Here's a feature I did on Yeasayer for JamBase:
In the midst of Yeasayer's tour rehearsals, JamBase spoke with guitarist, multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Anand Wilder about the creation of Odd Blood, the band's expansive sophomore studio effort, to be released February 9 on the Secretly Canadian imprint. Odd Blood is an explosive, groundbreaking good time that will rattle the brain and move the body ("keep your feet, feet sliding to the side, to the side"), and could inspire some copycat attempts down the road. Although some of the singular influences like Pink Floyd, Depeche Mode, a number of '80s dance bands, Genesis and MGMT are prevalent, it's safe to say that you've never heard anything quite like Odd Blood. The band has worked hard to "combine a lot of different elements to create something that's original, something very different [from 2007's All Hour Cymbals], and something that would still be Yeasayer," as Wilder told us. From the austerely Battles-esque first track "The Children" to the rousing "Ambling Alp" and on to "Rome," Odd Blood runs a new kind of gamut. Inherently pop music at its core, Yeasayer's new brand of Adventure Rock or Bizarro Art-Pop (you just gotta make up fresh genre names with these guys) is ground level innovation that defies expectations and invitingly beckons listeners to join them.
JamBase: Give us an idea of the creative process that led to the new Yeasayer sound and album.
Anand Wilder: A lot of the songs began as demos that we would knock off in a few days off from touring. A good chunk of these songs came about in 2007 and 2008. Then me, Ira Wolf Tuton [bass] and Chris Keating [keyboards, vocals] rented a house up in Woodstock, NY from this guy named Jerry Marotta, who used to drum for Tears for Fears, Peter Gabriel, Elvis Costello and Paul McCartney. He let us rent his house with all of his music equipment in it. Jerry basically let us set up our studio in his house with tons of gear and allowed us to use all of his drums, synths, and microphones, and I think that really contributed to the sound of this record. With this album we really consciously set out to do something very different from our first record that would still be Yeasayer. We would explore all of our different interests, and we wanted to accomplish a more direct sounding record with higher vocals and make it a little bit dancier.
A lot of the record was influenced by performing live the last few years. When the first record came out we didn't know how much touring we were gonna do, as we were a completely new band. After a year of touring, we kind of thought, "What kind of stuff do we wanna create that we'll be excited about playing live?" So, that kind of shaped the sound of the album as well. Whereas the last record was very hazy, very psychedelic, we wanted this one to be electronic, very computer-based - kind of sci-fi - more of a body record than a mind record, while still retaining some of the headier, trippy kind of vibe...
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Anand was one of the best interviews I've had, I didn't have to prompt him much to get him to run with it. Think these guys are going very, very far, very soon.