Yves Klein Blue Interview (Part 1 of 2)
Australia's band on the rise, Yves Klein Blue, answered a few questions BBBD shot their way. They're on the verge of exploding onto the music scene right now, so read this as it's their last testament as being an "undiscovered" band.
You guys are Australian, so I have to ask: what's the Australian music scene like in general? What about the Brisbane/Melbourne/Sydney dynamic?
I have no objectivity or external reference but I'm going to blindly say that it is very healthy. Everyone of those cities you mentioned has a different dynamic -- but it wouldn't be doing any city justice to sum them up in a genre, and I dare not try lest I offend someone. Suffice to say that whenever we arrive in a city to play a show we are always rushing out on free nights or after we play to see a group of some description.
How did you four come together? Any dramatic, exciting stories?
Truthfully, no. Its less than mundane -- we met in high school and university.
You could choose to believe that we were at one time all arch enemies working for different governments and during a tremendous gun battle on a glacier in the arctic circle fell down into an ice cave where nature, with a closed hand, offered up a simple choice: cooperate or die. During the 17 years we spent in the ice cave we developed a mutual respect, even love for one another. Then it gets a little hazy ... at some point we escaped from the ice cave and formed a band.
You've a very unique sound ... it's garage-y; it's straight up rock; it's proto-punk a la the Velvet Underground; it's Austrlian pub-rock; it's indie-pop ... it's so much all at once, but you put it together into one concise sound that's completely yours. So -- how do you personally describe your music? What are you trying to achieve with the sound?
First of all, thank you.
What are we trying to achieve? Um, I'm not sure -- songs are mysterious (they seem to come together of their own accord, I'm not sure as to the extent that you can direct them). We are all fans of older music, surviving music if you will -- so I think that comes into it. We want to make something classic, and interesting -- so we try to steer clear of anything obvious or cheesy, unless its absolutely necessary (although most of the time cheese is liberally applied).
I'm trying to dodge the question.
Well, its difficult for me to describe our music, I have no perspective or objectivity. I'd say its like a blend of old punk, 50's rock 'n' roll, R&B, gypsy jazz, glam rock, classic rock, ska, reggea, and indie rock. Or you could just call it indie rock I suppose (a conveniently inclusive genre).
And we're heavily influenced by the sound of a piece of toast hitting the ground jam side down.
(SHIT! NOW THERE ARE LITTLE PIECES OF DUST AND SMALL UNIDENTIFIABLE DRIED GRASS LIKE FLAKE THINGYS ON MY TOAST!)
Clearly there're a lot of influences seeping out of your tunes. Who're some of the people you most enjoy?
We really like... (audible inhalation) the Clash, David Bowie, Lou Reed, the Velvet Underground, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, the Beatles, Toots & the Maytals, Bob Marley, the Specials, the Cure, Kyuss, Queens of the Stone Age, Stone Temple Pilots, the Pixies, Elvis Costello, Kings of Leon, Dappled Cities Fly, the Strokes, Tom Waits, Fleetwood Mac, the Band and there are lots more, but that will do for now right? (Panting.) (Sound of a defibrillator being turned on.)
A bit of a dumb one here. If I said your singing voice sounds a bit like Carl Barât, would you be confused, flattered, or upset with the comparison?
No thats not dumb, its quite understandable -- I guess you could say I'm surprised (that you didn't immediately think of Julian Casablancas). And to actually answer question, I suppose I'm flattered because he's a pretty good singer. My "singing heroes" (as it were) (and if this was the bush you were beating around) are more like Bowie, Sinatra, Reed, and Casablancas.
Musically, where do you four come from? What sort of experience do you carry? How'd you get into music, playing in a band, listening, etc.?
Well we all have the obligatory early childhood stuff -- piano lessons, plastic recorders (the wind instrument, not a device that records the sound of plastic objects of course) etc. Primary school bands: tick. High School Concert Band: Sean, Charles, and Chris only. Angsty Teenage Nirvana/Blues Rock Bands: Michael, Sean, and Charles only (we are Chris' first band; I feel like there is a duty of care there, like I owe him all the cliche blues and stoner rock jams I had as boy).
Other than that we all learned to play our own instruments, to a large extent without tuition, there is not much formality.
We are keen listeners though -- I first started listing to music quite late so I have an embarrassing ignorance of the 90s. I first remember thinking it would be a fine thing to play music after listening to NOFX and Pennywise. I was quite a little punk rocker for a stint, I engaged in activities such as playing only power chords and skateboarding. I even shaved my head and went to Warped Tour ... I look terrible with a shaved head, my skull is by no means even.
So it was my spoilt punk friends who first got me into a band -- I was the singer because I couldn't play any instruments. But we didn't own a mic, so I was pretty superfluous.
I love your demos so, so much. What was it like recording them? Any particular process or did you just rock out for a few days?
Again, thank you. Its hard for me to believe that they are a couple of years old now, its actually very nostalgic to listen to them -- Sean had only been in the band for about two weeks and every time we listen to it he kills himself over all the mistakes he made (naturally we put it on whenever he is especially cheerful, just to bring him down to our level). We knocked them out -- no method -- in a studio call Alchemix in Wooloongabba. The total recording time was 8 hours, the only overdubs we did were the vocals and the solos I think, then we mixed it overnight. We did it for absolutely nothing, like maybe 300 bucks or something like that -- 300 bucks and a bottle of bourbon for the lovely Matt Whitehouse who didn't charge us nearly as much as he should have. I remember it was so exciting and I felt stretched, I was trying against all odds to study for mid semesters while doing the mixing. Acedemia was once again the victim I'm afraid (intentional misspelling ... lol).
At the time we had absolutely no idea, doing our new EP was a total eye opener, but I still think they sound pretty good.
What're the future plans? Is there an album in the works? Touring?
We have our first release coming out -- an EP, its called Yves Klein Blue Draw Attention to Themselves. It'll be out in April in Australia -- on iTunes as well but I don't know if that is international or not. But look out for it; I very much hope you get to hear it as we are very pleased with how it all turned out. Other than that ...
I believe the phrase "heavy touring" sums up our plans nicely.
Perhaps a real album in early 2009?
I salivate at the prospect however the details are all a bit uncertain at the moment on that front at the moment ...
(In other news, our [pretend] debut album entitled "?"!* is released metaphysically on the 31th of February when the moon is full. You can purchase it at all reputable frontal cortexes. But I wouldn't recommend getting it because it may or may not exist.)
Yves Klein Blue - Silence Is Distance (Demo)