Monday, 25 October 2010

Yeasayer Interview

(Interview with Ira Wolf Tuton, right)

With songs on computer games, slots in this years top festivals and now a headline tour across the world, we feel it only right to say 'we told you so' about Yeasayer.
2010 has been the kindest of years for the band since starting out in 2006, rapidly climbing from the basement venues (Sheffield Plug, check July's blog) to venues which have seen the likes of Crystal Castles and The Drums headlining in the last 12 months. However we are not here to discuss the rise and rise of Yeasayer, we are here to dig deeper. To ask the questions we hope they possess the answers to.

Its a grey in Manchester. The band are doing a sound check at Manchester Academy II, a venue twice the size of that experienced in Sheffield. Enter PULP.
We are greeted by the band manager, who then passes us on to the bands bass player; Ira Wolf Tuton. Ira stands in stark comparison to his band mates, tall, muscular with shaved back and sides accompanied by a mass of tight curls. He looks tired. When told that PULP saw the band back in early summer, he seems gratuitous and appreciates the admiration we hold for the Brooklyn three.
Ira answers the questions thrust at him modestly, often downplaying the hype which surrounds the outfit he is a part of. "I'm constantly surprised and my eyes are always opened as to why people listen to us" states the man from Philadelphia. He seems cautious and asks if I'm taking notes so no mis-quotes can occur, i reassure him my pen is working and carry on. I then ask Ira what was the main influence behind the obvious change Yeasayer undertook from the '2006 long hair, hippy moustaches and general All Our Cymbals' look to the '2010 short hair, alternative chic, general Oddblood' look. "Is our look meant to affect our sound" he sarcastically laughs, "stagnation leads to a very early grave" is shortly followed, giving us a clue that the 2011 Yeasayer may be completely different once again. Maybe the band will indulge is leather, feathers, neon? "Motivation comes when you continually change" finishes a philosophical bassist.
The mid point of the interview and the conversation is flowing. Ira is more relaxed and describes the differences between the creating and performing, more hidden side of the music industry; "Writing and creating are very different from performing, we are continually looking to challenge ourselves". Ira then jokes that his favourite Yeasayer song "is the ones we haven't written yet", more to come? Yes. Excellent.
Yeasayer first hit the music scene in the USA at the South by South West festivals (SXSW), but this year has seen them play Reading and Leeds, Latitude and T in the Park. Surely this must be more exciting? "No, its completely different" answers Ira almost immediately. "You start to see this as more than just a vacation from your job" with a "really intense emotional vibe as time passes". Ira cannot resist however to mention the experience of Leeds and Reading, stating that "it was the best thing, it was at a time when everyone was ending their summer tours, it felt like the end of summer camp" - adding to the argument that Leeds and Reading are replacing the summer classics as Britain's best festivals.
The whole interview has a feel that Yeasayer are set on moving. Not in a literal sense but in the context of music. Moving upwards and becoming recognised for what they are. Moving from a experimental to a more realistic and electronic sound. Growing up together as a band and enjoying the success this is bringing them. But what about 2011 Yeasayer? Can they recreate the beauty of 'Madder Red', can they bring the sound of 'ONE' to the dance floors of Manchester? I think everyone hopes so. We don't want to eat our words.

Keep your eyes open your ear hair ready for the word 'Yeasayer' in 2011.

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