Andrew Mears ~ guitar & vocals~
Al English ~ guitar~synths~samples
Graeme Murray ~ drums~
Stephen Hammond ~bass~
Back in 2002 we were setting up our radio show and were donated many bags of demos from a local venue. In one bag we found a demo which we fell instantly in love with, a demo by High Wycombe band Youthmovie Soundtrack Strategies (YMSS) or later to be called Youthmovies.
The band were formed in February of twothousandandtwo, borne of a cold winter and ample discontent at High Wycombe University. Their name was cynically taken from a music industry text book referring to a marketing strategy wherein bands are put on the soundtracks of youth films to boost the sales of both the band and the movie for a quick turnover of both. YMSS began as a two-person affair, utilising tape decks and delay pedals to flesh-out a fledgling sound but soon expanded to a full live band.
After finding their demo we were soon on the phone inviting the band to play a show at The Old Jam Factory, 13th September 2002 along side Oxford bands Warhen and Verbal Kink. The aim of this gig was to showcase some new bands that we were keen to start working with in the future. YMSS had only played a couple of other shows in Wycombe and Manchester before this, arriving at the gig the band soon realised that they had left most of their kit at home! It was a good start! However the band managed to put on hell of a show and left us all with the feeling that there was something very special about this band, we were instantly sold on adding the band to the Quickfix roster and we began talking about releasing a record together.
However In late 2002 drummer Simon left the band due to increasing commitments to his other band Hope of The States who had recently been signed to Sony. The departure of Simon did not deter the band and they soon found a new drummer; Graeme Murray who quickly took to the drum stool. Graeme slotted in to the band perfectly and the band began to hone their sound. We managed to pursuede Phill Honey the promoter of the One Louder gigs at the Wheathsheaf to give the band a chance and he booked them for a gig supporting Black Nielson and Caretaker on 15th November 2002, playing this gig dressed in nurses uniforms. We stood at the back of the venue during soundcheck and everyone's mouths dropped, there really was something very special about this band!
From here, the band were determined to make something of Youthmovie Soundtrack Strategies and they quickly started building up a name for themselves, gig offers were coming in from all corners. The band then set about self recording their debut Quickfix Recordings release. It was Christmas 2002 when we meet with the band in Wycombe to listen to the finished demo recordings however it was clear that nobody was very happy with them, the band wanted more from their first release and they decided to head to a studio to record it.
Oxford gigs came in think and fast and Oxford welcomed the young Youthmovie Soundtrack Strategies with open arms. In March 2003 the band won demo of the month in local Oxford magazine Nightshift resulting in the band winning free recording time at local studio Rotator, solving the problem of a studio to record in. In the meantime momentum started building for the band and they were being booked for many shows. The band worked hard to build their sound and identity, and soon picked up a loyal following and support from local labels Vacuous Pop and Fierce Panda. The band soon decided that they would relocate to Oxford and focus full time on the band, what came next were exciting times for all involved.
In September 2003 the band were picked to play at the Manchester InTheCity conference and support for the band coninued to flourish, however YMSS stuck to their promise and released their debut mini album on Quickfix Recordings in Ocober 2003 in the same month the band were also featured in The Face magazine and headed on their first tour with local band The Edmund Fitzgerald. Steve Lamacq descriebd their track 'The If Works' "A 7 minute piece of post-hardcore comedown rock."
What followed their debut release was six years of relentless hard work, the the band did not stop, supporting band after band and touring hard up and down the country supprting the likes of Biffy Clyro and Bloc Party along the way. The band's debut album Hurrah! Another Year, Surely This One Will Be Better Than the Last; The Inexorable March of Progress Will Lead Us All to Happiness was released in 2004 on Fierce Panda, their second album Good Nature was released in 2008 on drownedinsound. On December 29, 2009 YMSS sadly split up. Youthmovies may not have set the charts on fire but they sure made an impression on the underground scene many bands would not be who they are with out the inspiration of Youthmovies.
“Like two separate bands simultaneously, one a bludgeoning hardcore beast, and one a dissonant, experimental miasma” (BBC Oxford)
In March 2018 the band reunited for a couple of gigs in memory of the Michael Barry Fund, reminding use just how much we miss them.
So Where Are They Now?
Al performs in Bonnacons of Doom www.bonnaconsofdoom.bandcamp.com
Andy performs under the guise of Modern Ache https://www.facebook.com/modernache
Graeme performs as part of the multi drum group ODC Drumline www.facebook.com/odcdrumline and Kone https://interkone.com