Yuck Interview: “Recording This Album Was A Lot Less Stressful Than Last Time.”

Yuck Interview

Third Album Stranger Things  Out 26 February Via Mame Records.

‘Hold Me Closer’? ‘Hearts In Motion’? Methinks that London based quartet Yuck might be getting a little sentimental in their old age! Regardless, they’re going strong into their third album, Stranger Things, which is due for release on 26 February. They’ve now sold an impressive 50,000 albums worldwide and are feeling confident enough to release a cover of Fugazi’s classic track ‘Cashout’, Overblown’s favourite from their 2001 album The Argument. You can listen to that above.

Bandleader Max Bloom was good enough to have a wee chat with us recently, we touched on how he wanted their third album to be a lot of fun to play live, how it was a lot less stressful to record, and his excitement regarding the band’s upcoming SXSW appearance. Read on!

Overblown: Hello and thank you for taking the time to talk to Overblown. Your upcoming third album, Stranger Things, was recorded in London while your last album was recorded in New York. What was the impetus behind coming back to England to record this time around?

Max Bloom: There wasn’t really an impetus as such, it just felt like the most obvious way to record these songs. I learned a lot when we recorded in New York and I’m really glad we had that experience, but I missed the flexibility of recording at home, working completely on our own terms and not having any outside influences.

O: I really enjoy the songs that Mariko sings on. Is she taking vocals on many songs this time around?

MB: She sings one song called ‘As I Walk Away’, and that’s one of my favourite songs on the record. Its one of the first songs we’ve ever co-written together, so it means a lot to me.

O: This is the second album you’ve recorded with this same line-up. Was there benefits to having a settled line-up this time around?

MB: It didn’t really feel like much had changed to be honest. Recording this album was a lot less stressful than last time, but I’m not sure whether that was because we were more settled as such, it was probably more because we were doing things at our own pace rather than being dictated by factors like time and money.

O: The first track to be released from the album, ‘Hold Me Closer’, surprised me as it is much more muscular than much of your previous material. Is that a style that is explored more on Stranger Things?

MB: Why thank you, I have been hitting the gym pretty hard. I guess with this album we wanted to make a group of songs that would be really fun to play live. With the last two albums we tended to get quite carried away in the studio, which meant that things became harder to pull off live, and it felt more like trying to create a cover version of what we had done in the studio. With this album we tried to stick to the bare bones of the songs as much as possible, so all the energy of the songs will come out live.

Yuck Interview

O: The artwork for both ‘Hearts in Motion’ and Stranger Things is quite playful. Who created the artwork and what was the inspiration behind it?

MB: The artwork was done by a fantastic illustrator called Sam Cardelfe (www.samcillustration.com) who got in touch with us saying he’d like to try doing some artwork for us. With artwork, I generally like to just send the artist our music and tell them to instinctively do whatever comes to mind. His take on our album was very literal and light hearted, and I think that creates quite an arresting quality to the music.

O: In reviews and articles about the band, journalists still mention Daniel Blumberg (like I am doing now!) a lot when they write about Yuck. Does this bother you?

MB: Its to be expected really. I think it would be quite pathetic if I got annoyed every time someone brought up Daniel. I can understand it, because if I was a fan of the band I’d probably bring it up too. I guess it would only bother me if people just automatically wrote off whatever we do now just because the lineup has changed.

O: How did you react to David Bowie’s death earlier this month? Was he an influence on you?

MB: It was obviously very sad and unexpected for everyone. The day he died was a very strange day for everyone. It felt like the death of something bigger, because everyone knew that there would never be an artist as inventive and brilliant as David Bowie. His music has always been a huge part of my life, and his death felt really familiar to everyone, as if a close friend had died.

O: You’re playing SXSW this year. Have you played the festival before? Looking forward to it?

MB: We played it 4 or 5 years ago I think. It was really fun! It was definitely a work hard/play hard situation. I don’t think we’ll be playing as many shows as we did last time, we were playing about 4 shows a day. When I got back to the UK my body really started to ache from carrying my huge amp around the back streets of Austin!

Yuck live dates:

Feb 26: Moth Club, London
Feb 27: Moth Club, London
Mar 11: Savannah Stopover, Savannah GA
Mar 12: Aisle 5, Atlanta GA
Mar 13: Spanish Moon, Baton Rouge LA
Mar 14-18: SXSW, Austin TX
Mar 19: Spillover Festival, Dallas TX
Mar 21: Crescent Ballroom, Phoenix AZ
Mar 23: Soda Bar, San Diego CA
Mar 24: The Echo, Los Angeles CA
Mar 25: Cellar Door, Visalia CA
Mar 26: Great American Music Hall, San Francisco CA
Mar 28: Mississippi Studios, Portland OR
Mar 29: Fortune Sound Club, Vancouver BC
Mar 30: The Crocodile, Seattle WA
Mar 31: Neurolux, Boise ID
Apr 02: Larimer Lounge, Denver CO
Apr 04: 7th St. Entry, Minneapolis MN
Apr 05: High Noon Saloon, Madison WI
Apr 06: The Empty Bottle, Chicago IL
Apr 07: The Loving Touch, Ferndale MI
Apr 09: Silver Dollar Room, Toronto ON
Apr 10: The Haunt, Ithaca NY
Apr 11: The Sinclair, Cambridge MA
Apr 12: Music Hall of Williamsburg, Brooklyn NY
Apr 14: The Space, New Haven CT
Apr 15: Rock & Roll Hotel, Washington DC
Apr 16: Phuzz Phest, Winston-Salem NC
May 12: Arts Centre, Norwich
May 13: Sneaky Petes, Edinburgh
May 14: Broadcast, Glasgow
May 15: Deaf Institute, Manchester
May 16: The Boileroom, Guildford
May 17: Oobleck, Birmingham
May 18: Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar, Brighton
May 19: Exchange, Bristol
May 20: Bodega, Nottingham
May 21: Gold Sounds, Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
May 22: Esquires, Bedford

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