We went from massive success to nothing over the course of two years, recalls Katz. We didnt like the direction the band was going in, and we wanted to do something closer to our hearts. We had to start over. The only thing you have in times like that is hope.
With hope in their hearts, the duo began feverishly penning songs in Katzs Los Angeles studio that summer. Galvanized and reinvigorated, they emerged from that sweaty, air conditioner-less room with over one-hundred ideas and a fresh perspective altogether. Martin admits, We didnt begin by saying, Were going to start a new band. It was more of an outlet to express ourselves. It was the most natural thing Ive ever done. There was no plan.
There didnt need to be a plan because their songs were so anthemic and uplifting. In early 2011, they began releasing material and booking local gigs around Los Angeles. Rounded out by Katzs childhood best friend Tasso on guitar, Alice on backup vocals and live percussion, and Iglu & Hartly touring drummer Nik, the band hit the Roxy for its first show.
Based on the strength of the tunes and a completely organic buzz, they sold out a string of nights at Silverlake hotspot, Satellite. Soon, Universal Republic Records contacted them and offered a deal. Their first five-song EP for the label drops August 14, 2012, and it will be followed up by a full-length a year later.
Martin describes Youngblood Hawkes inimitable sound best. It has elements of pop, rock, indie, dance, and even a little hip hop.
The first single We Come Running encapsulates that sentiment. A propulsive beat builds alongside shimmering bells as Martins massive refrain soars. Its like a personal message to the band, the vocalist reveals. It announces that if we work our asses off, theyre going to hear the sound when we come running. Were going to get our chance.
The quintets moniker also reflects the glorious serendipity at the heart of its journey. Nodding to the Herman Wouk novel of the same name, its utterly a propos.
I was looking for a new book to read, remembers Martin. My dad called me out of the blue, and he was like, 'Your uncles favorite book is Youngblood Hawke. You have to read it. From the first page, it really hit me. Its about a Kentucky mountain boy who wants to become a writer so he moves to New York. Simon and I moved from Colorado where we were going to college and immersed ourselves in this crazy L.A. landscape. It really resonated with us as a story about an artist finding his way.
At the end of the day, these artists have found their way in Youngblood Hawke, and the path is brighter than ever. Weve seen the bottom and the top, concludes Katz. Things get bad, and then they get good again. The music is about being hopeful and never giving up.