This fall, New York-based three piece all girl band Cruel Youth – comprised of Teddy Sinclair, Lucy Graves, and Lauren Stockner – dropped their debut EP to a mass of critical acclaim. Before +30mg was even out, the single “Mr. Watson” had already cleared 1 million streams on Spotify and an impressive 250,000 views on YouTube. Since then, they’ve been grabbing the attention of the world with their stunning live performance tactics. The emotional topics addressed in the music have captivated people near and far, building quite the fanbase for the trio.
So of course the EP is a stunner. Though we don’t want to harp on it, we do want you to hear it. So enjoy the 7-track +30mg in its entirety below.
We had the opportunity to ask Sinclair some questions about the band’s history, her inspiration, and Trainspotting 2.
Walk us through your journey from Natalia Kills to where you are today with Cruel Youth.
Walk you through? Ok… The last couple of years toward the end of performing solo was like walking on a landfill of nails and broken glass. Everything felt like a wrong step in a bad direction. I had started the band right around my 2nd solo album release… But I was becoming exhausted and disoriented being told by my label and team (at the time) that everything I did and recorded was too ‘edgy and unapproachable’. Eventually I felt like Natalia Kills was being photoshopped, auto-tuned and edited into a character loosely based off a version of me I no longer could connect with. So I spent over 6 months locked in my studio with Willy (my husband, Virgin EMI recording artist) and we just made music that we loved. No team, no label, no one even heard the records and I didn’t really see friends or answer the phone. It’s pure. Cruel Youth is like walking on a marble ballroom in glass slippers. It’s a beautiful dream I can’t seem to wake up from.
What was the creative process like, putting together your debut EP, +30MG?
I met Willy when we were both signed to Universal for our solo projects. He knew I played my shows with an all-girl live band and he thought I looked like Ronnie Spector… He would make me sing “Be My Baby” to him in bed when we couldn’t sleep, and he just couldn’t understand why I wasn’t allow to write all my belligerent stories of myself destructive youth into my music when my natural writing style was so frank and confessional.
After we got married and we moved from London to New York I was happy enough to just live out my life by his side. I had this “fuck it” mentality, intoxicated by the sheer joy of him, and so I asked my attorney to get me out of all my deals. He set up a little studio and we lived above it, writing songs we loved just for fun, uninterrupted. After 6 or 7 months we started playing it to people, and when we put “Mr. Watson” online we never expected it to get over 1.5 million plays. We just did it cause we love it, made all the artwork ourselves and shot videos with our friend Asha while on road trips together.
If you could introduce yourself to a crowd for a live show in any way, how would you do it?
Well the band is me and the girls. We’re best friends and love to just hang out and mess around, so really we’re just playing our music for us, for the fun of it… It’s not like the crowd aren’t there, it’s just that we’re having a party and they are invited.
What is the earliest record you remember listening to, and who introduced it to you?
I’m not sure if it was Garbage, Outkast or Eminem, but it was probably one of those. It was so lyrical, direct and intense that I felt like I’d stuck my finger in an electric plug socket. Everything inside me woke up and felt like I could stop hiding myself behind the “I’m happy, I’m fine” bullshit of teenage learned social exchanges. My parents were wild and loved soul music. I was young but I do remember The Supremes being played… And my mother loved Simon & Garfunkel too, so beautiful lyrics were always faintly carried through the walls of our home.
Earlier this year, in a statement to your fans, you said that ‘of all the drugs, love is the worst. It seems to come with a pair of handcuffs, but no key’. What exactly did you mean by that?
I believe I might have said that whilst discussing how in fact all of the songs on +30mg are about a relationship. I might have been talking about the song “Hatefuck” in particular? The magical thing about drugs is the ability to release chemicals from the brain that recreate similar feelings of deep connection, euphoria, invincibility, empathy, joy and love on demand. To me, those are all feelings I would normally feel when I’m in love with someone, the real problem I find is that I can’t flip my burner phone and pay $30 for true love whenever I want.
Like me, love never shows up to the party alone- it comes riding into town pulling behind it a wagon of vulnerability, uncertainty, insecurity, rejection, cruelty, deception, paranoia and pain. But no matter what, in the real form it’s life changing… It’s not escaping, it’s diving in head first, it’s not simulating, it’s permeating. Love is better than drugs and that’s why I need it, even though the come down is sometimes unbearable I’ll always want more.
What is the ideal atmosphere for someone to start listening to +30MG?
What’s your policy on watching feedback or reading comments, good or bad, that you get when releasing a creative work?
If you care what strangers think enough to modify yourself you’ll always risk becoming a stranger to yourself.
Choco-Tacos, or Drumsticks?
What the fuck is that? I’m from England, I don’t think that’s a thing yet…
What are you plans with 2017 being just around the corner?
I don’t make a lot of plans I just hang out and write songs most of the time. I was hanging out with Ronnie Spector recently and we were both excited to collaborate on something, which is a trip because she’s a queen. We’re starting to work on new music so playing shows will be even more wild. To be perfectly honest I’m most excited to go to the movies with Willy and watch Trainspotting 2… That might be the highlight of 2017… I really live for the simple things.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Well said. +30mg is out now. Keep up with the trio here.