The culture-shifting popstar YUNGBLUD delivered an instantly iconic return last week called Weird!
A fast-paced and extremely good song with accidentally cognisant lyrics talking about the “weird time of life” we find ourselves in, it feels so natural yet so confident to be entering a new phase of the YUNGBLUD sound and ethos with this track.
After finding his audience with songs that questioned the status quo and built an army in the last few years, Dom (his real name) is ready to take that audience on a path of eternal optimism and excitement. It all starts here.
Nic Kelly’s in bold, YUNGBLUD’s in not-bold.
How are you, Mister Nic Kelly!
I’m into week five of lockdown, but it’s not really any different to my normal life because I never went out in the first place. Where are you at the moment?
I am stuck in Venice, Los Angeles, by the seaside, so it’s actually nice. I was supposed to go back to the UK, but we got trapped and we thought that it’s better to be in the sunshine than be in the rain. But it’s sunny in the UK, so we kind of messed up.
Guess whether I liked the song or not. Do you think I liked the song?
I think you’ve been either bopping around in your underpants all morning or you absolutely hated it. But I think you’ve been bumping around in your underpants haven’t ya.
You are correct there, it is an absolute fucking bop. What a beautiful song. I presume you didn’t write it with the idea that there was going to be a pandemic in mind?
No, I absolutely didn’t! It was very weird, man. I remember when I wrote it, I was like, “I can’t wait to play this in Australia.” This is such a song for the Aussies just to be like, “AHHHHHH!!!” and lose your minds to. I wrote it about the weirdest time in my life ever imaginable. It’s that thing where you’re coming of age… not necessarily growing up, because you can come of age at eighty-five, you know what I mean. But it’s when you feel like the pavement is moving continually underneath your feet and you’re gonna fall down the cracks. Everything was piling up on me, and “weird, weird, weird,” just kept going through my brain. “I feel so weird all the time. I feel down when everything’s great.” I had the most crazy 18 months of my life. I nearly lost my Mum in a car accident. We got really, really big, really quickly. I experienced heartbreak. All these things were accumulating and I felt so WEIRD. Then we played our headline show at Brixton Academy in London and that was our dream. Me, my drummer and my guitar player, two years before were two years before, living in a two-bedroom flat – a shoebox – going “if we play Brixton, it’ll all be fine,” and then we did. It kind of put things into perspective. I wrote the poem, really shortly after that, and I was like, “this needs to come out right now.” Everyone feels like they’re walking down the pavement, or walking in their living room – in this instance – and the floor is moving and we’re like, “what is going on right now?”
What amazing self-awareness to be able to know that the world needs this song at the moment. Is that kind of it? Do you feel like the world needed to hear these words? They feel comforting to me.
Exactly. That’s what I wanted. I wanted it to be like, no matter how weird this gets, it’s all going to be alright, because we have each other and we are all in this together. I wanted it to give this heartwarming thing and putting this out was so amazing to me, because I saw the reaction from not just my fans, but people who have never heard of me, going “this made me forget about what was going on for three minutes.” I was like sick, job well done. I felt so normal yesterday when it came out.
Is that the first time you’ve felt normal in a while?
In a while, yeah. I felt so normal. I felt so connected to humanity. I think right now, Planet Earth, our Mother’s giving a slap on the head because as humans we’ve neglected humanity for a while and neglected the environment for a while. I think this time is about reconnecting and cementing ourselves to love again, d’ya know what I mean?
I’ve noticed around here, birds and certain creatures that I haven’t seen or heard in years… I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of kookaburra, an Australian bird that sounds like it’s laughing, I heard one outside my house for the first time in like five years the other day. The world is regenerating and I think as a part of that, love is going to regenerate and the way that we approach love it’s going to change, right?
Absolutely and I think that was it. This song, I remember when I was writing it and singing it and the melody was coming out and we were doing all the synths, I was literally crying my eyes out. The past 12 months, all the pain and all the happiness and all the confusion and everything got bundled up together and I just went “BLUUUUURRRHHHH” and it just came out. It literally feels so raw yet naive? You know what I mean, it’s just about a feeling. It’s not about information. I just wanted it to hit a feeling.
It’s both really present and really nostalgic at the same time and I don’t know anyone that can do that as well as you.
I was listening to like a lot of The Cure and Depeche Mode and Joy Division when I was writing it. I wanted it to kind of be synthy and a bit like it belonged on The Breakfast Club soundtrack, or 10 Things I Hate About You. An old romcom teen movie, Saved By The Bell or something.
Let’s talk about this sound, because I haven’t heard you do this fast-paced thing with arpeggiated synths and shit before. This whole Depeche Mode thing that you must have been listening to at the time. Is that what this whole new era of music for you is going to sound like?
I think the thing about it is I’m not angry anymore! I’m optimistic! My first record, I felt so angry at the world because I felt so misunderstood, in terms of my identity and my sexuality and the way I looked and the way I dress and the way I wanted to be. But I met a community of people that’s growing every day that make me feel like it’s alright to be exactly who I am and they feel like it’s alright to be exactly who they are. How can I be fucking angry? So I just want this new music to feel like that. I want it to be optimistic and new and strange for YUNGBLUD. I want it to be weird that YUNGBLUD did a synth song. I want it to be like a series of skins within a record.
I’m so excited about this.
It’s about the feeling that I want to give! I want to talk about liberation in terms of sexuality, identity, what people identify as, stories I’ve heard from my friends and my family, drugs, sex, mental breakdowns, mental epiphanies, a multitude of all of these different discoveries about myself and about what my fans told me about them. I want to just fucking put it all in one pot and stir it up and want it to explode.
That is incredible. When will we hear more stuff?
We don’t know yet in the current climate, but I’m just gonna keep dropping songs. If and when the time feels right for them. I didn’t know what to put out first and then Weird! just presented itself. It’s kind of weird like that. I think, “what do I do now?” And then a song will just go “hello, it’s time for me to fly now.”
Two important things to check off with you. When we’re allowed to stop playing shows and stuff again, will you miss being able to kiss Adam on stage because it’s unhygenic?
Absolutely. But when we’re allowed to kiss again, I’ll put on a mask and gloves, give him a snog, take them off and go back to the show.
EXCELLENT. The other thing, I had a chat to 24KGOLDN the other day, he was telling me that you showed him Smoko by The Chats.
ABSOLUTELY. We’ve got a bit of a surprise coming with that song. We love that. He was obsessed with coming to Australia and I was like, “Australia is my second home, they were one of the first countries to accept me as an artist,” and I was just like, “you will love Australia, you will go crazy for it, the people are the best, and I told him he’s got to check out The Chats, Parcels, obviously Tame Impala, and Mallrat. He was just like, “I’m down.”