Introducing: Yungblud

Thursday 18 January 2018
Words Kat Nelson

After moving to London at the age of 16 from the north of England, 3 years later at the age of 19 Yungblud is taking the music industry by storm. He is an explosion of raw energy and thought-provoking lyrics and is set to make a dent in pop-culture. Following on from his self-titled EP release tomorrow, he will be touring the UK & Europe early this year so be sure to check him out. 

Hey Yungblud – to start with, can you tell me a bit about how you got into music? 

Yo! I was always brought up around music, it was such a massive part of my family growing up. It was just always on in my house. There is literally a picture of me straight outta the hospital, and someone has laid a Beatles ukulele across my car seat and put a mic at the side of me, so I couldn’t exactly have been an accountant!

What music did you listen to growing up, has it inspired your music in any way?

I was super lucky to be exposed to such a massive variety of music as a kid. My grandad was very influential in introducing me to the “good shit.” But I ultimately fell in love simultaneously with Rock ‘n’ Roll and hip hop – I think they come from the same heart it just seemed to grab me and correlate with the shit going on in my head. I’ve always been very opinionated and had a lot of energy so when I heard the likes of Eminem, Joe strummer and Alex Turner singing about real shit in their music I became obsessed.

You’re kicking off your 2018 tour soon, and last year you toured across the UK, the US and Australia! What’s it been like? What’s your favourite part of touring? 

It has just been fucking mental. To go to the other side of the world and to have people turn up at your shows singing back your music is amazing. Mental moments for me are when people show up wearing pink socks, I literally loose my shit! It’s weird I just love the graft man, the lack of sleep, not being in a certain place for more than 24 hours. It just makes you feel like your earning it.

Last year was a pretty busy year for you between your tour and being signed with Geffen Records – what would you say was your highlight of last year? 

I definitely think it’s up there haha … when I found out I had a meeting with Geffen, a label who are renowned for breaking boundaries, who had bred artists who were so influential to me like Nirvana and Beck. I lost my fucking mind and when they said they wanted to sign me my head just blew up! But to be completely honest, I was always a little scared to sign to a major label because you hear all this shit about how artists lose the heart of what they are. But soon as I walked into the building and met Neil Jacobsen, John Janick and Nick Groff I just fell in love with the whole team and new it was the right home for me.

How do you think your development as an artist over the last year has affected you as an individual?

Finding my voice as an artist has definitely helped find my voice as a person. I just feel I know what exactly I want to talk about and exactly who I am. Without that artistic discovery it’s like I wouldn’t be myself, I find that weird as fuck.

Can you talk us through your recent track ‘Tin Pan Boy’?

I spent most of my childhood on Denmark Street, Soho, London, it’s where I first picked up a guitar. At the moment there is a massive redevelopment going on which will eventually force a lot of independent businesses out of the area – I have a real connection to all the music and art stores, and to see people trying to tear out it’s soul makes me super upset and really pisses me off! It’s happening all over and I don’t wanna live in a world where I walk down a street and there is 14 Starbucks coffee shops in a row. FUCK THAT! Tin Pan Alley is literally where the foundations of British rock and roll and the pop music we know today were built. Everyone from Jagger to Lennon to the Sex Pistols used to hang out there. There was no way I could sit back and watch it happen without saying something.

We love your video for ‘Tin Pan Boy’! What inspired it? What was it like self-directing your own video?

I needed something that would directly correlate with the story and represent the attitude and tongue and cheek element of the song. I saw all these mental images in my head, so I needed to direct it myself with my team because I felt people might not understand what I saw. It was a little stressful as I was filming in the redevelopment area with no permits, but despite being kicked off rooftops and out of alleys, we pulled it off!

You’ve got your debut EP coming out soon – can you tell us a bit about it; what can we expect? 

This EP is an outburst of emotion, anger and what is going on in my head at the minute. It’s where I first discovered exactly what I want to say and how I could say it through my music. I never want to be genre defiant so the EP experiments with different styles of music that inspire me. I’m really excited to release it.

How long did it take you to write your EP? Were there any challenges at times?

To be honest, the EP came out so quickly. It was the moment it clicked in my head, who I was as an artist.

There is a lot of raw energy and emotion in your songs – what process do you use to write? 

It is such a strange process. I just need to get inspired by an idea or a piece of music and my energy takes over. I end up jumping around for 4 hours, shouting ideas at my producer and a song gets written!

What was it like to write and release your first song? 

I was nervous at first but to be honest I was super excited cause I just couldn’t wait to put something out.

What message are you portraying through your music? And, why?

I’m angry, I believe people around my age are been completely misrepresented and something needs to be said about that. As a generation we’re so clued up and forward thinking. We know what kind of world we want to live in but it’s almost been held back by a generation that’s not quite ready for it or just doesn’t understand us. But at the end of the day, I’m just saying what I think, I don’t wanna tell anyone what to think because who am I to do that? I just want to encourage people to not give a fuck and say what they think because that’s how we change things.

What’s the best advice that anyone’s given you since you started your career in music?

Do what you think is right, keep your blinkers on, do your own thing. Don’t focus on any other artist or what they are doing or you’ll drive yourself crazy. There is no formula to music, if there was it would be really fucking boring.

Lastly, as a young artist living in the creative-capital London, what advice do you have for young creative trying to get their message out to the world?

Be confident in what you want to say, find a good team who believe in you and work your fucking arse off.

Watch YungBlud perform Tin Pan Boy below: