You may remember that Lincoln hardcore band Climates, who exploded onto the UK touring circuit and released their ferocious debut ‘Body Clocks’ last year. Well, forget about them right now.
It could easily have been the end of a short-lived but promising musical career for Sam Bowden, Matt Powles, Chris Pritchard and Max Dawson when vocalist Wes Thompson left the band in October 2014, citing the go-to excuse of ‘musical differences’. But instead of slinking back into civilian life and quietly taking up office jobs, the four regrouped as Blood Youth, with new vocalist Kaya Tarsus at the helm. In fact, the call Tarsus received from his old school friend Pritchard was exactly what he needed to get him out of his office job (don’t feel too sorry for him, though – he was living in sunny Barcelona at the time). “[Pritchard] asked if I wanted to try out as a vocalist,” says Tarsus. “So for me, it was either work in an office in Barcelona or go on tour. I was doing a horrible marketing job, and I quit on my second day to come and do this.” Was it daunting to join a new band that had grown so hurriedly from the ashes of another? “The only time I felt under pressure was when I had to go on Climates’ last tour,” Tarsus explains. “I was replacing [Thompson] and singing all his songs, but people had no idea who I was. That was like my trial period. When Blood Youth started everyone was comparing us to Climates, which was bound to happen, but we just wanted to make music we like, as corny as that sounds.” So, what does Blood Youth actually sound like? Their first EP Inside My Head, due out in June, is a loud and frenzied collection of melodic hardcore with injections of pop punk in the choruses. Where Climates sometimes veered into At The Drive-In style math-rock territory, Blood Youth has kept the ballsy riffs but mixed them with the kind of accessible melodies that are doing wonders for the likes of Neck Deep, Real Friends and State Champs. “There’s definitely a pop punk revival going on at the moment,” says Tarsus. “Our EP is a good mix of riffs and melody. Some people might want to go to shows and fight each other, but with us, you can pause from fighting to sing along.” Riding the wave of heavied-up pop punk is working wonders for Blood Youth; they’ve just finished tours with Silverstein and Polar, and played Fury Fest alongside Motion City Soundtrack, Moose Blood and Trash Talk. Their biggest gig to date, though, will be Download, and Tarsus is still in awe that they’re on the bill. “I still go on the Download website every week to check we’re on the line-up, and that no one is playing a horrible prank,” he laughs. “It’s weird, because when Chris and I were growing up in Harrogate, we used to say to each other that we should be in a band together. We had that conversation in a Wetherspoons, and now here we are, in a band, playing Download next month.” This isn’t a comment made in an attempt to appear down-to-earth – Tarsus’ incredulity is real, and he isn’t under any illusions about the fickle nature of the music industry.
“The band is our full-time thing, but we still have to support ourselves when we’re not touring,” he says. “Our guitarist helps out in a guitar shop, we just do bits and bobs to earn where we can. Nothing comes for free in this industry.” Worrying about where the next paycheck is coming from is something that, for now, the band can put to the back of their minds. With the upcoming EP to promote and another tour with Trash Boat to begin in July, their schedule looks stuffed to the brim, but Tarsus says the conversation often turns to the prospect of a full-length album. “The EP isn’t even released yet, but we’re still writing new songs,” he says. “We’re obviously going to be playing the EP a lot over the next couple of months, but we are thinking about new material too.” Tarsus’ contribution to the song writing process is to bring angsty, relatable tales of failed romance to the table. What would pop punk be without a helping of cliché, right? “Yes, I do write a lot about ex-girlfriends,” he laughs. “I’d be lying if I said I didn’t. But a lot of this record is also about my decision to move back to England from Spain, and the big life changes involved. I just sing about stuff that’s happened. I want people to listen to our stuff and be like, ‘Yes, I get it.‘” Judging by the whirlwind success Blood Youth have had so far, it seems like fans are indeed ‘getting it’, and the Climates comparisons have already been put to bed.
Blood Youth will be on tour in July. For more information, click here.