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Artist to Watch: Young Culture

It was the middle of the summer, during the peak of an infamous upstate New York heat advisory, and I found myself in the sweatiest basement I had ever cared to experience. It was a house show held at the late Albany Rice House, headlined by my dear friends in Young Culture. I had caught nearly every one of their local shows, but at the time I had never seen the crowd this wild. At the end of the set, the crowd demanded an encore, to which frontman Alex Magnan responded, “Holy shit, we’ve never played an encore before, thank you so much,” they played one more song as the entire basement screamed the words at the tops of their lungs. To see some of my best friends succeed at doing what they love the most for this past year or so has never been anything short of fulfilling, but for the artists behind Young Culture, this has been a long time coming.

From left: Nick Cavin (drums), Gabe Pietrafesa (lead guitar), Alex Magnan (lead vocals), Chris Arnold (guitar), Myron Vititow (bass, backing vocals) Photo: Danny DeRusso

Young Culture is a vibrant pop punk band and the brainchild of college freshmen Gabe Pietrafesa (lead guitar) and Alex Magnan (lead vocals), long time best friends and self proclaimed brothers. They got an early start, this duo began playing shows in the Albany area when they were around age 13 under the name Bring Home Ohio. Despite their young age, which for a while required them to bring guardians for their own gigs, they carved their way into the Albany music scene and have been growing more as artists and as people ever since. In 2014, the boys headed out to Panda Studios in California with Derek DiScanio of State Champs to record their debut album under the name Routine. While working on this record, Alex tells me that they started thinking differently about their image, “As things panned out we saw it being more serious than what we were doing prior so we wanted to turn it into what we saw it as;  Young Culture. The name and aesthetic is precisely who we are as people and artists.” In February 2016, Alex and Gabe made the official change to the cleaner, more modern, Young Culture, and they haven’t looked back.  

Photo: Danny DeRusso

Over the past year the Young Culture boys have hit many milestones, from dropping “YOU”, to playing their first out of state shows, releasing a mixtape (through Palm Tree Music Group, available on SoundCloud), getting onto some larger bills; such as opening for Real Friends and Knuckle Puck in October and an upcoming hometown State Champs show this week, and now preparing to release their second EP. From the very beginning of their careers, these boys have had one of the strongest support systems to help them along the way. Their crowds are always packed with the familiar faces of their closest friends and family, which Gabe says, “Just makes everything worth it,” with Alex adding, “Friends and family are everything. We would be nothing as people without them and this band would be nothing without them.” The love that the Albany music community has for these two is incredible, but their fan base has expanded far beyond that. People from all over New York come out to catch Young Culture shows; it’s easy to support bands when the love they have for performing and for their music is so palpable. Music is what they love, performing is what makes them feel their happiest. With the relentless support from their families and friends and other members of the Albany music scene, these boys have come a long way.

Photo: Gabe Vargas

If you haven’t checked out the album “YOU” already, now is the time; the future is bright for Young Culture. The whole record is packed with some of the catchiest tracks I’ve heard all year, ‘Bedroom Floor’ and ‘Every Night’ being my two favorites. Their fans, myself included, are itching to hear what they’ve been working on, Gabe says to expect “Bangers” for the next EP. The music community thrives off of artists like them, the artists who shape their careers with true passion for their music, and with the humility and kindness that make them who they are. I’m confident in saying that they will continue to make us all proud, they deserve every bit of recognition and success they get. This is a band you will want to keep any eye on, so stay up to date with Young Culture on their social media pages, and check out “YOU,” all linked below.  

Photo: Danny DeRusso

+Find Them Here:

Twitter/ Instagram/ Facebook

+Find “YOU” here, also available on all major streaming services