Generations of Misunderstood Youth

Film photography by  Gabriella Hughes   Article and Interview by Erin Martin

Film photography by Gabriella Hughes

Article and Interview by Erin Martin

Meet Dominic Harrison, England’s newest trailblazing rockstar. Gleaming with a contagious smile and exuberant joy, Harrison works under the moniker of Yungblud addressing topics of social and political relevance through music to start a conversation. After moving from Doncaster at the age of 16, Yungblud explored an entirely new world in London that exposed him to life without the filter of ignorance. With the time and space to understand what has been accepted socially for so long, and he realized change was needed. Yungblud’s socially conscious motivation and need to speak the truth has led to iconic tracks like “Polygraph Eyes” and “Medication” from his full length album, 21st Century Liability. Not only is the music an infectious combination of rock 'n' roll and hip-hop, but Yungblud amplifies his studio creations live in his ability to dominate every stage with never-ending high jumps and thrill. Yungblud is right at the tipping point of his career, which is why we should all take some notes. Be yourself and the rest will follow. We sat down with Yungblud at Lollapalooza to hear about experiences he writes from and thoughts on music today.

Teal Magazine: From what I’ve read, you’ve always mentioned the “lad mentality”. Can you explain that?

Yungblud: Growing up, I was going out in Yorkshire at 14 years old with a fake ID. I would see girls stumbling out of nightclubs with boys who weren’t nearly as drunk as them. It didn’t resonate with how wrong that was until I moved out into the city and grew up. At the end of the day, you only understand what you know. You only understand what you’ve been taught.

Teal Magazine: I know “Polygraph Eyes” is a very important song. Pick one other song that you think is equally as important.

Yungblud: I just dropped a song called “Medication”. I grew up with ADHD and a lot of people misunderstood me because I had a lot of energy and was very opinionated. It’s about growing up in a heavily medicated society where people put others on drugs to cover up you and your personality because they think it’s different. The whole album for me is an outlet for people who can’t be themselves or feel like they can’t say what they think.

Teal Magazine: Being an artist amongst a population of people who are more in tune with empowerment and unity, what does that mean for you?

Yungblud: That’s why I started writing music in the first place because no one is representing that. My generation is not a group of bratty kids rebelling against the system just for the sake of it. That's a naive way of perceiving us. We genuinely see a future we want to be apart off and move towards. But we have been brought up by a generation that does not necessarily understand us, or are not quite ready to go to that place yet.

Teal Magazine: Do you think that's sort of where your passion started in addressing those topics?

Yungblud: One hundred percent. I was the kid the moms didn’t like. I would be at your house and say, “I don’t like that dinner.” A lot of people didn’t like that I would say that and it sort of built up an anger inside me that just kind of wanted to let itself out and talk.

Teal Magazine: You're being unapologetically yourself.

Yungblud: That’s what my generation is starting to be like. No matter what, black, white, gay, straight, whatever you are, be proud of that because that’s amazing.

Teal magazine: I think it’s really important to have someone like you out there.

Yungblud: Especially music right now, it’s all just, “I love you so much baby” or “How many dollars can I throw in a fucking car". To me, that’s just boring and I’m not into it.

Teal Magazine: What opportunities do you see in the music industry?

Yungblud: If you are fundamentally real and not trying to be someone else, it will resonate. That’s why I started writing music that was real for me. As soon as I started to talk about real shit that was true to me, people started to respond to it. People are like, “Oh, how do you get into music?” Talent is two percent, and that ninety-eight percent is working hard because every single person around you will go if you’re different and you’re doing something right. Look at artists like David Bowie, The Beatles, Post Malone, and Jessie Reyez. Everyone hated them at the start because they were different and people don’t like shit that they don’t understand. People are scared of things they don’t understand in life and that’s a cool thing for me. You don’t want to be like everyone, or you’ll end up on a cereal box.

Teal Magazine: We’ll talk a little bit about your style. What do you want that to represent?

Yungblud: It’s just like a punk rock Dennis the Menace. In Northern England there was a soul movement between the 60s and the 90s. After the war, American GIs would bring old blues and soul records and it infected all the working men's clubs and youth clubs. It was the first time boys would dance on their own. They wore all these high waisted trousers and showed their socks off. They wore creepers and loafers. Pink is my favorite color, my hair is nuts, put some fucking chains on, eyeliner…

Teal Magazine: I like it. It’s gritty.

Yungblud: I’ve always loved Marilyn Manson, Lady Gaga, Robert Smith. I always loved outfits and really I don’t want to go in a denim jacket and white t-shirt like everyone else on stage. What’s special about that? I want people to come to my show and remember me and be like that was the best thing I’ve ever seen in my fucking life.