Local band The Young Step readies for album release party at Amphitheatre

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With a new record on the horizon, an album release party coming up in April at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre and just under a year as a band under their belt, The Young Step seems destined for great things. The group is comprised of Ben Whitson (vocals and rhythm guitar), Micah Gilliam (lead guitar, keys and backup vocals), Lauren Gilliam (bass and backup vocals) and Matt Carter on drums. The Young Step gave Compass a look into the past, present and hopeful future of one of St. Augustine’s newest and most exciting musical projects. Here’s a bit of what Whitson had to say.

Compass: Tell me a bit about when and how the band formed.

Ben Whitson: The Young Step was formed in wintertime of 2015 when gnomes told Micah, Lauren and I that it would be a good idea. We tend to follow otherworldly direction when we can. The three of us had been longstanding friends, and I had recently shifted creative focus from film to music. Micah and Lauren — who are husband and wife as well as the well-known musical duo The WillowWacks — were looking for something new to tickle their musical fancy. Micah and I began writing and recording together for fun and eventually that turned into the three of us deciding to form The Young Step.

Compass: You’re coming out with your first album shortly, correct?

B.W.: For us, being a band meant recording, since Micah has his own studio and I had been making home recordings for some time. After a certain amount of songs were written, it seemed obvious to begin work on an album. Our forthcoming debut “El Classico” is the result. “El Classico” is an amalgamation of many of our first songs written together, and it captures our at-whim attitude, which involves being open to follow any direction into any genre or style. Though we have tendencies to be sure, the hard-hitting rock, dance and pop elements stand out to unify the album into a whole.

Compass: When will it be released?

B.W.: The record, after being mixed and mastered next week in New York, is set to release April 7. The St. Augustine Amphitheatre has been gracious enough to help us organize a Backyard Block Party event for the release. Local acts, Sand Fleas and The Cosmic Groove, will be opening up the show starting at 6 p.m.

Compass: Are you all from St. Augustine?

B.W.: No. We’re not natives, but the three of us consider St. Augustine our home, and it was this town that brought us together. Being a musician here made that happen. The music community in St. Augustine is not only boiling over with talent, but also support toward their fellows. In addition, the residents here show an equal amount of support, and they were a huge part in the success of our Kickstarter campaign to finish the record. We feel blessed and thankful to have the support we do. Thanks everyone!

Compass: What do you think the future holds for The Young Step?

B.W.: The future holds another record! We already have more ideas than we can keep up with at this point. We’re looking forward to getting back at it and making something new and fresh. We have a tour to Austin and back in April that we are currently booking and are looking forward to more otherworldly direction.

Backyard Block Party featuring The Young Step, The Cosmic Groove and Sand Fleas is at 7 p.m. April 7 at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre, 1340C A1A S. Doors open at 6 p.m. This is a free event.

For a teaser of the album and other information, go to theyoungstep.com.