Photo credit: Damon Baker
Dominic Harrison, better known as Yungblud, has been labeled as the poster boy for new-era punk and has taken the music world by storm. Although he grew up in Doncaster in the North of England, he moved to London at 16 and was faced with the realities of the real world, experiencing the anger that many of today’s younger generation feel about the state of the world that they are growing up in. At just 21 years old, the English born artist has blown up the charts and garnered a passionate fan base with his highly relatable songs with socially conscious lyrics and his battles with mental health issues. With the release of his Interscope Records debut album 21st Century Liability, he has seen a rapid rise in success in a short amount of time. With songs such as “Polygraph Eyes” about sexual assault, “I Love You Will You Marry Me” about corporate greed and “Machine Gun-F*ck The NRA” about US gun control, his deep connection with his fans, lyrics that they can relate to and an incredible live experience have made the public and the industry stand up and take notice. His blend of alt-rock, hip hop, ska and pop have given him a unique sound that has allowed him to steadily climb the charts. His songs have had 90 million streams to date and have been featured in the hit Netflix show 13 Reasons Why. He recently released the track “11 minutes”, which saw him collaborate with Halsey and Travis Barker, along with an accompanying video. He also released a live album, Live In Atlanta. He is currently in the midst of a US tour, one that sold out in 10 minutes, and will have several festival appearances this summer. Harrison has also recently teamed up with Z2 Comics to work on an original concept graphic novel called “Yungblud presents: The Twisted Tales of The Ritalin Club” which will be created by himself and Ryan O’Sullivan. He also plans to create music for an EP that will accompany the release. Staff writer Emily May recently chatted by phone with Harrison and discussed collaborating with Halsey and Travis Barker on “11 minutes”, his recently released live album Live In Atlanta, his upcoming album and what’s next. You can follow Yungblud and stay up-to-date with all tour dates, music and news, as well as stream and purchase his music, via the following links. Check out his videos for “11 Minutes” and “Loner” below.
You recently released the track “11 Minutes” on which you collaborated with Travis Barker and Halsey. What was that collaboration like for you, as well as the making of the video? It’s a cool video!
Yeah, man. It was incredible. The story is one that deeply moved me about two young people who kind-of maybe realized that you never know how much you need something until it’s taken away from you. The story moved me and I knew I had to write a song about it. When I told the idea to Halsey she loved it, as well. It really moved her. We were in the studio and it was incredible making the song with her because she’s such a rock and roll star, you know what I mean? She’s really into rock music and has such an incredible outlook on the world and talks about real stuff in her music. Travis is a longtime hero of mine so it was great working with him. And the video was incredible. We just wanted to hide in the storyline of it, you know?
You’ve described the song as being about being so distracted and focused on what’s next, that we can fail to see what’s in front of us. With the music industry being so fast-paced and almost always having to look ahead, how do you keep yourself from getting distracted by thoughts of what’s next at the expense of the right now?
I, ummm…that is so funny because that’s something I’ve been struggling with recently. It’s so funny that you bring that up because it’s been so hard to focus on the right now because I’m so focused on what’s next like what music I’m going to be putting out, the next shows, are the shows going to get bigger? There’s so much pressure always. I have a lot of people around me who kind-of keep me focused. It’s so hard to live in the moment. I always wanna think about “What do I need right now?”, “Do I need a drink of water?”, “Do I need to connect with someone?”, “Do I need to talk to a fan?”, “Do I need to post something online?”. I try to live in the moment as much as I can, but it’s very hard sometimes. It’s a very amazing time in my life because I’m connecting with my fans and going to places I haven’t been to before and meeting new people and I need to remember that. It’s very humbling.
I read that two of your songs were on the the soundtrack for the Netflix show ’13 Reasons Why’. How did that opportunity come about and having gone through your own mental health struggles, did that make the experience more meaningful?
Yeah. They just reached out to me. They knew what kind of artist I was and that I wrote music about mental health from the perspective that isn’t glamorizing it. I was being real and talking about it from the position of having the experience of suffering from mental health issues. I don’t know, I just…I believe in the show. A lot of people say it’s triggering and that it can be kind-of glamorizing but I disagree. I believe that the show does exactly what art should do-highlight and amplify an issue that isn’t talked about. It informs people who wouldn’t relate to it. I mean yeah, it’s uncomfortable to watch but you know what’s more uncomfortable? Someone not understanding what you are going through. For me, that show highlights what someone like me or someone like a lot of my fan base are going through. It’s important. It’s an important show that allows people to connect to someone and allow someone to understand what their son, their daughter, their brother, their cousin, their best friend is going through, if they would never understand that normally.
What can you tell me about the live album you recently released, Live In Atlanta? What made you want to do a live album and what made you decide on Atlanta for the city?
I don’t know. It was just one of the craziest shows of the tour. And to be honest, it was probably one of the loudest shows of the tour, and Yungblud shows are fucking loud so that was crazy to be honest. I just think that I wanted to do a live album because that is where I connect to my fans the most I think. Well, I don’t know if I connect to my fans the most live. I think there’s obviously a connection with the music and the fashion and what we say and how we think. The live show is about seeing that in the flesh, in real life, and to feel the connection. And I want people who have not been to a Yungblud show to be able to put their headphones on and experience that. Or I want people who have been to a Yungblud show to be able to re-live it when they’re down and need that in their life because that’s what I do. Purely selfishly I put that album on when I’m down because I need it. I need these people and they need me. That’s why the connection with my fans is so strong.
You had your first magazine cover in January with Rock Sound Magazine and were on the cover of this month’s Alternative Press. What were those experiences like for you?
It was crazy man! I used to buy those magazines as a kid and now all of a sudden I’m on the cover! I’m like “Are you fucking kidding me?”? It’s wild.
Your next album will be focused on sharing stories from your fans that they’ve told you rather then your own. What made you decide to go in that direction?
I’ve just met so many amazing people and heard so many amazing stories. I genuinely love my fans. I’ve found a connection with people that is so strong and so pure that it makes me emotional sometimes. I think the first album was about the anger I felt and how I felt misunderstood. A lot of people have labeled me as this bratty kid who is almost disrespecting an older generation. I think, if you label me as that, then that is your opinion and you are entitled to that. However, I think people have misread me. To me, I ain’t that. I’m not that ignorant. I always pride myself on remaining informed to what people are saying in society. This next album is emotional, it’s sad, it’s about what I’ve learned because I so much to say. I just haven’t had enough time to say it yet. I’m so happy that I haven’t had enough time to say it yet because I’ll always be growing and evolving. This album is to reach people that I haven’t reached yet. This album is for everyone. This album is about the emotions I’ve felt, the people I’ve met and the stories I’ve heard and I can’t wait for the world to hear it.
You recently played a show in Belgium where thousands of your fans sang “Loner” to you. What was it like to have that many of your fans singing one your own songs back to you?
It was crazy! The song had come out that night. That was what was the craziest thing for me. It came out that night and I just couldn’t believe it. It came out that night and they were screaming every word and I just couldn’t believe it. It just made me so happy.
What can you tell me about your recent mash-up of Drakes “Best I Ever Had” and The Arctic Monkey’s “Do I Wanna Know”? How did you decide on this two songs and what was your process for combining the two?
I don’t know. I just heard them and loved them. I just love those two songs and I heard them together and thought it would be really dope if I mashed them up. And we did and it sounded really cool. I’m really proud of it.
With such an amazing 2018, what’s next for you? What can people expect from your current tour?
This has been a mad tour. We were so surprised by this tour because it sold out so quickly. The tour sold out in ten minutes. We said we’re going to do something about it. USA, keep your eyes peeled. This tour of shows are the last shows in the small clubs. The next shows are going to be big. There’s going to be production and lights and everything and I can’t wait to be able to get into the rooms where I can really show that side of me and that side of my brain. I want to build a live show. I pride myself on making my live show one of the best that people have ever seen and I can’t wait to add new elements.
I can’t wait to check you out at Forecastle Festival!
I can’t wait. It’s gonna be amazing!
Thanks you so much for taking the time to talk to me today!