Lead singer of British band Yuck and a very good friend and producer of Japanese indie band Luby Sparks eponymous 2018 debut album, Max Bloom has recently broken out on his own. He released two songs early this year “To Be Alone” and “Call Me When It’s Over” which he detached himself from Yuck’s characteristic 90s indie/garage rock sound, not afraid to pull in his own direction. Later this year, Yuck and Luby Sparks are reuniting 3 years after their Hiroshima show where the two played together for the first time, rolling into Daikanyama on the 25th of this month. Metropolis sat down with Bloom to talk about his new songs, the band’s activity and his upcoming anniversary gig.
Metropolis: Yuck’s bassist Doi Mariko released her solo debut album this year and you also released two songs. What else has been happening to Yuck in 2019?
Max Bloom: We haven’t spent much time together this year, we’ve all been busy doing our own personal projects.
M: Did you decide to pause the band for a while or is this just what happened?
MB: It was a bit of both, I think we got to a point where we were all working on our own music but none of it felt appropriate for a new Yuck album, so we decided to take a break for a little bit. I think it’s important for bands to step away for a little bit to see if they still want to come back to it afterwards.
M: Do you think the band members’ solo activities affect the band in some ways?
MB: If we do decide to come back to Yuck then I think our solo projects will be an important tool to draw inspiration from.
M: Your solo single “To Be Alone” seems like a break up song. Is it drawn from your own experience?
MB: “To Be Alone,” and the whole album around it, is about the process of breaking up with my girlfriend after an eight-year relationship.
M: In another interview, you mentioned that your solo work “To Be Alone” was released out of a very natural desire to express yourself. Not because of a label contract or anything else. Does the band as a whole, share this same feeling?
MB: In the past I think we’ve probably released music at the wrong time and for the wrong reasons, so what I’ve learned from those experiences is that you have to take ownership of the music you create, and that includes being in control of how you release it. So there might be new music from Yuck, it could be next year, or it could be in 10 years, depending on when we feel like the time is right.
M: In my opinion, the music scene changes rapidly and has new acts breaking through every year. If someone just started their musical career, they might feel rushed or pressured to gain success by releasing lots of music at once and implementing other business strategies. Creative impulses and business successes don’t always go hand-in-hand, but it has for you. Where does the desire and motivation come from in your life? Or is it something you can find?
MB: I think a lot of bands and artists probably feel pressured to try everything within their power to stand out or be part of a scene, and stuff like that is important at the time because ideally you want as many people as possible to hear your music. But I think a lot of bands focus too much on how they’re perceived in the present day rather than thinking about their long term cultural impact, and ultimately making the best possible record they can. In terms of where my motivation comes from, it’s not really something I actively seek out. My motivation to keep making music and express myself is always there. Writing lyrics might require something a bit more tangible to write about.
M: You talked about the Arctic Monkeys’ latest album and their approach to their legacy. You detach yourself from 90s indie/garage rock sound in your debut single. Do you think it’s natural to change one’s musical style and approach as your life changes?
MB: I think musicians should feel free to express themselves however they want, and if that involves making the same type of music for their whole career, that’s fine too. My musical taste has definitely changed since I was 18, so naturally it has affected the music I’m making.
M: It was in 2016 in Hiroshima when Yuck met Luby Sparks for the first time, what was your first impression of them?
MB: They were so lovely, and a little bit shy!
M: Then, Luby Sparks went to London to record an album with you. What was the process like?
MB: It was a really easy and fun experience. I understood exactly where they were coming from with their influences, so there was a lot of common ground and we were all on the same page with how we wanted it to sound. I recorded it in my parents house, which was the same place we did the first and third Yuck records, and I’m really proud with how it came out.
M: How would you describe Luby Sparks’ sound as a friend/ their producer/etc…?
MB: Loud, melodic, noisy and beautiful.
M: You mentioned a lot of American female artists as influences in another interview. Could you choose the three best albums of 2019 that you have listened to a lot or have been inspired by?
MB: Girlpool – What Chaos Is Imaginary
Deerhunter – Why Hasn’t Everything Already Disappeared?
Pixx – Small Mercies
M: What can we expect from the upcoming special night with Luby Sparks in Tokyo?
MB: It might be a bit loud. Bring earplugs.
Yuck X Luby Sparks 2019
Open 6:30pm/Start 7:30pm
Hachimacho 13-12, Shibuya-ku