Aaaaand another good one from Northern England! YUNGBLUD aka Dominic Harrison has just released his debut EP today, and we’ve already got it on repeat. We met him before his set in Munich & talked about his new music, the dark story behind his song “I Love You, Will You Marry Me?” and more random stuff that you definitely don’t want to miss.
First of all – how did you get into music, how did it all begin?
I was brought up in a household where music was very important. My grandad used to play in bands in the 60s and stuff. My dad worked in and around music, and it was just kind of always there and always on in the background. It was a very kind of opinionated household where people had their favourites and they would make that very much known. My grandad used to play me a lot of music when I was very young – straight out of the hospital. I literally was born, then got taken and put a ukulele in my hand.
Despite your young age you seem to be really comfortable on stage – how the hell did you get so confident in such a short time?
I don’t know! I always liked people looking at me. I always very much liked that and I just got inspired by real frontmen like Mick Jagger, Freddie Mercury or Joe Strummer from The Clash. And of course: David Bowie. I feel like with every performance you need to leave a part of yourself on that stage, and he totally did that.
And in general I try not to think about it. It scares me a bit. When I come off stage I usually don’t even know what’s happened. It’s like a fucking tornado. I’ve always loved it though. It’s fun.
A cliché question, but I kinda have to ask. How would you describe your music yourself? I love it and I think it’s really special.
Thank you so much! It’s got a message, it’s got something to say. It mixes genres of music that inspired me growing up. I want to do something that can’t quite be pigeonholed.
I never wanna be pigeonholed. Every new music is kind of experimenting different genres. I grew up heavily on hip hop and rock simultaneously. They share the same kind of soul – they’re more than just music. There’s an attitude behind it and a way of life. I always had a guitar in my hand – that’s just what I learned first. That’s what kind of attracted me to music first, but guitar music for me needs to be reinvented, because everyone’s doing it the same way they’ve been doing it since the 60s. So I just wanna get this anger out that I got in my head and that I feel in my heart in a way that not many people are doing. So that’s kind of it in a nutshell.
Your song “I Love You, Will You Marry Me?” has got a great story behind it, right? Can you tell me about it?
I love it, because people think it’s a love song…, but it’s like a modern day twisted romeo and juliet story, about a young couple that get completely screwed over by corporate companies. In sheffield there’s a massive council estate on a hill that overlooks the city. In the 60s it was built as really nice housing, but by the 90s it had got really run down, and kind of derelict and forgotten about. It had become a really rough part of Sheffield. It tells the story of two young people from there, and they met and fell in love. And in this estate, there are five towers linked by bridges. And this guy suspended himself over one of the bridges and spray painted “I love you, will you marry me?” which could be seen from across the city. So he ran down to the bottom of the hill to the old cinema, which I think is now the O2 Academy in sheffield, and he points up and proposes, and she says yes. But soon things went really bad, because she had two kids, and social services said he was unfit to be a father, so they broke up. He went off the rails, and began stalking her. She later died of cancer, and he asked if they could take the marriage proposal graffiti down cause it was a constant reminder of her. But they refused, they even went one step further, and put neon lights over it. They redeveloped the whole estate and used that slogan to sell flats. They put it on t-shirts and merchandise, and it kinda became a mascot for Sheffield, and a beer company named themselves after it and the guy didn’t get a penny. He even fell into homelessness, then asked the developers for a flat, and they said no.
What a story! The song is also featured on your debut EP – which is out now!
YES! It included the three songs that are already out and two new tracks, that I’m just so excited to share with the world. One of them is called “Polygraph Eyes” and one of them is called “Anarchist” – I’ll tell you about them. “Polygraph Eyes” is about drunk girls being taken advantage of by boys on a night out, and “Anarchist” is about me kind of being misunderstood growing up. So I’m really excited and then there’s so much new music that is gonna be released in quite a short space of time!
So 2018 is gonna be your year…
I hope so! I think this year I wanna make progress. I don’t wanna shove it down people’s throats. I just feel I got time – I wanna do it the right way. I want to have a career. I’m writing music and I’m just enjoying the ride now and I want people to hear it and discover themselves.
I’m sure you have a bunch of favourite bands and artists you admire. Is there anyone in particular you’d really like to work with?
I’d love to collaborate with a lot of artists. I fell in love with Kanye West very very young, which is kind of a weird one. I just think his productions are absolutely ingenious. I’d love to spend 24 hours in a room with that man just to see what’s going on in his head. As well as Kendrick Lamar, I’d love to work with him. I’d love to sit down, have a conversation and a cup of tea with Alex Turner from the Arctic Monkeys. I’d love to build a time machine and speak to David Bowie. I’d love that. Lorde – I’d love to meet her. She’s brilliant. I was luck enough to get in a room with Jessie Reyez, she’s a new artist. She’s really good, she’ll be huge, I love what she’s doing. So those are some artists I love right now.
What was your favourite album of 2017?
Probably Kendrick Lamar, “DAMN”. That was an incredible album. He came back and pushed boundaries in music. I loved “Stoney” by Post Malone as well. “Melodrama” by Lorde. What I love about them is they were albums that pushed boundaries and just did something in its own way. That’s so inspiring for someone like me, because that’s what I love and that’s what I wanna be. I want people to look back on me and go: “Oh God! His albums were just in their own way. He didn’t give a fuck. They just were real.” I just believe when something’s real it will resenate.
If you were given a book with the story of your life – would you read the end?
Fuck. That’s such a sick question! Probably yeah. Cause if I’m gonna die in 5 years I’d of course wanna make the best of my last years! I’m a bit of a bastard. I’m the kid who sneaks down at Christmas and looks at the presents.
What are you most looking forward to in 2018?
I’m just looking forward to release the music and play loads. Last year was fun and all about winning people over, and it’s been a lot of industry stuff, you know? Now I’m just excited to get in front of some kids and see what they think, cause that’s what matters. I’m just excited to see what the people think. The reception has been so amazing already across the world and I’m just excited to tour and play and just have fun with my boys and just fucking do it. There’s so much shit that’s gonna be announced – that’s gonna be awesome – and I can’t wait to announce it. Some things are in the pipeline already. I’m just getting started.
Stage or studio?
Fuck. That’s a hard one. If I’m touring, stage. Probably stage.
And now the the two most important questions…
Cheese or chocolate?
Harry Potter or Star Wars?
Harry Potter. I fucking wish I could have gone to Hogwarts.