Gang of Youths band members pose in unknown location in this handout picture obtained by Reuters on February 24, 2022. Ed Cooke/Warner Records/Handout via REUTERS
February 25, 2022
LONDON (Reuters) – It was while he was writing his new album that Gang of Youths frontman Dave Le’aupepe discovered some secrets about his late father.
His grief and some of those revelations flowed into in “Angel in Realtime” – his Australian rock band’s third record, due out on Friday.
Le’aupepe says he started writing the record in 2017 when he moved to London.
“I knew I was going to write about my father because I think I just had this innate sense of my dad’s going to die, because he was sick and getting pretty old,” Le’aupepe told Reuters.
After his father, Teleso “Tattersall” Le’aupepe, did pass away the next year, the revelations started flowing.
He discovered that Le’aupepe senior had been born in Samoa, not New Zealand as he had been told.
“It’s not a unique story in indigenous or black families … It’s a common thread in all families … people turning their back on what they were to become what they want to be. And that was my father,” Le’aupepe said.
His father was also 10 years older than the singer had thought and had two other sons who had thought their father had died years earlier.
One of the record’s tracks, “The Man Himself” includes Le’aupepe’s thoughts about raising a family without his father and is “mixed in with the with the revelations”.
As well as paying tribute to his father, Le’aupepe also said he wanted “to talk a little about my cultural heritage”.
The record uses samples from composer David Fanshawe’s recordings of indigenous Pasifika music as well as sessions recorded in New Zealand with, among others, the Auckland Gospel Choir.
Le’aupepe hopes people will “call their parents” after listening to the album and “be a little cooler to each other, less judgmental, just like my father”.
Gang of Youths are about to go on tour, with dates in Britain in March and from April in north America.
(Reporting by Sarah Mills; Editing by Andrew Heavens)