Music sub-editor Edward Ginn interviews indie band of the moment Yuck on their latest EP ‘Southern Skies.’
A few weeks ago I was trudging across London, wearied and excited, to interview a band that I’ve admired for a long time, Yuck, as they were preparing for a gig at The Lexington in Islington. After the exit of frontman Daniel Blumberg in 2013, and the subsequent release of their sedated LP ‘Glow and Behold,’ I was interested to see what the band would bring to their newly-released EP ‘Southern Skies.’
I arrived at the venue around five o’clock, much to the surprise of the band, who were in the middle of a soundcheck: lead singer and guitarist, and former Cajun Dance Party member, Max Bloom was making his ‘soundcheck cup of tea.’ He told me if I stuck around we could do the interview after they were set up. Two hours later, after watching Yuck and their support acts prepare, I anxiously followed the multi-national indie quartet backstage. Bassist Mariko Doi was touching up her make-up as we began and then disappeared off upstairs.
First Question: At the release of Glow and Behold, you mentioned you were at a ‘transition period.’ Do you feel this is still the case for the band?
Yuck – I felt we were in transition a year ago, there was a huge change. It feels like a long time ago though and now I think we are a lot more certain about where we are. We have moved in a new direction now and I think people will understand that when the third album is released.
As ‘Glow and Behold’ was half written before there was a change of line up, does this latest EP ‘Southern Skies’ show a different attitude in writing? Did everyone play a part?
(Mariko comes back and pours herself a drink)
Yuck – Not really, there was only one song that we did together. Johnny only played on one…two…three of the tracks? I can’t remember. However I feel like we needed this EP. Glow and Behold was difficult and there was a lot of change so it was nice to be altogether and write stuff.
There is a difference in the sound of this EP though. Is this a taster of things to come?
Yuck – Max had a few songs which didn’t fit into an album but wanted to be released. We’ve only ever released singles and albums and we’ve never done anything in that format before, so to release a four-track was quite interesting.
(Mariko walks upstairs again. Jonny (Drummer) says to me ‘She’s fucking nuts’)
You mentioned Glow and Behold was a different recording process, did you stick to the same technique when recording this EP and upcoming album?
Yuck – No, we’re doing it all ourselves for this next album. It was a learning curve to record the second album though. Me (Max), Jonny and Mariko were stuck in the middle of the woods and so scared. We recorded in a church and where we stayed was this old, shabby priest’s house and there was a giant cross on the wall. Also we’d wake up every morning and there would just be thousands of dead ladybirds on the floor, it was creepy. The first album we did ourselves but we weren’t very experienced. The second was the complete opposite. The new record we’re making now is the best of both worlds, although we are still at very early days.
(Mariko returns and continues to make a drink)
With your change of line up, how do you feel about playing first album tracks live?
Yuck – We really enjoy playing them. You’ll see tonight that we do, although, it’s very different. Us four kind of make the songs our own. We don’t want to ignore the fact that we made the first record because we do still really like those songs.
You’ve got two nights back to back here, how did that come about?
(Jonny has a sneezing fit and leaves)
Yuck – We prefer playing in small venues and you can interact with the crowd better. Lexington is our favourite venue in London and sounds the best. We played last year in the Electric Ballroom and it doesn’t sound that great if you’re at the back. Here it sounds great everywhere – it’ll be the best sounding gig ever!
Thank you for letting me interview you.
Mariko – I just got ready!
Photography courtesy of Edward Ginn.