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Interview: Yuck

Words by Scenewave Australia - Published on October 14, 2013

Yuck are a band that before being contacted about them, I knew very little about. After hearing their first record, this really surprised me. Their sound is amazingly raw and pure, and right up my alley. They’ve got a pretty fascinating story also, whereby they’ve decided to carry on after the departure of their lead singer Daniel Blumberg (a la Joy Division to New Order – admittedly not anywhere near the same circumstances…) and Max (former lead guitarist) is now leading the band. They’ve just released their second record Glow & Behold and we caught up with Max to chat about it.

SCENEWAVE: Max, the new record is out very soon and I’m absolutely loving it. How’s the feedback been your end?

MAX BLOOM: Well it’s quite nerve racking and scary showing your work to the world. People seem to like it so far.

SW: Were there nervous moments post-Dan’s departure or did you know that it would turn out well? Do you feel like there was a weight on your shoulders after Dan leaving the band?

MB: I was confident in what I had done. I believed that the songs were good and that I was making a good album. I guess why would I make it if I didn’t think it was good. I wasn’t really concerned with peoples expectations. We recorded the album which was a huge accomplishment. If people like it, then that’s a bonus. I guess that I want people to like it but that’s a bonus, and definitely not the main thing for me.

SW: Has taking over lyric writing duties made it a more personal record for you?

MB: Yeah its more personal. The first album was just pure excitement for us; a very intense period of musical discovery. I was totally in a different place in my life making this album and naturally this will be more personal, yeah.

SW: How has it affected the way you write the music?

MB: In terms of songwriting, it was written in more or less the same way as the first record, like I did all the music and everything, and eventually just did the vocals. It didn’t really feel like an adjustment songwriting wise. I was doing what I had always done. In terms of guitar playing, with me and Ed, I play lead as much as possible and then when it’s too hard, he plays lead.

SW: Was stepping up as frontman something you were ready for? Did that feel like a natural move or was that forced in any way?

MB: It was the natural thing to have happen really. Anything else would’ve just felt wrong. I find that when you write the music the lyrics kind of just happen… sort of like you start singing along and then they come naturally when making the music. It didn’t feel like I was stepping up to become frontman; it felt quite normal. I guess that stuff like playing live felt normal and I guess I didn’t feel like a frontman. I don’t think people pay special attention to me; they pay equal attention to the whole band. Yuck is definitely a band thing where there isn’t one standout dude.

SW: You were never going to go down the INXS road lets be honest…

MB: Na that would’ve felt absolutely rubbish.

SW: What has it been like to play live?

MB: Well we’ve been playing a combination of old and new. The reaction has been great. Playing songs from the first album is strange because it’s different now. Although it’s mostly the same people playing, the energy is completely different because we’ve got a new guy in the band. His personality behind what he’s saying is making the energy of the band sound different.

SW: Is it weird to play and sing Dan’s songs?

MB: Playing old songs is interesting because it doesn’t feel like that much has changed but it feels a lot more confident and natural. I guess it’s pretty fun. The new stuff has been great to play as well. The old stuff is like we’re playing it for the first time… new and exciting again.

SW: It must be bizarre singing another persons lyrics…

MB: I thought it would be bizarre at first but it hasn’t been at all. It’s quite unique and it sounds and feels different. It’s hard to explain.

SW: As a huge My Bloody Valentine fan, I love “Rebirth”, were you listening to much Loveless at the time of writing that one?

MB: I used to listen to a lot a few years ago. It’s interesting because that song wasn’t directly influenced by MBV. But there were a few bands that I was really obsessed with making the first album, MBV being one of them. I don’t really listen to them anymore, but it had quite a profound effect on me to the extent that you can still hear echoes of that influence on this album. I’ve been very influenced by them guitar wise, and that comes through even though that song itself wasn’t directly influenced by them.

SW: What were you listening to while writing Glow & Behold?

MB: I dunno, it wasn’t really that specific and the it went through a lot of changes. It was written across such a long period of time (2 years), and I was intensely into The Zombies when i was making it. Also Grandaddy, Elliott Smith, etc.

SW: You recently covered “Age of Consent” by New Order. Did you draw the same comparison between Joy Division to New Order, and was it supposed to be symbolic in some way, as we did?

MB: I mean yeah I wanted to do a cover and cover something like an electronic song or something cool like that. Something that would be interesting for our style. New Order are one of my favourite bands, and “Age of Consent” is one of my favourite New Order songs. It was a real band song, and I felt we could do a good version of it. At first it didn’t go beyond that, but after we did it, my friends told me it was quite appropriate considering New Order had also lost their lead singer, obviously under completely different circumstances. I never realised that, so it was sort of a nice little discovery. I wasn’t really thinking about that at the time.

SW: I assume Dan didn’t call the next day and said ‘Wtf, I’m not dead man, what’s going on!?’

MB: Haha no nothing like that.

SW: Do you get more out of the legit groupies hanging round after the show or the dudes hanging around after the show asking what gear you use?

MB: Haha I mean to be honest I don’t really think we get groupies. I think if anyone comes up after the show and say they enjoyed it, that’s really great, and it’s a nice feeling of accomplishment if people say that they enjoyed it. If they want to ask about gear, i am always down to have that conversation.

SW: If you could curate a music festival and you could pick any artists alive or dead, who would you chose?

MB: Headlining the dance tent would be Orbital and Aphex Twin, then on another stage I’d have Grandaddy, Elliott Smith, Scott Walker, Burt Bacharach, Shellac, and Chic featuring Nile Rodgers.

SW: You’re supporting the Pixies, that’s awesome. Are you stoked about that?

MB: It’s a huge honour; they’re a massive influence on me. They are one of my favourite bands and I was so happy when they asked us.

Yuck’s second album Glow & Behold is currently out through Universal Music Australia.



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