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Chris Keating from Yeasayer Interview (Part 1)

October 22, 2008


Earlier this month I had the great opportunity to sit down with sampler twiddler, keyboardist n singer Chris Keating from the Brooklyn band Yeasayer who had been touring our country earlier this month. He came across as this lovely gentile kind of guy but also had a few interesting tales to tell about life on the road touring and the over hyped nature that South By Southwest has.

The below transcription is part 1 of my chat with him when he was a guest on my radio show (plug, plug!).

Keep your eyes on njv for Part 2 later this week.
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PP: How have you been finding the reception from crowds to yours in Australia?

CK: Its been really good. It’s been really enthusiastic. Crowds here seem to have tons of fun. Everyone’s dancing and so on.

How do our crowds compare to the US?

You know it depends in the US. Some places are just really, really not good for us to play, like some places in the middle of the country aren’t too good. But it really depends, I don’t know. It’s just too hard generalise about countries and their audiences, really.

You only have played two venues here in Australia (Brisbane / Melbourne) so far. But I’d be keen to hear your thoughts on the venues here in Australia? It was the Corner you played at in Melbourne?

Yeah Melbourne was great the other night the Corner is great! They have this really cool restaurant. Anand’s guitar needed intonation, which I have no idea about to be honest. Something like some sort of voodoo thing on the guitar probably. Anyways the sound guy at the Corner decided to do that for us, which is something that we don’t usually get on tour. Aussies are just really nice!

All Hour Cymbals is your first record? What were you’re ideas about how you were to approach the making of this record knowing that it was your first time making a fully fledged thing?

It was a very chaotic record. It felt like that we had so many ideas going on. Stuff that we wanted to do that wasn’t being done. The thing I hate the most, I think it happens more with older generations, but it’s kind of “oh there is no more good music left to be made”. The idea that everything that is good has been done.

It’s become a cliche.

Yeah totally. It’s like, “SHUT UP!”. And there seemed to be just all these ideas coming out of everywhere. Ideas that I had, that I had been working on for years about different sounds I wanted to create. That was ultimately the driving force behind making the record. Trying to create something that hadn’t been done in that way before. We also didn’t have any parameters about what was to be allowed. Experimentation was something we looked into as well. Which is really weird for a band in our stage of our career.

In saying that though, we wanted to keep it in context of a pop record and I think that turned out pretty well. This despite us arguing a lot and a lot of chaos surrounding us.

I would like to know about the nature of Yeasayer prior to this album. There was a lot of talk and hype for example apparently after a performance from South By Southwest, and I would think this was when you was seen and appreciated a bit more by the masses. Tell me about the experience of dealing with all that?

Yeah everyone seems to say that. I seem to think South By Southwest gets a little more credit than it deserves sometimes. Not to knock it, but I feel that they have paid some powerful PR machine that they make or break bands.

Does it seem like that?

Well I don’t think that’s fully the case cause we went down there with nothing, really. No record or anything. We drove down there for 35 hour and all got very ill after some Vietnamese food we had in West Virginia. I mean there’s no Vietnamese people in West Virginia, so that was all a bit complex and we found that it wasn’t really Vietnamese food that we had eaten.

But anyway we showed up and played two shows. One was a house party with a bunch of friends and another one was a small show with 20 people. I think there was a single journalist there who liked us, which kind of furthered that talk you speak of. But then we kept doing tours and tours that weren’t good and shows with not many people turning up. That was more or less because we didn’t have a record. So we slogged it out a bit after that until people turned up to our shows to be honest rather than riding any sort of wave of hype or what have you.

Yeasayer – ‘2080’

Yeasayer website
Yeasayer myspace

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Alexandra permalink
    October 23, 2008 8:37 pm

    Awwww he sounds so lovely :D

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