PARIS YOUTH FOUNDATION
Summer Jam, Saturday 22nd July, 14.50 – 15.10, ItsLiverpool Stage, Sefton Park, Liverpool, FREE
For Paris Youth Foundation, starting a band was a nought to sixty ascent they can still hardly believe. Uploading first song ‘If You Wanna’ to Soundcloud, a fortnight later the band found themselves playing their first show at Reading Festival.
“You hear these kinds of stories when you’re growing up like, ‘Oh, we wrote one song and then we played Glastonbury.’” laughs frontman Kevin Potter. “And then it happens to you and in the space of two weeks you go from playing guitar in your bedroom to playing Reading and you’re like wow, it does actually happen.”
From Liverpool, Paris Youth Foundation is singer and guitarist Kevin Potter, guitarist Tom Morris Jones, and drummer Jonny Alderton. With a friendship that’s lasted nearly a decade, the trio met in school, bonding over music and the usual lads holiday to Greece at sixteen.
Having played in bands around Liverpool, last summer they decided to start something new, bringing in bassist Paul Bates and guitarist Jamie Hives through friends in the city’s vibrant music scene and from the performing arts school LIPA.
Speaking of Liverpool, Potter says, “It’s so small, but it consistently knocks out these great bands. With LIPA too, it’s like Hogwarts. You’ve got all these wizards who are just great at music at your disposal. We wouldn’t have Paul and we wouldn’t have Jamie without Hogwarts.”
They recorded debut track ‘If You Wanna’, a rush of melodic guitar, propeller drums and hook fuelled chorus, and posted it to Soundcloud where it was picked up by BBC Introducing in Merseyside presenter Dave Monks who put the band forward for Reading and Leeds. A week later Paris Youth Foundation were being played next to Rihanna on daytime Radio 1.
“In the space of about two weeks we went from having a song on Soundcloud – one song, no fans, no followers – to getting a play on BBC Merseyside, to getting an email saying that they’d like us to play Reading and Leeds, and the week after being told that we’re going to be the BBC Introducing act on the Radio 1 playlist,” says Potter. “So in the space of two weeks, one song changed it all for us.”
Driven to make the most of their break, they took time to build the right team around themselves whilst gigging on the NME Tour and supporting Blaenavon. But when it comes to the songs, there’s a greater drive powering songwriter Potter – heartbreak.
“I’m trying to write a story, and that story’s a breakup,” he says. “If you’re in the same city, you can see each other at any possible moment, but I was fascinated by the idea of a long distance breakup and the fact that because you live in a different city, you might never see her again. The songs I’m writing at the moment are love letters to this girl I don’t get to see anymore, but is still managing to break my heart from two-hundred miles away.”
If Paris Youth Foundation’s current trajectory is anything to go by, it don’t be long before Kevin Potter’s story becomes as infamous as his Hogwarts contemporaries.