“I had to leave
when i knew this was becoming a strain
do you know what it feels like”
These are the lines that stuck in my head when I first listened to Blood Youth’s latest EP ‘Closure’.
It’s funny because they make the first track off the record and it somehow brought me comfort as a listener of Blood Youth, because well. Those lines were already present in a song from the band’s debut EP ‘Inside My Head’. It’s only now that I do realize the guys have probably been working on both records with a unique guideline, which isn’t bad given the band’s age, the short time between the two releases and their length; it would have been quite strange having two completely different records out in this context.
When Blood Youth first started, I wouldn’t say I was the most excited, in fact, I was even a little bit skeptical. One has to remember that Blood Youth was kinda born from the ashes of Climates, who had just released a full length album at the time and the news of them calling it quits was obviously bad news for their fans, including myself.
After a line up change, the remaining members of now ex-Climates announced that they were already working on a new project. Kaya Tarsus eventually joined on vocals and Blood Youth was born.
Back then, the sudden change, the new gloomy imagery, all the teasing didn’t help me welcome this new era warmly. I don’t think I even listened to the new stuff immediately when I got my hands on the record (mind you, I’ve received it digitally, so technically, I didn’t really have my hands on it) and that probably has something to do with the fact that I was maybe scared of the change. Besides, I think I didn’t fully realize it was not about Climates changing or moving to something else. Blood Youth is a new, independent band and that’s about it.
Now that I think about it, if that whole thing had such an impact on me, then I can only imagine how difficult it must have been to the ones actually involved, aka the band members.
But you know, despite everything you can say, humans are terrible and egoistic and I am one of them. So yes, I did only think of my own comfort and my disappointment first thing, and sometimes, we don’t try to see things from the other side. From the band’s perspective, the whole sudden break up was certainly not something deliberate any of them would have done just for fun. Things happen for a reason and theirs is probably legitimate. I will probably never know more about it all, but the least I can do is to respect it. Which I did. Personal feelings aside, I did try to listen to Blood Youth objectively and the rest is history…
Fast forward to 2016, nearly one year after Blood Youth released their debut EP, ‘Closure’, the follow up is out. I still felt ‘Inside My Head’ was something new and that one year is a short time to release two records, but once again who am I to judge a book by its cover this way?
‘Closure’ is a quality punk and hardcore record, it completely holds this Blood Youth identity I ended up falling in love with, and despite being really short, it’s not bothering at all as it’s more like a continuation to ‘Inside My Head’, to me, rather than an independent record. I happily discovered that my feelings toward the tracks on this EP aren’t any different from what it was with the previous one. The songs even started growing on me after a few times listening. What’s with Blood Youth stirring such emotions?
The way they perform their songs is far more intense than what I would have imagined initially. Early tracks such as Failure were already touching enough not to leave me indifferent, despite them being ‘traditionally hardcore’, probably drawing influences from the likes of Stick To Your Guns, with that delicious blend of angry screams and irresistible singing.
The fact that the guys write lyrics on a very personal level, almost seeing it as a therapy certainly adds to the intensity I feel coming from this music. Ultimately, Blood Youth agree on the fact that this EP is “literally closure for the personal anxiety [they] all felt while writing ‘Inside My Head’.”
Now that we have both of their records out, long enough for us to ponder upon it, I found it amusing to try and understand what it is all about. As I said previously, both records sound similar, they could nearly make Side A and Side B of the same record – a full length – for example. Thing is that, if Blood Youth released the two one year apart, it’s certainly not because they’re identical. And for me, the difference resides in the content, more than the sound of it.
Inside My Head Vs Closure
I feel like ‘Inside My Head’ mainly deals with anxiety, fear for the future, seeking for stability and determination to overcome the challenges. Heaviness and aggressivity in the sound is therefore justified. Once again, we’re in cathartic process for mostly everyone here, the key point being to keep a positive mindset.
Funny story : First single off the record and probably one of the strongest tracks, Failure, wasn’t even meant to be on the final product. Reminiscing on how he actually wrote the song, Kaya says “I actually remember writing the lyrics “living our life from the ground up” whilst I was sleeping on my friends living room floor.
Most of the lyrics from this song were taken from notes I used to write down in my phone when I was going through a rough patch. They weren’t necessarily for lyrics when I was writing them, I was using it in a cathartic sort of way. We only decided to use them as lyrics at the last minute when we were in the studio.”
On the other hand, we have the sophomore EP ‘Closure’, which sounds to me like the result of Blood Youth keeping up their positive momentum and beginning to find the stability they were seeking for. It is less angry but still very strong and heavy, I think of massive track 24/7, here. It’s proper hardcore, without any doubt, but with a little stirring sweetness; that Blood Youth trademark that is so difficult to explain with words. Various elements cunningly blend, between the meticulous melodies that slip here and there and Tarsus’ impressive vocal switch, that is also so delicate, it’s actually moving. Mood Swing stands out, to me in this record, in the way it is one you inevitably can relate to and sing along to. It is a call to arms that I can easily picture live. And like Failure, this song wasn’t meant to be on the record. Guitarist Chris Pritchard says “ This song wasn’t actually meant to be on the EP […] We had written the EP, had them demoed, ready to go to the studio etc, when this song just flew out of nowhere one sleepless night. So we tracked it and that was it!”
‘Closure’ in general can be described as a record speaking about coming to terms with a former life and struggles, which is the bright outcome of ‘Inside My Head’ : “The whole thing was a recovery process. Full circle.”, says Chris.
Besides, It’s never easy to explain music, let alone to understand it as the artist originally means it. Blood Youth however highlight the fact that they found in their producer someone who precisely got their point and understood their music : Major success factor here.
Both EPs were recorded at Bandit Studios, which is a studio located in Tetbury, England. I looked it up on the Internet and this is exactly the kind of place you’d expect any artist to produce their art at. A small town and civil parish, with a ton of history filling its walls and pavements.
Bandit Studios is “Owned and run by our good friend Jonny Renshaw who’s done most of our recording work starting up. He recorded our first EP ‘Inside My Head’, and we just loved the recording process, his attitude to work with and most importantly the sound we got out of it. So we decided to return to him for our second EP Closure. As well as being an amazing producer and an absolute tank, he’s also always gotten and understood our sound, which I find is one of the most important qualities bands need in a producer. And it shows through our music.”
It’s never wise to change a winning team indeed…
“Our thoughts on the outcome, honestly? He took exactly what we had in mind and made it happen. We couldn’t have met our expectations better. Jonny is the dude, and he has always understood this band and what we want out of it, so we knew we’d get what we wanted with him. Overall the EP sounds massive and we love listening to it (no shame).”
It doesn’t really last long, though. ‘Closure’ wraps up pretty quickly, but I don’t think it leads to any frustration, because I’d rather have this than a longer record filled with fillers (Oh yes I did). The way I see it is that it’s quality and shows that the band know exactly what they want and where they are going.
Blood Youth entered the studio with a number of tracks demoed and if only 4 songs ended up on the record, it is for a reason.
It’s funny to think how I spent my Sunday listening to these tracks on repeat, without getting bored of them for a second. Those same songs 5 guys wrote at some point of their lives and recorded, somewhere in the UK.
I cannot wait until the day I can finally sing along to these lyrics at a gig and luckily, I know this is happening soon! Blood Youth will be performing at this year’s edition of Longlive Rockfest, which will take place in Lyon (FR) on May 13-14th. You can also catch them at Slam Dunk festival later in May.
Blood Youth is : Kaya Tarsus – Chris Pritchard – Max Dawson – Sam Hallett
‘Closure’ EP, out now via Rude Records.