Our man Matt McCracken gets into it with British hardcore noise merchants Blood Youth discussing gear, gigging, and their new album 'Starve'...

Photo Credit: Olli Appleyard

Confident hardcore from the Harrogate four-piece

Blood Youth are a British hardcore punk band formed by members of British melodic hardcore band Climates. A much darker and heavier undertaking than their previous works, Blood Youth’s latest album ‘Starve’ has an almost nu-metal sound to it, with plenty of nods to genre legends Slipknot and Korn with its down-tuned guitar riffs and harsh vocals.

All head-nodding riffing and hard-hitting drums with spooky atmospherics, their latest album has proved incredibly popular, having recently hit over 3,000,000 streams. With slots at Reading and Leeds as well as 2000 Tress, Blood Youth are proving that there’s still plenty of appetite for heavy music out there.

Exhale

Hey guys, thanks for taking the time out to do this Q&A, how are we doing today?

Kaya – We’re all good! We’re playing some really sick festivals in the UK and Europe this summer. We have this brand-new set filled with new songs and new elements, we’re really looking forward to seeing how it all looks and sounds on the big stages.

You new album Starve is doing really well, how did it feel to hit over 3,000,000 streams?

Kaya – It’s crazy. We never really think about how popular songs will be when we’re writing and putting them all together. We took so many risks with Starve, and initially, there was a lot of anxiety about how different everything was. So, we were just really blown away (and relieved) when saw the listening figures just climb and climb. It’s really cool to see our music and fan base grow before our eyes, it’s such a sick feeling to see the band take these huge steps forward.

You’ve got spots at the Reading/Leeds festival, for people who don’t know you yet what can they expect from a Blood Youth live show?

Kaya – We really wanted the live show to be completely different for this album cycle. In the past, our set has always just been about the songs. This time a lot more effort and thought has gone into the overall experience. Visually and emotionally. We want to make people really feel something when they’re at a BY show. We want you to walk away from our set having really experienced something, we want it to stay with you for a long time.

Blood Youth Band

Making Waves

Some questions for Chris, what guitars are you gonna be using for the festival dates?

Chris – Ibanez Prestige 7 as main and Ibanez Iron Label 6 as spare.

There’s some real low riffing on the new album, what tuning are you playing in and what strings are you using?

Chris – The album is recorded in drop A and drop A#, and I play D’Addario NYXL 11-64s.

We guitarists all love talking pedals, what’s on your board at the moment and what pedal couldn’t you do without?

Chris – I got a whole load of s**t kicking around but since moving to Kemper I’ve managed to organise things a little better. I go from my wireless into the tuner, from there it’s into the Boss Delay, MXR Phase 90, Electro-Harmonix Freeze and ending on my Cry Baby Wah. Whilst controlling all my different banks and effects through the Kemper Remote. 

- One pedal I couldn’t live without would probably be my wah, or my delay.

What amps are you going to be bringing for your live shows?

Chris – I play my Kemper Power Amp at all shows now, and my tone is profiled from a Mesa Triple Rec. Always loved Mesa Rec tones. Some of my favourite tones are from Cannibal Corpse and Korn and both play through Mesa Recs, so I knew immediately what I wanted my tone to be like and what amp it’s from.

Blood Youth Band
Photo Credit: Olli Appleyard

Nerve

Now some questions for Matt, what basses are you bringing out for the next live shows?

Matt – My main is a Fender American Deluxe Jazz and I’m also gonna have a Music Man StingRay with me as a backup.

Are you a complicated signal chain kind of guy or do you prefer a simple setup? What’s on your pedalboard at the moment?

Matt – My pedalboard is pretty basic but I wanna experiment with a few things for what’s coming next. At the moment I run into a Line6 G50 Wireless, then my signal chain goes SansAmp Bass Driver DI, Korg PitchBlack, DigiTech Drop then into a Boss NS-2 Noise Suppressor.

Unusually for heavier styles the bass is very present in the mix which is nice to hear! What amps were you using on the record and do you use the same backline for the live shows?

Matt – In the studio, after a bit of experimenting with different amps and sounds we landed on a Darkglass Microtubes 500 into an Ampeg SVT 8×10, which are both now part of my live rig. In the studio I was also running through a Moog Mooger Fooger lowpass filter which really helped give it that chunky low end heard throughout the album.

Blood Youth Band
Photo Credit: Adam Rossi

The Answer

Finally some questions for Sam, what snare drum and shells are you thumping at the moment?

Sam – Currently using a Natal Café Racer in 10-inch, 12-inch, 16-inch and 22-inch, and switching between two 13×7-inch steel Natal snares – one fully hand hammered and the other a beaded/hammered snare. At the start of this year I linked up with Natal as an official artist and I’m stoked to be a part of their roster.

Which sticks do you prefer to use and why?

Sam – Vater are my guys, always have been. I’ve alternated between a variety of different models from them over the years; early playing days I used the sugar maple stick, later on dabbled with the rock stick and the 2B. But currently I’m loving the Fatback 3A, the width and length are perfect for my set-up and style.

There are some seriously nice sounding cymbals on the record, which ones are you planning to use for the upcoming festival dates?

Sam – I’ll be using the exact same set-up we used in the studio last year, as my live parts/playing should ideally reflect those on the record. All Zildjian, and two china cymbals baby so you know it’s a party.

On the new record you’re quite restrained with your double pedal use so when it does kick in it definitely adds some oomph and emphasis, are you using a single bass drum with a double pedal or do you have two individual bass drums?

Sam – We definitely made the conscious decision to ‘up’ the double kick game on Starve, which coupled nicely with the more visceral metal flare throughout the record. Always have and currently still using a single kick drum with a double pedal, although two individual bass drums is absolutely the next logical step!

Blood Youth Band
Photo Credit: Adam Rossi

Reason To Stay

You can find Blood Youth’s latest album ‘Starve’ on Spotify and iTunes and catch them live at the Reading/Leeds Festival.

Get the Gear

1. Ibanez Guitars
2. Boss Delay
3. MXR Phase
4. Jim Dunlop Cry Baby
5. Fender Jazz Bass
6. Music Man Stingray
7. Line 6 Wireless
8. BOSS NS-2 Noise Suppressor
9. Zildjian Cymbals

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