Fuzz-pop trio The Yada Yada Yadas’ second single ‘Woke Up Strange’ is all angular guitars and lo-fi, hook-filled vocals, showing off the band’s love for the likes of Dinosaur Jr and Pavement. They’ve just dropped a new one, too – ‘Seven Years’.
Hey Mark, how did you lot meet and decide to form a band, then?
Me and Harley, the guitarist, have played in bands together for a while, and a little over a year ago we decided it was time to start something fresh. This is the first time I’ve ever fronted a band, I’ve always been sat behind the drums in the past, so in turn, I saw The Yada Yada Yadas as a chance to live out my own creative vision, and take control for once. There was a very clear Dinosaur Jr, Pavement, Weezer blueprint laid out from the very beginning.
We’d seen Liam playing bass with other bands in the past, so we decided to poach him, and Stephen the drummer responded to an online ad.
Did you grow up in a musical household, when did you first realise you wanted to be a musician?
I didn’t grow up in a particularly musical household, but my family were (and still are) very supportive of my musical endeavours. I first started playing drums around the age of 9, but it was around 15 when I began playing guitar that my interest in music picked up. Myself and Harley went to school together, and at that time indie had hit the mainstream, so the guitar was a very popular instrument. There’s a video hidden deep within YouTube of us playing Ozzy covers really badly around that time!
What’s Durham like for up-and-coming bands? Are there lots of opportunities?
There’s not a lot going on in Durham musically, but in the surrounding towns and cities like Newcastle, Middlesbrough, Stockton and Darlington there are some great nights. The Kids Are Solid Gold have been good to us, and they put on some fantastic shows in the North East. We did a TKASG show a couple of weeks ago at The Georgian Theatre Stockton opening for The Xcerts. Little Buildings in Newcastle is a venue I absolutely love too, it’s basically a rehearsal room with a bar, but the atmosphere is always great.
What’s been the highlight of your time in The Yada Yada Yadas so far?
Doing to ‘60 second CV’ for Steve Lamacq on Radio 6 Music after the release of [debut single] ‘Oceans’ was fantastic, it was a really big opportunity for us. Stockton Calling was also a lot of fun last year, so it’s great to be returning again.
We hear you have a new EP coming – what can you tell us about it?
We’re just figuring it out at the minute. We’re currently releasing a steady stream of singles, and it’s difficult to commit to a batch of songs to release together. The tracks that are coming out right now I consider ‘old’ songs, just because the process of writing, recording, and then releasing takes so long. But hopefully, by the end of the year, we’ll have the EP out there, which I’m hoping can be a mixture of ‘old’ and ‘new’, but most importantly a definitive realisation of the band’s musical intentions.
Do you have a dedicated writing, recording or practice space?
I do a lot of early demos at home in the basement, which is where a lot of rehearsals take place. Our rehearsals are often split between me on my own, me with Harley, and then the full band. Because of our style of music, it takes a while to get the two guitar parts working together.
All of our recordings are done in at Blast Recording Studios in Newcastle with Thom Lewis. He’s our fifth Beatle.
How do you approach writing a new song, where do you look to for inspiration?
Most of the time it’s a bit of a jigsaw puzzle. I’ll start working on something I like and then begin to revisit old ideas that didn’t quite work out in the endless voice memos on my phone to fill in the gaps. But sometimes I sit down with the guitar and just play a new song all of a sudden out of nowhere.
Sometimes I like to play little games to get the creative juices flowing. For example, I’ll imagine that someone like Pavement are releasing a new single, and I’ll try and play this imaginary song. Other times I’ll flick through Spotify looking at song titles without listening to the music, and play what I think the song is going to sound like.
What would you most like to achieve with the band?
I’d love to do all of the typical things everyone wants to do like play on the Pyramid Stage and live in a giant purple mansion, but in a realistic world, I just want to connect with an audience for the music the band is making.
What are you working on at the mo? Do you have a busy summer ahead of you?
I’m always working on new material. Some of it is doubling down in the more slacker and surfy direction of our first single ‘Oceans’.
As for gigs, we’ve got a lot of Northern festivals coming up in the summer like Evolution Emerging, Stockton Calling, Music Box, and Canny Fringe.