INTERVIEW: YUNGBLUD on Warped Tour, UK music scene & the future!
Warped Tour is in it’s last trek across the country, wrapping up in about two weeks, so of course we knew we had to be at the last one! We have about twenty interviews coming your way from the marathon day I spend at Warped in Hartford, but I thought it was fitting to have YUNGBLUD first to you.
YUNGBLUD a.k.a Dominic Harrison is the sole rapper on this summer’s last run and that’s not something out of the normal. The tour is so famous for breaking Eminem, G-Eazy, the list just goes on and on and Harrison is beyond grateful to follow in those acts foot steps. Unlike the aforementioned, YUNGBLUD attracts both the hip hop side of things and the punk rockers that walk the grounds of Warped Tour every day. “It’s the first time in my life that I feel like I’ve been heard. I’ve been shouting into a dark abyss for years but now I feel like I’m having a conversation,” said Harrison about the Warped experience so far.
Find our chat below and catch him on his own headlining run this fall, which will be coming my favorite spot, Great Scott, October 23rd!
Things are really crazy for you right now! The record just came out, July 6th.
It’s just been born!
It’s just been born! Maybe how long has this record been in the making for you? Obviously you’re still so young.
To be honest, all my life really. This record is an accumulation of things I’ve seen, things I’ve felt, things I think are right, things I think are wrong all my life. It’s kind of been amazing to bundle it all together in my own head and just create it. It’s a concept record about my head and what I’ve seen and what I think. And my generation today, you know what I mean?
Yes! And you’ve been so busy, I know you just did the K. Flay tour. You’ve been doing Warped Tour, you have your own tour announced for the fall. You’re playing my favorite venue in Boston, the Great Scott.
Yeah man! Can’t wait, I’m excited.
I’m from Boston but I wanted to catch you guys here since it’s two weeks earlier. I’m sure once you hit Mansfield, you’ll be exhausted.
I’ll be alright. I mean I’m pretty hyped all the time, it’s crazy, so it’s good.
That’s good, it means you’re happy doing what you’re doing!
Yeah I’m having the best time of my entire life. I’m so lucky to be doing this. What’s to be down about?
And I’ve been watching social media, I know the shows have been huge on Warped Tour for you. A lot of rappers have done this tour and gone on to great things. Like Eminem did it, Ice Cube did it.
And that’s why it’s so exciting. The last one too. G-Eazy, Katy Perry have done it. And I think with Warped Tour you put in what you get out. So we walk the line every morning, we put posters up. And the fans have been lovely. Every city has been blowing my mind. There’s four, five hundred kids there every day. Screaming the lyrics to every song.
And was the K. Flay tour the first time you had been in the US?
Yeah that was the first tour in the US I’ve done.
Which was only in March/April?
It was March, hell yeah, and now I’m back and I can’t wait to headline here. To do a headline tour I’m so excited.
Yeah it’s going to be incredible!
It’s going to be crazy! I’ve spoken to my agent about it and tickets are doing really well already so I’m just like what the fuck?
And that’s still a while away, in the fall.
And it’s weird man, he said it’s in every market. It’s weird, sometimes you’ll do New York, LA, Chicago, Boston and Texas will do well, but he says in every market, it’s doing really well so I’m just like what the fuck? Can’t believe it.
And you’re obviously still so young, only 19?
Just turned twenty!
Just turned twenty but still obviously very young.
Still a whippersnapper!
Is this something that you always knew you wanted to do as a kid?
I think so man! I always had a lot of energy. I was always very opinionated so it was always a good outlet for me but I think for much of my life, I always felt very misunderstood. I was always very opinionated And people didn’t get that. And people in power especially don’t like being confronted by someone who’s younger then them. I kind of became very lost, am I not going to be able to be myself? It was very Eminem, it was Joe Strummer of The Clash, Alex Turner with Artic Monkeys, it kind of made me feel like it was okay to say what I thought and say what the fuck I want.
And clearly it’s working for them.
Exactly and it just infected my brain on a human level. Not just ‘I want to be a musician’. Like these guys are doing it so why the fuck can’t I?
And you’re one of a few UK artists out on the tour. I know Don Broco are out too.
Don Broco, my boys. I love Don Broco.
Maybe advice to UK bands. You’ve been touring the US, you’re still very young. Don Broco obviously had years as a band in the UK before they came to the states. Maybe advice for bands coming over the first time?
Yeah man, you just got to get over here. At the end of the day when I was starting out, no one wanted to touch me in the UK at all. No one was interested, except the fans. The fans were great and York was great but no label, no press, nothing.
And now you’re with Geffen.
Then I came over to the US and I don’t know man, they’re not afraid to take a fucking chance. The UK music scene right now is fucking boring. To be honest, rock ‘n’ roll is on life support in my opinion because it’s just four idiots in leather jackets singing about fuck all. There’s no substance anymore in rock and that’s why I kind of love what hip hop is doing right now. I might not necessarily agree with what everything is saying but they’re saying something and it’s giving me a fire in my belly. Fucking say something and then represent something then you’ll be heard man. And if it’s real, it will resonate.
Yeah exactly. And you still have about of the Warped Tour to go.
Well yeah I got Australia for a week then I come back. I have it on Tuesday for a week then I come back.
Right back to the Warped Tour?
Right back to the Warped Tour!
Then you have your tour in the fall, the record is still so new.
Crazy man, I can’t believe it! It’s charting already, I’m so stoked. It’s like # 7 in the US right now on the alternative chart.
For your first full length album?
First album, it’s like what the fuck. It’s crazy.
The record has obviously something to do with it but they say the Warped Tour is famous for breaking artists. It was one of Eminem’s first tours ever, G-Eazy did it very early in his career, now look at him headlining here (Xfinity Center) in a few weeks. So obviously it works! How has this experience helped you?
Man, it’s just the community and the energy. The thing for me man is that it’s such a one on one basis with the kids that come to the show. How can I talk about what I’m talking about and be the type of artist who just goes and sits on my bus all day? I’ve just been talking to them. It’s the first time in my life that I feel like I’ve been heard. I’ve been shouting into a dark abyss for years but now I feel like I’m having a conversation. And they inspire me to write new shit. I’ve been inspired as fuck. I’ve been writing on the road as well, it’s fucking great!
Already writing new music?
Hell yeah man I’m ready! At the end of the day man yeah I’ve dropped a new album but I don’t want to just spend six months touring my new album. I’ll fucking drop a song in a couple of weeks if I want.
And I’m sure the label is supporting you.
Yeah man that’s what’s crazy. They just let me do what I want and it’s amazing. When I walked into Interscope and Geffen, it’s just like the label that bred artists like Nirvana, Marilyn Manson, Lady Gaga, Eminem, Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre. Artists that fundamentally changed shit and fundamentally pushed the boundaries. And they let me run and that’s so important. It’s scary signing to a label. It could be like alright man I’m going to put you in baggy pants and a Lakers hat because Justin Bieber wears that and it’s like fuck that.
No you see it all the time, you got a lucky situation.
Yeah I’m very, very lucky and I’m very, very excited.
Excellent then we kind of talked about it earlier. Things are really crazy for you right now. The album is charting so well even though it’s only been out for about a week and a half. You have the tour in the fall. Is it just the hopes or goals to keep on going at it?
Yeah at the end of the day, I’m just trying to go all over the world and spread the message. This whole album is an outlet for people that feel like they can’t be themselves or can’t say what they think. And at the end of the day, I just want to reach as many people as possible and I’m not going to be able to stop until I do. I mean I want to be the biggest artist in the world. I’ll be bold enough to say that. I walked into Houston Stadium the other day, it’s like a 65 thousand seater, being like I want to play this.
You have to feel that way about yourself.
I just know exactly what I want to do, exactly what I want to achieve and I’m just going to keep running until I do that. Everyone’s like you need a day off, fuck that!
You’re casually going to Australia and then coming right back to the Warped Tour.
Yeah, it’s rock ‘n’ roll man.