Interview: Kaya Tarsus of Blood Youth

It’s been 2 years since Blood Youth last played at the Star and Garter in Manchester, and they are back tonight [review here – Mosh] on tour to promote the new album Starve. So, I’ve come along to check them out for myself. It’s quite early when I arrive and I can hear the sound check upstairs. I let them know I’ve arrived and a few moments later, Kaya Tarsus singer for the band comes down and we find a quiet corner for a chat about the band, tour and his hometown of Harrogate.

Kaya Tarsus – Blood Youth (c) Drew Scott

You’re currently on tour with Palm Reader and Lotus Eater throughout the UK. How have the shows been so far?

This is the fifth show and it’s been really good, beyond our expectations. Last time we did a headline tour there was only like 20 people at the shows. Now it’s getting so that every show is nearly sold out. It’s nice for us to see the projection of the band, the ticket sales and things like that, so it’s been really cool so far.

You’ve also recently released your second album, Starve a few weeks ago. How do you feel it’s been received?

We recorded the album in June last year and it only came out in February, so we’ve had it absolutely ages. So, when you have an album, a piece of music for so long, after so many months it becomes white noise. You kind of lose all perception of is it good, is it bad. I stopped listening to it about two months before it was released so it was fresh on the day. But it’s good and the album’s doing really well, and the tour has kind of reflected how people have been reacting to it.

Chris Pritchard – Blood Youth (c) Drew Scott

Harrogate is a unique place for a band to come from. Most people would think of a quaint spa town and not a place where you’d find metal bands. What’s the local scene like there and are there any bands from your area who you think deserve more attention?

We went to school there we grew up there and we were the kids that were all into heavy metal and really heavy music. But we kind of had to make do with what we had, so when we all met in school and formed the band and went on to play gigs we’d literally just be playing to our friends, as no one would come to Harrogate to watch shows. That’s how we grew up – me, Chris and Sam. We played shows in bars around town, every single weekend to no one sometimes, other times to parents and friends. So the heart is there in Harrogate but there’s not like a heavy music scene or anything.

There is no chance for bands down there really, there’s no real gig venue anymore. When we were growing up there was one, but it got shut down. So now if you’re a band in Harrogate you really need to go and play in Leeds and places like that, because we cut our teeth when we were teenagers playing in Harrogate to no one and we got really disheartened. When you put so much into being in a band in school and then after we left, getting nothing out of it. That’s when I kind of fell out of love with music for a bit, after putting so much into it and playing to nobody every single week. Then three years ago I got a call from Chris on guitar, saying do I want to start a band. And here we are.

Matt Hollinson – Blood Youth (c) Drew Scott

What are your plans for the next 6 to 12 months?

Lots of tours, festivals, we’ve only just started the album cycle for this album. With our last album we were on tour all the time, played everywhere.  So we are just going to be doing that again really.

What are the three things you can’t live without on tour?

Netflix, just so I can watch my TV shows on my phone, because sometimes you just have to go somewhere to chill out and relax. My music and good food, making sure you go out and eat somewhere, if you just try and survive on crisps and bread and stuff like that your going to end up run down. I enjoy going out to places, leave the tour for a couple of hours and come back refreshed.

Sam Hallett – Blood Youth (c) Drew Scott

What albums have you been listening to recently?

The new While she Sleeps album which is very good, the new Attila album and then there is a rapper called Offset from America who I’ve been listening to quite a lot, so I like to just mix it up loads.

What advice would you give to someone starting out in the industry?

Be prepared to experience every emotion under the sun, play as many shows as possible and just do whatever you want to do, not what other people want you to do.

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