Harrogate metal band's stunning rise to success

Interview: Blood Youth may be about to set off on a tour of the UK and Europe but the lead singer of this successful Harrogate metal band still thinks fondly back to the days he played his hometown’s rock night, Bottom of the Bottle.

By Graham Chalmers
Thursday, 14th February 2019, 10:17 am
Updated Thursday, 14th February 2019, 10:22 am
Brilliant Harrogate band BloodYouth with Kaya Tarsus, second from left.
Brilliant Harrogate band BloodYouth with Kaya Tarsus, second from left.

Kaya Tarsus said: “Everyone in the band played Bottom of the Bottle at Rehab at one point. We loved those shows. We had the best time.”

At that time in 2009, Kaya was lead singer in Book of Job, a Red Hot Chilli Peppers-influenced rock band of talented teenagers.

This Harrogate Advertiser reporter remembers voting for them as a judge in Harrogate’s Royal Hall when the band triumphed in the the final of that year’s AMP Awards battle of the bands.

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Although BOJ went on to minor success on Italian metal label Wormhole Death, their ambitions went unrealised eventually.

Blood Youth: School days in Harrogate

Despite loving his band and bandmates, who were all friends at St John Fisher’s School, Kaya says the BOJ experience nearly ended his career.

Kaya said: “I put so much into BOJ and got nothing out of it. We wanted to make it big as a band. It was one of the happiest times of my life but nothing happened for BOJ.

“I said to myself I was done with music. I moved to Spain to get away from music.”

What a difference ten years and a lot of hard work makes to this brilliant band and its meteoric rise to success.

Now with a manager and agent – and a settled line-up after a bit of chopping and changing after forming in Harrogate in 2014, Blood Youth are about to do 30 shows in a row at home and abroad.

Blood Youth: Playing Download Festival

Kaya said:“When we formed we were the right band in the right place at the right time.

“We were thrown into the deep end. We played Download Festival three months after we started.

“We never been shy in saying we want to play the biggest shows in the biggest venues.

“We don’t put a cap on the potential of the band. We’ve worked so hard we’ve become a machine.

“But we are all the best of friends. We share everything. When you’re together 24/7 all the time you really need to get along.”

Hailed by their fans and supportive music magazines like Kerrang! for their angst-driven energy and highly personal and honest lyrics, Kaya said Blood Youth’s forthcoming second album Starve, which is released on Rude Records on February 22, is a deliberate left turn from debut Beyond Repair.

Blood Youth: New album

Kaya said: “I think the new album is amazing. The first album opened so many doors for us but, after the whole cycle of promoting it and touring, we felt the industry thought they had figured us out.

“Our sound had been pigeon-holed. We didn’t like that.

“We felt we had to get heaver, darker and surprise people.

“I cut my teeth in Harrogate’s hardcore scene but I never said we were a hardcore punk band.

“We’re not even a metal band. We’re a heavy band.”

“The new album will ruffle a few feathers. But we’ve never been scared to do anything in this band.

“From the reaction to the singles off it, everyone seems to love it.”

Blood Youth: Voice of their generation

In an era when the personal has become public, it isn’t just the energy and musical power that explains the rise of Blood Youth, it’s the fact Kaya’s lyrics of heartbreak, trauma and loss strike a chord with Blood Youth’s fans whether it’s an intimate venue or Reading and Leeds Festivals where they appeared last year.

Kaya said: “We want to come across as a collective on stage in our ideas as well as music. We want fans to relate to us.

“When fans come to our shows they come and talk to us and share with us.

“There’s a lot of anxiety in my generation.”

Blood Youth’s tour kicks off in Southampton on March 1 and arrives at The Key Club in Leeds on March 2.