An Interview with YAK
Before their Manchester gig at Night & Day Cafe, music journo dream team Jess and Chloe caught up with YAK to talk music, end of year plans, and more!
Jess: How’s the tour been so far?
Oli: It’s been the best its ever been, we’re getting on better than ever, and Vinny’s joined us- he’s been the saviour of the band!
Vinny: Is that down?
Jess: Yeah haha, ‘saviour of the band’!
Chloe: So what would you say are the best and worst things about being on tour?
Oli: Its all good really, I like it all. Don’t really have to do much. Just sit on your arse most of the time, then play a bit of gig which is always fun. But the majority is just zoning out and listening to music. I always wanted to be a lorry driver when I was young, because i thought you wouldn’t have a boss behind you and you could just drive and listen to music. So it’s kind of better than that.
Jess: What have you been listening to on tour?
Oli: The stereo’s been a bit broken, but the new Baxter Dury record sounds good. All the classics of course. A smorgasbord of big hits. I was in the pub, no, it was my mum and dad’s house, having breakfast, wasn’t the pub, and we had ABBA on. ABBA for breakfast, and I went through all my old CDs. It was a good breakfast, a lot of pig had been eaten. This morning I woke up and we were all staying in the one room together and I saw this carcass of a chicken, which was once a living, breathing thing and although not maybe the best of chickens but it just had a teaspoon shoved into its breast. I thought ‘no living thing should die and then have a Travelodge teaspoon wedged in its breast’, so i had to put a bag over it because it was putting me off my breakfast.
Elliot: There was no knife so I was eating a whole roast chicken with a spoon.
Oli: Its not like a boast, I just thought it was quite sad that life came to that, or the life of that chicken.
Chloe: Would you say you prefer being in the studio and writing or touring and playing live?
Oli: I don’t know really. I don’t like the agony of writing something and going ‘that’s s**t, let’s keep going’ and then it’s still s**t, and then you record it and it’s still s**t, and then you’re eventually at the point where it’s not as s**t. But then the payoffs are always good because you could play to 4 people and everyone walks out and you’re like ‘f**k’ but then you play another gig and it’s great and then you’re like ‘this is why I love doing it!’ and it’s really exciting then. And its the same with recording, because we’ve been in the studio recently and we’ve all been looking at each other and smiling because it sounds mega. We got a mix back today and the hairs stood up on the back of my neck- the nape.
Jess: So you’ve recently released new music with the single All I Need is Some Sunshine in My Life, what inspired this?
Oli: Well it’s a cover, there’s this song by this Stax record of Wendy Rene’s After Laughter Comes Tears, it’s really good, and a loved one sent me a song that was quite similar- which was Dixie Nightingale’s and this subsidiary label of Stax. I really liked the song and I was in a hotel room in Melbourne and we were rehearsing on the way to record at Tame Impala, no, Jay who plays in Tame Impala. I thought it would be good to do a cover because it just eases it all, so that’s the song we went in with. It was good really, just good to try something different. I’m really proud of the song. My friend said we should’ve changed the lyrics and then it could’ve been our own song but i kind of like the affiliations with it and you’d only do that for monetary values and that didn’t seem like a good enough reason.
Chloe: What would you say is your favourite song to play live? Is that the new favourite now its the newest song or?
Oli: The whole point of the set is that it’s different every night, and sometimes the worst song is the most enjoyable because it just goes completely tits up with guitar strings and things to trip over, or you hit your head. [All I Need is Some Sunshine in My Life] is probably the most enjoyable because there’s some kind of event to it and I suppose when we started out it was always important that even if it’s wrong it isn’t automated. As long as we sold anything, the whole reason people do music is not to have a career, so I don’t understand why someone would do it to have a career, but its all enjoyable really.
Elliot: There’s some new songs tonight, there’s going to be 3 or 4 new ones.
Jess: What would you say has been the highlight of your year so far?
Vinny: Hanging out with Skinny Girl Diet.
Oli: Every day has been a highlight for me.
Jess: What’s the highlight of today been?
Oli: I met an old friend, that was nice. Watched some football in the van. Slept.
Jess: Good day?
Oli: Yeah, good day.
Chloe: What are your plans for the end of the year after the tour?
Elliot: Guess we’re going to try and finish the album. We’ve done about over half.
Oli: Its been 2 steps forward and 20 steps back, it feels good to be playing again and there feels like there’s more momentum, because there’s lots of times when you just sit and stare at each other and say ‘okay, we’re going to do this’. The talking of it I find quite easy, it’s the actually doing of it that’s usually harder. But it actually feels like we’re doing things now. So, new record next year and then just keep trying to play until the wheels fall off or we have no money to do it anymore, which kind of felt like this year because we were like ‘f*****g hell, we’ve got to give it a rest, maybe I should get a proper job’ but then the wheels went back on- there’s an analogy!
Jess: If you could only listen to one band or artist for you the rest of your life who would it be?
Oli: Probably someone really w***y. There are a few records I can listen to time and time again and every time I listen to it I get something different from it. See, that’s usually not pop music because pop music is quite formed, isn’t it, but I do like pop music. But if I listen to a Miles Davis live record like Bitches Brew Live, which I’ve listened to a lot, every time I listen to it I get something else out of it. You need something freeform like a live based record. It would be a shame to listen to just one record because we listen to records all the time, everyday we just listen to stuff and just listen to more and more- I’d say that’s the most exciting thing about listening to music, it feels like a journey to listen to more and more stuff. Is that a bit too much?
Chloe: If you could be any animal which animal would you be?
Oli: We were just talking about this actually.
Vinny: I am a sheepdog, and he’s (Oli) a lion because he sleeps a lot, he’s quite loud, and he’s (Elliot) a hamster- we actually had that prepared.
Chloe: I was looking at the question before and being like ‘why did we even ask this, the band’s called YAK!’
Ollie: I’m trying to think of what to say when someone’s like ‘why are you called YAK’ and I couldn’t think of a reason. I had a few funny ideas about what we could be called instead, but they were all really bad like Posh Cow.
YAKs latest single All I Need is Some Sunshine in My Life is available to stream and buy now