UK Tour
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 group’s 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, Daniel’s 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 doesn’t feel as different.” Max continued: “And we weren’t writing songs in Cajun. Even though Daniel and I have known each other for ages, this is the first time we’ve 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 I’m sure when you listen to their music, you’ll 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
Codeine – D
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 other?

Daniel: “I admire Max’s licks and I admire his beard when it’s long.”
Max: “I admire Daniel’s 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 our own.”
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 it’s ‘good soda.’ But yeah, we haven’t 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.What’s 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 that’s 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.Elbow’s 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 that’s 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, what’s 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 there’s a real variety to the artists we’re 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 O’Rourke 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 Fall’s 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 I’ve ever heard. I can’t believe he’s 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 I’m Bored
Bonnie Prince Billy – Ease Down The Road
Lambchop – Is A Woman

Clinic – Distortions
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 Johnston’s ‘Life’s 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 you’ve visited, bands you’ve 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 happy.”

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. We’d love to be able to release lots of records in the future, that’s 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?
“Here’s one I found on Google. It’s 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.



“We’ve been dreaming differently”

wers to questions...It's never about looking forward to it. Actually maybe I should change the
script, maybe we are looeir musicm the 3rd album?