INTERVIEW: Yes Plant | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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North East electronic music outfit Yes Plant are a quartet consisting of Matthew Jameson, Adam Tyson, Jake Anderson and most recent member Alana Wan. They make experimental pop music laced with character and wit, which feels very unique compared to what’s going on at the moment. I ask Jake how they think they fit into the region’s current musical landscape.

I’ve always perceived Yes Plant, at least, to be adjacent to the existing scene. I think, at times, some of the stuff we’ve historically released was a little obtuse. But things are changing.”

In keeping with the world’s ‘pre-war’ outlook, Yes Plant take inspiration from the end of days for their sophomore album, From The Apocalypse. It explores themes of nihilism, rage, grief, regret and death through “interweaving narratives and characters.” Matthew tells us more: “These songs are as much literal recounts as they are deconstructions of these themes through the personification of survivors in an apocalypse. Death can be sudden; mourning does not just have to be those that you love; rage can consume you; hopefulness and optimism aren’t always the same thing. These are the ideas we wanted to explore, so we invented these three characters to tell these stories through, with this nuclear backdrop to help us explore that.”

Sonically, the album incorporates a variety of styles from the haunting minimal dance vibes of Adrenaline, to the ominous, cinematic Blade Runner-esque soundscape An End To The World That We Built, and the College-like synth pop sing-along Geopolitical Statement. This unrestricted approach makes the album feel as open and as boundaryless as the scorched wastelands the music explores. I ask Matthew if the genre-fluidity of the album was a creative tool that allowed them to express themselves more freely, or if it was to keep the songwriting process interesting.

These songs are as much literal recounts as they are deconstructions of these themes through the personification of survivors in an apocalypse

A bit of both…Me and Jake have two distinct different styles and approaches when it comes to composing music, we’re both electronic, but I’m more analogue, whilst Jake is more digital. So, we’ve got to work out how to bridge that gap, and from that these different styles and genres develop.” He continues: “Yes Plant is also a good outlet for approaching our music in a less serious way. So we feel more comfortable throwing a complete curveball into the mix, say singer-songwriter, alternative dance, darkwave. A genre that the listener perhaps wasn’t expecting if they’re familiar with either of our bodies of work.”

Despite the dark subject matter, Yes Plant still manages to incorporate their droll lyricism, as Jake explains. “I think the humour is only ever derived from cynicism and desensitisation. And yeah, I guess that is a reflection of the current state of the world. On one hand, I can write a song that has a narcissistic megalomaniac demanding someone’s genital to be removed from their body because he’s become this apocalyptic cult leader, but the truth is people with similar mindsets do exist, and from reading Nuclear War: A Scenario by Annie Jacobson, people who think like this are in these dangerous positions. So, is it really that funny to write a song where someone killed five billion people over coffee? Yeah, it is, until you forget how very real someone like that can materialise.”

Yes Plant release From The Apocalypse on 5th July. The band play Northern Electric Festival, which takes place in Newcastle on Friday 9th and Saturday 10th August.

 

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