Interview: Yashin

Back in Newcastle for the third time this year, Scottish rockers Yashin pull into the miserable Saturday rain for their penultimate gig of the year. George catches up with the sextet’s vocal duo, Kev Miles and Harry Radford, for a chat about the bands new album making it’s appearance next year, a BIG tour, and… a plunger?

George: Can you say your names, and what you do in the band?
Kev: Ladies first…
Harry: My name’s Harry Radford, I sing in Yashin.
Kev: I’m Kev, I scream and make failed attempts at singing at times. [laughs]

George: Does the name have any influence from the Soviet goalkeeper? (Legendary sticksman Lev Yashin)
Kev: [laughs]
Harry: It does, actually! Our guitarist’s name is Paul Travers, and in school when he played football people called him Trev, then people started calling him Lev, then people started calling him Yashin, ’cause his name was Lev Yashin.
Kev: So, in a kinda gay, roundabout way, our guitarist named the band after himself! [laughs]
Harry: Usually, for press things, we just lie and say it’s Japanese for ambition and shit, I dunno if it means that, but that’s the actual truth.
Kev: Our Myspace URL had to be changed to /theyashin because some Japanese kid, fourteen years of age has myspace.com/yashin on it’s own, so it’s obviously got some bearing to the Japanese language, but to what extent, I don’t know. [laughs]

George: How’s the Flash Your Yash Tour been so far?
Harry: Yeah, awesome, man! It’s been really good. The shows have been really, really good, we played some random places that we’ve never been before, we played a place called Kettering, which was a bizarre place, but It was a really fun show, loads of kids turned up to it, but I got tonsillitis, and I got tonsillitis on our last headline tour…
George: Was Kettering the Irn Bru thing?
Harry: Yeah, yeah It was, man!
Kev: The Irn-Brutal all-dayer!
Harry: That was the only downside, that I got tonsilitus, but I’m all better now.
Kev: We got to play with a lot of bands, like Kenai, was it Colchester? Colchester was really cool, Shadows Chasing Ghosts, and Don Bronco, and stuff like that, it was decent.
Harry: Go:Audio…
Kev: Go:Audio, as well, that was really cool.
Harry: We got to do one of the Guitar Hero tour dates, that was cool man, they had like Playstations and X-Box’s in the dressing room, and the bands were playing their own songs on the game!

George: Did you notice that Kerrang! censored your tour poster?
[Both laugh]
Kev: Yes! When we made the tour poster, I felt more sorry for the photographer, we’ve all seen each other in the scud before, it’s nothing new to us, but the photographer showed up and we were like, the theme for this photoshoot is gonna be like, mass orgy, you just walked in on us and snapped a photograph…
Harry: We were actually butt-naked in that, we were actually full-on naked. [laughs]
Kev: We drew lots, to see who was gonna get a bit of paper, six guys, five bits of paper, and I drew the plunger, so they had to censor the plunger, because it was basically supposed to look like a knob! [laughs]
Harry: I’m gutted though, ’cause the plunger photo’s so much better, then they censored it to a big red ‘X’! Shame, man.
Kev: [laughs]

George: You guys seem to love playing Newcastle, how come?
Kev: Yeah, Newcastle’s like a second home, this is one of our favourite places, obviously me and Harry have only been in the band for coming up on a year now, and Newcastle’s one of the first major cities we played outside of Glasgow. It’s just good fun nights out, Krash, people here look after us, we’ve got a lot of friends here, and stuff like that, people to stay with, some absolute raving lunatics, but it’s always been really good, people have been really nice to us, we always get a lot of good feedback.
Harry: I think it’s like when we did that tour with Madina Lake and The Audition, the Newcastle show on that tour was ridiculous. [laughs] It was one of our favourite ones. I dunno, it’s just always been good when we’ve come here.
Kev: I think we knew we were gonna finish 2009 on two big shows, and this just happened to be one of them, the other one is the Yashin vs. Azriel show in Glasgow, which is shaping up to be something spectacular as well!

George: How’s it been for you guys since you’ve joined the band?
Kev: Wild! My life turned completely upside down, I went from one extreme to the other, and ended up living out the back of a van basically, Harry as well. Harry more than anybody, he’s been all over the world, born in Florida, moved to Singapore, ended up on the Isle of Man, and then eventually, he ended up in Glasgow. Me and him shared a flat for a while, it was really cool kinda getting to know each other in there, we wrote a lot of the material together just in the flat and stuff like that, so it was good because it could of went so wrong, it could of went the other way. The band auditioned for two vocalists, and brought me and him in, and we couldn’t be any more different to each other, we’re like chalk and cheese, but it just worked, and as much as we hate each other’s guts at times, it works.
Harry: For me, it could have gone really bad and shit, but when we started, we’ve only been in the band a year, but the first thing we did was tour Italy, and we came back and did the headline tour which was what, twenty-five dates? Then we got announced for the Madina Lake tour, which was like, 1000/2000 a night, and it was like “This is fucking insane!”, then we had a full European tour in the summer, then this tour, it’s just been fucking bizarre man, surreal.
Kev: The reception we got when we joined the band, like Michael Rice, the ex-frontman, he’s here tonight, he’s still really close to the band, we love Michael, and we’re so happy that the fans have received us as well as they did. They’ve left so many nice comments and messages and stuff, when the first lot of songs went up, it was quite a stressful time for me and Harry, people see the fun side like touring and stuff, but we had to come into like, a really well established band and write songs that carried on the legacy that Michael left behind, but also bring a fresh sound to it. Harry’s brought like a commercial sound to it that everybody’s embraced, and like I said before, it just works.

George: Will Mike ever make any one-off appearances with Yashin?
Kev: I think he said he’s not gonna do that, Michael’s started up his own kinda solo project, he’s doing a lot of acoustic stuff, myspace.com/michaelriceuk, his stuff’s really really good.
Harry: Not saying for sure, he might just pop on-stage one time, not saying that’s a definite no, but he’s just moved on.

George: (To Harry) Seeing as Yashin is primarily a Scottish band, do people ever come up to you or shout up in stage and question your accent?
Kev: [laughs]
Harry: Yeah, that happens a lot! They don’t shout, they come up to me afterwards, and they’re like “hey man, I didn’t wanna embarass you, but why do you put on an American accent?” and I’m like, “Because I’m American!” fuck!
Kev: We wind Harry up and kid on that his name’s Harry Bradford, and that we got it changed on his passport and he’s actually from the West-Midlands and not from America. [laughs]
Harry: People do say it, but fuck it.

George: The band’s sound has changed since you guys came in, it used to be more comparable to Funeral For a Friend, but now it’s got more breakdowns, gang vocals, stuff like that. Was it a group decision, or did it just naturally occur?
Harry: I think it just naturally happened, man, I think your opinion will change again when you hear the album, it’s still Yashin, it still has the Yashin sound, but it’s gone a lot more mainstream.
George: You said at Shadows (Chasing Ghosts) the other week it was going to be more poppy?

Harry: Yeah, it is. It’s more the mainstream side of things, more Radio 1, there are obviously still big beatdowns and gang vocals and stuff like that.
Kev: If I was going to say anything, people that have listened to any of the sampler tracks on MySpace, or recorded, the music was recorded in November last year, and the vocals were recorded in February, and that was the first lot of songs that we did. The impression we wanted to give was to come out all guns blazing, to show that Yashin was still very much alive, but throughout the summer, we wrote a lot of stuff with a different vibe, and the last four songs we wrote, we’re probably the most proud of off the album, and Hope. Hope was one of the first songs we recorded, and I felt like that song had a place close to us as a band, and we wanted to put it out as our first single, and sort of set up our stall, so that one’s out on iTunes just now, and the album’s gonna be out in January. The other song that’s up on the MySpace, people have been waiting around a long time for us to release some new stuff and not just sample tracks, so we’re sorry for holding stuff back, we put Let It Go up, which has been really well received again, we couldn’t of asked for any more.
Harry: That’s a full track as well, we keep putting clips up, it’s fucking annoying! [laughs]

George: You’ve supported some pretty big bands this year; Madina Lake, BrokeNCYDE, Dead By April, what’s been your favourite one and why?
Harry: [laughs] I know what Kev’s favourite one is!
Kev: Yeah, the Dead By April show was amazing. Like I say, me and Harry come from very different backgrounds, in terms of music as well, and I like the old kinda greebo bands, upstairs I was listening to ill Nino, and some Machine Head, Deftones, Limp Bizkit, and Dead By April was right down my street so I really enjoyed that show. Stagedive Day Out was amazing as well, we got to play with Sonic Syndicate, We Are The Ocean, Andrew WK and Millencolin and stuff like that.
Harry: That was nuts, Millencolin was one of the first live bands I ever saw, like fourteen years old, I saw them on the Eastpak tour.
Kev: My old band supported Millencolin on the Eastpak tour going back years ago.
Harry: So, it was weird to go to their home town and play with them. But yours [Kev’s] is definitely Dead By April.
Kev: Yeah I think so. The Audition, Madina Lake?
Harry: My favourite, definitely The Audition, man. That guy’s (Danny Stevens) got the best voice I’ve ever heard. Such a good singer.
Kev: He didn’t change his t-shirt the full tour, absolute legend!
Harry: [laughs] He wore the same thing every fucking day, he didn’t give a shit! He wore the same thing, didn’t have a shower, smelly, man.
Kev: I tried to do it and got to like, four days and just couldn’t do it any more.
Harry: He’s like a pure redneck as well, he’ll just sit in the dressing room, chewing tobacco and just spit in the corner and just be like,”Yeah!” what a hero, good guy. [laughs]

George: A lot of people dislike BrokeNCYDE, what did you think of them?
Harry: Yeah, I’ve heard about that! In America, so many people rip them, don’t they?
Kev: When we were offered the tour…
Harry: The Audition were the first guys who commented on it, remember? They said that “Oh man, everyone hates them in America, but like, loads of kids love them.”
Kev: “BrokeNCYDE got kicked off Warped tour” In terms of band size, I mean, we’re doing okay, and bands like Bring Me The Horizon, bands that do really, really well, Kids In Glass Houses, You Me At Six and stuff… BrokeNCYDE were up there with like Green Day and stuff, in America, that’s how big they are, and that’s just too big of an opportunity to pass up. They’re actually really really nice guys, people tell stories about them but they were really decent to us. Again, that was a good tour, we don’t pass up any opportunity to play any Scottish dates.
Harry: They were nice, smoked a lot of weed! [laughs] That’s pretty much what they did, they’d like poke their heads out and be like, “Hellooo!” and pop back in.

George: Well, you guys are an upcoming UK band, who are your favourite upcoming UK bands, and why?
Harry: We Are The Ocean, definitely. I’ve got a lot of time for that band. Who else?
Kev: Azriel.
Harry: Azriel, definitely! They played the A Day To Remember tour, they’re gonna do really well, Shadows Chasing Ghosts, we’re really good friends with them, they’ve just come back from Australia and shit, they’re doing really well.
Kev: They’re going to India for a tour! Next month, or something like that. They’ll play stadiums, they’ll be like pure run down shacks and stuff, stadiums in India! [laughs] Imagine the rider!
Harry: You’d have to ruin that rider, ask for chicken balti’s and shit, and naan bread, I’d love that. Anyone else?
Kev: Flood of Red.
Harry: They’re not really upcoming, they’ve been going for a long time.
Kev: Flood have kind of re-arranged their sound and stuff like that. They’re doing really well. We like to see bands from our neck of the woods doing well. Don Bronco as well.
Harry: [laughs] He calls them Don Bronco, he knows they’re called Don Broco, but he just likes to call them that. They’re good, they’re fucking cool man, got a really cool sound. They did some Shikari tour dates, didn’t they? They’re funny guys.
George: I saw them with Exit Ten in March…
Kev: Exit Ten as well man, they’re really, really good!

George: Well, you’ve got an album coming out, can you tell us more about it?
Kev: Yeah, the album’s gonna be called Put Your Hands Where I Can See Them, obviously kinda double-barrelled in terms of our crowd, and if you get arrested or whatever, I’ve heard that once too often! [laughs]
Harry: Kev’s been in jail. [laughs]
Kev: The album’s gonna have eleven tracks on it.
Harry: The eleventh track is a bonus track, which has the Britney Spears cover on it, but we’ve re-recorded it, because the one on the MySpace is just a demo. But yeah, I love the album so much, when we were writing it, I had a lot of shit going on, so a lot of stuff went into it from me, so I’m really happy that it’s actually done now.
Kev: I think without sounding too big-headed, we write the music that we want to hear, so the album for us, we can listen to it over and over again, and it just doesn’t get old, it’s really fresh, but all the old songs like Mr. Hyde, and Fight Club, Dirty Slut and stuff like that, people always want to hear those songs again, so they’re not gonna be put in the back burner, we’re gonna keep playing them, but we wanted to record a whole album of new material, so we’ve done that, and it’s just got stronger and stronger, we recorded the album in stages, so it meant it’s not sounded monotonous, and we’re still writing, so even though the album’s ready to record, we’ve not stopped, we’re still steaming on with it, so hopefully for next year, we’re gonna keep writing new songs.
Harry: I think all bands that write an album should just, you should always strive to make your band, your favourite band, without sounding stupid, I want Yashin to be like, my favourite band, that’s the music that I love, y’know what I mean, and I really like Yashin as a band, which is nice! [laughs] They’re like, one of my favourite bands.

George: What are the song names for the album?
Kev: The working titles were… Interesting! [laughs]
Harry: Don’t tell him the working titles! Those are secrets! [laughs] We’ve got a song called Black Summer, a song called Get Loose, Get Naked, Stand Up, Let It Go, any others?
Kev: The album’s gonna be printed and pressed, and gonna be for sale, through itunes, and you can buy hard copies of it through our digital store, we’re very excited about it, everybody’s getting behind us on it already, we’ve opted for a self-release on it, so we’re releasing it through Yashin’s own label, there’s gonna be a video recorded in January, for the first single. Hope’s a kind of pre-release sorta thing, and the first single is gonna be coming around in February time, something like that, and we’ve got another huge tour in March/April, but we can’t say anything about it just now. That’s gonna be announced after the Glasgow Garage gig with Azriel.

George: According to Shadows Chasing Ghosts, apparently you guys are doing some dates together in January?
Harry: That was on the cards when you probably last spoke to them, but it’s been pulled now, which is a shame, but they had some stuff to do, and now we have some stuff to do, we’re doing a tour with another band, things that were said is that you can’t do any one-off dates before that…
Kev: We don’t wanna hit any areas twice in close proximity to each other. We’re going to Europe in February, we’re gonna be going to Sweden, and hitting Austria and Germany, and Italy again, which we’re excited about, because Europe was amazing the last time we were there.
Harry: Amsterdam and stuff like that.
Kev: Yeah, it was mega! But this big tour coming up sorta March/April time is gonna be full mega, can’t wait!

George: Well that sort of links in to my next question, what’s in store for Yashin in the near future?
Harry: Well, we’re going to Europe again, then we’ve got this two month tour of the UK, then after that, I dunno man, just some videos for the album, all the Scuzz, Kerrang!, MTV, Radio 1, and shit. Yeah, man, just promoting the album, playing shows!
Kev: We’re gonna be on the road a lot next year, Paul’s got an ambition of taking Yashin to America as well. The band’s been before, but we were more of a pub-league kinda band at the time, but Paul’s got an ambition to take us back over again and play some shows.
Harry: I wanna get a bus! A nice bus.
Kev: [laughs] You can drive it then!

George: Change the record, who should we be listening to?
Harry: Don Broco, Kenai, Azriel – if you haven’t already, Every Time I Die – fucking love them, Dead By April…
Kev: Dead By April, are gonna be HUGE.
Harry: They’re already huge.
Kev: In Sweden and Europe they’re massive, but I don’t think it’s quite hit the UK quite as hard as it did over in Europe. They’re right into the sort of Gothenburg sound, bands like In Flames, Nightwish, Children of Bodom, stuff like that.
Harry: Herbrightskies, Swedish band, we’ve done some tours with them. There’s some bands for you!

George: Is there anything you’d like to add?
Harry: …I shot the Sheriff.
[Kev pauses…]
Kev: …But you didn’t shoot the deputy!
Harry: Ahhh, yes! Good man! That’s the end of the interview! [laughs]

George Cannings.

Many thanks to Yashin, for more information on the band, visit: www.myspace.com/theyashin

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