L.A. band Youngblood Hawke talks to us about their hot new single “We Come Running,” which is getting radio airplay nationwide. The band’s debut EP comes out August 14th. Down-to-earth lead singer Sam Martin states: “We made a decision that playing music is what we want to do for the rest of our lives. For us, there was no other plan. ” [Keep reading for interview]
[By Monica Harris]
Youngblood Hawke is made up of friends Sam Martin, Simon Katz, Tasso Smith, Alice Katz and Nik Hughes.
Q. When you formed Youngblood Hawke you had just come from another band and, according to what I’ve read, you had a lot of mixed emotions after the breakup of that band. What do you think makes Youngblood Hawke click?
YB: Friendship and respect are what make our band click. Obviously there’s a very strong musical connection within the group, but at the end of the day it’s our close friendships that make it all work. Simon Katz and I have been writing music together for close to 10 years, and our guitarist, Tasso Smith, and Simon grew up learning the guitar together. Being in a band is like having 5 girlfriends. You’re around each other 7 days a week, in a tiny bus, for all the ups and downs this ride offers. We genuinely enjoy being around each other. No matter where we are or what we’re doing, we’re having a fuckin blast.
Q. I think its amazing that you picked yourself up and started again, whereas some people may have just given up. What advice do you give to others who are ready to quit the music business?
YB: Do what you love! We made a decision that playing music is what we want to do for the rest of our lives. For us, there was no other plan. This was it. If music is your passion, you can find a way to make it work. Even if you’re not up on the stage, there are so many other outlets within the music business that you can follow. Don’t quit, maaaan!
Q. Tell us the story behind “We Come Running.”
YB: Our songs usually contain a bunch of different stories about the weird shit that goes on in our lives, but “We Come Running” was written during a very slow period in the band when everyone was looking around at each other asking, “Is this going to work?” We were all working pretty terrible jobs just to make rent (tree trimming, waiting tables at a retirement home) and this song came as a reminder that basically said, “Things aren’t great right now, in fact they’re terrible, but they’ll get better! We’ll at least get a shot, which is more than you can ever wish for.” People will eventually hear the sound when “We Come Running.” It’s our version of Tupac’s “Keep Your Head Up”… or not at all at the same time.
Q. Is that a choir I hear in the backup voices of “We Come Running”? If so, what choir or group?
YB: Absolutely! We were lucky enough to work with the West Los Angeles Children’s Choir! These kids were amazing! Can I use the word “cute?” They we’re all so adorable and immensely talented!
Q. Are you all originally from L.A.?
YB: We’re from all over! I’m from Portland, Oregon. Simon, Tasso and Alice are from San Antonio, Texas, and our drummer Nik Hughes is from Fairfax, Virginia!
Q. What are some of your favorite things to do other than music?
YB: Anything outdoors! Being in the studio day after day makes you feel like a vampire. Minus all the chicks. We love shooting hoops, surfing, going on hikes, cooking, drawing and painting, getting drunk and embarrassing ourselves on the dance floor, karate! Karate!!!
YB: I hope it makes people feel good! That’s really it. I hope they walk away feeling hopeful and happy. Not like some weird over-the-top children’s cartoon. We made music to pick ourselves up, and I hope it does the same for others! Maybe some of our weird stories will reach people!
Q. What are you most grateful for?
YB: Our health! We’re all just really lucky to be alive and well. Grateful to be able to feed ourselves. The opportunity to do what we love. The friendships we share. Cold beer.