Ahead of their 2000 Trees set I got to catch up with lead vocalist Kaya Tarsus from Blood Youth. The band had just arrived on site but Kaya took his time to sit down with me and chat all about their new album, how he got into music and his love for the Red Hot Chili Pepers!
It is 2000 Trees time, the best time of the year and in a few hours, you play the NEU stage later today, are you excited?
Really excited, we played here three years ago and only had an EP out and the whole tent was full! We considered ourselves babies three years ago, we hadn’t done anything yet and we were really new to playing festivals and touring as well. To see that welcome that we got, that people like us here, it’d be cool to play this festival again.
So, to come back two albums later, hopefully it will be a good show!
So, your second album ‘Starve’ has been released earlier this year and it is a banging beast! How are you planning to top this in the future?
I can’t. It is such a difficult question to answer because when you’re writing an album you don’t know how it is gonna go down. YOU like the songs, and there are a lot of songs that I like that I have showed to friends and other musicians and they went ‘This is shit!’. I hate recording, I hate writing it is the worst time for me. Because so much goes into it, so much anxiety, so much depression. When I was writing the lyrics of the album I had a stomach ulcer and I was also very depressed. As I was waking up every morning I was coughing up blood and I thought I was dying. Going to the doctors, coming back, writing lyrics. All of that feeds into the album. It was just a very painful, very intense process.
And then we went into the studio, we recorded it on a farm, similar landscape to the 2000 Trees surroundings. We were there for three and a half weeks, no signal, no internet, no one else, no shops (the closest shop was a three hour walk away) it was just us on this barn. Recording.
We only had horror movies to watch, by the third week we were like cavemen, with our beards being a bit dirty. The day we finished recording we went on tour with Stone Sour and we hadn’t seen anyone in three weeks, so we were a bit like ‘Oh my god!’ .
Which track took the longest to write?
A song called ‘Nerve’. I don’t really listen to it that much. I love it when we play it live, but it is still very intense. I can still picture myself writing the lyrics to that song in my room with just a lamp on and just being fucked up. It just takes you different to a different place, a bit like when you look at a certain photograph.
I am actually quite interested to listen to that song when I’m an old man, would be interested to see if it then still makes me feel the same.
How would you describe your music to a group of lovely old nanas?
I would just say, it is heavy music and a lot of yelling. I like to use my mum as an example, even though she is not old. She always come to our live shows and I can see her standing at the back of the venue and in my head I’m like ‘I bet she absolutely hates it!’ – haha! But she loves it, it’s just noise to her.
Do you remember the first time you picked up and instrument or were properly ‘getting into music’?
Pretty much since I was a toddler. My Dad had a very big role in my musical career, he had and still is such a huge influence on me, that even to this day we text each other and send each other new songs.
My earliest memory is running around our living room naked, two or three years old along to Rod Stewart and Deep Purple vinyl. My Dad took me to see Deep Purple when I was ten. I remember being sat on his shoulders and he was saying ‘These guys are rock stars!’.
It’s just been bred into me to be a musician.
It is all I have ever known. It ruined my time at school as I was not interested in Maths, all I ever wanted to be was a musician.
It’s a blessing and a curse. Because my dad will come to a show and be like ‘This is amazing’ and then he will talk about my time in school and how bad my grades were. And I respond ‘It’s all your fault!’.
First song you could sing all the words to?
Red Hot Chili Peppers – Californication.
I fell in love with the Red Hot Chili Peppers when I was twelve. Me and my friend started a tribute band called ‘One Hot Tribute’. And we would hire out village halls and stages in our town and play shows to our friends. We didn’t know that bands only played for half an hour or 45 minutes, so we would do the whole 2 ½ hour Red Hot Chili Peppers set. And by the end of the 2 ½ hours our friends were GONE!
If you could change one thing about the music industry what would that be?
You don’t have enough battery for my answer. 😀
I wish people would buy more records, cause so much goes into writing and producing an album. A lot of people don’t realise that so much goes into a band, emotionally and physically. I don’t have a relationship, I have lost friends, lost girlfriends and all that stuff. I wish there was a bit more empathy. I don’t think there is a lot of that. A lot of people get pissed off so easily, if you don’t do something as a band, if you don’t play a certain venue, if you don’t play a certain song.
I remember recently, we played somewhere and we didn’t play a certain song. After the gig I got a message and this person was like ‘You fucking asshole, you think you are on top of the world, me and my girlfriend just came to see you play this song. We will never come to another show again!’
And I’m just like thinking, we’ve been on tour for 35 days, so calm down.
So yeah, I wish there was a bit more understanding of what it is like to be a musician.
Most bonkers show you ever saw and wish it was you on stage instead?
Before this band started, I remember going to see ‘The Dillinger Escape Plan’ live in my home town Leeds loads of time. And I remember thinking ‘I have never seen anything like it!’ It was the first time I ever stagedived, and people actually caught me – haha. So, I guess that was the time I fell in love with the whole hardcore scene and going crazy.
You have the chance to do a split EP with any artist / band who would you pick and why?
The Dillinger Escape Plan. They are broken up now, but if they’ve reformed I would love to collab with them and so something ridiculous.
The last question is actually from Abi the lead singer of MarthaGunn, and she want’s to know: Is there a body part that you never wash?
I don’t wash my legs. I can’t ever remember soaping up my legs. I feel like this is kinda weird. Now I feel a bit self-conscious. When I get home tonight I’ll be scrubbing those legs – haha.
Go and check out Blood Youth and discover the broad musical spectrum that the four piece has to offer.
Find out how their set at 2000 Trees went down in my festival highlights!