An Interview With: Kaya Tarsus - Blood Youth

Blood Youth put out their first full length this month, 'Beyond Repair', to celebrate it's release the band played three album launch shows; Cardiff, Glasgow and London. 
We had a sit down with lead vocalist Kaya Tarsus at the London date of the shows and talked about the album, touring and upcoming festivals the band are appearing at.

'Beyond Repair', the new album came out on April 7th, the last release before that was the Closure EP in 2016: what’s really pushed you to release a full-length rather than another EP?
I think we were just really ready to do an album! With Inside My Head (2015) and Closure we were still experimenting a little bit, we were still pushing what we could do, how heavy we could go and how melodic we could go; Inside My Head is a hardcore EP, it’s really riffy and heavy whereas with Closure the first track is pretty much almost acoustic! So we were just seeing what we like to do, what we like to play live and everything like that, and that’s the album basically.

So would you say the two EPs were basically you “testing the waters” as it were, seeing what works?
I think so, obviously I love them – our fans love them, but that’s how I see them – sort of us finding our feet; especially with the tours we did off of them and the shows we played-

We caught you at Slam Dunk Midlands last year and for a band with only two EPs you had massive following there, you opened the Fresh Blood Stage, right?
Yeah that was really cool, that stage in Birmingham had like a Warped Tour vibe to it being outside and all – loved it! So yeah that’s how I see those two EPs.

In terms of songwriting how do you think the ways you’ve writing songs has changed from those first two EPs to where you are now?
It’s exactly the same! With both EPs Chris our guitarist will sit at his computer ‘til all hours of the morning coming up with all these riffs and then you know, whenever we’re in that writing stage I’m just constantly writing lyrics and notes and stuff like that and then we all get together and it just turns into the songs you hear.

We are looking around the room and can’t see any instruments out at the moment – are you the type of band that writes on tour or are you the kind of guys that go into the studio and sesh’ it out?
I guess the only “writing on tour” I kind of do is you know, taking notes in my phone, like that’s how a lot of my lyrics come about, for Chris it’s very much a sit down at the computer sort of thing, I don’t think we do it very much - I think we did it one time, we like to go back to our own spaces to write, that’s what seems to work best.

Speaking of tour, this is a short one – there’s only three dates! Is that just the way it fell or did you want to keep it short and sweet?
Yeah I mean, it hasn’t been long since we did a UK tour, and we were thinking since it’s such a special moment, it’s releasing our first album, let’s have three really special shows, make it a little bit exclusive instead of a long train of shows celebrating the release two or three weeks down the line, you know what I mean?

Yeah absolutely! Because the gigs you’ve got coming up after this are mostly festivals aren’t they? Teddy Rocks, Download, Fat Lip, Grozerock as well – which one are you looking forward to most?
Download. Just because, nearly exactly two years ago we were such a small band, we’d only been together like three months and we played Download Festival in one of the smaller tents; “Jake’s Stage” I think it was and we had one song streaming called Cold Sweat and it jus-…… -happened??? That did so much for us, playing at Download so we have so much love for that festival because of that and still to this day, two years later there are people that come up to us at our shows that say “I first saw you at Download 2015” and now we’re playing the Avalanche stage this year with Dillinger Escape Plan, Every Time I Die and The Story So Far, it’s mad! It’s pretty crazy to think about but we’ll just have to see how it goes.

What’s one of your own tracks to epitomise Blood Youth?
I would say Reason To Stay off the new album Beyond Repair just because it has one of my favourite choruses we’ve ever done and it’s really to me a typical Blood Youth song.

Favourite track to play live?
At the moment, taking the past two shows we’ve just done: 24/7 has taken a huge lead because the reaction has been absolutely crazy, Mood Swing is a really fun one as well; Failure, obviously since it’s the one that started it all off for us really.

Sort of as an aside was Failure the first song you ever wrote as a group?
Actually no – fun fact about Failure, when we were writing Inside My Head we wanted to take Failure off the EP, we were like “doesn’t fit with the rest of the songs” and our manager convinced us to keep it, then it became our first single and that’s the song that really made some waves for us.

If you had a stand-out track on Beyond Repair, which would it be?
That’s so difficult, that’s like asking a parent to choose their favourite child, it’s tough – I’m going to say Making Waves just because that’s the most personal song for me on the whole album, so when I listen to that it definitely takes me back to somewhere. It’s not necessarily my favourite song on the album, but it’s the one that stands out most for me. We actually wrote Making Waves after the first EP, it’s a really old song – we wrote the first EP Inside My Head with five songs and then we were put on a headline tour, it was us and Trash Boat – we thought would be a co-headliner but then the posters came out and we saw “Blood Youth – Inside My Head TOUR” and we panicked because we only had five songs so we wrote another song that became Making Waves.

I would never have thought it was that old as a song because it has the feeling that it belongs on Beyond Repair, you know?
So yeah we wrote that and decided it didn’t fit the EP vibe so kept it for an album, so we did – which is why it’s not on Closure.

If you had to put Inside My Head, Closure and Beyond Repair into an order; which would it be?
In that order - really, Inside My Head kicked it all off for us and Beyond Repair are the best songs we’ve written so far, but I love Closure so yeah, that order.

Interview by Rhys Haberfield