April May 2010
Questionnaire: Steve Bateman
As a band name, Yuck could easily mislead you into thinking
that this is a fitting description of the groups sound
possibly something along the lines of black metal or even noisy hardcore!
When in actual fact, the London-based quintet write hazy, blissful and
lo-fi pop tunes, which are studded with elements of C86, grunge and
shoegaze, as their split debut 7 single with Herzog, Georgia (Transparent
Records) and early MySpace demos perfectly testify.
Featuring Daniel (vocals / guitar), Max (guitar), Mariko
(bass) and Jonny (drums) + part-time fifth member, Daniels sister
Ilana (vocals). Both Daniel and Max were once members of Cajun Dance
Party (who I interviewed in 2008), with Daniel telling Dummy Magazine:
That feels like quite a long time ago, like a distant dream in
a way. It was great we made an album when we were 15, but obviously
you change between the ages of 15 and 19. Although it must seem like
a big difference, to us it doesnt feel as different. Max
continued: And we werent writing songs in Cajun. Even though
Daniel and I have known each other for ages, this is the first time
weve written with each other.
After having originally befriended Daniel in Israel
whilst they were both travelling, Jonny a native of New Jersey
later flew to the UK to join the band in late 2009, based solely
on hearing the songs that Daniel and Max had demoed together, with the
Hiroshima-born Mariko completing the line-up chosen as they already
kind of knew each other and wanted a female bass player who could sing.
Looking to learn more about this fledgling group, I wrote to their manager
who then asked Daniel and Max to take a look at my Q&A, and Im
sure when you listen to their music, youll whole-heartedly agree
that Yuck are indeed a fantastic and rare find
Lucy: Your band have been quite quiet for the last few months. Are you looking
forward to playing gigs again?
Katie Jane Garside: I think I give very obtuse ans
1.To begin with, if you were to compile a Spotify Playlist for me
featuring some of your favourite music, what songs including
one of your own would you definitely add to it?
Yuck Shook Down
Red House Painters Katy Song
Superchunk Throwing Things
Sebadoh Soul And Fire
Memoryhouse To The Lighthouse
Teenage Fanclub The Concept
Built To Spill The Plan
Ivans XTC Yesterday
Perfume Genius Learning
East River Pipe Metal Detector
Silver Jews Trains Across The Sea
Velocity Girl Crazy Town
Sleater Kinney Get Up
2.What attributes (creative and otherwise) do you most admire in each
Daniel: I admire Maxs licks and I admire his beard when
Max: I admire Daniels sense of great deals from Morrisons.
3.As a band, do you fashion songs or do they develop in their own way?
Max: Usually, I write and record an instrumental song on my 8-track
and then I send it to Daniel and he writes vocals and then we record
it together. Sometimes it differs when I have a vocal melody, or when
Daniel has a guitar idea. Daniel and I also sometimes write songs on
Daniel: I think because we sometimes approach it from different
angles, it makes us more productive and means that there's more variety
in the songs.
4.With films and television increasingly helping musicians and their
music to reach a much wider audience, is there a product that you would
ever consider advertising, or a Director / TV show who you would allow
to use one of your songs as part of a soundtrack?
Daniel: Irn-Bru we want to call our album Irn-Bru, we want
our guitars to be blue and orange, we want our faces tattooed with Irn-Bru.
Jonny tried it for the first time when we went to Scotland with Times
New Viking and apparently its good soda. But yeah,
we havent really thought about anything other than Irn-Bru. All
our energy has been pretty much focused on writing and recording new
material as well as getting our live set together.
5.Whats the story behind your name Yuck, and can you also tell
us about the artwork used on the Georgia 7?
Daniel: We liked the name for the band and nothing more than that
really. So thats quite boring I guess The artwork for Georgia
is one of my drawings. I draw a lot when I'm working on songs and so
sometimes they almost go hand in hand with each other in a weird way.
I also make drawing books which we sell at gigs to pay for rehearsal!
6.Elbows Guy Garvey recently said that he "wants a standard
clause in music contracts whereby bands are given the right to sell
their back catalogue," claiming that decisions on how music is
sold "should reside with the artist." Adding, "If the
end game for you is a collection of songs, which for many people it
is, then thats how your music should be enjoyed as well."
What are your feelings on this statement?
Max: A band just has to try and make sure that they release their
music in a way that is true to them in the first place.
7.Of all your favourite music, whats the ratio between mainstream
and alternative acts, and is there a particular musical movement that
you hold dear to your heart?
Daniel: I guess most of our favourite albums were made in The
90s, but theres a real variety to the artists were
into. I think I tend to follow labels rather than movements So
for example, when I got into Will Oldham, I checked out Domino (and
Drag City) which led to Royal Trux and Smog and Galaxy 500 and Jim ORourke
and Neutral Milk Hotel Blah blah blah, or Merge East River
Pipe, Superchunk, Lambchop Blah blah blah. I think labels are
a really good way to find music that you can fall in love with.
8.In March, NME published its list of The Greatest Cult Heroes
in music, with The Falls Mark E. Smith ranked at # 1. But do you
have any cult heroes?
Daniel: David Berman of Silver Jews is probably my hero. His lyrics
are the best and probably the only that I actually fully pay attention
to. His poems are amazing as well as everything else he creates. Mark
Kozelek of Red House Painters and Sun Kil Moon has written some of the
most beautiful songs Ive ever heard. I cant believe hes
not regarded as a Super Hero.
9.On a similar note, as we reached the end of The 00s just a few
months ago, who do you think have been some of the best artists and
bands to emerge in the last 10 years + what would you pick as some of
your albums and songs of the Decade?
Clinic Internal Wrangler
Wilco Yankee Foxtrot Hotel
Video Nasties On All Fours
Smog Dongs Of Sevotion
Arcade Fire Funeral
Dinosaur Jr Beyond
Sonic Youth The Eternal
Evan Dando Baby Im Bored
Bonnie Prince Billy Ease Down The Road
Lambchop Is A Woman
Ivans XTC Yesterday
Crumble Dinosaur Jr
Lambchop Is A Woman
Cass McCombs Dreams Come True Girl
10.What are the main themes of your lyrics + of all the artists
and music that you cherish, which songs most move you and are there
any songs that you wish you had written?
Daniel: I love it when a song has a lyric that just stands out
and sticks with you. Neil Young has loads of simple phrases which break
your heart like, I am lonely but you can free me all in the way
that you smile and Daniel Johnstons Lifes a
bowl of cherries, you can have as many as you can carry. But mainly
with lyrics though, I think they need to really compliment the vocal
melody. I think with Yuck the priority is always the melodies.
11.Is there a track that you consider to be A Perfect Pop Song?
Thirteen by Big Star.
12.Do you have any special memories of places youve visited, bands
youve met, or standout gigs so far?
Max: We haven't had the chance to play that many gigs so far,
but we recently finished the first half of a tour with Times New Viking,
who we're all big fans of. We played with them in Leeds Brudenell Social
Club, and I couldn't take my eyes off the stage, they are in a league
of their own. The audience were so into them and it was so good to see
that everyone around me was enjoying it as much as I was. When people
go to a gig to see the band instead of taking meow meow it makes me
13.Can you tell us what we can expect from your debut album, and
what your biggest hopes are for Yuck long-term?
Daniel: For the album, we're hoping to develop the sound we've
got going in the bedroom. All the demos are just me, Max and Ilana on
an 8-track, but since getting the band together the songs have moved
on, so it'll be good to have a mix of those two elements. The main difference
will be Jonny's playing instead of the electric drums we've had to use
so far. Wed love to be able to release lots of records in the
future, thats our main aim. Also, it would be great to continue
playing with bands we're really into.
14.When talking about The Music Industry, the late great Tony Wilson
once remarked: Some people make money, others make history.
But do you have any favourite rock n roll quotes?
Heres one I found on Google. Its definitely now my
favourite: Video games are bad for you? That's what they said
about rock n roll. Shigeru Miyamoto
15.Lastly, chips or cream buns?
Chips with frisky cream.
A very special thanks to Daniel + Max, and to Keith
@ Supervision Management, for all of their time and help.