Cruel Young Heart is a dirty synth pop band from Vancouver. Formed in February 2010, the band includes James Blackmon (vocals), Andrew Blackmon (drums) and Mark Armstrong (guitar).
The band has been busy the past few months playing in Vancouver, the lower mainland, Vancouver Island and the interior of BC/Alberta in support of their debut self-titled EP. So far, Cruel Young Heart has received some airplay with two of their songs.
From their EP, I quite dig “Nighttime Glow”, a song that band’s website describes as an “anthem for a willingness to try anything once in the name of living life without regrets”. The dance influence here is current but manages to sound fresh. I think it’s because of the guitars. Catchy hooks seem to be the band’s strength. This is how The Killers might sound like if they were still making albums today.
As evident in their song “The Hardest Way”, James’ vocals is deep but cool. He sounds like a pretty versatile vocalist, and I’m intrigued to find out where they might take their music next.
If you visit their website or YouTube one of their performances (see clip from Urban Rush below), one thing that you’ll also notice is that they have a flashy style — at least when compared to many all-male bands. I like that!
In preparation for the release of their new single “Love and War”, Cruel Young Heart is playing at The Cellar this Friday, March 23rd. James, the band’s front man, took some time from his busy schedule to answer some of my questions about their sound, their influences, and what we can expect from this promising group.
As far as I can tell, your sound is heavily influenced by past decades. Can you name some of your influences?
Our sound is more influenced by the pop music right now, rather than past decades. Our playing style and live performance are quite influenced by past decades, but our sound is more in tune with where pop music is right now, and the direction pop is going.
Most all-male bands do not care too much about their outfits. But that doesn’t seem to be case with Cruel Young Heart. Where do you get your style inspiration?
When it comes to our live show, and our image we get a lot of inspiration from past artists like David Bowie, Prince, ‘early 90′s-Zoo TV’ era U2. We like our live show to be flashy, entertaining, and full of surprises.
Any bands or musical acts that you admire and follow?
Our sound is infielder by bands like The Killers, Dragonette, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Star Pilots, Coldplay.
You’re releasing a new single later this month. Anything you can tell us about this new single?
Our new single “Love & War” is an anthemic song written about that “breaking” point everyone comes to after refusing to deal with their past, or decisions they are not particularly proud of. And the freedom you have once you battle with your “demons” and come out on top, walking away a more complete person.
You describe your music as “Dirty Synth Pop”. Can you elaborate on this some more?
The drums and bass are a very important part of our music. When we write our songs we start with a solid dance rhythm, a dirty bass/synth hook and a great vocal melody that makes a song stand up on it’s own and gives it it’s character.
Our songs are dirty, but I wouldn’t go as far as to say they are abrasive. They are upbeat but not cheesy. Cheeky but not offensive. Melodic but not sad.
We also like to call it dirty synth pop because when you are a pop band at our level the world is a very dirty place.
We are fighting it out at the bottom of the food chain trying to get noticed. And although we can be very wild and reckless as a band, we also know how to stay grounded.
Want more music updates? Follow Filthy Pop on Facebook today.