A Day With Yungblud
“It’s a celebration that we’re all a little bit fucking mad” - Yungblud (2018)
Dominic (Dom) Harrison, also known as Yungblud, has taken the world by storm this past year with multiple sold out tours ranging from across Europe to all the way across the pond in America. While on his first U.S. headlining tour, Punk Junk decided to spend the day with Dom to get to know the mastermind of one, Yungblud. First and foremost, soundcheck was the priority and had to come first. Luckily, Dom was able to stand on his own two feet the day of our BTS because two days later, he broke his ankle. But no worries, that didn’t stop him, the tour, or the fans from giving each and every show their all.
Post soundcheck, we decided to do some portraits outside of the venue. Unfortunately, we hit a bit of a delay on this process as there was a Nirvana documentary playing in the venue and we couldn’t get Dom out of his trance of staring at and listening to Dave Grohl. As the shoot started, we ran into another distraction, some lovely fans. Dom paused the shoot to chat for a moment with the supportive group and took a few photos (he was given a great hand drawn portrait as well).
Once our photoshoot was complete, we finally decided to have our sit down with Dom to discuss some things we thought he’d find just as interesting and important as us. As it was Mental Health Awareness month, we wanted to have a general conversation about mental health and the importance of keeping a conversation going. “That’s it, like, it’s weird man. Everyone’s like, someone asked me ‘why do you not post about mental health day?’ I was like, to me it’s like everyday people should be aware of it. D’ya know what I mean? It’s funny it’s like, let’s just have a day where we all fucking say ‘I’m nuts.’ I don’t necessarily agree with that, D’ya know what I mean?” We all agreed that one specific day/month to post about mental health isn’t the best way to keep the conversation going. Dom also made the point that he’s not trying to tell people what to do or how to feel or make them think he has the answers, because he doesn’t. “I’m not Jesus, I’m not Mother Theresa … I just wanna encourage people to talk about what’s going on in their heads.”
We moved forward to talk about how people may feel like they’re irrelevant or not as important because society has given them the label “weird” or “crazy” because of their mental health. Dominic talked about trying to be the voice for those people, referring to his song Psychotic Kids, where he talks about how people inside the box try to control those outside the box, because he “finds someone so interesting if I’ve never met anyone like them before … if you’re different, that’s almost cool, it’s the new beautiful.” He also mentioned he sees hope with our general generation because we are so much more accepting of those who are different and that we’re a generation that genuinely sees “a world we want to be a part of.” “We’re so intelligent, we’re not just bratty kids rebelling against the system for rebelling against the system’s sake.” As he continues, he talked about younger people kicking back at old ideologies and how they’re taught not to talk about mental illnesses by embracing them. Dominic mentions that it was so important that his record, 21st Century Liability, was to touch on mental health and also his how next album does even more. He believed genuinely writing about mental health and the struggles that come with it is very important because “No one’s fucking talking about it in music or the people who are talking about it, the emo bands that are talking about it are doing it in a fucking way that’s just, it’s fucking lame. It’s a cop out.” (You heard it here, folks. The emo bands are fucking lame). We talked about bands that basically just write about mental health because that is what’s going to get them streams or video views or on an iTunes chart. “Everything’s gotten very diluted, people almost talking about mental illness to be cool.” Dominic said he will never release music that isn’t 100% authentic and he believes that’s what helps build his fanbase. He wants his fans to feel like a community not only at shows, but outside of them as well. Whether they continue to come to his shows, or go support another artist together. As long as fans are finding a home in his music that he so honestly puts out, that’s all he can ask for. “My version of pop punk, I want to bring people together. I don’t want to divide, that’s been done so many times.” While on the topic of mental health, we decided get the opinion of a potentially controversial set of tweets and the artist’s verbal response that caused a bit of a stir in the Warped community this summer [THE ORIGINAL POSTER OF THESE TWEETS NAME IS BLOCKED FOR THEIR PRIVACY].
“Good fucking question. Mental illness is a weird thing because I use my art as a fucking release and when I’m feeling down I can’t wait to go on stage because you guys, and the people in the crowd make me feel like I can escape my head for a little bit … As we said, it’s a celebration that we’re all a little bit fucking mad.” He agreed that he can’t necessarily speak for another artist as he has no idea what’s going on inside of their head. But at the end of the day, “we’re not fucking heart surgeons, we’re playing music.” And two days before the treacherous event where Dom breaks his ankle on stage, he made the comment “If I fucking broke my leg, I’d be on that stage because that is just the person I am.” I can definitely say we did not ask him to prove his point. To go on more about the stigmas around mental health, we were curious to know if children in England (where Dom is from) were ridiculed the same way as American children were once they had the label “mental illness” attached to them. Dom went on to talk about that now that he has toured the world, he’s realized people our age around the globe aren’t that different. “We’re all thinking the same shit,” as Dom said. He explained how the world is so much smaller nowadays, mainly because of the internet and that helps people around the globe stay connected and stay giving a shit about the world as a whole. He then went on to explain how many people weren’t happy with him as a child growing up because he was very hyper, as he has ADHD. Once again, he brought up the analogy of people inside the box wanting to control those who are out of the box, “that’s how the powers that beacon control you cause they want this amount of people, between these ages with this IQ and this so we believe their future is gonna be this.” Dom talks about how children who do well academically are always seen to become certain professions, but those who more academically challenged are seen to amount to nothing. “As it says in ‘21st Century Liability,’ it’s all bollocks. It’s all fucking bollocks.” Once we moved inside the the green room to continue our conversation, we moved onto a lighter topic. As we noticed, Dom has never actually talked about his time on Disney Channel; he starred in the shows The Squeeze and The Lodge over in the UK. After watching several clips on YouTube of his skits, we thought it was finally time he talked about it. “I knew you were gonna bring that up … It was either that, or sucking dick for cash at King’s Cross station” (He was totally kidding). Essentially, Dom was snatched up by Disney at the age of 15 when he moved out on his own to London. At the time, his goal was to be successful, so what kind of 15 year old would say no to that? He doesn’t regret his time on the show as it’s a part of his journey. He also met his guitarist, Adam Warrington, through Disney and also his management team who helped him realize this was not his dream, and helped him out of his contract. Despite never speaking about it, he doesn’t fully care who knows. “It’s weird, people are gonna try to use it against me and I can’t wait … it’s the entertainment industry, everyone is trying to fucking survive.” We agreed he could have done far worse things for money, which of course circled back to our previously mentioned King’s Cross joke. Back to the more serious topics, we moved onto Yungblud. We were intrigued to see if Dom saw Dominic Harrison and Yungblud as two completely separate personas. “I think Yungblud is kind of a persona for all us.” Dom starts to talk about his stage outfit which is consistently a black & pink striped turtleneck, ripped black pants, and blue T.U.K. creepers. “That’s why I wear the same outfit on stage, I want it to be a character … Yungblud’s all of us. It’s not like, ‘I don’t know what he’s gonna wear tonight.’ It’s like, ‘I know he’s gonna be wearing pink socks and striped t-shirt, so I’m gonna wear that cause I feel connected to him.’” He describes the character Yungblud as the “heightened version of what’s going on in my head. It’s schizophrenic, a million miles an hour, and nuts as fuck.” He previously mentioned to us throughout our conversation about how this tour was just beginning for them in America, where almost every show has completely sold out. Dom said the hype that helped him blow up as an artist in the past year drives him. And he expressed his goal to play Madison Square Garden by late 2020, early 2021. “I wanna be that big, I want to reach that many people. I haven’t reached enough people yet.” He recently met Dave Grohl, and the Foo Fighters singer and guitarist wholeheartedly agreed with Dom’s goals and approach achieving his version of success.
After a mildly hectic day and a lot of conversation, it was time for Dom to warm up and hit the stage. As predicted, Yungblud put on an energy packed performance that had the crowd jumping and dancing from the barricades to the back of the venue. Despite a long day, Yungblud still met everyone that stayed after the show to meet him, as he essentially does after every show. We said our goodbyes and our day with Yungblud came to a close. If you haven’t already listened, we have linked his Spotify below so you can check him out. Clearly, you don’t want to miss what Yungblud has in store for the future.
Check on the links below to listen to Yungblud's music and follow him on social media!
All photographs taken by: Olivia Amaral