Yuck’s Max Bloom On Daniel Blumberg’s Departure, Playing With the Pixies + New Album ‘Glow & Behold’
Max Bloom, Yuck’s guitarist-turned-lead singer, is sitting at a coffee shop in London. The band just got back from playing a festival in the Netherlands and has a week off before starting a tour of the United Kingdom. The shoegaze-leaning British indie faves have been under scrutiny lately, as original frontman Daniel Blumberg quit in April to pursue his Hebronix solo project, and his departure has left fans wondering what the follow-up to Yuck’s brilliantly scuzzy 2011 debut might sound like.
After forging through some initial Skype difficulties, Bloom chatted with Diffuser.fm about Yuck’s new dynamics and forthcoming record, ‘Glow & Behold,’ due out tomorrow (Oct. 1) on Fat Possum/Pharmacy.
How are you adjusting to the additional duties of being frontman?
It was sort of trial and error. It didn’t really feel like I had to do anything. It didn’t feel like I consciously had to adjust to anything. It was kind of a case of just doing it, getting on, and just finishing doing the album. I learned as I went along … You’ve got to get used to the sound of your own voice, and you’ve got to practice how to use your voice. Stuff like that.
You’ve linked up with guitarist Ed Hayes recently — your Vine videos with him were quite funny. How’s that been going?
It’s actually been remarkably natural with Ed. We’ve known him for a really long time. He used to be in a band called Fanzine that supported Yuck on a few tours. They broke up, and we all live in the same area of London. We all really like each other, which helps, obviously. I think Ed joining changed the attitude of the band slightly, and for us, probably made it a little new and exciting having a different person there. He’s a very talented musician, so it changes the band for the better, for sure.
How much did the roster change affect the songwriting process for ‘Glow & Behold?’
Daniel hasn’t had any involvement in the album. The album was made for the most part in the same way that the first one was made, in that I started making demos, and then eventually I started moving on to making vocals.
Now that we’ve addressed the elephant in the room of Daniel leaving, let’s actually talk about the album itself.
I wanted to do something that was a little more concise, as a whole piece of music. I wanted to make an album that you could listen to as a whole from start to finish. I believe you can do that with the first album; you can do that with any album. But like most bands, when we were making our debut album, we weren’t considering the fact that we were making songs to be put on an album. We were thinking, “Let’s make as many songs as possible and then arrange them into and album when eventually we get around to it!” Obviously, that’s not a bad way of working at all, but I just wanted to try making songs with an album as an end goal, if you know what I mean.
That’s a pretty respectable goal, especially in today’s culture, where people just want to download or stream one single and then move on to the next song. Creating, and listening to, an entire album is almost like a lost art.
I guess I wasn’t really aware of that. A lot of people have said that to me since I started saying that’s how I wanted to make this album. But personally, the way I listen to music is in the form of an album, and I believe that the dynamics and flow of an album as a whole is equally as an important statement from the musicians as the songs themselves. The order that they’re arranged in is sort of the journey that you go on as you listen from track one to whatever.
Where did most of the songwriting take place? Back in London? Still in parents’ houses?
Ha, it was kind of sporadic. We spent a lot of time after the first album touring. The very early songs are written in my parents’ house when I was living there, which was a really long time ago, and I guess the album unraveled from there. From that point, I guess it was just wherever I was living. The most recent songs were written in a studio that I don’t have any more that was just a really small, quite ugly room with no natural light and really dirty.
So what’s coming up next?
We’re supporting the Pixies, which should be good. I’m really excited. It’s pretty crazy because they’re a huge band in my life. I can’t wait to meet them! Then we’re doing a small U.K. tour. We’re doing a three-night residency in this little club venue in London. We haven’t played a show in a year and a half, so it’s pretty fun getting back into playing live by playing in all of these small, packed out venues.
I guess what’s going to separate these gig from the gigs we’ll be doing next year is that next year, we’re going to add another musician, and he’s going to play a lot of different instruments. But right now, we’re playing a lot from the first album and the rockier tracks from the second album, so these shows are quite energetic and exciting.
Excellent. Any plans to come to the U.S. anytime soon?
Next year. We’re booking a tour right now.