Hot on the heels of their widely anticipated new album, the psychedelic pop New Yorkers Yeasayer are setting off on tour. They are due to play Manchester Academy 2 on Monday 3rd December 2012. We got together for a quick Q&A with the band, to find out all about their influences and inspirations, and to hear a bit more about their new sound!
Why and how did Yeasayer get together as a band?
Chris and I grew up together in Baltimore and were in a rock band in high school, and also collaborated on a lot or other artistic projects, student films, theater, etc. We started working together again in New York after college simply because we had a creative musical chemistry and common language that neither of us had really found after high school, certainly I hadn’t found anyone that was as easy to create music with during college. Ira came on board for our second show, and we realized we could harmonize well and learn songs quickly. Ira is an amazing musician, and could sing over intricate bass lines within a few minutes of rehearsing. We started jamming as a trio and wrote a lot of the songs off the first album from practice space jam sessions from 2005- 2007.
How has your sound developed and changed since you got together in 2006?
We actually got together in 2005, our first show was at a bar called Lorelei in Manhattan in February of 2005. That first show had some more guitars probably, a loop on an iPod, and maybe a dildo used for slide guitar. Now we have a few more guitar pedals, a bunch of samplers, a midi bass, and some drum machines. I have the same one guitar that I’ve used since I was 16.
Now we have a few more guitar pedals, a bunch of samplers, a midi bass, and some drum machines. I have the same one guitar that I’ve used since I was 16.
What are your main musical influences?
David Bowie, Sly and the Family Stone, Kraftwerk, Brian Eno, Timbaland, Outkast, Popol Vuh, Wu-Tang Clan, Neil Young, Thomas Mapfumo, The Beatles, The Clash, The Smiths, Devo, The Cure, Cyndi Lauper, Tina Turner, Nina Simone, DJ Shadow, The Beastie Boys, Pavement, Talking Heads, Talk Talk, Beck,
And what else culturally plays a part in your music?
We are big movie and movie soundtrack fans, so we love John Carpenter’s music, music from Werner Herzog movies, Michael Mann movies. And then obviously our lyrics are inspired by contemporary culture as much as from our personal lives.
Can you tell us about your new album?
The new album is a bit more abstract rhythmically than our previous album. We wanted to indulge our more experimental side, and create an album that was a more cohesive listen, rather than an album with a few anthemic singles. We were inspired by a lot of contemporary electronic music, like Balam Acab, Gold Panda, SBTRKT, Zomby, as well as some older American R&B artists.
We were inspired by a lot of contemporary electronic music, like Balam Acab, Gold Panda, SBTRKT, Zomby, as well as some older American R&B artists.
And what do you have planned for your tour?
For this tour we’ve been really fortunate to be able to collaborate with The Creator’s Project. Creator’s Project hooked us up with the fine artist Casey Reas, who along with Aranda Lasch and Asteriskos created this amazing prismatic mirrored backdrop stage set-up, with mirrored keyboard stands, and projection screens. It’s sort of like performing from aboard a spaceship. We’re projecting a lot of the video work that Yoshi Sodeoka created for each song off the album, along with other new video content.
Tickets to see Yeasayer at the Manchester Academy 2 on Monday 3rd December are available to buy here.
Interview by Anne Louise Kershaw
Image © Anna Palma