Ahead of their show at Wharf Chambers on August 25th (with One Day, After School and Baker Island) we chat to the almost brand new YOI. Wharf will be their fourth gig but there is a fine pedigree among the 4 piece; we spoke to Chris Charlton and Chris Bonner, collectively most well know for their time in Pylon (and even further back, Chopper), about all things YOI.
RB: YOI is the first time you have both played together in a band since the legendary days of Pylon – what’s changed, and what’s the same?
CC: Chris and I have continued to work on music together post-Pylon but its great to be playing in a band with him again. We’ve been mates for 20 odd years now and so know how each other work and we continue to push each other creatively. Whats changed? Having young mouths to feed is a balancing act at the best of times and so I now appreciate how it must’ve been for Chris in Pylon/Chopper days. We gigged fairly regularly in those days, even out of Yorkshire on a school night !
CB: I think we both have grown considerably in terms of waist sizes. I’ve learned how to understand electrical marine diagrams. I’ve also learned how to play the mouth organ which is extremely effective at making small children cry.
CC: I’m less involved in the local DIY music scene than I used to be but i still to keep up with what folk are up to. It’s brilliant to see pictures of their meals, cats and kids, oh yeah and bikes ha. It’s a different world now but the internet and social media do make it easier to keep up, even if you’re not as involved. Times change, people move on, do other stuff, some are good at keeping in touch, others not so but that’s life. I’ll always write and record songs, it’s what I love to do. Towards the end of Protectors I realised I needed to take a few years off being in an actual band and the commitment that brings. It wasn’t something i handled particularly well but it was something i needed to do and it did me good. I feel refreshed now and and am enjoying this slightly different YOI carry-on.
RB: More recently you’ve both been involved in other more diverse projects such as Shake Your Halo Down and Powered By Tofu , where do YOI sit in the songwriting spectrum for you?
CC: Its not something I consciously think about, I just write songs, demo them, see how they evolve. SYHD was my attempt to catch up a bit on those songs I’d written but for whatever reason hadn’t materialised in a band. It was also me clinging to whatever spare time i had whilst bringing up a young family. YOI feels like the right band at the right time for me and so is my first port of call for tunes, if they don’t feel right at practice then I sometimes try and rework them at home in a different style. I’ve got a couple of more twee country ditties on the go with SYHD and Kerry Ramsay on vox. YOI feels rockier at the minute but I’ve always got a few ballads brewing! It’s also been a while since I’ve been in a 2 guitar band and I’m enjoying having Dean on board, he’s another very creative individual which has been great in the practice room and in the studio.
CB: Charlton seems to churn out incredibly catchy tunes at a ridiculous rate – he always has. I guess in YOI we’re having a go at songs we may not have felt confident enough to play before in other bands.
RB: What are your plans for the next 6 months?
CC: We just recorded our first couple of tunes last week with Jamie Lockhart and Rob Slater at Greenmount in Leeds, so we’re just thinking about what to do with them. I really like the idea of doing the same every 3 months or so, keep the ball rolling instead of waiting 2yrs to do an LP. I’m writing new songs all the time and so we’ve got 5 or 6 contenders waiting in the wings to practice and consider for recording. We’ve got a few gigs lined up too, Fri 24th Aug at WC with ODAS and Baker Island and we’re looking forward to playing the Xmas Out Of Spite all dayer at the Brudenell on 12th Dec.
CB: Writing, practicing, playing and recording as much as we can feasibly fit in to our lives. After recording at Greenmount (which was brilliant and was the best studio experience I’ve had) it’d be great to get back recording soon. And in September I’m skippering my boat down the tidal river Trent. If you see me with an anchor tattoo, it went well.
RB: How important is the live show for YOI?
CB: I went to watch Onsind play at Wharf Chambers the other night. The crowd really connected with the band in a way you just can’t replicate in a non DIY environment. We’re really lucky to be close to such a great venue – it’s run by ace people and there’s a real sense of community. There’s loads of amazing bands up north at the moment.
CC: If I’m honest I’ve always preferred the writing and recording side of things. In the studio you can craft the song and hopefully get it to a point where you’re happy with the end result. I get frustrated with the variables of the live show, if I can’t hear everything it does my head in. If I can’t hear if I’m singing in tune or not it often spoils the gig for me. Don’t get me wrong I like the idea of playing our music to friends and folk who haven’t heard us before but it’s a bit of a battle for me. It’s probably everything to do with the singing bit tho, I’d happily just play my guitar loud for half an hour with my mates. A friend of mine once said that he didn’t think it was right playing in a band once you’ve turned 30 but I’ve found as I’ve got older and wiser I’ve learned to give less of a f*ck about what people think and not take it too seriously. Life’s too short man, enjoy it.
The Wharf Chambers gig on August 25th is Pay What You Can, more details here.