Last month, DiS asked you to provide us with some questions for art-rocking threesome Yeah Yeah Yeahs ahead of the release of their new EP, Is Is, later this month. Here, we have the answers! Simple. As.
What is the worst thing about being in a band, and what do you hate about your bandmates?
From Arely, Guatemala City
Karen O: The worst thing about being in a band is having hours of nothing to do on the road, where Nick and Brian chew my ears off with their emotional mumbo jumbo, lots of talk about feelings and zodiac signs and crystals, etc. Boring. I love the way Brian gets a chunky scab between his index finger and his thumb after playing shows for a few days. And I LOVE how much better I am than Nick at Sudoku.
Nick Zinner: Muchos gracias, Arely. The worst part of being in a band is probably being away from home for long amounts of time. It’s hard to keep up some friendships and it’s impossible to have a pet. I don’t really hate anything about Brian or Karen, as it’s a strong word. But I sometimes hate Brian’s glasses! And I hate in the bus, when Karen’s dirty socks fall on my bed near my pillow. Totally gross.
Brian Chase: The most difficult part of being in a band are those moments when it takes over your life and shuts out everything else in the world you care about. Hate? Hate is self-generated and doesn't come from anybody else but yourself; you make yourself feel hate.
With the release of Is Is, is there any plans for any tour dates even if only one gig per country? What is the true meaning behind the amazing ‘Down Boy’ and whose idea was it to write and come up with this song? After Is Is is released, what are the future plans for other YYYs CD releases, and will there be any more releases next year or do we have to wait longer?
KO: Hi William. YYYs have rough plans on writing the new record this fall ’07, which if finished by the winter you will probably be able to find it this winter at one of many trusted pirated download sites on the world wide web.
NZ: We’re looking at playing a few ‘special event’ shows. Dude, one gig per country would keep us pretty busy throughout the year, although it would be fun to play one-offs in Luxembourg and Togo. I’m pretty sure ‘Down Boy’ is not about oral sex or a bad animal.
BC: If we were able to do a tour that had at least one gig for every country then that would be the most amazing tour ever in the history of tours! The 'true meaning behind the amazing 'Down Boy'' is that the Down Boy is truly amazing. If I remember correctly, it was Down Boy's idea to come up with 'Down Boy'. You can rest assured that there will be other YYYs seedy releases. It's hard to tell which way the wind blows.
What do YYYs remember about playing in Brazil last year? And bbout the forthcoming EP: if Is Is is a joke with ‘Yeah Yeah Yeahs’, why isn't it called Is Is Is instead?
KO: Hi Paulo, good question. The answer is that we’ve changed our names to Yeah Yeahs.
NZ: I remember the fans in Brazil, and crowds were amazing, but Rio felt really sketchy. My friends went to a favella party where all these nine-year-old kids were shooting guns in the air. I was pretty sad I wasn’t invited. Next time? The EP title: all I can say is that it’s the producer Nick Launey’s fault.
BC: Coconuts on Copacabana Beach, favelas a few blocks away from the luxury hotel in which we were staying in Sao Paulo, and a dance party with punk rock/art rock kids in Curitiba. The EP title explained: because if it was a joke, it would be called "How many Is Is Is's does it take to screw in a light bulb?"
Karen I'm a huge fan of your costumes on stage and therefore have become a big fan of designer Christian Joy. I was just interested in how you met? And what is the process of coming up with such wonderful creations? Do you have much say in it and how do you feel about the designs?
KO: Hi Megan. Christian and I met in the year 2000, when we found out we were dating the same deadbeat guy. He’s dead now, rest in peace. Anyway, we liked what each other did, so much that we decided instead of murdering naughty men we would slay the public eye with a steady stream of spandex, ruffles, straps and buckles. We come up with a vague concept like, “How can we make a slice of pizza look sexy on stage?” and Christian puts her indentured servants to work for hours over sewing machines until enough blood and sweat has poured into a costume to make me feel really powerful wearing it.
Dear YYYs... Has there ever been a time where you thought you may pack it in? Perhaps split up, try again with a new band? Also, please come to Wales.
KO: Hi Chris. The answer is in this poem, as recited by Johnny to Ponyboy…
Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.
NZ: I think there’s been about three or four of those times, but I’m sure every band has those moments.
BC: Yes, there have been a few times over the years when the unity and mission of YYYs was feeling shaky, usually due to overwhelming exhaustion, pressure, burn-out, overload, and a sense of "what am I dong here?"
I would like to know (along with a lot of people I suppose) why you are releasing older material ‘as new’ rather than using some of the songs on Show Your Bones. I'd also like to know if your third album proper is going to be 'more of the same but even mellower', or the complete freak-out cat-related concept album you threatened last time?
NZ: Hi Duncan. It’s not necessarily releasing older material as much as it is recording songs that had never been recorded. We’ve been playing some of these songs live for a while, and our fans have been asking us to record them, so we did. And they really didn’t fit in with our last record.
BC: The songs on the Is Is EP were indeed written in between Fever to Tell and Show Your Bones, but for this project they felt as fresh as ever. The studio is a creative tool in and of itself, and we knew that these songs needed some studio treatment to help realise their potential. It was the right time to finally open up the cages and let these wild animals loose on the world! Our next album proper will be along the lines of a complete freak-out Jesus Lizard-related concept album that will sound similar to what you've heard before but a little more chillaxed. Consider yourself warned…
If the world was made of sweets, what would cars be?
KO: Hi Andy! Cars would be ice cream sandwiches with Oreo wheels, fresh raspberry headlights and honeycomb windshields.
NZ: Good question. Everlasting gob-stoppers.
Hi YYYs… my wife-to-be and I are big fans of yours and are thinking about having 'Maps' played at the reception when we’re married… is this something you’ve heard quite a few people have played at their weddings? I’ve never really decided if it’s a sad song or not, but it’s kinda our song…
KO: Hi Geoff. We’d be honoured and grateful for you to have ‘Maps’ as a part of your most special day. If it’s your song, what does it matter if it’s sad or not? It’s yours and that’s that. Congratulations!
NZ: I think that is so sweet. I’ve heard about it twice now, but during the ceremonies.
BC: I think that's the first time I heard of 'Maps' played at a wedding. That's beautiful. Whether or not it's a sad song (which I don't think it is - when we play it live the song is always dedicated to the audience as "Nick's Love, Karen's Love, Brian's Love, and Imaad's Love") it's whatever it means to you that's important. Mazel Tov!
This is for Karen O: have you ever really badly hurt yourself on stage? Cos whenever I see you you’re very energetic. Do you keep fit through playing live?
KO: Hi Leanne. I do keep fit through playing live – you should see the pounds I pack on when we’re off tour. I’ve hurt myself badly many times on stage in many different ways, but chipping my tooth was the most annoying because it’ll never grow back.
For Nick: the Head Wound City EP was pretty ace. Any chance of a follow-up sometime? What do you make of the new Locust LP, as it certainly represents a shift in style...
NZ: We've been trying for two years now, but it’s near impossible to find even a week where we are all free, as the band is made up of members of three active bands (YYYs, The Blood Brothers and The Locust). I think the new Locust record is bad ass. It takes a lot for a band like that to try radically new things. Besides, every band and their mother is screaming now, so it was a good time for them to experiment with more of a singing style... They are some of my favorite people in the world, and in my book they can never do wrong.
What’s your favourite country to play in, in the world, and why? Are there any places you’re yet to play that you really want to?
NZ: Probably Japan, because the culture is so fascinating and it’s easy to find clothes that fit me. My dream is for YYYs to play in Indonesia.
BC: As far as travelling goes, Australia during their summertime is always a blast and makes for a great work/holiday. They have the most delicious and nutrient-rich tasting fruit out of anywhere I've ever been. Eating the seeds of an Australian passion fruit is like tasting the seeds of Creation.
I’ve seen the band six times now, and always have a great time, but what do you guys do if you’re not having a good show, so that you don’t let the crowd down?
KO: Hi Travis, thanks for seeing us SIX times! There’s never any guarantee that we won’t let the crowd down, I guess all bets are on the music. The music is bigger than our moods or where we are or who we’re playing to, so we just let the music take us where we all need to go.
NZ: There’s not really much we can do except keep trying our best to change the order of events. You really don’t know until you hit the stage.
BC: Great question! It's true that sometimes it doesn't feel as 'easy' on stage as it does other nights; it's one of the biggest mysteries of being in a touring rock band because sometimes there are reasons for it but most of the time it just seems like it's the way it is for that night. A good show is about the chemistry: it starts with us as individuals, then branches out to us on stage, then to the audience, and even then to the venue and environment. When even one element in that equation feels off then that could make a show feel 'difficult.' When we're on stage it's like we're in a sacred place and we always give it our best no matter what. The best part is that even though it might feel 'off' for us it usually sounds great to the audience. That's the beauty of playing music: what you think is not always what it is. But, we always give it our best, which makes the show meaningful and interesting regardless of 'good' or 'bad.'
Yeah Yeah Yeahs release the Is Is EP on July 24 through Polydor. For more information on the band and forthcoming live dates, click to their MySpace site HERE