On their debut album, ‘Modern Bollotics’, Norfolk’s Youth Killed It bring a lighthearted brand of pop-punk-infused indie rock that sees the quintet wear their influences firmly on their sleeves. Throughout Jack Murphy sings and (somewhat) raps about everyday struggles; getting time off work to tour, reminiscing about the carefree days of his youth, and his unwillingness to give up music as a possible career option. It’s all wrapped up in a jaunty, infectious sound that sits nicely alongside Youth Killed It’s influences, which brings us on to this feature.
As they prepare to release ‘Modern Bollotics’ and load up and get back in the van, we spoke to vocalist Jack Murphy and guitarist Carlos Montero about 5 influential albums. We’ll admit from hearing Youth Killed It’s “lad-rock”, we’re not surprised with some of their picks. Nevertheless, they pick some classic records…
Arctic Monkeys – Whatever People Say I Am That’s What I’m Not
Jack: This album speaks for itself. Social was observation taken to a new, beautifully crafted, poetic genius. When I first heard ‘When The Sun Goes Down’ guitar riff instantly it made me want to learn the guitar. And with that, 3 weeks after hearing it I picked up my first guitar which was given to me by a friend (who already played) and he taught me the riff. From then on I learned the whole album, and still to this day it’s the only album I have ever learned in full on any instrument. It’s so perfectly put together with real energy and rawness that just changed everything for me. I had listened to punk music from an early age with my dad being a big (Sex) Pistols and (The) Clash fan but this was something on a completely new level for me. Everything about it just spoke to me, from the practice room guitar sounds to the unorthodox drumming. If there is one wish I could have it would be to go back in time and be a fly on the wall during the writing process for that album. I will take this album to my grave and will play it to any future family/friends I may have.
The Streets – A Grand Don’t Come For Free
Jack: A modern classic. In my opinion the best album of the last 20 years. A very well put together album, with brilliantly bold lyrics. There’s no hiding behind metaphors with this, it’s just too real. The first act I listened to as a kid and understood every word and every subject. I just laid back on my bed ate sweets and had this on repeat for hours on end. To be honest it was the first time I ever connected to a lyricist and delved into the story they were telling. I was 11 at the time and it generally made me realise how important lyrics are in songs. The beats on this record are perfectly simple and repetitive and change only when the vocal needs it to. In my mind that is genius. A simple concept mastered. But from what I have learned over the years, to perfect ‘simple’ you have to be an incredibly gifted songwriter. I suggest if you’re from a working-class background listen to this record it will quickly become a close favourite of yours.
The Killers – Hot Fuss
Jack: I used to spend Sunday evenings listening to the radio and chatting with my dad about football amongst other random things we had done during the week. He would always have new albums I hadn’t heard, and have them on in the background. Once a week he always would make a stop at Woolworths/HMV on his trips for food shopping for new LP’s. So every time we would hang out he would have an album on in the background. I would always notice the more an album was on the more he liked it – even though he would never admit to it. I would normally listen and be like “this is cool” but never ask him who it was (artist), But when I heard the synth and guitar kick in for ‘Smile Like You Mean It’ it felt like I was hearing Queen for the first time – or at least what I’de imagine it to be like for people of that era. Very rarely do you get to experience a ‘mega’ stadium band in a generation but I feel like I was lucky enough to.
The songwriting is special with beautifully crafted, clever chords and simplistic, emotional vocals. Songs with real soul man, they really spoke to me. To this day, I can’t go more than 72 hours without having a session with that album. I own it twice on vinyl in two colour ways and it’s framed in my writing space. ‘All These Things That I Have Done’ is one of my all time favourite tracks and has kept me going through some rough times in my teenage years.
Hard-Fi – Stars Of CCTV
Jack: This one right here, well, play the first track and you’ll know what I mean. It’s stayed constantly relevant over the last 10 years; helping young adults trying to pave and make their place in life. A perfect summary of indie-rock mixed with dance music. Some of my favourite lyrics have come from this album such as “I’m working for the cash machine” and “We are the stars of CCTV, can’t you see the camera loves me”. It also made me understand the importance of production in tracks, and understand how extra instrumentation by instruments a band may not have in their roster can add such a feel to a song. It made me want to become a producer and understand more about how tracks are crafted and put together. Anyone can write a track but to make a song, it takes real talent and thought. Hard-Fi have all this. A real voice of the youth and still as relevant today as when the album first came out.
Red Hot Chilli Peppers – By The Way
Carlos (guitar): I can’t get enough of the Chilis. God damn! I just love them. They have all the groove that you’d ever need. By The Way is just the tip of the iceberg. I absolutely adore everything they’ve put out, even their more recent records. Obviously, it’s been a bit sad to see John leave the band but it’s also been cool watching him flourish and create something different. I’d be lying if I said that John isn’t one of my biggest influences, the guy has a natural knack for writing amazing and emotionally driven riffs and chord progressions. Obviously, Anthony’s lyrics can be quite… metaphorical but that just adds to the fun. The whole band can jam! And that’s a winner for me. ‘By The Way’ has some of the most important songs to have graced my ears and without them, my teenage years would have been drastically different. It’s also pretty amazing hearing the heavy Jimi Hendrix influence in a lot of the guitar playing but then nestled in between those funky bass lines that Flea loves putting down. Yeah, they’re a bit bloody nice!
‘Modern Bollotics’ by Youth Killed It is released on 12th May on Rude Records.