the AU interview: Max Bloom of Yuck (London)

London based lo-fi rockers Yuck made waves across the blogosphere with the release of their eponymous debut LP in 2011. The AU had a quick chat with guitarist Max Bloom ahead of their upcoming Australian tour, and performances at Laneway Festival.

How did Yuck meet and start playing together?

It’s quite a long story but basically me and Daniel (Blumberg) were already in music together. We would sit down in my bedroom recording it. We both weren’t really doing anything much else at the time so we were writing together a lot and we came out with maybe 20 songs by the end of it. When we got to the stage that we wanted to play live and play the songs in front of people we obviously didn’t have a bassist and a drummer. We met Mariko (Doi) cos she was in London at the time and was looking for a band and we’d met her before.

So we went through the bass parts with her in my flat and it worked well. A few months prior to that Daniel had been in Israel, he had been spending some time on a kiblet, kind of like a socialist commune type thing, and he comes across Jonny who was there as well on his year off from school. They spoke about music for a bit and got along well. We always remembered him cos he was a lovely person and an amazing drummer. He went back to New Jersey and started university and six months later we found this clip on YouTube of him playing with his band over there and we were so sold on him based on that clip that we just gave him an email and said ‘hey no pressure but if you want to move to London and be in this band then you’re more then welcome to and you can stay at Max’s house and it will be completely fine’. We weren’t expecting anything as he’d just started university and we probably should’ve left him alone. But he actually dropped everything and moved to London cos he wasn’t liking uni and he’s still here.

Your debut record was released at the start of 2011, what has the band been up to since then?

Touring mainly, you’ve got to tour a lot nowadays. We played SXSW shortly after the album was released, so we’ve played around loads – everywhere apart from Australia. We did some writing as well, right now we’re working on the second album so it’s been a slow but productive year I think.

What’s the most interesting place you’ve been to with the band?

Japan definitely. I’ve been before to Japan and I love it so much. It’s such a magical place. I love everything about it and that everything is really small. They appreciate small things and I also appreciate small things so I feel like I have a lot in common with the Japanese people. Also America was really interesting to travel around, especially by van. It’s a vast expanse and you’re looking out the window and it’s kind of amazing. I liked going there.

You’re coming to Australia to play Laneway Festival – have you been down under before?

No I have not been to Australia and I’m very much looking forward to it. I know that Perth is where Tama Impala is from and I know they probably won’t be there as I don’t think many of them live in Australia at the moment, but I’m looking forward to heading there regardless. I want to go to all of the major cities and I want to see as much as I can. You know I learnt about it in school and have never actually been before so I want to go everywhere and see everything. We’re going to all the major cities and we have plenty of days off, so you know it’s going to be great. Playing Laneway is going to be fantastic. Girls are playing and I’m looking forward to seeing them and The Pains of Being Pure At Heart. We’ve played with them before and they’re really nice people. Also Cults we know as well and they’re lovely. There are a few bands that we know playing at the bill so I think it will be a really nice time.

What’s the best festival you’ve played with the band?

Do you know Primavera? I think it’s in association with ATP so it’s like that sort of festival. It’s in Barcelona and there’s no camping or anything, it’s held on this concrete space. They have the best bands on the lineup, it’s my type of music. If you like the music that they like then it’s your perfect festival. Last year they had Pulp and Shellac and Explosions in the Sky and the Black Angels. Every band was a band you wanted to see. It was nice weather and really just perfect. Also we played and had a really nice time doing so.

You’re also playing a couple of headlining gigs in Sydney & Melbourne, what can the Australian audiences expect from a Yuck live show?

Ummm, oh God I don’t know. I never know how to answer a question like that, I mean what can you expect? I guess maybe us playing our music (laughs). The way we play live is quite different, we sound different to the way we’re recorded. You’ll have to come see us to find out what that means. I guess either me or Daniel will be speaking awkwardly between songs and maybe cracking a really hilarious joke or something like that.

Your music is often described as having a 90’s sound, if you could pick one artist from the 90’s to collaborate with who would you choose and why?

I’d probably choose the Beastie Boys because I think rap & rock are 2 genres that haven’t been put together very well and we could do something that would perhaps be really groundbreaking.

Fantastic. That’s something I’d love to hear!

(laughs) No. No you wouldn’t.

What’s your personal musical background?

I started like most people playing piano and stuff when I was a kid I picked up a guitar when I was like 8 and started playing. Every birthday present from then onwards was music related like an amp or something. And then I started playing in bands. I tried to play trumpet for a bit. I spent a year only listening to jazz music and that was the year I learnt the trumpet. Then I played a bit of drums as well and stuff like that. I learnt all the instruments that were needed to make a small band and that’s how it all happened.

What’s the best live band you’ve seen lately?

I’ve always said that my favourite live band is Wilco. I saw them live once and they completely blew my mind. Their guitarist is literally my favourite guitarist ever. Everything was perfect. I saw them at a festival in England and it was a great festival. It wasn’t like Glastonbury or whatever, I hate Glastonbury. It was a nice little quaint festival in the countryside and everything was very tasteful and Wilco were headlining and it was like wow, their live performance is so, so good. I haven’t really seen a band that lives up to how they play live. It was fantastic.


Yuck are touring Australia with St Jerome’s Laneway Festival in February and you can catch them playing at the following headlining shows:

February 3rd – The East Brunswick Club, Melbourne
February 9th – Oxford Art Factory, Sydney