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Yeti Lane - Interview

  by John Clarkson

published: 13 / 1 / 2010

Yeti Lane - Interview


Parisian group Yeti Lane has just released its eponymous debut album to much acclaim on the Sonic Cathedral label. John Clarkson speaks to Ben and Charlie about their band and the new album

The French group Yeti Lane has just released its eponymous debut album to much acclaim on the Sonic Cathedral label. Its follows on from their UK debut single,‘Lonesome George’, which came out on 7” vinyl and download also on Sonic Cathedral in October. Its three members, Ben, LoAC and Charlie, were all previously in the Parisian cult band, Cyann and Ben, and formed Yeti Lane when Cyann abruptly quit the group in 2007. While Cyann and Ben, who were signed to Groom Disques, the same French label as M83, were a space rock act, Yeti Lane’s influences are more diverse. Their music owes a debut to artists as diverse as Syd Barrett and Nick Drake, Kraftwerk and Pavement. Ben and Charlie spoke to Pennyblackmusic about Yeti Lane and their new album. PB: Your previous band Cyann and Ben broke up suddenly just as it was beginning work on its fourth album. Cyann and Ben were essentially a space rock outfit, but Yeti Lane seem to be as equally influenced by American indie rock, 60s psychedelia and electronica. Do you see Yeti Lane as being a reaction against the limitations of space rock and the break-up of Cyann and Ben? Charlie: That’s a reaction against the break-up of Cyann and Ben, that’s true. Actually there were some musical directions that we always wanted to explore, but we didn’t really try because we thought it was too far from Cyann and Ben’s universe. We all agreed that the next Cyann and Ben album would have been different, that we had closed a kind of trilogy and that now we had to make something new. We started to work this way, but the fact that the band broke up and that three of us continued as Yeti Lane just accelerated the process. We focused on the songs, and on the rhythms, so there are less epic arrangements and ambient landscapes. But no one can tell if the next recordings will continue in this way. We still like space-rock anyway ! Ben: Yes, when Cyann and Ben broke up, changes were already on their way. And the process has been accelerated at this time. PB: Each Yeti Lane song seems to be unique. Is that something that you work hard at, to avoid repetition and to make each song distinct? Ben: I think we just try to explore different musical colours. And each song is a new opportunity. Charlie: That’s also probably just because we don’t like repetition, but that was not an “official” target! I think that we don’t accept using the same tricks twice, so we naturally try to find different ways to achieve what we want to reach. But as we said, this time we had a lot of things to experiment, so it’s was quite natural for us to explore different directions. PB: How does the song writing process in Yeti Lane work? Do you each bring in songs or does it work in different ways? Ben: Me or LoAc bring in our own song and we arrange it all together. In that way, it becomes a Yeti Lane song, when it has been adapted by the band. Charlie: Once one of the singers has played his new song, each one of us participates in the arrangements. We try different things and sounds. We can change parts, modify the structure, add or cut some things. PB: Did the new album take a long time to write and record? Charlie: Yes and no … This time we wanted to record the songs as soon as they were written. Each time we had 3 or 4 songs almost finished, and then we booked a couple of days in studio to record. This first session was destined for the next Cyann and Ben album, but Cyann left a couple of days later. So Yeti Lane was kind of born in our recording studio, as we already were in the recording process. We decided to produce an album before playing any show ! We finally had two other recording sessions, one every two months, and then two mix sessions … So we can say that it took more or less six to seven months, including the writing, practicing, recording and mixing PB: Your first single for Sonic Cathedral, ‘Lonesome George’, is about the last surviving Pinta Island tortoise, which despite being 90 years old had five eggs discovered in its pen. From what do the bulk of your songs take their inspiration? Is it simply like this and from what you read about and see on the television Ben: Sometimes it's directly inspired from our own experiences and other times by stories we hear somewhere. Charlie: But even when it’s inspired by something that we have seen or read, as’ Lonesome George’ was for instance, it’s just a way to talk about something else, more personal … I think so, but LoAc did write it. He knows the best … PB: Your first language is French, yet you sing largely in English. Why do you do that? Charlie: It can sound odd to you, but with the kind of music we play, it’s also natural … more than 90% of the music we listen to is sung in English, and anyway this kind of music is not really popular here, so we don’t especially play for a French audience. English is the international language. And as rock/pop music is concerned, it sounds better than French actually ! Ben: I've always listened to English and American music. I imagine that it can sound pretty strange for English people, but this kind of music in French has not the same significance. That's the only point with the risk of not being so good as an English man could be... PB: How did you become involved with Sonic Cathedral? Charlie: We first discovered Sonic Cathedral when Cyann and Ben were invited to play at a Sonic Cathedral Party at the Legion, a couple of years ago. Then we met Nat Cramp, Sonic Cathedral’s owner, again at another London show a couple of months later, and we kept in touch. When we self released Yeti Lane’s first 7”, I sent him a copy, in order to let him know that Cyann and Ben had broken up, and that we had a new band now. He liked the music, and proposed that we release another 7”, which became ‘Lonesome George’, and he also wanted to listen to the album that we were finishing. PB: The cover of the new Yeti Lane album is beautiful. How involved were you in that and its making? Charlie: As we were in a self-producing mood, we also asked ourselves about the artwork. We were thinking of asking some friends to do it, but finally Ben wanted to try something. The 7” artwork he did was beautiful, so he started to work on the album’s cover. Ben: It's the representation of the music that we tried to express on the cover. We wanted our music to have a lot of colours so that's how the cover is. And as the music is a combination of classical and electronic instruments, the cover has been treated like this too. It is both hand and computer made. PB: You played various London dates in October at the time of the ‘Lonesome George’ single? Were those your first British shows? How did you enjoy the experience? Is it different playing to a French audience than it is a British audience? Ben: Those were the first British shows for Yeti Lane but we came over here several times with Cyann and Ben. It's not so different in France except that we can play louder in England without been reprimanded. But it's always a pressure to know that there are so many good bands in England. Charlie : Maybe the UK is rougher than France … As far as the audience is concerned, that’s not really different. The differences are more concerning the conditions. PB: The album has been out in France for a while. Now that it also out in the UK, what are your plans for the future? Will you be touring over here again? Charlie: We’re now working on new stuff, and it’s quite exciting. We’d like to record it as soon as possible and to release it, maybe as an EP. We don’t know exactly yet. We also have a couple of shows in France. And of course, we’d like to tour in the UK soon ! PB: Thank you.

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Yeti Lane - Interview

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