Bringin’ It Backwards: Interview with Blame My Youth

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Together with American Songwriter and Sean Ulbs of The Eiffels, we had the pleasure of interviewing Blame My Youth over Zoom video! 

Blame My Youth is Sean Van Vleet – a name you might not be aware of, but unknowingly heard in your headphones, in a store or on a television. As a former principal songwriter in Chicago indie faves Empires, Van Vleet expanded into the world of songwriting and syncs, providing music for major artists and ads worldwide. Blame My Youth is Van Vleet’s return to the band format, bringing all of the earworm-y grandiosity that permeated his quietly complicated pop gems.

Blame My Youth – reveals a new song, “Dance With My Demons,” his follow up to Blame My Youth’s debut single “Fantastic.” Teaming with Billboard’s #1 producer Joey Moi and co-writer Greg Holden (who co-wrote the song) “Dance With My Demons” once again highlights Van Vleet’s prowess for crafting endlessly catchy, hook-filled songs. He shares, “‘Dance With My Demons’ is a pub/barn burner for the pint raisers who choose to cheers their vices and reckless behaviors for a night, and shove their shames off into the future. This song celebrates a mindset where the bright side and dark side meet, and the party starts. 

The day I met my now extremely good friend and frequent collaborator Greg Holden, we were equally crashed out at the bottom of recent life highs. He had some heavy personal struggles as did I. We shared a guilty conscience we had about giving into vices and letting bad habits and thoughts get the best of us. Both of us grapple with loving and hating our demons. So we wrote this song where we allowed ourselves to be good with them for little while, accept them, maybe even warmly embrace them.” 

A perfectly-crafted modern rock banger permeated by seductive pop hooks and sheer audacity, “Fantastic” was released this Fall and debuted on SiriusXM’s Alt Nation. It has amassed upwards of 3 million streams and the video hit the top 10 rock and alternative charts at Vevo. It is the follow up to “Right Where You Belong,” which was written and recorded exclusively for the soundtrack to Bill And Ted Face The Music – it played during the movie’s closing credits – and marked the debut of Blame My Youth.

Blame My Youth is Van Vleet’s return to the band format, bringing all of the earworm-y grandiosity that permeated his quietly complicated pop gems. Sean Van Vleet first success came with Empires, a Chicago based indie band with several releases, an appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman and festival appearances such as Austin City Limits, Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza and more during tours with Death Cab for Cutie, Deerhunter, Alkaline Trio and others. After Empires called it quits in 2015, he connected with friend Josh Ocean (NVDES) to build an impenetrable musical bond that has seen their explosive “laptop punk” find its way into placements around the world including the likes of Samsung, Google and Apple iPhone advertisements.

As Van Vleet was writing the first Blame My Youth songs he shared them with close friends including some of the people he worked with along the way – a crew mostly renowned for their time in Nashville – Big Loud’s Seth England, Craig Wiseman and Moi. They have long wanted to collaborate and while Big Loud primarily work in the country music space, there was no denying that Blame My Youth was something special, and they quickly signed Sean to their new label imprint Big Loud Rock. “I met them all 10 years ago,” recalls Van Vleet. “Not only are we really good friends, but I think we all knew that we would eventually work on something awesome together. It’s just about the right timing.”

With Blame My Youth, Van Vleet is showcasing his overwhelmingly feel good approach with nods to Andrew WK’s brazenly positive big bang and Post Malone’s inescapable pop sensibility, all with touches of darkness and vulnerability throughout. It’s music meant for maximum volume while recovering from a life on maximum volume, yet so earnest, singular and inescapable that it relates to anyone who has fought through any sort of adversity.

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