ONE TO WATCH
YUNGBLUD is a 21-year-old from Yorkshire making addictive music with a tough message. By ELIZA O’HARE
The rebel yell of red-hot new musicianyungblud.
“As a generation we are opinionated, and that’s what should be represented.”
“YEEAAHHHH!” howls the musician Dominic Harrison, otherwise known asyungblud, as he scowls for the camera and scrambles up a wall between a steep staircase and a terrifying open second-storey window during his BAZAAR shoot. He may possess an angelic face with a mouth made for magazine covers, but he’s trying very hard not to be pretty in these pictures.
“The people in charge right now don’t have a fucking clue,” he says of the world. “It just baffles me that no one in mainstream pop is flying the flag. Everyone is treading on eggshells, saying in interviews, ‘Oh, this is so bad,’ but not actually addressing the subject and how leaders can spend so much money destroying the planet and trying to obtain power.”
We’re catching up between shots — him scrunched down in the corner of a booth, wearing his own fabulous pair of tartan trousers, Dr. Martens and just a little smudgy eyeliner — to talk about why his lyrics are so searing. “as a generation we are so vocal and so smart. We have as much access to information as a Cambridge professor right now.we are opinionated, and that’s what should be represented. that’s what we should be representing.we know the future. a lot of people are angry.”
Including Yungblud. His songs hit the hard side with their layered messages of modern exploitation. His debut song, “i Love you, will you Marry Me”, is the true tragic tale of a doomed romance in a public housing project, while his others target greedy property developers, rampant commercialism and, in this age of #Metoo, sexual assault. “‘Polygraph Eyes’ is a song about boys taking advantage of drunk girls,” he says. “It’s not just black and white, not just dealing with lack of consent, but it’s actually totally wrong, it’s totally, 100 per cent wrong. Let’s call it and initiate something. When I said I wanted to write a song about it, people were like, ‘are you mad?’”
His music is a punchy mix of Arctic Monkeys and Oasis, ripe for a singalong.and he’s working on more.
“Next year is just a lot of music. that is what I want to achieve. I want to release things when it feels right. I don’t want to be that artist where it’s all clinical,” he says.“i don’t want to be releasing music and stressing out over whether I get 27 million streams overnight or not. I think I’ve got time. The best way to obtain fans, hopefully, is for people to discover it themselves. And if there are 10 songs online, it can take six months for a song to even reach the surface.
“But I think, right now, I am going through so much emotion, I just want to drop songs that feel right at the right time,” he continues. “I am nervous and frightened, but everyone is. I think if you feel it and it’s real, it’ll resonate. If it doesn’t resonate, I can look back and say I was nothing else but myself.”
Yungblud’s debut album, 21st Century Liability, is out now. He’s in Australia for Splendour in the Grass (July 19–22) and sideshows (Melbourne, July 21; Sydney, July 24, secretsounds.com).
Yungblud wears Saint Laurent by Anthony Vaccarello jacket, price on application, from Harrolds; bassike T-shirt, $95; his own necklaces.
Calvin Klein Jeans shirt, $284, and jeans, $300; Dr. Martens shoes, $289. Prices approximate. See Buylines for stockists.