Interview: YOUNG BLOOD

Media Credit: Kate Drexel
Media Credit: Kate Drexel

The lights begin to dim and the mixed chatter amongst the crowd turned into screams and cheers of excitement. A familiar drumbeat fills the room and the people begin to clap with the rhythm. Concert attendees sing along to the classic rock song “We Will Rock You”, famously performed by Queen. The new faces on the stage continue to encourage the audience to sing along. They then begin to play what they had in store for their elated fans. Entrancing melodies transfer from instruments to fans and fill ears and souls with the unique sound of Young Blood, a band that emerged from the shadows and captured the hearts of many music lovers. As fans surmounted, intrigue arose regarding the band and its origin. Who is this band? Where did it come from?

Young Blood is a rock/alternative band from Rochester, New York, that recently toured with pop punk/alternative band Yellowcard. Together the five members, Ben Dean (lead vocals), Joey Arena (guitar), Chris Klumpp (guitar), Corey Baiera (bass), and Bryan Struczewski (drums), have released two singles on their YouTube account (“Little Vices” and “Chemicals”).

Upstate Metal’s Kate Drexel had the opportunity to interview the band’s guitarist and founder of the band, Joey Arena.

Upstate Metal: How did you come up with your band name?

Joey Arena: I came up with the name years ago, actually. I’ve always been young at heart, you know, and everybody wants to live forever, and be young, and I think I fear may grow old, but I want to choose to stay young as possible on the inside…so kind of having that young blood.

UM: How did you meet each other?

JA: Chris [Klumpp] and I have played together before, and all the other kids were just people we kind of knew through friends of friends or in passing. We wanted to play with fresh faces that we’ve never played with before and everybody was a friend of a friend of each other, and we were kind of random about it, picked a bunch of random talented dudes.

UM: How long have you been together?

JA: Chris and I have been together for about five months of planning this and the approach we wanted to take on this, like having Ben [Dean] in the band. Bryan [Struczewski] got into it about three months ago and Ben got into it about two months ago, and Corey [Baiera] is the newest, he came in about a month ago. This is the original lineup so we kind of just pieced this puzzle together with no rush because we wanted to find the right people for the right job. As this lineup, I guess I would say a month and a half. The idea of the band had been brewing for about five months.

UM: Who are your inspirations?

JA: That’s such a difficult answer because we have tons of inspirations. We grew up from different backgrounds, which is cool. Ben is a very indie person; he likes a lot of weird music. Bryan used to play in a lot of hardcore bands, stuff like that. Chris is like…I don’t know…we all just come from really different backgrounds. Then we all come together and like the same bands, like we love, like stuff that we grew up on through high school heartbreak, like Garbage, Taking Back Sunday, Berlin, and 30 Seconds to Mars, and all of these awesome bands. But individually we come from different places. I love 80’s music; I’m a huge 80’s rock person. My mom raised me on Bruce Springsteen and stuff like that. I picked up a guitar because of Nirvana, because of Kurt Cobain. I have a sick obsession with Kurt Cobain.

UM: How did you manage to be a part of the Yellowcard tour?

JA: We knew they were going to be taking on another band and our manager is friends with their booking agent. We gave them our new music that was unreleased, and everybody dug it, and that was like, “yeah, come on tour with us.”

UM: When do you think the album will be out?

JA: We are currently in the studio, finishing up the rest of the tracks. We’re hoping to get it finalized no later than early summer but we are shooting for the spring, but that can go anytime because we just got bunch of choices that fell into our laps. We wanted to take the rest of February off to finish getting the demos organized so we can finish recording those. At the same time, we can’t pass up tours; we are a very tour hungry band, we love to live on the road.

UM: Where do your song ideas come from?

JA: Musically, I do most of the songwriting. Like I’ll structure out a song and the band will put like two sentences to it, like once we bring it into the studio. Whatever emotion I’m feeling, I will put it through the guitar, which is kind of weird to say that, like how; obviously, singers whatever they’re feeling emotionally will be put in lyrically. Well, I do that with guitar; if I want a more aggressive song because I’m feeling aggressive or I’m feeling anxious or if I feel like I want to write a love song. It goes as far as what I am feeling musically. Lyrically, like “Little Vices” is really cool as far as what Ben put out, like his experiences…he can explain it a lot better than I can because his lyrics are like crazy. Lyrically, its kind of like he wants to have this relationship with this girl no matter who can stop him, like if fate isn’t bringing them together, he’s not going to believe in fate- that type of thing. It’s not going to stop these two people from willing to be together. A lot of people blame the Devil or God for things not happening. This song is like “you control your own life, you control your own actions. If you want something bad enough, just do it yourself. You’re the only one who can get in the way.” Then there’s “Chemicals”…it’s along the same line as the other song but it’s really about this person who is possibly the worst individual we have ever met in our entire life. It makes for a good song.

UM: What does your music reflect about you guys?

JA: When we write how we want our music to portray us, we are all over the wall, we are rock and roll, no genre, no sub-genre, we are just music. We don’t want anyone to put a title on us or put us in a category. We push the envelope in certain spots but we bring it back, to common grounds, to the common listener. We are really just writing for ourselves, we play music because it’s what makes us happy. And if there are fans that understand that and there are fans that can relate to our lyrics, relate to that feeling because everybody feels love, hate, sadness, happiness, everything, and we just want to put that into our music so that when someone puts our record on its literally an emotional roller coaster. We want something for everybody and because not everybody wakes up happy, not everybody wakes up sad, not everybody wakes up angry, there’s some kind of feeling for everybody.