Interview: The Yossarians

Article published: Thursday, October 24th 2013

The Yossarians seem to have been gigging in Manchester for a few years now. Whether it’s in a regular gig venue or lifting the roof off the temporary OK Café as the audience dance around them, their name is synonymous with fun, upbeat psychedelia and folk-rock jives.

The Yossarians

The Yossarians

They’re due to headline our Friends of Mule fundraiser gig on Saturday 26 October at Pop Up Bikes, located on Corporation Street along the Red Bank arches, but first they chatted to us about music as a tool for social change, European gigs and mortality.

MULE: Can music prompt social change or is it merely a form of entertainment?

Music leads to all kinds of weird and wonderful situations. On the negative side of things, a record company can manufacture a band with the sole purpose of making millions whilst at the same time entertain millions of people. These followers will use those stooges as some kind of reference to how the world is and carry that perception on to other more enlightened people.

Fela Kuti sang a lot about simple white on black oppression but also the ignorance of the common African to their situation in the world and how to fight it accordingly. He used music to highlight social injustices whilst at the same time grooving the hell out of time. The messages singers send have been taken on throughout time – sadly money and politics prevent people from acting upon them.

MULE: You’ve shown support in the past for projects such as the OK Cafes by performing there. What do you think about those – what can they achieve?

Our first involvement with the OK Café was in such a perfect location for different young minds to frequent easily. The subcultures could thrive together, if only for a short burst, but the alliances would remain strong. Although we arrived fairly damp behind the ears, we soon saw the great things that can come of such a movement, both practically for the sake of our only planet and artistically where a space can be used without so many legislative confines restricting expression.

Jellyfish Hymns EPOur opinions differ on the vast number of opportunities the OK gave to us in all kinds of aspects of our lives so I will just say that it is vital that a good team of people come forward and begin the plot to carry on where we all left off. It will take a more cunning approach in the now-ridiculous political climate on such movements.

MULE: Your follow-up to the Jellyfish Hymns album has been almost ready for a while now – is it any nearer being released? What can we expect from it? How are you planning to put it out – self-released or through a label?

For our album, an exercise in patience was well-learnt. An adventurous young man thought he could help us out. Unfortunately it didn’t work out. The album is having its finishing touches and will be ready to be mastered and put onto vinyl or CD or both very soon. We’ve recorded some more songs as a result of adding so much more energy to the sound and I think they’re our best recordings yet.

As for labels, we’ll see who’s interested when the time comes. We don’t go much for the ‘making friends to influence people’ as a group. People want to buy our records, so we’ll see who wants a piece. In this guise we are too honest and though that may not attach us to a prosperous scene, not many bands get to experience the motion and love, death and weirdness we’ve found as a group.

Manchester Mule fundraiser event flyerMULE: You’ve often travelled to mainland Europe for gigs – do you think this is easier or more difficult than finding gigs in the UK, and why? Where have been your favourite places to play?

Our members played all over Europe in other bands as well as this one. I think there’s something very liberating about the use of the English language in a song that just rips structure and form and sends people crazy. I’m always surprised that most bands in Manchester have never been away, even self-funded, to test themselves and the world beyond. So many professional bores and contrived and unworthy approaches to letting people know your music exists.

It’s not easy unless you’re open to it all. At least we get well-paid off the island. Over here, musicians are rinsed by promoters and club owners for many reasons, not just the lining of their pockets. They are slaves to law and legislation and breweries themselves. Balls to most of them. A good band should put on gigs themselves in interesting spaces.

We love Picardie and it loves us back. We love Hamburg and it loves us back. Individually we could add many more patches on this Earth. Yet we will remain in Manchester until the tanker explodes.

MULE: Which other bands do you look up to locally?

We love the band Salford Media City. Grimey funk chanting. The joke is never lost with these guys. Oh Howl: proof that melody can fall from someone’s mind as often as the rain pours. There are so many good bands but all the agendas seem conflicted so I ain’t mentioning anyone else.

MULE: What are your next ambitions for the band?

As for the future, mortal men will expire. The dumbstruck artist’s everlasting love will curl up, safe from exposure. Other than help realise the world for one another, we just want to make records like any other band with the cold and hard perfection of a dream.

Ian Pennington

The Yossarians have a new album in the pipeline and are set to headline the Friends of Mule fundraiser event on Saturday 26 October 2013.

More: Culture, Music


No comments found

The comments are closed.