Every once in a while, we need something that reminds us of our mortality. Sometimes that “something” comes in the form of a personal experience, and sometimes, it presents itself in terms of a song titled “ANGELS” by Young & Sick. The Dutch musician and visual artist enlisted the help of Montreal’s MUNYA to bring this slow-burning tune to life after Young & Sicks’s bandmate and longtime music direction, Luke Woods, had a near-death touring experience. Talk about a reminder of mortality.
Young & Sick (Nick van Hofwegen) is a Dutch multi-threat artist who hopes to make you dance a lot and cry a little as he croons to your soul. Born in southern Hollan, he attempted the traditional route of art through design school before dropping out due to its cookie-cutter learnings. By a crux of fate, comedian Andy Dick came across a piece of his art shortly after; suddenly, Nick had his first client. His friend Mark Foster (Foster the People) had introduced the two a week prior and then later asked Nick to do the artwork for their debut album, Torches, in 2011.
Young & Sick has since made original artwork for partners like Bonnaroo Festival, President Obama & the White House Creative Alliance, Burton, Rag & Bone, MeUndies, and many more. Over the past year, he has also established himself as a pioneer in the audio/visual NFT space, legitimizing its burgeoning potential for visual artists and creators at large. This past spring, he partnered with Goldflyer for an NFT fundraising campaign to benefit National Independent Venue Association, a campaign that raised $250K for struggling independent venues due to the COVID-19 pandemic. And while he’s not flexing his visual artistry, he’s hard at work as a musician and producer who has an equally impressive portfolio. He has played live alongside artists like Chance The Trapper and The Knocks and has played festivals including Coachella, Austin City Limits, and SXSW.
So on top of all that he’s already accomplished in recent years, this multi-talented artist has somehow found the time to work on a new project coming out on September 24 – his forthcoming album BROTHER, set to release via B3SCI Records. “ANGELS” is the first taste of what is to come on that album and it’s what you get when you mix lush instrumentals with angelic vocals and driving dance beats. Of the song, Young & Sick notes,
Saying what a song is about can be thorny. Explicating something that you had to claw from your subconscious is usually a clumsy affair, sometimes we have to approach ideas obliquely in order to address them all. IT is much easier to say who the song is for and move on from there. So, let’s say this song is for our dumb-asses being alive, and then let’s say this song is about providence or grace.
That explanation works for me – no-frills, so let’s just get right down to the business of enjoying the tune because it really is something so raw and beautiful that will encompass you in its charm as the sonic waves float around you. Graceful piano keys glide behind alluring vocals and hazy synths. There’s a feeling of divine warmth that seems to emanate from the soulful production as the soundscape continues to be built with more layered instrumental and vocal elements. And despite the intricate production, there’s no sense of hurried business, even when more energetic electronic guitar sounds infiltrate the tones. All of it is calm – balancing the angelic vocals with the tender lyrics with the refined production. If there were a way to explain “elegance” in a song, this would be it.