YONAKA / “I met Skepta and started talking about grills. The accessory, not like making burgers”

Brighton quartet Yonaka are one of the most ferocious new bands in Britain. Mixing thunderous noise-rock with an exhilarating hip-hop energy, releases from the band have been few and far between, but consistent excellence has been a running theme. We had a pre-show natter as they hit the road with Frank Carter earlier this year.

YOU’VE WORKED WITH ROSS ORTON, THE PRODUCER. HOW’S THAT BEEN GOING?

TJ: It’s been great. We really want to put music out but we’re trying to be more tactical about it, because we’re recording an album. And also we’re just really picky about which song to put out next.

GWE: Ross is such a geezer, that’s the only way to describe him. He’s like our uncle. Once after we’d been recording all day we went out for a curry at 1am – not that, like, that’s meant to sound crazy – I mean it was a sit-down restaurant. And it was packed. Have you ever been for a sit-down meal at 1am?

WE JOIN YOU ON THE FIRST NIGHT OF A SOLD OUT TOUR WITH FRANK CARTER. ARE YOU FANS OF HIS?

GWE: Yeah, I was big into Gallows, they were the first show I saw back in my hometown at a place called Tap N Tin in Chatham. My hairdresser snuck me in! The title track from ‘Modern Ruin’ is really, really cool, we listened to it in the van on the way here.

WHAT ELSE IS ON THE TOUR VAN PLAYLIST?

GWE: We’re eclectic. We go from 80s back to the 60s, then pop some Marilyn Manson in, a bit of Stormzy. The pre-show playlist at the moment is mainly hip hop – Kendrick Lamar, Vince Staples, Tyler, lots of Kanye West.

TJ: Skepta is the one. I met him at the NME Awards and started talking about grills. The accessory, not like making burgers. I asked him why mine didn’t fit my teeth properly and he was like “cuz you need to get the expensive ones”. Good answer, really.

GWE: He looked so good at the NME Awards, like really scary in full camo, with sunglasses on and the gold grills. We went to the Brits afterparty as well, it was on my birthday which was really fun.

TJ: The next day was the most hungover I’d ever been in my life. But guess who I made friends with there? Chabuddy G! From ‘People Just Do Nothing’. Give me a few drinks and I’m friends with anybody. We’d so collaborate with Chabuddy G.

WHO WOULD YOU NEVER DO A COLLABORATION WITH?

RM: Cher Lloyd. Actually, you don’t know until you try. She might be up for changing her sound. Lets get her on the phone.

TJ: What were those boys called who were on X Factor? Aston… JLS!

GWE: Do you remember they did their own brand of condoms? That was weird. Going against the Jonas Brothers’ purity ring thing. My cousin’s friend goes out with that Aston dude. She’s a dancer. She’s nice.

TJ: Do you know what, my friend went out with him as well, the slut.

AC: I went out with him as well.

YOUR MUSIC VIDEO FOR ‘DRONGO’ PREMIERED ON KERRANG! SO THAT’S COOL?

GWE: When we first heard about that happening the fourteen year old in me was loving it. Dusting off the poster of Pete Wentz, sticking Black Veil Brides back on the wall. No, not really.

*FRANK CARTER ENTERS AND GIVES THE BAND A BOTTLE OF GREY GOOSE*

GWE: I feel like a rapper.

HAVE YOU EVER PLAYED A GIG WHILST REALLY DRUNK?

RM: At our friends’ wedding reception we missed the food and had to do a set in this barn, and Theresa was really drunk and was kept shouting “happy wedding everybody!” Luckily the bride loved it. The day we got signed in London was another. We’d all got tipsy from champagne at like 2pm, then just kept drinking. So that wasn’t our best performance.

ANY LAST WORDS FOR THE PEOPLE OF EARTH?

TJ: Come the hangover, come the songs. Come to our shows. And come watch us drink Grey Goose.

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Heavy EP is out now.

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