Interview with Yuck, one of the best new bands in the UK
Yuck are one of the best new bands in the UK and their debut album ‘Yuck’ is out now.
Considering we’re in an age where the whole of the ”Ënew generation’ are obsessed with the latest and greatest young bands, it is hardly surprising that in the New Year there were tonnes of lists and articles across the nation’s media stating who is hot and who is not for 2011’s bright young talent. Upon these lists there was an obscure name that cropped up time and time again. That name was Yuck.
It takes a lot to impress after a mere year and a half of being together but Yuck’s self-titled debut (released 21st Feb) has done just that. The contrast between soothing pop melodies to thrashing experimental punk anthems really creates this huge blend of originality and a fresh outlook to the indie genre. I travelled to Lancaster Library to chat to the band about their current UK tour and the anticipation for their debut LP.
I arrive at the library at 1pm slightly bewildered by the fact it is literally a library. The makeshift concert hall is essentially bookshelves pushed aside to make way for the forthcoming crowd. As I watch the band sound check I wait and ponder with anticipation on what this band are going to be like to converse with. Watching the band out of performance is an odd thing to observe as I can’t help but feel that they should be playing a simpler and overall a less sophisticated style of music. This is possibly my impression from the naivety of such a young band.
Daniel Blumberg and Max Bloom (previously of Cajun Dance Party) invite me backstage and I sit comfortably with them and the rest of the band on the table. “I expect no one to turn up this afternoon”Â Max eloquently states, “Our friends (Video Nasties) once played to an audience of one. That ”Ëone’ was a dying man who had fallen whilst trying to rob the building the night before”Â Their initial anecdotal approach to this interview already states that as a band they may have not had many interesting or extravagant experiences together as of yet. Quite frankly they have barely been together a year and are evidently still finding their feet. “If we get better than that then”Â¦ everything’s cool”Â The band are relaxed and really seem comfortable with each other but I do get a sense of apprehension as they consume the rider consisting of tobacco, chocolate and apples placed in front of them on the table.
“It’s my birthday today”Â Daniel says. For such a young band I found it surprising at how mature the band members actually were. This follows a chorus of best wishes from the band members and various extras in the room. “Thank you Jonny”Â Daniel voices to his American band mate.
“You’re welcome, I love you”Â¦ so so much!”Â he replies jokingly. The truth of the matter is Jonny Rogoff and Daniel Blumberg met in the Israeli desert.
“We met in the desert. We both had t-shirts that we liked and we got talking. Only for two hours but we kept in contact”Â. It’s very strange how a bond can be initially made over such a short period of time but you can see in the eyes of the whole band that they relish this story intently and that the bond still exists today. “Then me and Max started writing songs after being friends for a very long time. What? 15 years? Something like that. And I sent them to Jonny and he liked them so we decided to start a band”Â. Jonny moved from New Jersey to London and this was where it all started.
Heavily influenced by bands such as Neutral Milk Hotel and Sonic Youth, it is clear that the band have the ideal basis for producing the style of lo-fi that they play. “Old punks probably think we’re a bunch of pussies”Â says Daniel. Personally I believe that the use of emotion in this album and in their performances is similar to that of ”Ëold punks’ maybe just with more upset or contentment rather than resentment and protest. Emotion applied to music is undoubtedly something that many musicians can admire and appreciate. The band could very well be seen as a ”Ëbunch of pussies’ and yes, their music could well have been written for a soppy indie rom-com but it certainly can’t be criticised. “I like to write where there’s no pressure. In my parents house where I can just immerse myself when my recording equipment is up”Â Max explains.
“Yeah, if we’re in a certain mood we will write together and see what comes out”Â says Daniel.
“We all grew up with a very Christian upbringing and we felt pressured by our families to play in these big groups. It was weird. Me and Max met there”Â. Religious connotations certainly do come out in their lyrics, ”ËEveryday was a Christian holiday/We held each other and we pray in our own way’ in the track Suck. “It was quite intense. We just had to play religious music. And Mari and Jonny had the same experience when they grew up, so I think that’s sort of what brought us together ”â us being forced into this Christian rock. So now what we play is like a ”Ëf@@@ you’ to doing this organised collective band. It’s kind of difficult to get over, especially when you’re young. We’re always part of it”Â
The band are a lot deeper, a lot less naÃÂ¯ve and much more sophisticated than I would have previously thought. They obviously apply this not only to their daily life but also express this in their work and it is apparent in their music and in their lyrics. I believe this band have a lot more to prove yet. I think it’s important for them to get the recognition and develop their sound further. “I would find it weird producing the same style of an album over and over again,”Â Max tells me “but for now we’re just touring so this is what we’re doing. It’s also very difficult for me to say where we will be in ten years from now. I don’t even know where we are now!”Â What they know for sure is they enjoy what they do. I find it hard to believe that this is the first and last of Yuck. There will be more to come from one of Britain’s finest new band.