It seems like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs are everywhere these days. They just performed on the MTV Movie Awards and are on the cover of this month's SPIN. Coming out of the NYC garage/punk scene, the group has been touring extensively around the world the last few years and making headlines and new fans everywhere they go. Brian Chase, the YYYs one man rhythm section, displays his sardonic New York wit and answers some probing, never before asked questions in an exclusive, no holds barred Hot Sauce interview.
(excuse me for a sec while I mop up some of the sarcasm from the floor...)
JD: How did you guys meet to form the Yeah Yeah Yeahs?
BC: I met Karen one day in front of the St. Marks bookshop. She gave me a tape of the first yyys songs.
JD: You guys just played the huge KROQ concert with The Strokes, The Beastie Boys, Bad Religion, Modest Mouse and others. How did that experience of playing in a big space compare to some of the club gigs you've done?
BC: the people at the back of a larger venue look smaller than those at the back of a smaller venue. the people at the front of a smaller venue sometimes look bigger than those at the front of a bigger venue but sometimes they don't.
JD: Funny you say that because I've noticed that the bands I've seen in clubs are MUCH taller looking that bands I see in arenas...Did you get to check out some of the other bands? Any favorites?
BC: The Strokes and Beastie Boys stood out from the rest.
JD: How cool was it to see yourselves on the recent cover of SPIN?
BC: it's like in the movie back to the future when Chirstopher Lloyd tells Michael J. Fox that no matter what happens he can't let himself in the past see himself from the future or else everything will get fucked up.
JD: When did you first know you wanted to be a performer or in a band?
BC: When i was younger i would dance in public. sometimes people would give me money but i never took any.
JD: Were the drums your first instrument?
BC: the drums were my first instrument. i took private lessons when i was around 6 years old at a dance studio on long island.
JD: Who are your musical influences?
BC: some influences starting with the hard 'c' sound: cage, crumb, can, chris cutler, chrome chrranks, contortions, crystals, coltrane, coleman, cash,
kecak. if you don't know what kecak is then i insist that you check it out.
JD: ok, besides those starting with the letter C, what bands are you listening to right now?
BC: Oakley Hall and Oneida put out my two new favorite records. Sightings is my new favorite live band. i really like kaito's new record. I haven't heard the new Ikara Colt, but their last record, Chat and Business, is brilliant. a new brooklyn alt-cuntry duo called Christy and Emily is pretty awesome.
JD: Who is the best band you've seen/heard that doesn't get the recognition they deserve?
BC: Oakley Hall, but just you wait.
JD: It can be a touchy subject, but what's your view on the downloading of songs from the net?
BC: the public should only have access to what the artists chooses to make available for free to the public. If I want people to have my album for free then I could, for example, put mp3s of all those songs up on my website. If I only want people to have access for free to select songs then I would only put up those select songs. If the public downloads for free that which the artist doesn't make available for free then the public is stealing.
JD: Yeah I think people often see it as hurting the record companies - some of whom are deserving - and don't realize that it hurts the artists. Most people don't realize that it is often quite a while before the artist themselves actually see any money for their work.
JD: What's the band's approach to songwriting?
BC: 1 part bourbon, 1 part scotch, and 1 part beer.
JD: ah yes, the George Thoroughgood approach...Where did you record Maps and your latest songs? Who did you work with on it?
BC: Maps, along with the rest of the songs from Fever To Tell, was recorded at Headgear
Studios in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Dave Sitek, who now plays guitar in,
writes songs for, and produces TV on the Radio, worked as producer for the FTT sessions.
JD: When do you expect to head back into a studio for your next project?
BC: We're taking a break starting in late August to clear our heads from the past two and a half years of being on the road. Once we're ready we'll start writing new songs and getting down to business.
JD: Sounds good, thanks Brian!
You can check out the YYYs on July 24 when they play the New York Summer Stage in Central Park with Devo and StellaStar.