Yungblud is hellbent on being the rockstar of the 2020 generation. But rather than aspiring for the sex, drugs and destruction trope of a rock god who lords over his fans, the 22-year-old wants to share the throne with them.
Known as the Black Hearts Club, the Yungblud community is made up of self-proclaimed misfits who’ve bonded over the Doncaster local’s no bullshit philosophy for life. In a nutshell, the hyperactive punk rocker is known for donning pink socks and creepers while he kicks convention in the teeth.
His latest EP, the underrated youth, is no exception. Over 6 tracks, Yungblud takes an unapologetic lyrical approach to mental health and politics while giving a massive middle finger to the naysayers. Although he’s a punk-pop lover at heart, Yungblud doesn’t box himself in by one genre on the EP either. We’ve seen this in the last year as he collaborated with everyone from Blink 182’s Travis Barker and Imagine Dragon’s Dan Reynolds to Machine Gun Kelly, Halsey and Mashmello.
To take out the end of 2019 in a blaze of glory, Yungblud is returning down under this month for Falls Festival as well as the Twisted Tales of the Ritalin Club sideshows in Sydney and Melbourne.
We had a chat to Yungblud about converting new fans at Falls Festival, his New Year’s Eve plans with Lewis Capaldi and the new coming-of-age record.
Music Feeds: Let’s talk about Falls Festival. How excited are you for that?
Yungblud: Dude, I can’t fucking wait to come back to Australia. It’s something I’ve been looking forward to since I left. I fucking love your country but I’m never there long enough, which just sucks. I’m just so buzzin’ to come back, man. It’s like Falls Festival. What a lineup. I can’t bloody wait.
MF: You’re good mates with Lewis Capaldi who is also on the lineup, so hopefully you two can get up to some mischief together while you’re down here.
YB: Oh, absolutely! I think we’re going to be together on New Year’s Eve so naturally, that will just be carnage. I mean the Scottish drink like fishes.
MF: Um, oh my god. Can I come? You’ll need an Australian in your ranks.
YB: Exactly! We will (laughs). It’s going to be insane. Brits, the Scottish and Aussies can all drink. It’s just a recipe for disaster, innit?
MF: So, for those who haven’t seen you live yet, what can Falls Festival expect from a Yungblud show?
YB: I just think energy, man. You’re gonna laugh because we’re pretty cheeky. You’re gonna jump and move around because of the energy and you’re probably going to cry because it just feels like a sense of unity between us all. Especially between me and my fans. I love playing festivals because I love when people kinda get converted. You can see it on their faces.
MF: You’re also doing the Twisted Tales of the Ritalin Club sideshows, do you approach festival shows and more intimate gigs differently?
YB: I think probably not. I’m just gonna allow this mental, happy, energetic, yet slightly schizophrenic person that I am. I think being on stage is being on stage, y’know?
It’ll just be madness. (At Falls) I want people to go wanna go back to sleep. I want people after they see the show to be like “Fuck, I can’t see the late show tonight because I’m knackered” (laughs).
MF: You released ‘lonely together: a short film about belonging’ over the weekend. Can you tell me how that came about and the people that were involved?
YB: Absolutely, man! Vevo wanted to do something together for a while and I was really excited to work with them and I’ve seen some of their videos in the past and knew I had the power to do what I wanted. So I sat down with them and I was like, “I have an idea that I wanna do. I want to do a short film about my fan base.” Because that’s what Yungblud is, Yungblud isn’t me. Yungbud is us. I am 50% of what this is and I wanted to amplify that in this video.
I wanted it to be theatrical because I pride myself and built my character off people like the Joker and a lot of DC Comic Books. That was my visual intent but I wanted it to be this sense of unity that isn’t necessarily about me. This whole thing isn’t about me, it’s about us.
MF: It’s really powerful because although the stories that you and your fans are sharing are different, the desire to belong is common in each one.
YB: Oh, absolutely. That’s the thing about it, there’s such a change in culture right now where people just want to be accepted for exactly who they are. There’s a movement in punk and youth culture. It’s very similar to the grunge movement in the ’90s. People have been fed so much bullshit for years and years in terms of politics, music and fashion. We just want to be told the fucking truth.
MF: You wear your heart on your sleeve in your songwriting but how was it being so vulnerable in the short film? Was it difficult at all?
YB: Absolutely not. I think I can finally feel like I can be who I am because of my fan base and my family. For the first time in my life, I can express who I am. I can fucking say to the world: This is me, these are my flaws, this is what I look like, this is what I sound like and this is what I talk like. And if you don’t like it, you’re just not meant to be in my life and that’s cool.
MF: And you’ve found your people in the Black Hearts Club. You could really see that in the scenes where you were all sitting in a circle, sharing your stories.
YB: That’s what I mean, I am one of them. I wanted it to be like we were in an AA meeting. That’s what it’s about. It’s not about me being fuckin’ above them or a fucking popstar. Fuck that. I’ll leave being a popstar to the popstars. I’m not arsed about that. I never got into this to do that. I got into it because I felt so lonely and so isolated that I was almost suicidal. So I wanted to find people who were similar to me.
MF: And isn’t that what every person wants at the end of the day?
YB: Yeah, legitimately. That’s it. We just want to be accepted for who we are in an era of Kardashian fucking mentality. And now it’s so much cooler to be yourself.
MF: In an interview with NME, you said you wanted to be the rockstar of 2020. What does that look like for you?
YB: Rock ‘n’ roll to me isn’t bashing the shit out of instruments or acting like a dickhead. Rock ‘n’n roll to me is about freedom and liberation. I think that’s what rock means in this day and age.
MF: You released the underrated youth EP a few months ago. How do you feel about the response to it now that you’ve had some time to take it all in?
YB: It’s been crazy. This whole EP just made me reach so many new people. It’s just mental. It made me find so many new fans and people and family that I would’ve never had normally found.
Now I’m getting ready to release another record. I’m just not stopping. There are so many people out there who feel like it’s ok to be who they are and I want them to know about us and if they choose to come to us, they are so welcome. Everyone feels liberated in this community and that makes me so happy.
MF: What can we expect from the new record?
YB: Something that you can’t expect! (laughs). Typical Yungblud. Typical me. I’m just trying to push the boundaries with new sounds and new topics. It’s a coming of age record. It’s a record about the experiences that I’ve had. I’ve grown up five years this year. I’ve been through so much. After everything, all the bullshit, I’ve just figured out that it’s just a weird time in my life and that it’s all going to be OK.
MF: You collaborated with some massive artists including Travis Barker and Dan Reynolds this year. Do you have any collabs on the album?
YB: There is a mental one coming at the start of next year. I can’t say who it is yet but he is such a visionary artist. So fucking sick and he is a bridge between hip hop and rock and roll. I’ll give you a clue, the first time that I heard about him and the first time that I saw that he was such a clear bridge between hip hop and rock n roll was in an Australian press outlet. The Aussies liked him.
MF: Oh my god, I’m so curious! Is it Post Malone?
YB: I can’t say but I’m glad you’re curious (laughs). You’ll have to wait til 2020.
MF: And what else is on the cards in 2020 for Yungblud?
YB: If 2019 was in third gear, 2020 is in fifth gear. I can’t wait to announce the tour and for people to hear the album.
Yungblud will play Falls Festival 2019/2020 as well as two sideshows in Sydney and Melbourne.