Young Culture set to release ‘Hard Times’ EP on June 28, 2024

Rising UK band Young Culture has shared the new single ‘All My Days’ ahead of their debut EP release ‘Hard Times’ and opening for UB40 alongside Soul II Soul on an eight-date UK arena tour in Winter 2024.

The eight-piece band will release their three-track EP on Friday 28 June, sharing ‘All My Days’ with fans before then – across all digital platforms from Friday 31 May.

Young Culture has steadily built fan and industry support in the UK and Europe over the past nine years, starting as vinyl collectors, DJs, event promoters, and producers, before focussing on writing, recording, and performing live.

The new music lands ahead of the band opening for UB40, alongside Soul II Soul, which will see the sonic adventurers perform to tens of thousands of gig-goers at venues including OVO Arena Wembley and Resorts World Arena Birmingham from Friday 1 November to Saturday 23 November this year.

Upbeat calypso-infused single ‘All My Days’, with its socially-conscious lyrics over a breezy vocal and musical arrangement with signature choppy rhythm guitar and solo, lands perfectly in time for the summer.

Recorded at the beautifully crafted Summerfield Recording Studio in Birmingham, Young Culture’s ‘Hard Times’ EP was produced and mixed by Austen Kilburn (UB40, Ocean Colour Scene) and Jamie Travers (UB40), and mastered by Tim Debney (Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, Trojan Records, Lauryn Hill) at Fluid in London. 

Young Culture is fronted by friends Richie Blake and Stevie Young, who bonded playing football together in South Birmingham and through a love of reggae and vinyl solidified at the city’s legendary Jam Jah Monday night reggae DJ sessions.

On the release of ‘All My Days’ and the announcement of the support dates for UB40, vocalist and songwriter Richie Blake said: “It’s the greatest feeling getting our music out there. We do this to uplift people through the vibrations of reggae music. 

“Touring with our friends UB40 will be a great joy and help us to reach more people through our sounds, which is a real blessing.

“Being able to communicate our energy and connecting with fans new and old in person, especially people who connect with consciousness and messages of unity will be incredible – thanks go to the whole UB40 family for the opportunity.”

Hailing from Balsall Heath in Birmingham, the same inner city area as the founding members of UB40 and Friendly Fire and Jam Jah – Stevie and Richie started collecting and DJing rare, obscure, and popular reggae at venues across the Midlands from 2011 onwards.

Richie was taught drumming by Damon Wilding of Friendly Fire and Jam Jah, with both Richie and Stevie being informally mentored by Wilding and colleague Robin Giorno.

Giorno and Wilding are part of the team behind the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games hit song ‘Its A Brum Ting’, which featured alongside UB40’s ‘Champion’ ft Dapz on the Map and Gilly G – the official song of the Games – on the ‘On Record’ album curated for the major cultural and sporting event by Birmingham Music Archive.

Like so many of their generation, Richie and Stevie grew up on a musical diet of Tupac and Bob Marley albums downloaded via Limewire, the Tony Hawks Pro Skater game soundtracks, and playing in rock bands with siblings.

Along with developing their reggae credentials, Stevie also has the undeniable influence of his great uncles Angus and Malcolm Young – co-founders of Australian rock greats AC/DC – along with his dad Stevie who has played rhythm guitar with the band since 2014 following spells in Birmingham bands including Starfighters.

Early exposure to classic rock and blues including ZZ Top and Jimi Hendrix helped Young Culture’s Stevie to understand and appreciate the broad church of music. 

The rhythm guitarist and songwriter said: “Growing up with the AC/DC family DNA around me was a big enough inspiration in itself – just to be able to play an instrument like them was a definite ambition for me. 

“Coupled with seeing my Dad play in bands and engineer at important gig venues like The Old Railway, these experiences meant there was always an influence there, right in front of me and my brother, and we were absorbing it all, subconsciously taking in learnings along the way.

“Richie and I still listen to music from many genres and styles, but reggae is the music we fell in love with and feel fully connected to.”

Now inspired by world-famous acts including Birmingham hometown heroes Steel Pulse and UB40, along with dancehall stars Sizzla and Capleton, and Jamaican DJs and producers including Anthony B, Young Culture walk the perfect line between rock and reggae.

The eight-piece act previously opened for UB40 at the Royal Albert Hall, Manchester Apollo, and Ahoy Rotterdam, and has supported The Skints, Gentleman’s Dub Club, and Al Anderson’s Wailers at the Jazz Cafe in Camden.

The UK arena tour support slots underline UB40’s long-term commitment to giving back to music and the creative industries in their home city, and a determination to see Birmingham recognised as the reggae capital of the world – thanks in part to its rich heritage of sound system culture.

Matt Campbell from the UB40 management team said: “Birmingham’s position as the UK’s reggae capital and a global powerhouse of creativity has been established for decades, thanks to our rich musical heritage and vibrant sound system culture.

“UB40 understands the importance of giving bands the leg-up and the exposure they need. We love fostering and encouraging new talent, so we are thrilled to be taking Young Culture on the road with us – helping to fly the flag for reggae music nationally and internationally. 

“2024 is an important year for UB40, marking 45 years since we played our first show, and we’re delighted to be sharing new music from our latest release ‘UB45’ with fans around the world but especially on our UK arena tour this Winter with Soul II Soul and Young Culture.”

Young Culture – ‘All My Days’ is released across all digital platforms on Friday 31 May with EP ‘Hard Times’ released on Friday 28 June. 

The band perform a surprise launch show at RMBL in Birmingham on Friday 31 May, with tickets, priced £5 in advance or £10 on the door, available from Skiddle.

The band support UB40 on a UK arena tour, starting at OVO Arena Wembley in London on Friday 1 November 2024. Tickets are available from the official UB40 website.