INTERVIEW: Yes Nice

Hi guys, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

We have been just fine, the pandemic seems to hit some people really hard and others seem to benefit, we have been fortunate to have had enough to do to get through without too much changing.  We are super excited about the release of our new album which is keeping us busy these days and it is encouraging to witness the positive response.

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Few Words To Say”?

When your label listens to your album they inevitably pick the fastest song tempo wise and make it the single.  When you are writing and recording it is hard to have a clear perspective on what songs might define an album upon release.  “Few Words To Say” has grown on us, we aren’t so intentional in our writing to have something topical or relatable, you know, we just write and try not to over think things and have fun. We wrote this song sometime in 2017 and is weird to have it now be part of 2020 which is such a different headspace for people but somehow it kind of has some resonance.

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

Most of our songs are inspired during a deep trance like state that we like to get into while improvising, usually Scott on drums and myself on guitar or piano.  We write in a studio setting where all the instruments are dialed in so that we can record, if we like it, we keep the tracks and likely use them in the final recording. Even when we try and go back to re-record things we often end up just using the original takes because we are convinced they have something special. This song was one of those songs that just came together in a moment when we pressed record and let anything happen.

How was the filming process and experience behind the video?

Filming the music video came together in a pretty natural way.  We had this idea of getting our friend Kiosh, the main actor, to do some dancing because we saw him dancing at a party once and he had such a unique dance style and energy. We knew we wanted to capture Kiosh’s intensity and character for the video and so we planned everything around him.  Our director Jesse Nakano with Old Saw, in Edmonton, is an old time friend and has been coming out with really dope videos, lately, and he agreed to jump onboard with the project. We had the idea of capturing some kind of vague narrative of a dance romance but we kind of scrapped that in the end and focused on each vignette as its own aesthetic.

The single comes off your new album Eternal Flame – what’s the story behind the title?

The story of Eternal Flame as a title is a misunderstanding of Alberta’s Centennial Flame that is a real flame that burns gas continually on the legislature grounds in Edmonton.  Poetically it is like the album is taking that flame and running it through a bunch of guitar pedals.  We are not immune to the privileges afforded by our growing up in Alberta and we acknowledge our complicity in that very flame burning.  I mean, it is supposed to be a hilarious joke poking fun at the fleeting nature life and our music endeavours in general, you know, that thing when you express the opposite of what you are feeling with all the earnestness you can muster in that moment. Something like that.

How was the recording and writing process?

Recording and writing for us cannot be described well as “in tandem,” in our production process, although I love the word tandem so much that I thought I would include it even with its inadequate representation.  We have really found a way to meld these two processes into one; we are never really recording without also writing.  Scott continually labours to perfect the way instruments can be best appreciated in the recorded form.  The way most instruments sound in a room when played is completely reimagined for how they present themselves in recordings, and deciphering the best nuanced tones to enhance or suppress in the recording process seems to be Scott’s lifelong pursuit. We are definitely victims of the modern phenomenon of having the convenience of unlimited studio hours, as we have the ability to record ourselves, that we have developed over the past 20 years, but it also means that we can work on a project indefinitely.  Not getting things done quickly ensues. 

What role does Alberta play in your music?

Being a musician in Alberta we all have the same ambition, to make some kind of artistic mark in the world and then write a great country album.  Neither Scott or myself grew up on a farm, but we knew about them and they were never that far away from our social circles or current generation of familial ties. Heck, last year I got a call from my friend Clint Blair in Youngstown telling me he had to put down a cow with a broken leg and he asked me if I could be at his farm with a truck in an hour and if I was able to skin the animal and take it to a butcher. Free meat is hard to turn down but I didn’t have a truck. All this to say, Alberta will be proud when we finally get that country album out. 

What is it about the 80s that you find so fascinating?

The 80’s seemed to have it all, Prince was making some of his greatest music and according to some historian’s history ended with the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989.  The whole decade we were just mindlessly following directions in elementary school, we had no idea of the things outside of our immediate experience. I ended the eighties at eight and Scott at seven.  Recording wise the eighties were an interesting time when the transition from analogue to digital recordings was taking technological strides. Most of the instrumentation that is featured on the album is reminiscent of the 60’s and 70’s, Precision bass, Stratocaster guitar, Wurlitzer keyboard, 60’s sounding drums to an extent, but we also were able to find some Yamaha DX7 keyboards to incorporate into our sonic assemblage. In a way our album is kind of like as child in the 80’s listening to their parents music from the 60’s and 70’s and playing along with a new toy keyboard.

What aspect of society and politics did you get to explore on this record?

When we set out to make an album we didn’t want to be prescriptive politically, I mean we are making music and selling it, we are not the messiah troubadours for any political cause.  We literally tried to make some music with some of the loosest poetic license available and it is what is to be experienced.  However, if we ever give away an album be sure to know that we are a bunch of damn dirty hippies.

Where else did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

There are some loose ties and some tight ties to various references from poet May Sarton, Queen Elizabeth the II’s visit to West Berilin in 1965, the opium dens of Bombay, and the Fall of the Roman Empire, but this is not a Fifth Business situation.

What else is happening next in Yes Nice’s world?

Both Scott and I are involved a few extra-Yes Nice endeavours. Have you ever wanted financial freedom? We are developing a ten step program that will guarantee results for you living your best future.  Here is a brief overview:

  1. Understand Where You Spent Too Much.
  2. Perceive Money as your Friend.
  3. Make Financial Goals.
  4. Graph Your Spending.
  5. Keep Money for Yourself.
  6. Cheap Out Always.
  7. Buy Holidays.
  8. Reduce Debt.
  9. Create Additional Sources of Income
  10. Invest in Your Future

We are also developing a portfolio of water futures. Please inquire at the [email protected].

Listen “Few Words To Say” here: https://soundcloud.com/victorypool/few-words-to-say/s-6uqBuacO8lQ?in=victorypool/sets/yes-nice-eternal-flae/s-dQA9ma0WFLD

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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