BAND YOU SHOULD KNOW: YOUNGBLOOD HAWKE
Interview with Sam Martin
Before Youngblood Hawke was ever formed, Simon Katz and Sam Martin were in another band called Iglu and Hartly for 5 years. While in that band they; got signed to a major label, toured all over the UK, Europe and Japan, and had a #5 single in the UK. After the peak in the bands success the band itself stopped evolving and lost the enthusiasm they once had; they were soon dropped by their label. In 2008 they had a top ten single and the next year their band was on an indefinite hiatus. Everything they had worked for the last 5 years of their lives had vanished.
But in the summer of 2010, Simon and Sam decided to collaborate and write a few songs. They transformed Simon’s spare bedroom into a studio and started recording with no intention of starting another band. Since their voices weren’t heard in the other group now was their time to shine. They spent an entire summer writing together, pouring out all the bottled up emotions.
When Sam had read the book Youngblood Hawke by Herman Wouk he was instantly inspired. The book lit a new musical fire in Sam and Simon, giving them the courage to create again.
Although they had the daunting task of forming a new band, with everything that they'd been through in the last few years, they couldn't picture themselves doing anything else. After sending the demos to their friends who instantly reacted to the music, they officially formed the band. They recruited Simon's best friend Tasso, Simon’s wife Alice, and their close friends Nik Hughes and Benji Vander Broek.
Through the past couple of years of writing they have found the balance and clarity in music. They have now shed their negative skin and energy they had been living in for the past couple of years through these new songs.
After releasing their single “Rootless” last summer to their L.A. audiences, Youngblood Hawke then sent to the airwaves with their new single “We Come Running.” Their secret weapon is the West Los Angeles Children’s Choir, those voices should sound familiar, they also did background on one of the biggest pop anthems of 2012, Fun’s “We Are Young. They just debut their self-titled EP on August 14th via iTunes.
SONG TO LISTEN TO: WE COME RUNNING, ROOTLESS
Part of the reason Sam and Simon are pursuing music again is all due to the book where you got the band name from. The book “Youngblood Hawke” by Herman Wouk ‘blazed like a marquee’ in Sam’s now inspired mind. What else inspires and motivates you all to still pursue a career in music?
All we want to do is make music. It's about passion for us. Our love and passion for creating music is what keeps us motivated. That's the driving force behind our music. We don't want to do anything else with our lives! It's do or die for us. I think it's important to spend your life doing what you want, doing what makes you happy, what keeps you fulfilled. Inspiration is everywhere. Oddly shaped skies, a book, a movie, stoned ramble through the city, jellyfish. We just like writing weird stories about our lives.
WHY do you play music?
Building something from nothing, from an idea or a thought, then watching it grow into something you can share, is an amazing feeling. Music is a great way for us to express ourselves, tell stories, get shit off our mind. Whether light or dark, our thoughts always have a place.
You all have struggled for many years to find identity in the music industry. How do you think being in Iglu and Hartly and now being in YBH has changed the way you see and make music?
It's an enjoyable process, making music for yourself. The minute that changes it gets harder, in my opinion. With Youngblood Hawke we can create what we want.
Now that you have had previous experiences with all that the music industry has to offer. Do you think you have a better understanding of what it takes to make it and still keep it in today’s music industry?
She's an elusive beast! But yea, we've learned a ton. For us, it's all about the songs. The rest hopefully works itself out.
Are you taking this go around in a band as a ‘fresh start’ or are you starting where your last band ended?
Fresh start. This is a brand new band with a completely different sound and style! Flippin it!
You all started recording this album when you were in a pretty shaky place in your lives. Now that the release is only a week away (August 14), how are your feelings towards the album/release? What do you hope people take away from this album?
We can't wait! I think people are really going to dig the songs! We've worked so hard to to put this music together. Our songs have a chance to be heard, that's all you can ask for. I hope all our music makes people feel good, entertains them, takes them away for a second. Maybe they'll pull something from our odd stories.
YBH started out with no intention of starting another band, just writing for the simple enjoyment of creating music. When/how did that change?
It changed when we wanted to start performing the songs! We couldn't help it. We missed performing. We were so excited about the tunes that we wanted to play them for people! See how they would react! We just got up there and had some fun. It felt really natural.
How would you explain YBH’s music to someone who hasn’t heard it yet? What song or songs would you say represent your band the most?
Upbeat songs that you can dance to. A healthy blend of different genres filled with weird stories and big hooks. Funk, rock, pop, weird pop. Our new single "We Come Running" is a great track to listen to for people who've never heard of us. It's a song about seizing opportunities, not waiting on things. The song reminds you that things may be shitty now, but they can always get better.
You recently took over the radio airwaves, and social media, with your contagious new single “We Come Running.” Your “secret weapon” is the West Los Angeles Children’s Choir, who also did background on one of the biggest pop songs of this year, Fun’s “We Are Young.” How did this collaboration come about?
We've always wanted to feature a kid's choir on a track! We sent them the song and asked if they'd be interested. They blew our minds! They were incredible. Little adorable professionals!
Do you have any music videos in the works?
Yes! We're starting to work on a music video for "We Come Running!" Man, I want to tell you what its about...
Is there a moment that sticks out in your head that made you realize that this is the perfect job for you?
When people sing along to the songs we've bled to create, that's it. That's the moment. When you see your music reaching people, affecting them, making them feel good, that's when you realize its not too bad of a job.
If you could go anywhere in the world, what would your dream tour lineup be and where would you what to play?
A Caribbean island with Cat Stevens, James Taylor and Brett Dennen. And, Daft Punk.
I’ve heard that you all have been covering "Juicy" by Notorious BIG and a rendition of "Love Lockdown" by Kanye West; which is a definite surprise considering your band’s music. Any other cover songs you all are going to or want to pull off?
Yea, the crowd digs those tunes! They're very different from our original songs, but we give them our own spin, make them our own. We like to surprise our audience with covers, so you'll have to come to a show and see what we hit you with!
Lastly, if you could have one wish for this band what would it be?
To keep making music together. That's it. We just want to wake up in the morning and do what we like to do most.