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An Interview With Yuck

Article Ref: #YuckInterview

Ines Punessen - 19th December 2012

TPAWB: There is this strong Do-It-Yourself character about your music, artwork and adverts. Where did this attitude of approaching the music business originate? Was there a particular incident?


Blumberg: We weren't approaching the music industry. A lot of the things you mentioned, such as the artwork for singles, were done by us. You just do the artwork if you're gonna release a single. You have to decorate it. We don't ever think to get other people involved with that. We just do it ourselves, yet I think lots of people do it this way. There are specific things that are better done by yourself. With Cajun Dance Party it was also really 'Do It Yourself'.


The music was recorded by ourselves because this way we could make it sound how we wanted it to. Then, we didn't let someone else do the artwork as it is an exciting thing to make. The drawings were there already so that it made sense to use them. With regards to the banner on stage, we just wanted to have a banner so that the quickest thing to do was to write the band name on a big sheet.


TPAWB: Was this one of the reasons why didn't you get a well-known producer in?


Bloom: We only really did it ourselves because we knew how we wanted it to sound. When we did the demos it was basically the same way. We just wanted to have complete control over the end result. We didn't want to have something that is too completely different sounding from the stuff that we had already done. It just seemed like the thing that made most sense to do – to do what we had always been doing rather than making a dramatic change. This seemed a little bit pointless to do that.​


Blumberg: You can't be like “I wanna work with him” when you just started a band. We had the songs ready to record them and didn't want to wait around.


TPAWB: Your Weekend EP was released as a special cassette EP (for Blumberg's side project Yu(c)k). What made you embrace the medium of the cassette?


Blumberg: That wasn't actually the band, that was the stuff for my side project Yu(c)k. I changed the name now because it was a bit confusing. I think tape is really nice. First of all, the label just did tape. If you're not mastering stuff it compresses it really nicely. A vinyl on the other hand would be quite scary because vinyl is very good quality and it wasn't recorded that brilliantly but sounds amazing on a tape.

The Pro Audio Web BlogBloom: Tape is forgiving.


Blumberg: It just compresses it altogether. You know when you're gonna put a tape in and it sounds nice. It just sounds nice …


TPAWB: The tapes are all sold out?


Blumberg: I made some handmade ones the last time played some gigs. I'm actually gonna make some more I think.


TPAWB: Can this be regarded as a conscious step to distance yourself or the side project Yu(c)k from the mainstream?


Blumberg: This medium depended on the circumstances and we haven't released a cassette as a band yet. It was specifically those songs it made sense for.


Bloom: That particular label only produced tapes. This was on Mirror Universe Tapes, an American label, before we were signed to Fat Possum. There are quite a lot of labels which just do cassettes as it´s the cheapest format to make physical copies. It might have become a bit unpopular recently. I think there are still people around you really like tapes, vinyls and CDs. People do limited tapes more now.


TPAWB: I love tape.


Blumberg: I just think they feel so nice.


Rogoff: I love tape. I only have a tape player in my car.


Blumberg: Also, you listen to it from start to finish as there is not track skipping. However, we didn't do the Yuck album on cassette. Before we had done the album and we just had un-mastered tracks I made a tape for my friend. If you give someone a tape they just don't put it on the Internet, and I gave him all the songs we had recorded. He had a tape player in his car. I listened to it to see if it worked and it sounded really good. So we hadn't mastered it. Then, when we did the record we mastered it.


TPAWB: Your music and image reflects this anti-commercial grunge way of putting music out there. Therefore, what are your feelings towards the hype around Yuck?


Blumberg: We have been on tour for a long time, just playing gigs. I don´t know.


TPAWB: How about if you open the NME and there is a very favourable review?


Blumberg: I wouldn't read that. The reviews are bad to read; they don't have anything to do with us. We don't really want to know other people's opinions, not even if people are nice to us. Well, we just don't work in the way where we like to discuss interviews on ourselves much. We just do it.


Bloom: I feel that we worked quite hard as a band so that the things that have happened I feel like haven't just been handed to us. Due to our hard work it's a great feel of gratification and not like you're being rewarded for doing nothing.


The Pro Audio Web BlogBlumberg: I don't have the same feeling. I don't get gratification out of that. It would be good if I could. The most gratification was doing the record which I came out a while ago. When you do things it's more separate.


TPAWB: What has been the most rewarding moment, other than recording the album?


Bloom: Playing big shows…


Dol: Playing at Jools Holland was quite good.


Bloom: That's something I have watched for a long time – every week. I mean my favorite bands have once performed in the same studio and then you, yourself being there was unreal. And then playing Scala in London was quite amazing because I used to go down there to gigs. Touring America has been really good too.


TPAWB: How was it like for you to tour America, Jonny?


Rogoff: It was good. I met some friends of mine which are spread all over the country …


Bloom: ...and we got to meet his friends who are lovely.


Rogoff: It was interesting because I'm living here now and it felt like I'm almost touring America as an outside person rather than an actual American because I'm based here and then flew there and toured over there. That was kind of funny. I liked that time.


TPAWB: You're from a multi-cultural background. In what way did these diverse cultures impact on the songwriting?


Bloom: They didn't really. I think when you're doing music or even when you're talking about it you don't take into account someone else's background which might be different from yours. It fools to the back of your mind. I doesn't really matter. If you have the same likes and dislikes then you'll get on with someone. I don't think of Jonny or Mariko as immigrants even though they are. I just think of them as friends


The Pro Audio Web BlogBlumberg: I sometimes forget…


Dol: ...that we have rights (laughs)?


Blumberg: …that they are real humans.


Bloom: I mean they are getting in a separate queue at the airport and come out two hours later. That's the only problem with our relationship. We just zoom through. It's like “UK citizen, get in here” and then they hold up Japans and want to see their Visa to control how long they have been here.


TPAWB: When did you come over from Japan?


Dol: In 1995.


Bloom: Obviously we don't have the exact tastes. We have different tastes in music but there are a few common things. Social background does not really come into being in a band or into discussing music, if you know what I mean? I assume that music still has the same impact on you regardless of where you live or how you were brought up.


TPAWB: Mariko moved from Japan to London, Jonny came from New Jersey, yet you and Jonny met in Israel. Did you consciously capture this mode of travelling on the record as well?


Blumberg: No because we wrote it kind of next to our houses. And also, I don't really travel very much. I went on this really random holiday to Israel for five days. I just don't do holidays so that there wasn't any need to write about them. Max and I were really static, we were just sitting around.


TPAWB: Apparently, ‘Rose Gives A Lily’ made the cut three minutes before mastering. Why did you run that late?


Bloom: We had all the songs and this song has been around for ages. This particular song made the album just one thing. That was just an instrumental that was lying around. On the day of mastering, there was talk on having that as the interlink between ‘Sunday’ and ‘Rubber’ because it seemed a bit random and abrupt having those two songs together. Having an instrumental felt like a really good idea. I wasn't sure about it but then I listened to it on the way to mastering and then, at the mastering studio I made the final mix and then it just went from there. It was just an instinctive thing.


TPAWB: In an interview with Dummy magazine, you (Daniel) said that with Cajun Dance Party you were damaged at a very young age. What exactly were you implying with that?


Blumberg: I was probably just talking bullshit. That was like the first interview. It was probably just rambling about nothing.


TPAWB: Did Cajun Dance Party have any impact on the way you're working with Yuck now?


Blumberg: Well, have some experiences and act accordingly later. The Cajun Dance Party record came out three years later so that was a boring and unproductive time. So never want to do that again.


TPAWB: Why did it take so long?


Blumberg: We made it when we were fifteen, then we recorded it, signed a record deal and did stuff in between lessons. We were at school so we couldn't really do stuff. And we didn't really make any more music. And it came out three years after which I think is just boring. You write nine songs and then you wait around which makes you think ‘What's the point?’


TPAWB: Forget, the album of your side project Oupa is to be released in June. What is this all about and what does it sound like?


Blumberg: That's the same than the project Yu(c)k. I just made a record in January and said the record would come out in June and I'm sure I'll sort it out. It's May now. I think I might put it out myself on tape. I just thought it would be nice to put stuff out myself so that I don't have to go though processes. Just put it out as soon as it's done. I mean we've been on tour since I finished it. Now we´re back I'm just gonna get it printed the next couple of days.


Ines Punessen


End of Interview

Photography: © 2012 Ines Punessen