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Artist Spotlight: Interview with L.A.'s Youngblood Hawke

(L to R: Simon Katz and Sam Martin)
This week’s Artist Spotlight is on Youngblood Hawke, a new musical endeavor from Sam Martin and Simon Katz of Iglu and Hartly. If you're a fan of feel-good music, then you'll love Youngblood Hawke’s latest EP. The album consists of upbeat tunes - think elements of Miike Snow’s, “Animal,” combined with Coconut Records’ indie pop stylings and a dash of Phantom Planet’s, “California.” The majority of the songs on the EP, upon first listen, invoke feelings of happiness. We got a chance to catch up with Sam Martin to discuss the new band, latest EP and upcoming shows. Get to know Youngblood Hawke and their music.

The Music 
Listen below: 

The first track on the self-titled EP provides the perfect soundtrack for a day at the beach, a pool party or basically any activity under the sun where you are surrounded by friends. Combine a choir, Sam Martin’s vocals and seamless instrumentals and "Rootless" delivers a fresh sound that will end up playing over and over in your head (or in your car). The second song on the EP titled, “Danny Boy,” offers a cheerful tune and lyrics that are sure to encourage introverts everywhere to get out more. Martin sings,"Wake up Dannyboy!/Theres a world outside/a world outside your window." "Forever,” the third track, will get listeners to sing along to the chorus, "You say you wont wait forever on me, but I wouldn't make you wait that long." Did we mention the background vocals on this track are beautiful and definitely give the track a pleasant, feminine touch? The EP gets better. "In Our Blood" starts off with, "We are just at the beginning/just at the beginning/We are obviously winning/obviously winning," which reminded us of Charlie Sheen and his 'WINNING' catch phrase, but either way, the song is a positive anthem that is sure to uplift listeners. The next song on the EP, "Glacier,” starts off slow and then progresses to fast beats and catchy lyrics. The last song on the EP is, "Come Looking," which is the perfect culmination to the album as it's a slower, more mellow track with soothing harmonies. Without a doubt, Youngblood Hawke offers a fresh sound that is sure to offer positive vibes to all who listen.

The Interview 

How was the band conceived and can you tell us about how you guys selected the band's name?

Neither of us knew it at the time, but Youngblood Hawke was conceived the instant Simon and I (Sam) started writing songs together. We had no grand scheme or big plans of starting a new band; we were just writing songs for the simple enjoyment of making music. We would get together every day over the summer in Simon's homemade studio and experiment with different styles, throwing all kinds of weird ideas at the wall. Let's see what sticks. It was a chance for us to try something completely different and it was very freeing not to be confined by a certain "type" of music. It was an amazing release for us both. After a few weeks of messing around, the songs really started to take shape.

At the time, I was reading "Youngblood Hawke" by Herman Wouk. It's an incredibly inspiring novel about a young Southern writer moving out to New York and finding success in the literary world. I really connected with story. We had the band name before we had the "idea" of a band. I remember calling Simon on the phone, "SIMON!! I know what we'll name our band!" "What band?" "YOUNGBLOOD HAWKE!" "Oh, I like that." We had the songs, so we decided to put a band together.

Sam and Simon in the studio

Help us get to know the new members of Youngblood Hawke.

We sent the rough demos to Simon's childhood friend Tasso Smith, who was living in Florida at the time. Tasso and Simon grew up learning the guitar together and we knew he would be the perfect fit. Within a few weeks Tasso quit his job, packed his bags and moved out to L.A. to play guitar with us.

Nik Hughes. We needed a drummer and couldn't think of anyone we would rather play with than our close friend Nick. We had played shows with him in other projects before and we knew the man could slam. He was in.

Alice Tomerlin Beretta, a close friend, sang back-up vocals on the album, and will also join us on the stage lending us her beautiful voice and percussion skills.

Josh Nyback will be shredding the bass. Before putting this band together we were all really close friends, which makes this project that much more special.

Youngblood Hawke
How would you describe your new sound? Tell us about your new EP.

The new sound is up-beat and powerful, full of positive energy. Something you can move to. We wanted to create an album that would be fun to perform live, music to make it feel like summer all year long. We just finished our 6-track EP and are currently working on a full length.

What has been your favorite moment while collaborating with Youngblood Hawk?

The whole experience working with Youngblood Hawke has been incredible. Any time you can do what you love, with your best friends, it's hard to beat. I think our favorite moments are when we’re working on songs and they just start to click. It's a feeling more than anything, it just feels good. Feels right.

What was the inspiration behind the song, "Rootless"?

Rootless was inspired by the wandering feeling of being slightly lost, slightly alone, trying to figure out your next move, but at the same time enjoying the unexpected. Embracing the unknown. Everyone feels like that from time to time. It's also about heartbreak, feeling a little uneven when someone you've spent so much time with is suddenly gone. Starting over. It's about youth, growing up, moving away from your family to start your life. It's about drugs, girls, the ocean, hope. Who knows? We pack a bunch of shit into our songs. They're never really just about one thing.

I understand you guys recorded part of "Rootless" with the L.A. Inner-City Mass Choir at a gospel church in Compton?

Yeah! It was unreal! There was so much energy in the room! We'd never heard such beautiful singing! So much talent. The energy really transported you to a different place. They really helped take the song to the next level.

I know you guys are getting airplay in the UK. Can you tell us more about that?

Yes! "Rootless" will be getting its first UK airplay by new music guru Jim Gellatly on his show In: Demand Uncut. It will be broadcast on 7 major UK stations, which is exciting, especially since we haven't even played a show yet. We've been pretty surprised by the overwhelmingly positive response we've been getting because you can never really know what to expect. If you are in the UK, be sure to request us!

Are you guys performing live anytime soon?

We just completed our EP and we'll start playing shows in the next month or so. We're playing the Sunset Strip Music Festival at the Key Club August 20th, but we'll definitely have more shows before that time. We're still in the process of planning everything.

What can people expect from your upcoming show?

Our live shows will be wild! You'll have to come check them out to see!

Are you guys working on any music videos and if so, for what song?

We're in the process of working on a music video for "Rootless." But, we have to keep that a secret.

Do you feel like your new material might be perceived as "risky" to fans of your older material? You know, especially after having commercial success with Iglu & Hartly?

It's definitely a different sound, but who knows. We can't really control that. People will either like it or not. That's how it goes when you make music. It's out of your hands. The most important thing is that WE enjoy it, are passionate about it and love doing it. I think people will notice that and will gravitate towards that. I think the only thing that’s risky is not doing what you love to do, not making the music you want to make.

We've been reading the same questions on Facebook, Twitter and on YouTube. Fans want to know, "What happened to Iglu & Hartly?"

Right now, we're on a "hiatus" with no talks of making a second record. Youngblood Hawke is our main focus now.

Where can our readers go to find out more about Youngblood Hawke.

Tons of places!

Anything else you'd like to add?

We're excited to start this adventure! Come see us live!

About the Author

Formerly an editor and writer at Citysearch, The Examiner, LA Youth Newspaper and proofreader at The Los Angeles Daily News, Christy Buena decided to start Disarray Magazine because she missed writing what she wanted. From hiring writers, to contacting publicists and making assignments, Christy is responsible for the editorial strategy of Disarray Magazine.

Questions, comments or suggestions? Contact


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