The Yacht Club
THE guys of The Yacht Club...
have been revealing how they found one another and what we can expect from their upcoming album, The Last Words That You Said to Me Have Kept Me Here and Safe. They discuss the emotional and personal story behind their single, Heigham Park, and what it was like putting together its video.
The chaps highlighttheir favourite albums and the music that matters most; which rising artists we need to get behind and whether there are any gigs approaching – they each pick a great song to end the interview with.
Hi, guys. How are you? How has your week been?
Jack: Stressful but good! Some friends of ours opened a new recording studio on Saturday (@thebookhousestudio on Instagram) and I spent a lot of last week helping them get the space sorted for the opening day.
Marcus: Very busy, very tiring! I had a lovely chat to the Such Great Heights podcast about all things musical which should be out in a couple of weeks. I’ve also been rehearsing with another band I play in (Employed to Serve) for our upcoming tour.
Alex: Good, thanks! Been getting some artwork ready for the band’s Japanese release.
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourselves, please?
Jack: I’m Jack and I play guitar and sing.
Marcus: I’m Marcus and I also play guitar and sing!
Alex: Hey, I’m Alex - I play drums live and also do keys on our recordings.
How did The Yacht Club form? What attracted you to one another?
Jack: I actually only joined the band two years ago, but I went to school with Alex and know the rest of the guys through him. I covered bass duties whilst Alex was away on another tour, so when our old guitarists left, I guess I was an obvious choice for the others.
Marcus: T.Y.C. was a way of writing songs for myself and not for anyone else. I had spent a few years doing the session musician thing in London and had really been neglecting my own artistic expression. I just wanted to make music like all my favourite bands and I think my own words to Tom (who has recorded all of our music to date) were “I wanna be just like Pennines!” I met Ali (Alex who plays drums) on a music course we were doing and played in a band together briefly, so when T.Y.C. came around it was a perfect fit.
Whilst I say it was a solo project, Ali has been there for every recording; played drums and keys on it all and been there since pretty much the very start. I lived with Alex (bass) when I was at uni and met Jack through him! Whilst the line-up has had people come and go, this one feels very natural.
Alex: Myself and Marcus met at ICMP in 2011 for a Live Event Management project. We’ve been writing music together ever since! Marcus got me on-board for drums on ‘A’ in late 2012 (initially a solo project). Also, Marcus looks more like my brother than my actual brother. P.M. us for proof.
Heigham Park is out. What is the story behind it? What was it like putting the video together?
Marcus: Heigham Park was written about dealing with losing one of my closest friends, Blythe, to suicide. The park itself is somewhere we would go after school and during the summer. There are a lot of special memories associated with that place and now there’s a bench there in his memory. It’s one of the most honest and upfront songs I think I have ever written, let alone one that appears on the record. The idea and demo for the song has existed for about three years in its most basic form. It went through a few stylistic changes before arriving at its current form! I’ve had the second half of the chorus and the first verse since the start though.
The video was fun to do! The live shots were taken in this really cool space we hired out off of Brick Lane. However, the drums were far too loud so we could only get two takes! The woodland area was the same day as another video shoot our director (Andy Curd - Kamaji Studios) was involved with the same day! It was a tight squeeze to fit it in with our schedules but I’m really happy with how it has turned out.
PHOTO CREDIT: Alfredo Guzman
The Last Words That You Said to Me Have Kept Me Here and Safe is out in January. What sort of themes and ideas inspired the record?
Marcus: The whole album was written over a period of immense grief and sadness following Blythe’s death. He was the only one of my friends who I could talk so openly about mental-health and the problems we shared and, when he went, it was like that lifeline was severed. Towards the end of the writing process, I also lost my father very suddenly too and this made its way into a few last-minute lyrics and musical ideas. Not only do you start questioning your own mortality when losing someone so suddenly, but it brings every life choice you have made so far into question.
So, naturally, my writing reflects this. It’s an album of recovery and realising you do have people there for you, even if the ones you thought would stand by you didn’t - and making your way through to the other side.
In terms of music; which artists are you drawn to?
Jack: I grew up listening to a lot of Metal and Hardcore, which is something I’m still very much into, but I guess my main interests musically are Punk/Emo bands and singer-songwriters. Death Cab for Cutie are a massive influence on all of us and I really love bands like Joyce Manor and Charly Bliss. In terms of singer songwriters, boygenius and each of the members’ solo projects are huge sources of inspiration for me.
Marcus: I will always and forever go back to City and Colour. Dallas Green really shaped my songwriting and singing from a young age. I like a lot of bands that can instil emotion and have clever production such as Death Cab For Cutie, Jimmy Eat World and a lot of Owen records. But, then again, I’m a big fan of that noodly guitar playing! Into It Over It do this so well whilst maintaining excellent choruses and not being over the top with it.
Alex: For me, Jimmy Eat World was the first band that I got obsessed with. The first song I heard was Sweetness when I was twelve. I used to be into far more ‘technical-for-the-sake-of-it’ music; now, I’m more drawn to creatively-simple artists. A teacher once said “The simplicity on the other side of complexity”.
PHOTO CREDIT: Simon Treasure
As Christmas is coming; what one present would you each like if you could have anything?
Jack: If money (and space) weren’t a problem I’d have a Fender Quad Reverb.
Marcus: I’m a boring adult; so really valuing good kitchen equipment these days...
Alex: I really want to get back into drawing, so a new drawing pad and a set of pencils. That or a cast iron pan.
Do you already have plans for 2019?
Jack: We absolutely do! We’re looking to play a load more shows once the album is out and are all really desperate to get on the festival circuit!
Marcus: Touring and playing a whole lot more. I just want to get this record out to as many people as I can! Already a few demos deep into the next release, so I’m excited to get that started.
Alex: We’ve been working on some piano versions of the tracks, so potentially a cheeky acoustic release could be in the works in between albums.
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music so far – the one that sticks in the mind?
Jack: Recording gang vocals for the last track on the album. We did a lot of overnight sessions with our friend, Tom Hill, and the (sometimes-stressful) late nights made things quite difficult, as well as the distance between us whilst we were recording. It was the first time we’d all been together in such a long time and there was such a sense that everything had come together and had clicked.
Marcus: Sounds cliché and obvious but listening back to the first bounces we received from the album. Recording this album was such a landmark moment not only for the band, but for ourselves as well. With an unsteady line-up, we had not really been a band on the outside world for the best part of a year. I had recently moved to Norwich after my father passed whilst everyone else was back in London so recording and writing was plagued with delays due to distance and me touring heavily with a band called Ducking Punches. But we did it. I’m super-proud of everyone for making this the best thing we’ve ever done.
Alex: Tracking drums for this album at Holy Mountain Studios in Hoxton last August. Four days of drum production geekery and storming off saying “I hate this track”; forgetting I was on my own in public wearing my favourite Chuckle Brothers T-shirt.
PHOTO CREDIT: Alfredo Guzman
Which one album means the most to each of you would you say (and why)?
Jack: For me, probably Casually Dressed & Deep in Conversation by Funeral for a Friend. That was the first album that I was ever super-into and it got me into a load of music that I still really love today. Their farewell shows in London were the same weekend as my birthday and being at those shows with my brother are really special memories to me.
Marcus: Bring Me Your Love by City and Colour. This was the album that really pushed me into writing and singing and really shaped my musical tastes. It was the album that taught me it’s ok to not be ok and I am so thankful for that.
Alex: Always a tough one. Easy answer would be Clarity by Jimmy Eat World because I was at the right point in my life to be listening to that album. De-Loused at the Comatorium by The Mars Volta opened my mind as to what was possible with drumming and also music.
If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?
Jack: Julien Baker. Both her albums are incredible and she puts on an amazing show. I’d also love to know what her live setup is!
Marcus: Jimmy Eat World, for sure. They’ve had such an impact on all of us and it’d be a truly bucket-list moment. For the rider, I’d have a crate of Vego bars and Temple of Seitan burgers.
Alex: Been loving what Lianne La Havas does for a while - pure talent; otherworldly.
PHOTO CREDIT: Alfredo Guzman
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
Marcus: Have fun, be positive and keep an open mind through the whole process. You might start making music in one genre and decide another one is more to your liking! Listen to as much music as you can, and be respectful to everyone.
Alex: Cliché, but have fun! That’s why we all started loving music, keep it that way. Keep curious and actually listen to music, not just background noise.
Jack: Say ‘yes’ to as much as you can - you never know where an opportunity will take you; be willing to compromise with other musicians you work with and have fun!
Do you have tour dates coming up? Where can we catch you play?
Marcus: We have a couple of launch shows for the album coming up! 26th January at the Sebright Arms in London and 2nd February at The Steam Packet in Norwich. We’ve also got an intimate acoustic show on the 14th January which you’ll hear about soon.
IN THIS PHOTO: Marigolds/PHOTO CREDIT: Tom Seago
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
Marus: Music is my full-time job, so it really does take over all parts of my life! If I have some time to unplug, nothing beats lasting an afternoon playing Skyrim with multiple cups of tea.
Alex: Loads! I unwind with a casual run around parks in N.W. London. That or lose myself in a book at a new café I’ve discovered on a random walk.
Jack: I don’t really do much else, honestly. I left my job last year to go back to university and study music and also to give me more time to focus on making music. Unwinding for me is usually putting something relaxing on and hanging out with my dog - City and Colour’s most-recent live album is a current favourite for this
Finally, and for being good sports; you can each choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that)
Jack: Great Grey Towers by No Stranger
Marcus: Friends in Theory by Tommy Boys
Alex: London by Third Eye Blind
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PHOTO CREDIT: Alfredo Guzman