INTERVIEW: Yungblud on working with Halsey, his dedicated fanbase and new music

 

Doncaster native Dominic Harrison, more commonly known as Yungblud, has the eyes of the world upon him right now. Most recently, Yungblud has linked up with Halsey and Travis Barker for their collaboration on the hit song “11 Minutes”. The 21 year-old self-proclaimed “platform artist” is making it known that he is a voice for the new generation. His music spans across several genres, including punk rock, metal, pop, ska and hip-hop, which makes his sound unique when compared to other artists on the rise. Although he has only been recording music since 2017, Yungblud has been writing music since the age of 10 years old. His work ethic along with his passion for music and fans has made him a force to be reckoned with. Yungblud uses his music to speak unfiltered on various political and social issues that are rampant in today’s society, including depression, anxiety, gun control, and sexual assault. Doing so has allowed him to connect on a deeper level with his fans. His debut album, 21st Century Liability, was released last year and is a testament to who Yungblud really is as an artist.

SUBSTREAM: What made you want to start writing music and performing? Did you always know that music would be the end game or did you have a ‘Plan B’?

When I was younger, I was very misunderstood. A lot of people misunderstood my energy because I was ADHD and lot of people misunderstood the way I thought, the way I looked, the way I dressed. Music was a sense of belonging to me. I could pop headphones on and escape to a place where I felt like I was accepted. I would listen to bands like My Chemical Romance, Arctic Monkeys, Alex Turner, Eminem, Lady Gaga, Marilyn Manson, Madonna….artists that would build a culture around their artistry and would build a community of people. I felt so lonely, misunderstood, isolated and the only place I felt less alone is in those communities and when I listen to music. So it was always an escape for me. When I was trying to become an artist, thats what I wanted to do. I wanted to build a community of people where its a safe space, a community of lonely people who come together. If we are lonely together then we’re not alone at all, are we?

You have a really dedicated fanbase and I think I read somewhere that you have thousands of fans who now have the black heart tattoos to match yours, is that true?

Yeah man, it’s fucking crazy. It’s so humbling because I didn’t expect that. They call themselves the “Black Hearts Club.” That didn’t come from me, that came from them. I just got these tattoos on my fingers and told them what they represented and the day after I got them 70 people got them, then 100 people got them, then 1000 and now there are thousands and thousands of people. It’s crazy.

Do you have any other cool tattoos?

Yeah an elephant on my bum.

That’s awesome. Well, let’s dive into the music a little bit. Your album 21st Century Liability was released last year. Do you have a favorite song or lyric off of this album, and why?

I mean it changes because the songs are like my kids. There is new music coming very soon. It’s around the corner in the next couple of weeks. But yeah man with 21st Century Liability, I had 21 years of my life to write an album so I am very close to it. I think “Polygraph Eyes” is a really important song off of the album for me. It’s about an issue that isn’t spoken about a lot. It talks about drunk girls being taken advantage of by boys on nights out. This particular girl that this was about was underage.

Was ‘Polygraph Eyes’ about a particular person you know?

It’s based loosely on a particular person. As I say, with all art, I try to hide in it so it’s more relatable to as many people as possible. So it’s based on a true story, yeah, and it talks about an issue that needs to be stamped the fuck out. I love the song “Anarchist” because I have severe anxiety. I wake up most mornings with a knot in my stomach and I don’t know why. It’s a weird thing man. The sun is shining. I’m on tour. I’m happy. My career is going well but I wake up and I’m sad. I think suicidal thoughts and I don’t know why. I had a bit of an epiphany yesterday. I was in Ft. Lauderdale and I went to the beach. I had  never been to the beach and I dipped my toes in the water and I just said to myself, “you know what, I get to go on stage tonight and tomorrow and the day after and connect with people that think and behave in a similar way as me. I remembered that no matter how fucking rough it gets, I can connect with you, you over there, you in the front, you in the back, and you over there. Most importantly, I have you and you have me. Thats what I want to build, a community of people. I’m not interested in anything else other than that.

Touching on these deep issues, you recently tweeted “If you’re depressed, there will be a rope hanging in front of your face somewhere: don’t fucking hang yourself with it. Grab it and climb it.” which is such a great bit of advice. Do you think it’s important as an artist to use your platform to raise awareness on certain issues ?

I think so, I mean I am a platform artist. I’m here to talk about real shit. I’m here to say what people are thinking without hesitation or without dilution. That’s what Yungblud is. It’s encouragement for people to speak out and for people to feel less alone when they speak out.

The song “11 Minutes” that you did with Halsey is such a great track. How did you get linked up with her and Travis Barker to make music?

It was crazy man. Halsey sent me a DM on Instagram. What’s crazy is me, Halsey, and Travis are all Warped Tour kids. We all come from a pop punk/rock/heavy metal background. We started talking because we had mutual interests and then we were in the studio together.  It was the three of us bouncing ideas off each other like three little kids.

The music video is fantastic and very cinematic. Did you have a hand in making the video?

I steered the ship musically and took the lead on how the music should sound but Halsey was a big innovator with the music video. She had an incredible idea on the 5 stages of grief and I love that because I love acting and I want to act eventually.

So the rumor is that you recorded a track with Machine Gun Kelly. Can you give us any info about that song?

Oh, I don’t know what you are talking about [laughs]. Colson [Machine Gun Kelly] is a good friend of mine.

Yeah I saw that you were at his birthday party.

Yeah, Marilyn Manson was there and it was crazy because he gave him a dildo of himself and Colson was running around slapping people with it. But yeah, Colson is a good guy and I really respect him as a musician. He’s really having an incredible moment right now, acting in The Dirt movie. He’s a good lad and we stand for the same shit. He’s a rock and roll star.

Is there an artist that you would like to collaborate with that you haven’t already?

I love Billie Eilish right now. I love what Lil Skies is doing. I love what Juice Wrld is doing. A lot of people say that rock is isolated right now. I think people look at rock in a different way. I think rock is Juice Wrld. I think rock is Post Malone.

Name an artist that changed your life the moment you heard them

Eminem.

If you had a hypothetical soapbox to get one message out in the universe what would it be?

YUNGBLUD: It is ok to be completely yourself and if people do not like you for who you are, then they are just not meant to be in your life. As I say, if you tell the truth not everyone will like you, but the right people will like you.