Q&A: Yungblud Releases Self-Titled Genre-Explorative Debut EP

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Photo Credit: Andrew Whitton

Last week our favorite hip-hop-punk-revivalist, Yungblud, released his self-titled debut EP. Following previously-released singles "I Love You, Will You Marry Me," Tin Pan Boy," and "King Charles," the EP brings us two new tracks: "Anarchist" and "Polygraph Eyes," making for debatably one of the most well-rounded explorations of musical genres that we've heard from a debut in a long time.

Yungblud, AKA Dominic Harrison, agrees that this collection of songs represents many of the styles he loves, "I grew up on such a wide range of music - But I fell in love mainly with hip hop and rock 'n roll simultaneously. To me, they come from the same place - they are genres that are more than the music, they are an attitude, and they comment on culture and what's going on."

The EP came to life, apparently recorded in "a tiny room in a very smoky basement" in the West End of London, alongside Matt Schwartz - known for his work on Massive Attack and Kylie Minogue, and brought to Geffen/Interscope by executive producer Martin Terefe who has worked with Jason Mraz and KT Tunstall. Harrison plays guitar, bass, piano and drums on the explosive EP, which hopefully marks the return of pop punk in the mainstream à la Blink 182 and Green Day. Of the comparison to the original Gods of pop punk, Harrison gleefully says, "14 year old me would be freaking out by that comment!"

In traditional punk rock fashion, Harrison doesn't want to pigeon-hole himself into just one genre - and many have compared his tune "Polygraph Eyes" to the hip hop vibes of Twenty One Pilots' massive hit, "Blurryface," and also the "ska" influences heard in "I Love You, Will you Marry Me."

More important than stamping a genre on his music, Harrison is more interested in using his music as an outlet, "[I'm] inspired to use my music as an outlet to talk about what's going on in my head." In fact, his inspiration for "Polygraph Eyes" couldn't be more relevant at this time in history with the Women's March, "#MeToo" and "Time's Up" movements: "Growing up this is a subject that has constantly been around me but is never talked about. Up north, (Northern England) there's almost a repetition of sexual assault but on different levels that for some reason is just accepted. I wanted to write a song that shines a light on sexual assault, a conversation that has been started and needs to remain at the forefront of our minds. I think people my age have the power to enact change and to me, it’s a subject that needs to be spoken about."

Up next for Yungblud is a tour alongside Interscope Records label mate K.Flay. Check out our mini Q&A with Yungblud, take a listen to his new EP, and watch his live performance at LA's Viper Room here.

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OTW: Would you say that this first EP is representative of all the styles you love?

Yungblud: Ultimately I just wanted to try something that hasn’t necessarily been done yet. Why not take elements from all the music that inspires me, mix it up in one pot and see what madness comes out?

OTW: Some have said "I Love You Will You Marry Me" has some ska stylistic influences - you haven't listed that as one of your favorite genres before, but would you say your music is at all inclusive of that genre?

Yungblud: Growing up on The Clash definitely got me into listening to ska and then I discovered Sublime.

OTW: You've already been on tour a bit this last year - what have been some of the reactions from the audience? Anything unexpected?  

Yungblud: The shows have been crazy. To go to the other side of the world and have people singing back your music is amazing. A mental moment for me is when people have shown up wearing pink socks, I literally lose my shit!

OTW: You have some upcoming tour dates with (now Grammy-nominated) K.Flay - what would you say to a collaboration with her, and what do you think the song would sound like? Are you excited to be playing with her?

Yungblud: I can’t fucking wait to tour with K.Flay! I hung out with Kristine when I was in LA, and she’s such an incredible artist and person. I think she has a similar outlook to me, and we share the same ideologies so I’d love to collaborate. The song would probably be pretty sick haha .

OTW: You're undoubtedly influenced by hiphop with "Anarchist" - where did the inspiration for the syncopation of the chorus come from?

Yungblud: I love hip hop and trap music. The rhythms are just so fucking infectious. I just heard it in my head and thought why can’t I put guitars over 808s and sing a hip hop melody over the top.

OTW: Are the lyrics of "Anarchist" about your real life at all? (i.e. "I'm an Anarchist, not like the other kids")

Yungblud: I always had a lot of energy and was very opinionated growing up and a lot of people misunderstood me. My energy was mistaken for me just being it of control when all I was doing was expressing myself.

OTW: If you had to pick one song from this EP, representative of "Yungblud" as a whole - which song would you pick and why?

Yungblud: That so tough!! This EP to me is an outburst of all the anger and emotion I’m feeling right now. Each song represents the discovery of who I am as YUNGBLUD and what’s going on in my head. I just walk into the studio and see what comes out.

OTW: What's next for you? And do you have any bands/musicians that you consider your Ones to Watch?

Yungblud: I’m super hyped for this year as I have so much more music ready to release and so many live shows that will be announced. It’s gonna be a busy one! I’m really into Jessie Reyez right now - She is talking about real shit and I love that, I relate to it.

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