Youngblood Hawke soars high and swims in the deep

ENTB_YoungbloodHawke_0509
Sam Martin, middle, ain’t afraid of no sharks.

To hear Youngblood Hawke’s Sam Martin talk, you might imagine him some kind of environmentalist, rather than the frontman of a swiftly rising indie-pop outfit. “I think it’s important to conserve nature and take care of our earth, because we’re blessed and fortunate to have it,” he says. “I feel like one day we’re going to look, and it’s going to disappear on us, and we’re going to wish that we had lived a little bit differently.”

He’s talking about the inspiration for the music video for the band’s single “We Come Running,” which was filmed entirely underwater and features the band members swimming alongside live sharks. “At the time there were a lot of shark attacks in California and we wanted to shed light on these animals because they were getting slaughtered by the millions,” he says. “We wanted to show people that they weren’t these man eating killers. They attack surfers occasionally because they think they’re fish … but once they know what you are, they’re not evil manhunters. We can’t keep slaughtering these animals at the rate we’re doing it because we’re going to completely wipe them out. And the ocean would die.”

Indeed, Martin says that if he weren’t making music he’d probably be working in the great outdoors, “maybe a tour guide in a national park or something.” Luckily for Martin (if not visitors to Yellowstone) he’s otherwise employed — making infectious, up-tempo electro-rock with one of his best college buds, producer Simon Katz.

Martin and Katz have been collaborating musically ever since the two decided to move from their college town of Boulder, Colo., to L.A. and start their first band, Iglu & Hartly. The band enjoyed moderate success, scoring a Top 5 hit in Europe, before dissolving suddenly — and painfully, says Martin — due to strained relationships with the other band members. “Simon and I felt like we didn’t really have a voice in the project … and it wasn’t a happy environment for us to be in anymore,” he says. “When you’re making music, but it’s not the music you want to make, there’s really no point. We felt like we could no longer express ourselves, and everything just fell apart.”

The two took the considerable angst of that loss and channeled it into the songs that would become Youngblood Hawke’s debut album, “Wake Up.” “We were really in a dark place and I think, looking back, we really wrote these songs to cheer ourselves up,” he reflects. “We were sitting in our living rooms, dead broke, trying to figure out what to do with our lives. We’d invested eight to 10 years of our lives [in Iglu & Hartly] and then one day it was completely gone. I think it was important to lift ourselves up, I think it was a cathartic experience. We were writing to make ourselves feel better. Definitely the songs have kind of an upbeat feel but I think that if you listen to the lyrics it gets really dark at points.”

ENTB_YoungbloodHawke3_0509

When asked to describe the band’s sound, Martin hesitates. “I feel like describing music is like trying to describe a color,” he says. “There’s rock, there’s dance, there’s definitely synth, and there’s some pop elements to it, definitely. But I think what separates us is that we have some weirder lyrics that we balance out with the pop choruses.”

Martin might find their genre difficult to define, but he clearly articulates the band’s unofficial mission statement. “We’re all kind of excited about life,” he says. “In a live show we just like to give people a great experience. I feel like, they come to a show and buy a ticket, they should walk away feeling like we gave all of our effort to entertain them. We walk offstage and we have nothing left. We like to leave it all on the stage for the audience.”

When asked if he ever fears the specter of the one-hit wonder, a fate that befalls many young bands who burst onto the scene with that one catchy hit single and just as quickly fade away, he’s quick to dismiss it. “I feel confident in our album and our songwriting abilities. I think we’re just fortunate to be in this position right now, we’re taking it one day at a time,” he says. “Some bands don’t even get a song. We’re going to continue to write and evolve and get better, so I don’t think that’s something that really freaks me out at all.”

Youngblood Hawke stops in Boston and New York on a club tour before hitting the festival circuit this summer.

NEW YORK
May 13, 8 p.m
Santos Party House
96 Lafayette St., New York
$13-$15
ticketweb.com

BOSTON
May 14, 9 p.m.
Brighton Music Hall
158 Brighton Ave., Allston
$12
ticketmaster.com



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Mutant worms stay sober, even on alcohol

U.S. researchers have developed "mutant worms" that do not get drunk by alcohol, a breakthrough that could lead to new treatment for people trying to quit drinking

Local

K-9 nose helps capture $150K in cocaine at…

A furry, four-legged security agent helped authorities stop an illegal cocaine shipment from sneaking past JFK customs.

National

Minnesota man asked to leave Southwest flight after…

A man and his two sons were asked to leave a Southwest Airlines flight after the man sent a tweet complaining about being treated rudely by a gate agent.

National

Man sues hospital after surprise penis amputation

An Alabama man who went in to a hospital last month for a circumcision awoke after surgery to find his penis had been amputated, his lawyer said on Thursday.

Movies

Review: Brett Ratner's big 'Hercules' movie is small…

The latest "Hercules," starring Dwayne Johnson as the half-god beefcake of Greek myth, strips its hero and tale of most of its fantastical elements.

Arts

Scientists recreate world's smallest Monet copy

Scientists have reproduced a famous Impressionist painting using nano-printing, to create what has been described as the world's smallest work of art. Reworked at the…

Television

Jerry Seinfeld is ambidextrous, and other Reddit AMA…

See some of the weirder highlights of Jerry Seinfeld's recent Reddit AMA.

Going Out

Grab a pedestrian and start dancing at What…

As a New Yorker, I’ve mastered the art of focusing my gaze straight ahead. Though it occasionally piques my interest, the absurdities that play out…

NFL

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player…

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player rankings

U.S. Soccer

NYCFC announce signing of Frank Lampard

The tease of a big signing Thursday by new MLS side NYCFC ended up being one rumored for weeks. England midfielder Frank Lampard agreed to…

NBA

NBA great LeBron James sends 800 cupcake apologies…

By Kim PalmerCLEVELAND (Reuters) - NBA star LeBron James, whose recent return to the Cleveland Cavaliers in his home state of Ohio sparked a frenzy…

NFL

Jerry Reese confident with Giants, skipping countdown clocks…

Last year, Giants GM Jerry Reese installed a countdown clock in the locker room to inspire Big Blue to play in their own stadium for Super Bowl XLVIII.

Tech

Forget Wi-Fi: Li-Fi could be the future

Li-Fi technology – developed by Mexican company Sisoft – is wireless internet connectivity using specialized LED light.

Tech

Weather app Climendo might be the most accurate…

The wait for a truly accurate weather forecast could finally be over thanks to a nifty new app called Climendo.

Tech

Napkin Table puts focus off the phone and…

Michael Jan, a design student at Tunghai University in Taiwan, has invented a serviette-picnic blanket hybrid called the Napkin Table.

Style

Essie's new Color Boutique

Essie launches high-tech kiosks at major airports and malls across the country.