Interview by Mike.
The Yawns are a five-piece band from Funky Glasgow Now. This is their first Indietracks, which is a surprise given their tentacle-like reach into the Scottish Underground. Members contribute to other bands, including Battery Face and Copy Haho; singer Sean has a prodigious sideline as a sensitive lo-fi solo artist and also finds time to co-run the small independent CATH label. They have been compared to a number of other dusky, sparkling guitar-pop bands, but have a charm of their own. Lovers of emoticons and Buckfast, band members Rikki and Gavin took time out of their hectic and hedonistic domestic routine to share some time with the Indietracks blog.
If you could absorb one member from another band playing at Indietracks this year into your line-up, who would it be? And why?
Rikki: Probably Gruff Rhys, met him once in Cardiff, nice guy. Also all of Los Cripis, they’re great.
Gavin: I would like it if we could absorb everyone that’s playing and create some sort of giant musical Transformer.
What new stuff have you got coming up? Have you been recording? If so, where?
Rikki: We are doing a short euro tour in a couple of weeks which will coincide with us hopefully recording a new album in Dorentrup, Germany. If all goes well it’ll be done by Indietracks.
Dorentrup’s a pretty small place. Is there a reason you’re recording there in particular? And is the album destined for a particular label?
Rikki: Yeah Dorentrup is really small, our friend Michael Beckett lives there. When we played in Kassel last year he asked if he could record us. He has this big paper mill which he records and has gigs in. We’re not actually sure when it’s going to happen but hopefully in the next few months. No label yet, we haven’t really looked into that, we’ll see how it goes. The last album we just released it ourselves so maybe we’ll do that again. Who knows? Not me.
Gavin: Michael makes great music under the name kptmichigan and has also played in some of our other fave acts like Schneider TM and The Beautiful New Born Children. We love him and he is the perfect choice!
Are you planning any surprises for the audience at Indietracks? A sneaky cover, perhaps?
Rikki: I’d really like to do a cover, we did a cover of The Clean once but didn’t really know it. Maybe Diana Ross or Snow Patrol. Something from within.
Diana Ross was blessed with access to some great songs thanks to lover, and Motown boss, Berry Gordy, so there’s plenty to choose from there. I’ve always fancied an ‘Upside Down’ medley. Using the Diana Ross, Magazine and Jesus and Mary Chain versions.
Rikki: Yeah, Upside Down is great, never heard the Magazine version, is it good?
I’ll send you a copy.
Gavin: The Mary Chain version definitely has one of the most enjoyable guitar riffs to play! Perhaps an entire set of train related covers? Crazy Train, Train in Vain, Midnight Train to Georgia. We’re open to suggestions.
Where are you all based?
Rikki: We are all based in the Southside of Glasgow right now, in the same flat, but Sean and Stuart are moving in together soon.
Have you ever attended Indietracks in your ‘civilian’ alter egos?
Rikki: Never. Played a gig in Derby before but that’s as close as I’ve been.
It’s fantastic. I went for the first time last year with the family. Just did the one day. Saw lots of bands that were completely new to me and The Pastels for the first time since March 1989. (I am old). It’s got a great atmosphere; the food is just the right side of expensive and the beer tent is curated by CAMRA.
In many ways it’s easier to get music into people’s hands, heads and ears these days, but is there a reverse knock-on that it’s more difficult to make even a small amount of money? Not only because people don’t always pay, but because there’s so much of it out there?
Rikki: Yeah, I think it’s more difficult, especially if you’re a fairly unknown band. We once got paid £6 for a gig. We’re pretty bad with money. Websites like Bandcamp and stuff are a big help though.
Gavin: We’ve never been against people getting our music for free. The more the merrier in my opinion. But yeah, money can be useful sometimes… to swim in, Scrooge McDuck style. He made it look like great fun!
What’s the largest amount of money you’ve ever found?
Gavin: I once found a £20 note on a pharmacy floor when I was around 14. I didn’t hand it in and felt guilty until I spent it. Then I felt great.
Rikki: Not sure, maybe a tenner. Once lost £55 though, I ran back to see a twenty majestically floating over a river. It was tragic ;-(
You should write a song about it. Where do The Yawns sit on the serious/stupid axis of music?
Rikki: I think we’re probably pretty close to the middle of the axis. We aren’t very serious but we don’t try to be stupid.
I think the question itself places me further up the stupid axis.
Gavin: There’s a fine line between stupidity and genius 🙂
Have you ever ridden on a steam train? Will you be tempted to at Ripley? There’s a bar on board if that helps sway you.
Rikki: Me and Gav went on The Jacobite Harry Potter train when we were awkward teenagers. Probably didn’t appreciate it enough at the time. Will definitely be going on the one at Ripley. Absofruitly. Do they have Buckfast?
They have some top quality real ales, not sure about Buckfast though. A word of caution, though. Don’t impulsively decide to jump on the train any time near when a band you might want to see are playing as you’ll need to wait for the train to return. Happened to me last year.
Gavin: Impulsive decisions have always been our downfall.
Ouch. Thank you.