"I turn my insecurity and my anxiety and my pain into something positive because I’ve figured out that if I do that, it will hurt less" - YUNGBLUD
Photo: Tom Pallant
Despite circumstance not being the most convinient and many plans having to be put on ice for the moment, 2020 is proving to be another very special year for YUNGBLUD.
With the release of latest single 'Weird!', a song born out of vulnerability, Dom Harrison has once again struck a chord with thousands and seen the community around him expand. Even with the world at a standstill, he's shown there's nothing that can stop him from continuing to connect with as many people as he possibly can.
We caught up with Dom to chat about the reaction to 'Weird!', how he's feeling in these uncertain times and what we can expect from his upcoming second album...
How has it been for you, someone who loves being out there and interacting with people, being stuck in one place for such a substantial amount of time?
Says Yungblud: “It’s been a bit of mad really. You either find solidarity in it or you go fucking barmy. I miss home a lot. LA is beautiful and amazing but it can be so fucking draining. There’s still this Hollywood persona to it, even when you’re stuck in your house. I miss chips and salt and vinegar and pints and HP Sauce and tea and The Hawley Arms. Those are the things that make me feel like me.
“Though when everything started to get cancelled, and almost everything started crumbling from underneath us, I remember saying to myself that I’m not going to let my ability to connect to my fans go away. That’s how I get through hard times.
“So I called my manager up and said that I wanted to do a livestream. I wanted to be the first one to do it. So without thinking we put a poster together and announced it on the Internet without knowing exactly what it was going to be. My fan base just blew it the fuck up from there. It was trending on Twitter. So from an idea that started in my bedroom, I then put together this punk-rock Jimmy Fallon in 72 hours.”
To have something like The Yungblud Show and then have a song like ‘Weird!’ come out, and then have what it represents resonate with so many, it’s feels like you’ve never been closer to people despite being so far away. How has it been watching that piece of music, that seemingly came from such a dark time, give people such hope in this one?
“Dude, it’s crazy. I wrote that song about the weirdest time of my life. It felt like I was trying to catch smoke in vertigo. It felt like I was trying to grab something that felt familiar but it was just slipping through my hands. I couldn’t grab on to anything because the world was changing around me.
“The song was supposed to come out later in the year, but then all of this happened. That’s when I said ‘Nah, this needs to come out right now’. Everybody feels like they’re in that moment of vertigo trying to grab on to something that’s familiar. But if we remain together, not just as the fan base but as humanity, then we’re all going to get through this weird fucking time of life.”
How does it feel knowing that such a moment of vulnerability for you will define such a different moment in time for so many people?
“The thing is that I’m a product of my insecurities. I turn my insecurity and my anxiety and my pain into something positive because I’ve figured out that if I do that, it will hurt less. It’s all about finding solidarity in an idea that's going to make you float rather pull you under the water.”
How has this period had an effect on the new record you’ve been working on then? Where are you actually up to in terms of that being ready to go?
"The fucking album is done; I’ve just got to figure out how I build the world around it. It stems from ‘Weird’ though.
"It’s like a neat whisky. It’s an uncensored story about life and about coming of age. Not growing up, coming of age is a different thing. You can come of age at 74.
“It’s an album about liberation, in terms of sexuality and identity. In terms of finding love and in terms of finding heartbreak. In terms of issues with self-harm and drugs and mental health. It’s looking at all of that as if it was a series of Skins. It feels as though ‘21st Century Liability’ was simply just a chapter within what this album is."
How has what YUNGBLUD is on a personal level adapted within that then?
“I’ve grown up, a lot. I was so angry on the first album. The world didn’t want to know me. The world didn’t care. The world wanted me to change or die. I wasn’t prepared to do that. So I found a community of people who were my family and I realised ‘How the fuck can I actually be angry anymore?’ I’ve got all of these people who love me and I love them back. It changed my perspective on life and made me look inwards. It made me address things about myself that I wouldn’t normally or think that I was allowed to.
“If the first album was a beam of light then this album is a fucking laser beam. I just want people to feel things as much as they did with the first one but with gasoline on it. This album is about your heart and how that changes. People forget about the heart in this day and age. It’s always about your fucking head. Nah man, you’ve got to protect your fucking heart.”
It feels as though one of the main differences is how with ‘21st Century Liability’ you were able to make that record behind closed doors and of your own accord. With this one, you’ve had to make these discoveries about yourself whilst in the public eye…
“Absolutely! This album is going to feature my first heartbreak song. It’s about the first time I ever properly loved someone and I had my heart ripped out of my chest and it was all over the fucking Internet. I nearly lost my mum, she was in a car accident, and that was all over the Internet. I’d be going out and going to the shops and there would be a camera following me. It’s really fucking crazy."
Though on a bigger scale, it feels as though right now is where you’re able to say to people ‘This is that army that I’ve been talking about for so long’. The amount of people you have surrounding you as you step into this new chapter is proof of what you’ve been telling the world all along…
“Exactly. It’s a fucking movement. All I ever wanted to do was build a community. Nobody cared, nobody understood it, nobody got it. Now for the first time in my life people are like ‘Yungblud Yungblud Yungblud’. We’re used as an example when before we were used as a guide as what not to do. Before it was ‘Don’t do that, don’t think that, don’t sing that’ and now we’re the example that's used in the boardrooms [of how to do things].
“Before, nobody wanted to talk to this androgynous, pansexual punk and now everybody wants to. It’s like when you see the kid who used to throw you in a fucking locker at school at your show. It’s the strangest fucking thing, but I’m never going to neglect anyone because I built this to bring people from all walks of life together. I built this to show those people who made me feel like shit actually understand all of these other people who are exactly like me.
“As long as I’m connecting to people and making them happy, I don’t care. Whatever is going to happen is going to happen and everything is out of my control. Ultimately I just want to be remembered for making people happy and feel distracted from all the shit that’s making them feel hurt and sad.”
YUNGBLUD was Artist Of The Year at the 2019 Rock Sound Awards. You can pick up his special magazine from SHOP.ROCKSOUND.TV