Youth Code on categorisation, feminism, and koalas

Get the latest from Beat

Youth Code on categorisation, feminism, and koalas


If you were searching for heavy-industrial-electronic anthems in 2011, chances are you were hard-pressed to find anything worth listening to. Thankfully, in 2012, Youth Code was conceived in the LA underground scene and the EBM-duo filled a gaping hole and found their cosy niche. 

With two studio albums released within three years, vocalist Sara Taylor is beyond excited to be bringing their debut Youth Code and sophomore Commitment to Complications to Japan, and then finally Down Under.

“It’s been a minute since I came to Australia – I did merch for Soundwave about seven years ago. This is Youth Code’s first time in Australia, though, and Ryan [George, co-founding member]’s never been, so I’m excited to showcase everything that I saw last time, like Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. I’ve already set aside time to hold a koala again. Honestly, I’m so fucking stoked to come back.”

Australia is stoked too. Youth Code are kicking off their Aussie leg over in Perth, then jetting over to the east coast to bring their relentless head-banging sound to Brisbane, Sydney, and finally Melbourne. Despite the critical acclaim and commercial success of their two albums, Youth Code bring an entirely different atmosphere and intensity to their songs when playing them live.

“It’s near to impossible for us to have the same feel on record that we have live. Live is Ryan throwing himself everywhere, being an absolute maniac, punching his synthesisers and getting down on his knees while I’m trying not to throw myself all over the fucking place, destroying everything as much as possible. Plus, there are people in front of me.

“Then, we go to the studio and it’s all very calm. Imagine screaming at people who are screaming back and both of you are thriving and building off this strange and electric energy, versus screaming at a wall.”

Their sound has been described as “industrial darkness, body-slamming electronic beats, with extreme metal sensibilities and hardcore punk angst,” however vocalist Sara Taylor both struggles and refuses to categorise Youth Code’s sound.

“I can’t label it. Electronic-influenced hatred? At the end of the day, it’s just two little buddies that are into things that are confrontational, and they take it out on their synthesisers instead of other people.”

These two little buddies have been subverting the expectations of industrial electronic hardcore for over five years, and yet still believe that their sound is often “off-putting for people, because [I’m] just spending the whole time yelling about something.” Is this tied to hardcore fans being somewhat surprised by the gargantuan presence of Taylor?

“I’ve witnessed the ignorance of [that brand] of sexism, and at the same time I choose not to engage with it. Women have dealt with this bullshit since the fucking beginning of time. I guess all I can say is, you’ve got to find people that aren’t going to look at you based on what you were born as and find someone that’s going to look at you as a human being that’s able to yell.”

Though she concedes that being a woman in the hardcore scene is inspiring for others, she doesn’t want to let anyone label her and George’s project as a piece of ‘female artistry’.

“I was never like, ‘I’m a girl, I’m going to sing something pretty and conform to the norms.’ Not conforming to any stereotype of what I should be is very liberating, and this inspires other women, which is awesome. However, this isn’t the intention of Youth Code or the music, because I don’t want to be a ‘female musician’ – I’m just a musician, and I’m doing what I want to do.

“Women approach me and say, ‘Oh, this amazing, I’m so envious, I wish I could do something like this.’ I mean, we all have things that we can yell about, right? So why don’t you go and just do it?”