Yungblud Is Bringing Back Bratty British Punk
Dominic Harrison could say anything and be charming. Credit his Yorkshire accent that doesn't let up, even in song. Credit his Brit attitude, too. As Yungblud, Harrison imbues every ounce of raucous energy into songs that defy genre. Some tracks lean toward hip-hop, others crank up the rock vibe, but they're all, thanks to that aforementioned attitude, rooted in the ethos of punk. Yungblud is raw, frenzied energy; he moves fast and always, always brings the party.
Fast, as he tells it, is how he likes it. He moved down to London, "the land of opportunity in England," at 16, because it "excited [him] going to a place that moved quickly." A stint in art school led to a creative block which eventually, as fate usually has it, led him to discover exactly what he wanted to say. "I just wanted to go down, go to art school, get a job in a pub, and just fucking see what happened," he says. "And it was good, but [the professors] were telling me what to do and what to create, so I got quite lost." Even in the studio with producers, Yungblud felt the pressure to be a certain type of artist until enough was enough. Two years of being pushed, prodded, and molded into something he wasn't proved to be the breakthrough he needed.
As he tells it, "I just went, 'Fuck you. I want to be this, this is who I am, this is what I'm going to say.' I don't give a fuck what anyone thinks because what else can you be but yourself? It won't work, it's not real."
And real is all Yungblud wants to be.
A chance meeting with music publisher Declan Morrell, who Yungblud calls "The Wizard," brought him out his funk. "He told me, 'The music you're writing doesn't reflect who you are. It doesn't reflect your energy, doesn't reflect the songs you do, doesn't reflect what you talk to me about," Yungblud says. A spark of inspiration from Netflix's The Get Down here led to his single, "King Charles," there, and the songs just kept comin'. "The hardest part of being an artist is discovering what it is you do differently," he says.
So what does Yungblud do differently? He makes rowdiness fun all while spitting fire commentary on what it means to be a teen-on-the-verge-of-20 in today's clued-in world. Listen to "I Love You, Will You Marry Me," and you'll feel the despair of fast, youthful love. "Tin Pan Boy" critiques the rise of luxury residential development in an area known for its grit, art, and, yes, punk scene. "My generation, we're so smart and opinionated, and we know the world we want to live in, we know the future we want," he says. "We're such a liberal, forward-thinking generation that's been held back by an older generation that doesn't understand it, doesn't want the world to progress quickly because of old ideologies."
Which is exactly why Yungblud feels so fresh, despite his pointed nostalgic vibe. "I don't want to preach to anyone because I'm not," he says. He's just saying what he thinks; take it or leave it. Regardless, Yungblud is a force—one that will be hard to escape when his debut drops Stateside on January 19. Just don't go thinking you know what he's all about because being pigeonholed is not his forte. "I always want people to be like, 'What the fuck's he going to do next?'"