, keyboards (since 2007)
  • Payam Doostzadeh – bass guitar, synthesizer, vocals (since 2008)
  • François Comtois – drums, percussion, vocals, (since 2007) bass guitar (2004–2007)
Former members (The Jakes)
  • Ehson Hashemian – keyboards, piano, synthesizers (2004–2009)
  • Jason Burger – drums (2007)
  • Sean Fischer – drums (2004–2007)


Studio albums[edit]

Title Album details Peak chart positions

Young the Giant 42 2 52 29 83
Mind over Matter 7 32

Extended plays[edit]

Title Album details
Remix EP
  • Released: September 12, 2011
  • Format: Free digital download
iTunes Live from Soho[54]
  • Released: October 18, 2011
  • Label: Roadrunner
  • Format: Digital download


Title Year Peak chart positions Certifications Album




"My Body" 2011 65 5 16 54 2 3 24 Young the Giant
"Cough Syrup" 95 3 9 82 5 20 11 95
"Apartment" 2012 26
"It's About Time" 2013 2 17 8 11 Mind over Matter
"Crystallized" 35 27
"Mind over Matter"[66] 2014 15 31
"—" denotes release that has not charted.


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External links[edit]