Interview: Max Bloom (of Yuck)

on April 28, 2011, 12:01am
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yuck fat possum thumb 260x260 Interview: Max Bloom (of Yuck)Earlier this year, London-based quartet Yuck solidified their status as indie darling and next-big-thing with a debut album that was named a Cos Top Star, and have finally invaded American shorelines after building a year’s worth of ecstatic word of mouth. What separates the music of Yuck from your typical indie rockers influenced by the late 80’s/early 90’s is how they spin a variety of these styles and sounds into something that actually feels fresh. Before embarking on their upcoming American tour with Tame Impala, guitarist and vocalist Max Bloom had a chat with Consequence of Sound about touring, dream festivals, Animal Collective shirts, and what’s next for Yuck.

So I understand there were some visa troubles with your first American tour?

We tried to get visas and then they must have put a typing error. They typed the expiration dates wrong on the visas, so they made the visas invalid. We had to miss our first gig, and then we managed to sort it out. We made it all the way to the airport and had someone at the American Embassy trying to get the passports sorted out, and then when we got to the airport, we realized all the dates were not correct and Mariko’s [Doi, bassist] passport was still incorrect. And, so, we had to try to think of all these different situations, like if we had to come two weeks late, because the American Embassy can take ages to sort that stuff up. Eventually, five minutes before we checked in, we managed to get on the plane, so we were really, really lucky.

At least it was all sorted out in time for South by Southwest, and your tour with the Smith Westerns. How was your experience playing in the US?

It’s really good. I don’t have anything to compare it to, other than playing the UK, for the most part, and I remember it was really fun. It was just really, really fun. Everything was kind of new and unfamiliar. So, I didn’t mind so much about the long drives, and the people are just having a good time. It was a really fun tour, and people were kind of responding, and that gave me an indication of enjoying it. I guess playing in London, like everyone kind of stands really still and glares at you, so you feel quite nervous on-stage. I guess it makes you more comfortable if you’re playing to some people and you know they are having a good time, rather than you think they might hate you.

What’s it like performing multiple gigs in one day at SXSW?

It’s not what I’m used to, definitely not. Playing four gigs in one day was definitely difficult. We had to carry our equipment around by hand around the roads and it was really exhausting. It was really nonstop because after a gig you kind of need a cigarette, or whatever, but we didn’t have time for that. But, I mean, it was really good. I wouldn’t complain about it, because it was really fun. Ages ago, I think bands played more than four gigs a day, so I don’t think it’s that big a deal. It’s what you’re meant to do if you’re in a band. The main thing is now setting up and getting from one place to another. We had the biggest gig we’ve ever played. We had that there at SXSW at this NPR thing. And that was two or three thousand people, and that was really exciting, and kind of special that in America we played our biggest gig.

Did you get to discover any acts while at SXSW?

Not really. I didn’t have any time to go see any bands, but I did want to see Times New Viking.

The buzz surrounding Yuck has been building since well before the release of your debut, and it seems a large part of that came from touring. What can our readers expect from Yuck live?

I think live, it’s like…I don’t even know. I guess I’m the wrong person to ask, because I can’t really watch us. But, I don’t know… On the album, I try to keep it to the basic elements of what we do, as much as possible; just two guitars, bass, drums, vocals. So, that’s not changed live. I think a lot of our songs kind of vary drastically live compared to what we do on the album, because we play together a lot, and songs adapt to play, but I don’t really know what we’re like. I hope we’re not that bad.

I hear good things.

Oh. Okay, then.

Thumbnail photo by Heather Kaplan.

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