YUNGBLUD – weirdly perfect // perfectly weird

Foto-© Universal Music

Nachdem Yungblud mit 16 Jahren aus seiner Heimat Doncaster nach London zog, um sich auf die Musik zu konzentrieren, erweckte er 2017 mit dem Song I Love You, Will You Marry Me zum ersten Mal große Aufmerksamkeit, hinzu kamen Beiträge auf den Soundtracks von 13 Reasons Why und Fast and Furious. Der mittlerweile 23-jährige Musiker aus Nordengland scheut nicht davor gesellschaftlich relevante Themen anzusprechen, seine Meinung zu äußern und mit Geschlechterrollen zu brechen. Dies macht ihn zu einem authentischen Repräsentanten der heutigen Zeit und einem Sprachrohr seiner Generation. Diese Woche erscheint sein zweites Album Weird!, was wir als Anlass genommen haben den jungen Künstler zum Interview zu bitten!

Hello Dom! First of all, how are you?
What’s up Ems? I’m very well! It’s all a bit weird, isn’t it? But I’m good, I’m happy and I’m excited! I didn’t sleep a wink last night because I’m so excited for the record to come out, it’s gonna be crazy.

How did you deal with this situation the global pandemic caused over the last few months?
I mean it was so strange, it was the craziest kind of time of my life ever. But I really think, if I have somewhere to kick again, that’s when I make my best shit. And my fanbase have somewhere to kick again, that’s when we pull together more. If we’re facing something like the election, or the pandemic or LGBTQ oppression in Eastern Europe, we come together because we have an idea of the world we want to be a part of. So right now I think, just because we can’t talk to each other doesn’t mean that we can’t feel each other. And I wanted to make an album, forget about the global pandemic, about the weirdest year of our lives. Have you heard it yet?

Yes actually! I love it, especially It’s quiet in Beverly Hills is one of my favorite songs on it!
Thank you so much! That was a bit of a different one for me, but I’m excited!

So we’re already talking about it; you’re releasing your second album Weird! soon, are you excited or maybe even scared, that your fans won’t like it as much as the first album?
No, because this album is about them! This album is about every kid, of every shape, of every size, of every color, from every continent, every sexuality, telling me stories about their life. Everyone’s impacted my life so much. I felt like I didn’t belong somewhere on my first record, I felt do lost, I felt like I couldn’t breathe. But when you find your people and you find that you belong somewhere, you kind of figure out how to breathe for the first time ever. You go like “holy fuck” and it feels like taking a deep breath in. I felt like I didn’t have lungs my whole life, or if I didn’t know how to use my lungs my whole life. This album is a little bit different, because the first album is so angry, but because I belong somewhere, I don’t necessarily have to hide behind a shield of anger and insecurity. I can talk about my emotions, I can talk about my life. This is an album about self expression and self love and coming of age and sex and drugs and sexuality and identity and love and heartbreak and depression and anxiety and loss and happiness, it’s about everything all at once.

Foto-© Haris Nukem
Foto-© Haris Nukem

That’s a beautiful way to put it! I think not many artists would put it that way, a lot of artists are so scared of their second album, because they think they have to live up to some kind of expectations. But in your case it sounds different.
I think that’s the thing what YUNGBLUD is though, that’s why my fanbase and I love each other. Because I’m not gonna do what I did last time and I’m not gonna do on the next album, what I did this time, that’s just not the artist that I am. I love Bowie, I love Gaga, I love Manson, for that reason.

Speaking of the new album, what is your personal favorite song on it?
Oh man… Fuck… Fuck you! (laughs) It’s probably mars, I think.

That’s also how you named your upcoming tour, right?
Yeah! I think this story represents exactly what this fanbase is. It’s about a young transgender girl, who I met in Maryland, in America. She spoke to me, and I can’t remember what she looks like, I wish I could remember her face. But I remember she had green lipstick on and a green matching coat. She told me this story about her parents and everyone around her not being able to physically understand that she wasn’t a boy, she was a girl. She would always be a woman. She’d always been her parents daughter, she’d never been their son. But her parents thought it was a phase and a cry for attention. She told me that she had planned out in her head, if she could get her parents to a YUNGBLUD show, then maybe they’d get it. Then we came to town and the parents came to the show and they saw all the kids like her, they saw the reluctance to be anything other than ourselves and the fire and the passion we had. So they talked to her afterwards and were like “We’re so sorry, we get it now, we’re gonna help you and we believe that you are what you say you are.” The fact that this community, not me, this ain’t about me, this is about us, always about us! I’ve done nothing, we’ve done everything. So the fact that this community can have an effect on someone’s life like that. I just needed to put it into a song.

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That’s amazing! This story gave me goosebumps actually.
And my favorite song if we’re gonna play live again is superdeadfriends, I can’t wait to play that one live!

Does the girl know that mars is about her?

Maybe she’ll find out when she hears it!
That’s the thing, I can’t find her. But one day, my dream is to go to Maryland and play an arena. And I’ll know it’s about her and she’ll know its about her.

Oh my, that would be so wonderful. You need to blast it out into the world!
So, the cover art of Weird! shows you in many different styles, or even roles. You also play with your appearance and especially with so called “gender roles” in your way of clothing a lot. Was it always easy for you to be that confident, in wearing what you like?

Yeah! I think boxes are for fucking cereal, not people! You know what I mean? Boundaries are for fucking chickens, not for people. I think I just wear what I feel, fashion is so important to me, because it says what I wanna say, without me having to open my mouth. I just wanna radiate at all times and possibilities. The idea of freedom and being yourself is an incredible thing.

You also encourage a lot of young people to be who they want to be, this especially shows in the comment section under your music video to god save me, but don’t drown me out, where a lot of people say, that your music is what’s keeping them alive. Do you feel honored when you hear things like that, or is it more likely a burden to you?
If people say that shit to me I’m like “No!”, you’re keeping yourself alive. I might just be the soundtrack to it. If people say to me “Dom, you saved my life”, I’m like “No I didn’t. You saved your life.” Again, “Maybe I was a soundtrack to it, or I provided a crossroad, but I didn’t do anything, you did that and you should be proud of yourself for that.” That’s what I always say and try to resonate, because we’re a family, you know? And all I wanna do is, take the story’s I’ve heard and take the pain I felt and put it into music, so people don’t have to feel that way.

Foto-© Tom Pallant
Foto-© Tom Pallant

I think for those kids you may be what bands like My Chemical Romance or Blink-182 were to us. Did you also felt understood by artists, when you were in your teens? If yes, which artists and if no, did you wish for such role models?
Dude, the thing about it is, artists like Bring me the Horizon, My Chemical Romance, Lady Gaga, David Bowie, Marylin Manson, were all fundamentally themselves. They didn’t belong in the real world, so they built a world for themselves and people joined them. I was just like, “If they can do it, then so can I.”

You were just talking about Bring me the Horizon, who guided me through my teens a lot actually and with whom you did a song together recently. How was it to work with a band that is so successful in so many different genres of music? Did you get anything out of it for your own songwriting?
Bro it’s crazy, I used to line up at Oli’s shows and now Oli Sykes from Bring me rings me and I was like “What the fuck is my life?!” They used to get me through when I was getting kicked the shit out of me at the bus stop for wearing a skirt and I was listening to Suicide Season. I was honored and I learned so much through them, I have done my whole life.

Did they inspire your way of making music?
I think I just love their fearlessness, they don’t give a fuck and neither do I. I just wanna make what I wanna make and care about my fanbase. Oli and me always talk about metrics, music has such an agenda now, we want to take the agenda and cut its fucking head off and keep it in our fridge.

Is there any other artist, you definitely want to work with someday?
I love artists who are completely doing their own thing and are completely themselves. I love Travis Scott, I think he’s brilliant. I love Post, I love Billie, I love Dominic Fike, just artists, who are doing something in their own way. I also love Kid Laroi, he’s new!

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So could you imagine doing music with one of them someday? Like Billie Eilish for example?
I‘d love to. When it lines up, maybe one day. That’d be crazy!

You always speak about how much you love your generation and the change that it will bring. But if you could live in any other decade right now, which one would it be and why?
I‘d love to be in the late 70‘s, when Vivienne Westwood was jut starting her punk movement. That would be insane! To see the Sex Pistols and The Damned in real time, that would be crazy.

Foto-© Tom Pallant
Foto-© Tom Pallant

When you thanked your fans for voting for you at the MTV EMA’s, you wrote that Rock’n’Roll ain’t dead. Do you think that rock music will have its comeback in this decade?
Yeah, but it’s not gonna sound like it did last time and we need to get over that idea. Because Rock’n’Roll last time didn’t sound like it did the time before. It always comes back, but new. The only way it won’t come back, is by people fighting it and holding it back. Just rock out to it man, ‘cause Rock’n’Roll means freedom.

On Weird!, the songs are a constant up and down, when it comes to energy and emotions. Is this a representation of how you are in private or are you always as energetic as you are on stage?
I’m energetic as fuck, but I’m a literal rollercoaster. Everyone say that to me like, “You’re a living, breathing roller coaster!” (laughs) I’m up up up up and then down down down down, I’m never in between, I’m either like “aaaaah” or like “uuugh”.

So last but not least, if you could only listen to three songs for the rest of this pandemic, god knows how long this will last, which ones would it be?
It would probably be Just Like Heaven by The Cure, because it makes me fucking move and get happy and be sad at the same time. I love that! The Cure are literally happy/sad and that’s sick! Then probably… God this is a really hard question! So I’ve done The Cure, I would probably do Love Will Tear Us Apart by Joy Division and then Freazy by Wolf Alice!

Good Choice! Sounds like a good playlist!
Yeah, it’s a vibe! (laughs)

Thank you so much for the Interview Dom!
Thank you for having me Ems! See you soon, have a happy day!

You too!

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Emely Triebwasser

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