Yashin have been out of the limelight for quite some time but far from sitting around on their laurels, they’ve been writing an album for the past two years. We caught up with them before their recent show supporting Skindred at London’s Brixton Academy and discussed what we can expect from The Renegades, the pressures the band have faced in the past to continually churn out new records and Harry’s strife being the only American in a band full of Scots (It’s all in jest really).
MOSH: You recently released the first single from your new album ‘Dorothy Gale’, which is quite a heavier sound compared to your other stuff. Is this something we can expect from the new album?
Harry: You’ll definitely hear some heavier stuff on the new album. We’ve always been a mixture, you know we really like our heavy stuff but we like our melodic stuff as well, but because we spent two years writing this album we just took a different approach on how to make things heavy and how to make things melodic without just doing, you know let’s just put in a couple *dudududududun* (mimics typical breakdown and laughs) Instead of just repeating like bubblegum pop hooks, to do it in other ways, so yeah you should definitely expect a lot of different things on the album but it’s still Yashin.
MOSH: How has the writing process changed this time?
Kevin: It’s changed so much, it used to be six guys very much individuals all wanting to do their own thing and that’s where Yashin kinda had that torn apart sound before. We really had a mix of everything whereas this time the band’s become united in a common goal because it’s been such a horrible couple of years in the lead up to this and writing this album has been a really difficult time for us, what with everything and politics and stuff going on behind the scenes, but now this time it’s six guys united and all pulling in the same direction. That’s where ‘Dorothy Gale’ kinda came from. It was a hard time for the band but I think that’s just one element to the record and that people are gonna experience something different this time around.
H: So in short it gave us a better, much needed approach to writing music.
MOSH: We noticed you took a bit of a break from social media, was that a purposeful move?
H: Pretty much, we just took a break from everything, like you know, bands nowadays I guess if you write a great record or whatever you’re pressured to churn out as many as you can to stay in the press, media and magazines. Ultimately, if you’re gonna do that we feel like the material is gonna suffer cause you don’t have any time to reflect on the songs that you’ve written and give the best stuff that you can do. So when we left the scene in 2012, we were headlining some of the rooms that we’re playing and opening on this tour, so we were in a strong position and we thought “Shall we just churn out another record?” and do that, or do we spend the time doing what we’re meant to be here doing, you know, writing meaningful music that we’re proud of, music that defines us. So if you’re gonna do something like that you have to take the time to do it, and we did.
MOSH: So does it feel like you’re sort of building back up again from where you were last time and that you dropped off the ladder a little bit?
H: Pretty much, we knew we were gonna drop off by just being out of the media but it was the choice of do we not drop off and risk releasing record after record quickly that won’t be as good, or you know…it’s a catch 22, we thought “What’s most important?” We don’t do this to be famous and just be in magazines – we do it because we love music and it’s our outlet. That’s the most important thing so we thought let’s focus on that the most.
K: I think we had to improve upon ourselves. When we wrote We Created A Monster it was an 11 track album, with an intro and stuff like that and when we finished it I think everyone was quite proud of it. This is probably the first time we’ve ever said this but towards the end of the writing process of that album, when we were pretty much scraping the barrel, we wrote just enough tunes to get an album out to make sure that we fell into that category. When we’d finished Put Your Hands Where I Can See Them we’d just come off of the Black Veil Brides tour. We were being pressured into going back on tour again and immediately needed something to release. We Created A Monster went out and yeah, 80% of the stuff on that album we were happy with, but this time around it was a completely different approach. It was 17 songs recorded for probably a 12-track album, so we had excess material we could use and pick the best parts of it, so the writing process was very much interchanging. We had to adapt very quickly but the end result is an album which is 10 times better than Monster.
MOSH: You do see that – bands releasing albums quickly after having a major success with one, resulting in a weaker follow up album in comparison, like Trivium’s The Crusade. It’s definitely a good move to take some time out between releases.
K: Yeah, Slipknot are the kings at it, they write an album, go and tour it and then they just take a step back, but when you’re a band of that magnitude you’re never gonna fall far away from the headlines. And when they do come back out after touring for three years, they’ll go away and do their own side projects, Corey Taylor does his Stone Sour things and Joey Jordisson did Murderdolls, then next minute it’s click, and everything is back in place again.
MOSH: Speaking of side projects, Harry you have your own solo project as well – does that allow you to clear your mind a little bit for Yashin, so you have one outlet for yourself and another for the band?
H: I did my solo stuff really because I knew how long the Yashin stuff was gonna take and I’m someone that loves being on stage and I love singing and performing. I’ve got a really eclectic taste in music. I love everything as long as it’s good so it just gave me an outlet to do something else and I knew that cause we have metal fans that people were gonna be like “What the hell is this?!” but you know…I didn’t really give a shit, I didn’t do it for people to like, I did it for me to just do what I wanted to do. If I did it again, even though I have no plans to do it again, it would sound completely different. I’d do something else, it might sound like Jimmy Eat World or Dashboard Confessional, I don’t know (laughs).
MOSH: You previously toured with Skindred back in 2012, is it nice to back on tour with them again?
K: Yeah, we played Pukkelpop Festival alongside them and we actually had a shared dressing room with them so it was a great chance to sit down. We were on quite early, Stone Roses played that year and I think Benji‘s quite good friends with the guys in that band, so we were all just sat there in the dressing room and it’ll go down as one of the best days of my life – it was amazing to see these guys and now they’re playing rooms of this size and it’s just unbelievable. They’ve always been regarded as that big festival band, like if Skindred are playing at Download you go and watch them cause obviously they’ve got the Newport Helicopter and it’s a big spectacle, but to see that now translate into a headline show, like bums on seats it’s amazing and I’m so pleased for them and so thankful for them having us out on this run, so it’s cool.
MOSH: So this tour’s been quite a long and intense one – have you had a chance to just hang out much on this tour?
H: Yeah, we’ve done a couple of DJ afterparty sets and things like that and hung out and had a few drinks. I think tonight will be good just to have the end of UK leg tour drinks in Brixton bar upstairs which should be cool. Everyone’s good dudes on this tour.
MOSH: Who would you love to tour with in the future?
H: I’d really like to tour with Of Mice and Men. I really think that would be an awesome tour for us.
K: We’d love to go back out with Papa Roach again, that was amazing. That’s a genuine friendship that’s been struck up over a period of two or three years, and it’s like sometimes you find that guys in bands only have music and bands to talk about, but we’ve got so much more in common with those guys then what people would regularly talk about. Harry’s got Jacoby on speed dial and Jerry‘s always on messenger. We’re both petrolheads so we talk about cars and stuff like that. It’s cool to have some common ground with these people, rather than just talking about music which can get quite repetitive and frustrating at the time, so those are two bands that we’d love to be back out with.
MOSH: Harry, as the only American in the band, do you ever get singled out by the other guys?
(Harry and Kevin look at each other – everyone laughs)
H: They love doing their best to mimic me. They always go “DUUUDE!” “Dude, where’s my in-ears” or “Dude, where’s the burger bar, dude?” They do a lot of that…
K: He doesn’t say dude quite as much as we do…
H: Yeah I don’t, but that’s pretty much it really… just mocking my accent.
MOSH: Do you try and give it back in return?
H: Oh yeah, I drop out the Braveheart quotes a lot, I make them say “Purple burger van” in their weird accent and stuff…
K: It’s mostly football chat that Harry gets left out on because we’re right into it, like the band’s split completely 50/50 between Celtic and the team that used to be Rangers, but Harry just gets caught in the middle. He supports whoever’s winning obviously cos he’s an American!
MOSH: Will you be playing any new songs tonight or are you just gonna stick to the old stuff?
H: We will be playing new songs tonight yeah, we’ll be playing three songs off the new album including our new single Dorothy Gale.
MOSH: So after releasing the album, what will be next for Yashin?
H: Hopefully we should be back on tour, but that sort of stuff is out of our hands, you know we’ve obviously signed this record deal with Sony and then we have an agent and stuff. We will do whatever is put in front of us, but that stuff’s out of our hands. We wanna tour everywhere constantly, we’d happily tour 300 days of the year! So, we’ll see!
Yashin’s new album The Renegades is due for release in early 2016. The first single ‘Dorothy Gale‘ is already out and available to download on iTunes.