Last year saw childhood friends Eric and Jon come together to do what they love doing the most—make music and search for new ways to share their vision with everyone ready to listen.
Performing as Young Saab, the Brooklyn-based duo explore our realm through melodies so alien and unique that it’s hard to resist the temptation of submerging yourself in their dark soundscapes.
“We’ve been friends since we were kids,” says Eric, one-half of the duo. “We used to walk around Brooklyn, drinking coffee and talking about music all the time—actually, we still do.”
Though Eric and Jon have known each other for a while, it wasn’t until early last year that the two of them decided to join forces and make music together. “I make the tracks and Jon is more the lyrics and melody guy,” Eric continues. “But it’s super collaborative; Jon will have ideas about beats or vocal effects and I’ll tell him when I think a lyric sucks or when he’s an absolute genius.”
Seems as if Young Saab is all about working collectively. Every track of theirs is a collaboration, be it internally with each other or the immense talent that Chloe Lilac, jackson lee morgan, Deem Spencer and many others are.
“The collabs have been the single best thing about this project,” Eric says. He admits that neither he nor Jon was certain about the direction Young Saab was headed to at first; it was a new and uncharted territory for them both. “Jon is a dope singer and, theoretically, he could be singing all the tunes but it became clear to us really quickly that the special sauce came when we let go a little bit and allowed the featured artist to shine,” Eric then continues.
As revealed through the lens of their egoless camera, Brooklyn plays a key role in Young Saab’s identity. “I walk twenty minutes to and from my studio every day, and the things I see and hear seep right into the beats when I start making them,” Eric says.
“Our most recent song, ‘shoulda coulda woulda’, we set out from the start to make it an NYC affair—the beat just sounded like the city to me, so I hit up Deem Spencer, who’s one of my favorite rappers and is from Queens,” Eric explains. “Then we got our friend Torii, who’s from NYC originally but is now out in LA; it came together so easily and felt right.”
Community. This word often circles back to my discussion with Eric. Whether by reaching out to local artists they love via Instagram or simply through networking, Young Saab is all about engaging and empowering their community. In fact, their first release was a collaboration with an artist from their neighbourhood, alt-pop icon Chloe Lilac.
“We always took community for granted in the past, and now we actively crave it,” Eric says. “Especially during this crazy year we’re having, it’s so easy to sit alone, let your thoughts and anxieties take over; on a personal level, Jon and I need this community right now.”
And it all, usually, starts with a beat. A melody. An idea that Jon and Eric develop together. “Often the featured artists come up with the initial kernel of an idea and then we’ll hop on a zoom and flesh it out together,” Eric continues. “Sometimes something will come almost fully formed, like when Jackson [jackson lee morgan] brought us the topline for ‘texas summer’—I had made this really dreamy track that he said reminded him of ocean waves; he wrote the lyrics super quick and we got on a facetime and he sang it for me.”
There’s no doubt that this is just the beginning of Young Saab and their vision. They’ve already accomplished so much in helping their community grow and giving many newcomer artists a medium to shine through.
Interestingly enough, Eric teases that there’s much more to come. “Maybe an EP soon if we can find the throughline that ties together a bunch of songs,” he reveals. “We would love to do a collaborate EP with 3-4 artists that are each on multiple songs.”