Youngblood Hawke – From Garbage Man Aspirations To Rock Star Reality
Let the sunshine in. Los Angeles-based five-piece Youngblood Hawke are the quintessential summer band; playful, radiant, and joyous. Their carefree sound illuminates the innate goodness of life–if only for the four minute span of their début single. The song,“We Come Running,” conjures up images of rainbow-garbed warrior urchins blasting through evil with spirit-finger blasts of love.
With the help of Tim Anderson (Ima Robot), Youngblood Hawke has perfected the art of glittery synth-pop production and anthemic choral revelry. They are less power pop and more “empowering” pop—an evolution of the genre that positivity-fueled bands like Youngblood Hawke, Fun, Imagine Dragons, and Grouplove are coloring the airwaves with in an inspired way akin to the “Age of Aquarius” tribal love rock movement of the ‘60s.
Not to say that Youngblood Hawke are hippies per se, but these five friends do admit to coming together with the core intent of “love and happiness,” a tone that is reflected in their new self-titled EP now out on Universal Republic.
Part of this exuberant call-to-arms can be heard on “We Come Running” through the background chants of the West Los Angeles Children’s Choir–the same sweet, spritely voices that contributed to fun.’s “We Are Young.”
In an interview with KROQ, Youngblood Hawke were encouraged to embrace their childlike natures by answering the question that crosses many a child’s mind and might still be the running internal dialogue for the fanciful adult: What did you want to be when you grew-up?
As one of the key parts of the original songwriting process, the fair-haired Alice Katz was always a storyteller; Alice wanted to be a writer “creating stories” and “putting them on display somehow.”
“In first grade through probably fourth grade, I would just grab a pile of white paper–copy paper–and fold it over and staple it and I would just try to fill up the pages with stories and pictures and stuff. And then I’d take it home and give it away as presents to my parents. Like, ‘Here’s a book about Father’s Day when I gave you a dolphin.’ That was actually one of my stories.”
“I was a weird little kid,” exclaimed Sam Martin, one of Youngblood Hawke’s founding members. “I wanted to be something different everyday. I didn’t actually find music until college when I met him [points to Simon Katz] so I wanted to be like a filmmaker, an astronaut, a cowboy.”
While Katz always knew he wanted to be a musician and grew up playing with longtime friend Tasso Smith (who said that their parents were really good at immersing them in “really good rock ‘n roll” from a young age), drummer Nik Hughes admitted that at one point he thought the garbage man was the “coolest guy.”
“I would run out when I heard the garbage man and be like, ‘Mom. I want to be that guy. He’s so cool.’ I grew out of it,” confessed Hughes, despite quips from the rest of the band. “I don’t really want to be a garbage man anymore.”
Youngblood Hawke’s self-titled début EP is now available on Universal Republic and single, “We Come Running,” is being offered as part of the iTunes free “Single of the Week” selection. Download it here.
–Nadia Noir, CBS Radio Los Angeles/KROQ