- Posted on Mar 7th 2011 3:00PM by Emily Tan
Force Field PR
Their acclaimed self-titled debut led to shows all over Europe and the US and was nominated for the BBC's Sound of 2011 prize. Although Yuck have been to Austin before, the foursome returns to the city this month for its inaugural SXSW appearance. Spinner had the chance to talk to Blumberg about his favorite record labels, how they chose the band name and why he'll be poking fun at bandmate Bloom while they're in Austin.
Why did you decide to call yourselves Yuck?
We were playing our songs and just finished recording. We were putting our songs on iTunes and had to put the artist name, otherwise they would get lost. We just chose "Yuck." We thought it was a quite cool band name, quite funny.
You and Max were in Cajun Dance Party prior to forming Yuck. What direction did you take with Yuck that you couldn't take with your old band?
I wasn't writing with Max in Cajun Dance Party. I was 15 and wrote some songs, and it was a school band, really. We wrote lots of songs in a few weeks and ended up being signed and released an album a few years later. Creatively, it was only a few weeks of writing when I was 15 and then we released it. [Cajun Dance Party] didn't really write anything together after that. Then I started doing my own stuff, and then Max was doing his own stuff. Max wrote a song that I really, really liked, and then we started writing with each other and started Yuck.
Only half of the band is from London. Your drummer, Jonny Rogoff, is from New Jersey, while the bassist, Mariko Doi, hails from Japan. Why did you decide to venture outside the UK for members?
Mariko is in London. She moved from Hiroshima before we started our band, so we asked her if she wanted to start a band with us. Jonny is weird, because we met really briefly when we were looking for drummers. I couldn't stop thinking about him. We sent him songs that we had been recording. He really liked them and said, "I'm going to come over." He quit college and came over. It was really weird. We didn't think he would actually come over. He's the perfect drummer.
Who are your musical influences?
It changes quite a lot. From time to time, we buy records and listen to them and listen to them. At the moment, I'm listening to a band called Mt. Airy and that's really inspiring. I'm also listening to Red House Painters, and My Teenage Fanclub are a very inspiring band for us together.
Yuck has been compared to bands like Yo La Tengo and Sonic Youth. Do you feel that these bands have had an influence on you as well?
Looking back, we had a massive Yo La Tengo phase. I'm not saying that's ended -- I just mean that when you first fall in love with a band, you're just conditioned to it. Lambchop were also a really big influence. I love Yo La Tengo -- so good. In terms of shoegaze, I don't really listen to records in terms of genre. When I talk about groups of music, I'm talking about record labels like Merge or Domino or Matador. I enjoy record labels that have a sound or vision of what they like, and I listen based on that.
If you weren't in music, what would you be doing?
In my mind, Yuck are a touring band, and we're touring the whole year. One of the best parts of this is that it feels like a long time, but it isn't. Everything passes very quickly. When we started writing, I was working in a bookshop and every day when I would close up, I would go to Max's and record then watch a film together. That was one of my favorite times of my life. When I started the band, I stopped working at the bookshop. But it's all the same really -- listening to music, reading, working during the day.
How did you first fall in love with music?
I think it's three separate things -- listening to music, writing music and playing music. I always really enjoyed playing music so much when I was young, but I never really wrote songs. Now I'm all about songwriting. For me, writing is what I really enjoy, then playing. I was playing piano when I was little, and I really enjoyed that, then didn't really play much music until we started that school band. After I wrote those songs when I was 15, it just started becoming this thing I did all the time.
Since it's your first time going to SXSW, what are looking forward to most?
It would be funny, because I turn 21. Last time we were in Austin, a few weeks ago, Max and I had crosses on our hands. Max will be the only one in the band now with crosses on his hand, which is funny, because I can make fun of him. But I don't really drink, so I guess it won't be that funny for very long. I'm really looking forward to seeing bands, especially Times New Viking. I'm really looking forward to seeing them and hearing their new stuff, and I'm really looking forward to walking around a lot, because it'll be nice to stay in one place and just walk around and explore.
Catch Yuck's SXSW Sets on Wednesday, March 16 at Club de Ville (900 Red River St.) 1AM, Friday, March 18 at Kiss & Fly (404 Colorado St.) 11PM and Wednesday, March 16 at Stubb's (801 Red River St.) 8:15PM.
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