Yungblud is a fresh new artist hailing from Doncaster with a passion for making music and connecting with his fans. He is outspoken on all issues from mental health, refusing to fit in, and being true to who you are and where you come from, and has been gathering a wide following after playing gigs all round the world and releasing his debut album, ‘21st Century Liability’.
We caught up with Yungblud to chat about touring, the making of and release of '11 minutes', and why his fans mean so much to him...
...all my life I felt misjudged and not quite right, but when I’m in this community I feel like I can be myself, and they feel like that too. It’s motivating, it’s exciting, it’s liberating, it’s unifying.
COUP DE MAIN: In your song ‘Loner’ you sing, “But if you want to be a leader, stop being a cheater.” Was there something specific running through your mind when you were writing that lyric?
YUNGBLUD: Yeah man, it’s based a lot on politicians today. It was initially based on Brexit I think when it first came out. It was based on Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson tricking young people, and tricking people into a hole, into scaremongering to vote. Brexit is a complete farce right now because it was not a majority, it was a scaremongering - a scary thing for the people of Britain who got forced into something that we weren’t really sure of. So it kind of comments on a lot of politicians today - the fact that the cheaters think they can play on the uneducated to further their ideologies, which is not exactly the ideologies that should be right.
CDM: The music video also gives a visual insight into where you’re from through your home in Doncaster and your grandmother’s house! What was returning to those places for filming the video like?
YUNGBLUD: It was amazing, it was kind what the song's about - it was a homecoming. I’ve been everywhere - I’ve been to Australia, I’ve been to America, I’ve been worldwide - but all I can ever be is just a 21-year-old young person from the north of England. That’s all I am, I never want to be on a pedestal. At the end of the day, my whole fanbase replicates me being the same as my fanbase. I’m just a young person who’s talking about what’s wrong with the world, in his opinion, and what’s right with the world, and what’s exciting and what’s scary. That song was so important to me because it represents my fanbase - we’re all alone, but we’re alone together and that makes us less lonely.
CDM: Your music is pretty genre-bending, not quite fitting into any one specific category. How important is it for you to be creating something that feels unique and fresh?
YUNGBLUD: That’s totally exactly my aim - I’m slightly bored with some kinds of music right now. In the alternative rock scene, it’s kind of boring, so I just wanted to do something that would be interesting and kind of be exciting - mix genres that I love together. It isn’t just for the sake of ‘music’, I just wanted to create something that I love. I love J. Cole and Drake as much as I love Eminem and The Beastie Boys, as much as I love the Arctic Monkeys or Bring Me The Horizon. So I was like, ‘Why the fuck not merge it together in one pot and see what comes out?’
CDM: You released your debut album ‘21st Century Liability’ last year, and have dropped ‘Loner’ since. At what status are you at with your sophomore album?
YUNGBLUD: As I say, I’m kind of ready to rock and roll, when the time is right. I’ll always drop music when the time is right. I think '11 Minutes' came out so recently because it was right - it was something that happened so organically that we were just like, 'Why the fuck no release it?'
CDM: Do you think that more artists should create things together like '11 Minutes' in an organic way?
YUNGBLUD: I mean, I can’t really say they should, because it just happens. With moments like that I don’t think you can look to do them, or they’re not organic. If you look to do something or plan to do it, then it ain’t organic. You have to just fall out of the sky and that’s what’s so amazing about art - something can happen in a series of days, and three days before you would never imagine it happen.
CDM: I’ve heard you say you like to frighten your audience through your live performance. Do you think it's important to constantly challenge and keep people on their toes?
YUNGBLUD: Yeah, I just want it to be an experience that people will walk away and go, ‘That was the best thing I’ve ever seen,’ or 'that affected me in some way.' I want people to remember my show, I want people to be tired after my show, I want people to need to sleep after my show. It’s important to me that that happens.
CDM: I’ve seen you referencing quite a few memes on your Twitter, and generally it seems like you have a lot of control over your content on social media - it sort of feels like a breath of fresh air in a world where some artists are so heavily controlled and marketed. How important is it to you to be in charge of your own image as a musician?
YUNGBLUD: Fuck that, man! As I say, I’m one of them! I’m the same as you, I’m the same as them! I never wanna be on a fucking pedestal, I’m not interested in that. I think that’s genuinely what new artistry is - look at someone like Billie Eilish. Me and Billie, it’s just authenticity - be yourself. Me, Billie, Lewis Capaldi - I love looking at artists like that, just be your-fucking-self man, because you are accepted, that is the new generation. We’re a generation that's bred on equality and being yourself, and it’s okay to be yourself. There’s been so much cookie cutter manufactured bullshit over the past couple of years and there’s always a backlash.
CDM: The dark lyrics in 'Medication' seem incongruous with the happy beat, but the message is something that we as a young generation struggle with a lot. Why was that idea of a medicated society one that you wanted to explore in this song?
YUNGBLUD: Because it’s relevant to me. They tried to put me on Adderall when I was a kid, and I grew up around it, where people resort to medication to numb things instead of actually feeling the things. It’s a genuine issue that I’ve felt and that I’ve seen and has been around me all my life. So I wanted to write about how we grow up in a medicated society where we’re taught to numb ourselves with drugs instead of feeling shit, and that’s wrong to me. Feel your anxiety, it’s okay to be who you are.
CDM: In the chorus of that song you sing, “I just wanna find my / My motivation.” How do you think that young people can find motivation and passion in their lives?
YUNGBLUD: I think it’s by talking to each other - conversation. My fanbase motivates me because I’m less alone. All my life I felt misjudged and not quite right, but when I’m in this community I feel like I can be myself, and they feel like that too. It’s motivating, it’s exciting, it’s liberating, it’s unifying. Division is such an old concept, and to be divided, to be against each other is such a boring concept - it’s old, it’s been done so many times that it’s just not interesting anymore. To be unified is incredible. That’s what it is for me, that’s what motivated me - my fanbase. Some might say, ‘Where would you be without your fanbase?’ And I’d be like, ‘Fucking nowhere.’ What does that mean to me? That means everything. Yungblud is 99% fanbase and 1% me. That’s it.
CDM: In the modern day - particularly amongst the youth - we’re seeing a lot of the breaking down of boundaries and binaries; gender, sexuality, categories of old are being dismantled--
YUNGBLUD: In this community, I wanted to create a community where people could be themselves no matter what. No matter if you’re black, white, no matter your sexual orientation, no matter if you’re yellow, no matter if you want to paint yourself orange, no matter if you wanna call yourself Chris and paint your nails green and wear a chicken suit all day. You are fucking welcome here because you are equal.
CDM: Do you think that the young people of today are in the middle of really reshaping the world?
YUNGBLUD: Genuinely, we see a world that we wanna move towards and that’s so exciting. And you know what? We’re gonna get there. It’s amazing.
CDM: How do you think music can help with that?
YUNGBLUD: I just genuinely think music is a language that everyone speaks, it’s something that can get deeply rooted into your soul and connect with you on a level that’s almost more powerful than words. Because the words are intertwined with an emotional feeling that’s pulled out of someone’s soul. To me, that’s incredible because we can all find something to relate to, something that will make us listen and make us remember.
CDM: You are British and Northern - two very strong identities - but your music is popular on a global level, particularly in the United States. Do you think music can have a role in breaking down international boundaries?
YUNGBLUD: It’s a language that everyone speaks. It’s what you’re talking about. It connects with people on a level that isn’t limited by language because all it is is emotion, and everyone feels emotions by the way something’s played or the way something’s said. It’s powerful because it’s not limited.
CDM: If you could have one wish come true for the upcoming year, what would it be?
YUNGBLUD: Ooohhh, one wish come true? To just connect with as many people as possible. I don’t want to waste my life on wishes, or ‘I hope this song goes Number One,’ or ‘I hope my album sells a million records’ - that would be amazing, but all I’m bothered about is meeting as many people who are thinking the same way as me so I feel less alone, and we’ll build a community together that’s undeniable. I’ll leave giving a fuck about getting a Rolex or being a multi-millionaire-- yeah that’d be amazing, but I’ll leave it up to the rappers. That’s secondary to me, if it comes then brilliant, but all I care about is connecting to people, and creating a fanbase that feels like they could be saved. I just want to build a community of people that feels safe and where we feel like we can be ourselves, that feels like we’re together! Everything else is just noise.
CDM: You’ve been to Australia a number of times, but not to New Zealand yet! When do you think you’ll make it down to us to play a show?
YUNGLUD: I will come down as soon as I can, man! I’m trying my best, I’m not giving up. I wanna do a New Zealand show as soon as I can - I promise you I’ll stop being a wanker and come down.
Yungblud’s single '11 Minutes' is out now - click here to purchase and watch the music video below…