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, ads and products 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.
With a raspy and muscular vocal that teeters on the precipice of breaking, Van Vleet’s dramatic and soaring centerpieces range from whisper to full on scream. The lyrics and the band name itself provide a glimpse into his past battles with alcohol and substance abuse while detailing a positive and confident march toward a better future– the emergence from darkness into the blinding sunlight with a hopeful hangover. It’s this positive outlook that permeates through Van Vleet’s timeless, pure pop– devoid of gimmicks and bursting at the seams with hummable and utterly inescapable hooks. It’s the sort of songwriting that works just as well whistled as it does blasting out of a pair of earphones. Produced by the esteemed Joey Moi (Morgan Wallen, HARDY, etc) and arranged on an amalgam of traditional instrumentation ranging from synths to guitars and on, it all adds up to an overwhelmingly feelgood approach that 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.
Sean Van Vleet came up in Empires, a Chicago based indie band formed in 2008, releasing two LPs and three EPs during a successful seven year run. The band had incredible success amongst the indie set, playing Late Night With David Letterman and massive fests like Austin City Limits, Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza and more during tours with Death Cab for Cutie, Deerhunter, Alkaline Trio and others. And while the middle 10s were seemingly their moment, internal differences led to the band eventually calling it quits in 2015.
Soon thereafter, Van Vleet joined Josh Ocean (NVDES) for a period of spiritual and artistic awakening across Europe in cafes, bars and amongst the nightlife, reinvigorating his inner Hemingway and sparking inspiration in the meantime. This period not only led to an impenetrable bond between the pair but a similarly strong musical partnership, one that has seen their bombastic and dramatic “laptop punk” find its way into placements amongst the likes of Samsung, Google and Apple iPhone advertisements.
“Spending the last few years writing and traveling around Europe with Josh was absolute magic,” smiles Sean Van Vleet, pensively. “We both got out of long term projects at the same time and found a real chemistry for stumbling upon crazy experiences together as well as a special creative flow in Paris/Berlin. NVDES was always Josh’s project, but he brought me along as a collaborator/friend and together we entered in what felt like a honeymoon period of our careers in music, despite the fact that we had both been at this for a minute. This freedom we found is what propelled me into the early ideas of Blame My Youth.”
And while Van Vleet’s new team ventures were thriving, he never forgot about his time in Empires and some of the people that he worked with along the way – linking with a crew of folks mostly renowned for their time in Nashville to help with his rock-focused venture. “I met [the rest of the] Big Loud Rock crew Seth England, Craig Wiseman and Joey Moi, 10 years ago,” recalls Van Vleet. “Seth and I stayed really close all this time. 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.”
And that time has arrived. With a new effort due in just a few short months and the single “Right Where You Belong” featured on the soundtrack for the highly anticipated sequel Bill & Ted Face the Music, Blame My Youth is looking to storm out the gates. Get ready for the debut Single in the Autumn of 2020, to be released on Big Loud Rock. But then again even if you aren’t ready, you won’t be able to escape it anyway.For tour dates and more visit: linktr.ee/blamemyyouth