Q&A with The Yalla Yallas

Leeds-based alternative rock band The Yalla Yallas filled out a quick Q&A for us! They released their fifth album, What It Means To Be Human, on May 7th.

WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST IMPRESSION OF YOUR BANDMATES WHEN YOU MET?

My first impression of our guitarist Will was that I really didn’t like his previous band, so I nearly didn’t invite him to the first rehearsal and luckily for me he persisted in setting up a jamming session and we hit it off right away. Within a couple of weeks we were flying to Las Vegas and that’s when we really started getting to know each other. I remember we hired a car and drove out into the desert and listened to loads of music. Great memories. 

I met Vince, our bass player, in Bradford. Our friend Jennie told me I should meet this cool French kid who has just turned up. I instantly loved him. A hugely passionate punk rock kid who’d moved from a small village in France to a tough industrial city in Northern England in search of the English Punk Rock scene. I thought he was even more fascinating because of his Irish accent that he’d some how picked up on his travels. 

Grant, our drummer, started out as our producer. I think our former bass player Dempsey had done some electrical work for his studio and instead of payment Grant said he’d record our debut single. I’d been in a few studios before and I never particularly enjoyed it. It always felt like your time was up or people were half hearted about your work. Grant went above and beyond with us and still does, he’s believed in us from day one and we’ve always had a laugh. I totally trust him with our music and he’s taught me a lot, we now co-produce our music. I love working with Grant, even more so now he’s in the band with us.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE MEMORY PLAYING SHOWS? 

I’ve got so many. I love every minute of being onstage. I think playing Glastonbury ranks high. I remember playing on the Strummerville stage in the baking sunshine and it was packed and I came away a little sad afterwards because I thought what if I don’t ever get to do that again. It all went so fast. I remember meeting my friend for the first time Barbara and seeing her wonderful band ‘Barbarella’s Bang Bang’ play. We’ve ended up working together a few times and I learned a lot from her, she’s very encouraging. 

WHAT ARTIST WOULD BE YOUR DREAM COLLABORATION?

In truth, my dream collaboration is my band. I truly love them all and what we’ve created and achieved. I think if I wanted to learn something new from anyone, then I’d like to learn from Brian Eno. I’d also like to work with M.I.A., I reckon we could make some dangerous music together.

WHAT SONG ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF AND WHY?

Today, I’m most proud of a song called called ‘Velvet Prayers’ from our upcoming album. I’ve spent all these years writing lyrics and it’s the instrumental song that I wrote that says everything that I’ve ever wanted to say.

WHAT IS YOUR GO-TO GAS STATION ORDER?

Usually, if I’m on the road and playing shows, I like to eat sushi. Our last tour in Europe ended prematurely because I’d eaten too much cheese and pastry and my acid reflux couldn’t cope and it burned my throat out. Luckily on the last show there was enough people in the room who knew the words of our songs to cover me. They had me crying all the way back home.

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR NON-MUSICAL INFLUENCES?

I like to read, there’s a society called The Nexus Institute based in The Netherlands, and they’ve published some inspiring essays and books which get you thinking about the world we live in. They also arrange these symposium events with all kinds of people and great minds and hold these intellectual discussions about the problems in society and how we can solve or change things. I find The Nexus Institute extremely inspiring. 

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO YOUR YOUNGER SELF? 

I’d be wasting my time giving advice to a younger me. I was on a mission. No time to  be listening. Besides sometimes applying the brakes can be more catastrophic or fatal than just carrying on at full speed. Looking back can be dangerous too. Into the future. Keep moving forward and keep improving thats the advice to the future me.

WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS FOR THE YEAR? 

We’re looking forward to getting the new album out. It’s a sunshine album. Let that ride through the summer and then in the autumn/winter it would be great to get back to some no nonsense high-energy Rock’n’Roll shows.

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