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In this age of self-isolation and quarantine, it’s never been more important to check in on each other and to connect. This goes for artists, too, who have been social distancing alongside us: livestreaming concerts and hangouts, creating their own talk shows, and… well, that’s what we want them to tell us, with Remote Access.
Last month, the neon-haired, pop-punk revivalist Yungblud released a blissfully metallic anti-anxiety anthem, “Weird,” along with a homemade video shot from the roof of a Los Angeles Airbnb, where the singer is currently social distancing with a few bandmates and his manager. Featuring lyrics detailing hard-won battles with mental health (“I can’t think, I can’t lie / I feel anxious all the time / If I smiled I would be lyin’”) overcome collectively (“Come hold my hand / Hold it tight”), the song came primed for its quarantine debut; but, Yungblud explains, it was written long before the coronavirus pandemic reached its peak.
“I was in what I thought was the weirdest time of my life ever imaginable,” he says, referring to a moment when his meteoric rise, dotted by collaborations with Halsey and Machine Gun Kelly and capped by a sold-out show at London’s O2 Academy Brixton, collided with personal heartbreak and surfacing depression. “But then all this happened and I was like, whoa, I could not have been more wrong if I tried.”
Despite feeling as if he’s been “put in a chicken coop” in quarantine, and missing his U.K. home (he has been calling his mom and sister most often), Yungblud is staying productive. He’s completed a new album, which he told Kerrang! will be “naïve and full of contradictions” and is “building the world” around it prior to release. He’s also staying positive, and spreading that positivity to fans around the world, particularly with the weekly YouTube Originals show Stay Home With: Yungblud, in which his stay-at-home crew document their most candid moments together: dancing around the apartment in their underwear, cooking (Yorkshire pudding is a favorite), and checking in on fans. The artist does not shy away from vulnerability, either, opening up about the sadness he felt after being forced to miss a close family member’s funeral; the fourth and final episode of the weekly series premiered on Monday (May 18).
It’s all part of the Yungblud experiment, which is less about Dominic Harrison, the 22-year-old kid from Doncaster, and more about providing people a sense of belonging to those that need it — anyone who’s ever felt alone and isolated. “Anybody out there who feels strange, and unstable, and like they don’t know what’s going on, I feel the same as you. And we’re together in that feeling.” MTV News calls up Yungblud to check in.
MTV News: You’re quarantined with your bandmates and your manager in Los Angeles, and you are working on an album. What has collaborating been like during this time?
Yungblud: To be honest, I’m just in a house with my best mates. When we say, “Oh, it’s my manager, or my photographer, or my guitar player,” those are just official terms. We’re just all best mates. And I think we’re just having as much fun as we possibly can. Because I feel quite lonely, and to connect to people, and to connect to my fan base, and to put out content going, “Is anybody else feeling the way I am?” and getting a response saying, “Yes, I am,” comforts everyone. And that’s what we do it for.
MTV News: How has isolation affected your music and your creative pr