yellow days sings of young love and heartbreak
"'A Little While' is about the last time I spent with my first love," George van den Broek tells i-D. "We both knew it was coming to an end but spent time in each other's company anyway... just arguing and slowly waiting for me to leave. This experience was one of the darkest I've had under the sun, but out of respect for the time we shared, I stayed for a little while." At just 17 years old, the young man now releasing music as Yellow Days has a mature and soulful vocal, still raw with that first love and loss. Complete with a dug-up sample of Charles Bukowski speaking about love, take an exclusive first listen to his latest offering.
He might have been drip-feeding the internet his emotional music for the past year, but it was "Your Hand Holding Mine" and the accompanying lo-fi, color-warped visual that really got our attention. Watching the video — which features George running in slow motion along an endless moonlit road in — we were left wondering why nobody wrote us a song that beautiful when we were in our teens. Now preparing to release his debut Yellow Days EP, Harmless Melodies — a record George describes as "pretty much the story of the last three years of my life" — it's about time you met our new pal.
Do you remember the first song you ever wrote?
When I was around 14 I wrote the track "People," which is going to be on the EP, and that's the first song I can really remember writing. It's about trying to understand why bad things happen to good people. I've grown up around people who had such great things going for them and it all went wrong. The conclusion of the song is that everything is random and we're just sailing through chaos; we're all just people running around, but don't let it get you down.
Who and what inspire you creatively?
Writing for me is just about transferring my most interesting and memorable experiences into songs. It could be a new person who walks into my life, or remembering a certain emotion, or just getting things off my chest. I just focus on things that make me emotional. In terms of influences, I've been a huge fan of blues artists like Ray Charles and Howlin' Wolf; and in terms of instrumentation, I aim for a sort of psychedelic jazz feeling.
What do you want to say with your music?
Honesty is something I feel is key in music and rawness. I admire older artists for their music because it seems absent of context and just tells a heartfelt story that no one could question, unlike some pop music nowadays. What I want to say is essentially nothing, it's there for the taking. People should just know every song comes from deep inside.
What's your favorite feedback you've had about your music and why?
Someone came to me recently and told me that a family member had been going through a lot and that the music I shared on SoundCloud helped him get through it. Music has done that for me in the past, so I thought that was beautiful.
What are your current obsessions?
I've recently been getting into collages. I follow a bunch of people on Instagram who do things like put a beach scene from the 60s on the moon or something whack like that. I make my own artwork and I've started getting into posters and that sort of thing, but yeah, collages are the shit.
If you could hold anyone's hand, whose would you hold?
My girlfriend. But if I had the chance I'd probably hold the shit out of Bernie Sanders' hand.
What are the best and worst things about being young in 2016?
Social media and social media.
Harmless Melodies is due for release this Friday, November 18 via Good Years.
Text Frankie Dunn