Kwantlen’s got Talent: Cruel Young Heart

Kwantlen students Mark Armstrong and Adrian Talons make up local band Cruel Young Heart.

Kwantlen students Mark Armstrong and Adrian Talons make up only part of the talent that has contributed to the success of local band Cruel Young Heart–who put on a live show you wouldn’t want to miss.

By Vanessa Knight

Photo courtesy of Jayme Anne Photography

Cruel Young Heart is a band you’re going to want to see live.

These guys put everything they can into their live shows. “We want to give the best performance that we can,” said singer James Blackmon. Mark Armstrong–the group’s guitarist and Kwantlen student–chimed in, “to keep people interested in our shows.”

Armstrong is a music student at Kwantlen’s Langley campus, while Blackmon was once a member of the local community choir. Armstrong said he chose Kwantlen because of the teachers and its reputation.

“I met one of the teachers before coming here…Don H’lus,” he said, “and this place is just highly talked about.”

Cruel Young Heart has also enlisted the help of Adrian Talons, another Kwantlen student, who directed the video for “Nighttime Glow”, which can found on their MySpace page. The video, which was shot for the band’s first single “Nighttime Glow”, featured scenes with a party bus carrying fans and fellow local artist, DJ Trask.

While listening to the groove and dance beats on the single and on their EP, one would never guess both of the guys came from such different roots – musically speaking. Both were in separate metal bands before Cruel Young Heart. Even though it was a big change, Armstrong is sure that they are “definitely fit for this kind of music.”
With inspiration like The Killers, Metric, MGMT, Dragonette, and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, it’s not hard to see that he’s right. Naturally, neither Blackmon nor Armstrong have left metal behind completely.

“Every now and then we’ll sit down and play one of our old band’s songs,” said Blackmon. Armstrong added “it’s just got a different feel when you’re playing it.”

They’re also planning an upcoming tour through Central Canada in April. Blackmon is sure “this is going to be an exciting summer.”

The duo is certainly dedicated even though Cruel Young Heart has had a couple lineup changes since their inception last year. “The other guys were just spread too thin,” said Blackmon. But Sean Lang, who co-wrote several songs on the EP, and bassist Kevin Supeene still support their friends. “They’re still there, just more in the background,” continued Armstrong.

Of course, their practices aren’t all reminiscing and hard work.

“Our friends might call us troublemakers,,,” Blackmon admitted, recently sporting a black eye he earned from a wayward fist at a show he attended at the Media Club. However, he was quick to explain, “I was an innocent bystander.”

Cruel Young Heart isn’t that kind of trouble.

“We like to plan elaborate shows,” said Armstrong. “You have no idea the things we come up with at practice.”

The guys say that fans can expect a lot of props in their future. “We talk about a Clean Up The Mess Tour… we want to have an inflatable gorilla on stage,” said Blackmon.

As part of the 100.5 The Peak’s West Coast Pop’s Concert Series, you can check out Cruel Young Heart on Feb. 26, at the Red Room.