Tuesday, 13 September 2011


At the beginning of 2010 Yuck seemingly came from nowhere to become the only indie band that anyone cares about in London within a few short months. That’s probably because, hiding behind a bracing combination of hazy reverb, feedback and lo-fidelity recording, lie the bones of perfectly executed songwriting, melodic hooks and memorable choruses. It is no coincidence that despite their relative youth as a band both Dinosaur Jr and Teenage Fanclub have requested Yuck to open shows for them.

Daniel Blumberg and Max Bloom, the bands core songwriting duo, may be London natives but Yuck’s rhythm section of Mariko Doi and Jonny Rogoff made it all the way from Hiroshima and New Jersey respectively to play with the band. If the reception the Yuck have been greeted with by both critics and audience alike is anything to go by then their journeys have been well worthwhile.

If you’ve been hiding under a big boulder, in a very dark cave, somewhere on a planet very far from Earth you may still be yet to hear Yuck but that’s OK. You can stay there because pretty soon everyone will be humming their songs all the way out there too.

The Creators Project: How did you guys meet? You are a pretty globally cosmopolitan band.
Daniel (voclas/guitars): Max and I have been friends since we were very young and we’ve played music together for years. I’d known Mariko for ages and I met Jonny in the dessert in Israel.

How did you end up together in the Israeli dessert?
Daniel: I was on holiday there for five days and I hitch hiked to this kibbutz out in the dessert as a few of my friends were living and working there. Jonny was just there.
Jonny: I was living there and his friends had told me he was in band and I had been in a band back in the States so despite the fact that we only hung out for about four hours we decided we should form a band together. I think we were both kind of joking but 6 months later I got this massive Facebook message from Daniel talking about all this music that we both liked and saying that we had to start the band.

So you cyber stalked him Daniel?
Daniel: Basically. I set up a Facebook account just to contact Jonny. Up until then it had just been myself and Max playing in Max’s room and it had become obvious that we needed a drummer.
Max: We had been watching all these YouTube videos of Jonny playing in his old band and it seemed like he was the right guy for the job. His old band was called Impossible Voyage and they were probably the best band in the world ever.
Jonny: I wouldn’t go that far. We played this kind of a progressive-space-shoegaze-metal and I loved to play with those guys but my taste was always a little less hardcore than theirs and when Daniel sent me the songs he’d been working on I was blown away. I realised that Daniel was offering me the choice to play in the kind of band I had always wanted to be in but had never had the opportunity to play in before.

So you just up and left the States?
Pretty much. I left university after having only been there for 6 weeks. I’d only really studied my bed and the girl next door who I’d fallen in love with.

That is a big commitment. What kind of music had you had all bonded over?
Daniel: Titus Andronicus, The Silver Jews, Pavement. That kind of stuff. We love the Silver Jews. I did a record with a guy in Nashville once who had worked on a bunch of Silver Jews and Bonnie “Prince” Billy records and I basically spent three weeks asking him Dave Berman and Will Oldham stories and not getting much done.

You can certainly hear echoes of those artists in your songs.
We just write songs and we write lots of them and what comes out comes out. You try and write the kind of music that you would want to listen to so I guess your tastes do end up being reflected in the music that you make.

One of the elements that makes your recordings unique is their low-fidelity which gives them a pretty distinct sound was it a conscious decision to record in that style?
In terms of the things we have released so far we just didn’t want to re-record anything. We were happy with the general sound of the tracks we demoed in Max’s room on his 8-track so we just released the ones that sounded most finished.
Max: We wouldn’t want the album or whatever we put out next to be a big leap in terms of sound from the demos and early releases so we will probably just continue recording in the same way, straight from a microphone in to an 8 track with maybe some drum tracks recorded in a studio.

You guys have had a lot of attention for a band that has been around for such a sort space of time, how do you feel about the Internet and web technology with regard to your music?
In terms of the actual music it is just boring in a way and kind of irrelevant. I think a lot of people just read about things and have opinions about them without actually listening to them. But in terms of getting our music out there and allowing people to listen to it and enjoy it it’s pretty amazing.
Max: Basically, all the attention and stuff makes no difference to what we do as a band or would make us stop doing what we do or change what we do in any way.
Daniel: Soon enough some new band will turn up and everyone will be talking about them instead. You just need to keep things in perspective and not let things like that affect your mind.

Do you look forward to a point when people don’t talk about you so much?
Daniel: If people are actually listening to the records and like them then that’s nice and it’s amazing that we can do this full time. That is probably the biggest benefit of the whole thing.
How does the writing process work for Yuck?
Daniel and I are just constantly writing songs and we’ll then take them to Mariko and Jonny and together we’ll finish them off with drums and bass.
Daniel: I try not to think about lyrics too much and just try to just get them down. Vocal melodies just sound nice in the context of the song. Sometimes the lyrics end up meaning something over time but I’ve never really listened to lyrics much aside from Silver Jews or Red House Painters songs.

You guys got to support Dinosaur Jr recently who sound like a big influence, how was that for you guys?
That was a pretty amazing night.
Max: Not only did we get to support Dinosaur Jr but we also met Kevin Shields backstage and it was the day before my birthday. The reason that I started making music was basically because of J Mascis and My Blood Valentine so it was ridiculous meeting them both in one night. The guy who did My Bloody Valentine’s sound actually did our sound when we played with Teenage Fanclub in Edinburgh.
Daniel: That show was probably even better than the Dinosaur Jr one. They were really cool as well.

So meeting your heroes doesn’t suck after all?
Daniel: Not for us so far.

No comments: