The Vaccines’ Justin Young: ‘I definitely have had numerous breakdowns this year’

Singer tells NME about suffering from clinical hypochondria and relocating to New York

The Vaccines frontman Justin Young has spoken about mental health issues he has faced in recent years and how they impacted the recording of his band’s new album.

The band’s third record ‘English Graffiti’ is out this week, following 2012’s ‘Come Of Age’ and 2011 debut ‘What Did You Expect from The Vaccines?’. Speaking to NME in this week’s print issue, available digitally and on newsstands now, Young described his chaotic past twelve months.

READ: Full NME Interview with The Vaccines

“I definitely have had numerous breakdowns this year,” the singer told NME. “I guess the record really allowed me to say everything I wanted to say, and once we’d finished the record I really felt I’d lost a bit of purpose and direction and felt like a very vulnerable body floating in a big, scary ocean.”

Young also revealed that he suffers from clinical hypochondria: “Three or four times in my life I’ve ended up in hospital after finishing important projects, just through boredom and self-obsession. I’m an incredibly self-obsessed and anxious person. When I lose focus in life, which I do when I hand in a record, all my focus turns to myself and what might be wrong with me. With self-obsession comes this desire to control and preserve, and so for whatever reason over the last 10 years, this has manifested itself in hypochondria and psychosomatic pain and a weird list of things that scare me enough that I end up in hospital attached to various different machines trying to reassure myself that I’m not about to drop dead.”

After feeling “so apathetic” in London, Young says he moved to New York recently to see how a change of scenery would affect him: “I wanted to go somewhere I didn’t know anyone or anything, the way that I’d arrived in London from Southampton eight years before. I wanted to feel hungry for the place I was living in, not say no to anything.” Of New York, Young adds: “I had a group of friends that I suppose facilitated a certain lifestyle, but I’d go to the cinema a lot on my own – that’s the ultimate form of escapism.”

Justin Young recently told NME that he wants The Vaccines to be as big as U2, Rolling Stones, Arctic Monkeys and Muse. He said: “It makes me incredibly frustrated when people can’t see how honest I am and how good I am at writing songs… I look at a band like Arctic Monkeys and think, ‘I want to be as big as them’, but I also look at Muse and Coldplay and Mumford & Sons and U2 and The Rolling Stones and fucking Imagine Dragons and think, I want to be as big as them, too.”