SAY YES – If I had to describe their sound I would say they’re a perfect blend of Queens of the Stone Age meets the Muse (old Muse) with a little bit of drunken violent yet desperate clinging to life Hawksley Workman – but in a good way, though. Featuring Jordan Hastings (Alexisonfire, Jersey) on drums, Adam Michael (St. Alvia, TNBT) on guitar and vocals and Michael Zane (The Exhile) on bass and vocals – these boys are a force to be reckoned with.
I got to sit in on one of their recording sessions with Justin Koop at B Town Sound in Burlington one evening in February, after being asked to help out with the bands branding. They were writing and experimenting with their sound at the time but hearing the unpolished raw noise that was attacking my senses I knew these guys had something new and couldn’t wait to hear the final product.
Fast forward 8 months and now they are a finely tuned, well oiled rock machine ready for whatever comes their way. This 3 piece that is destined for greatness recently played a few shows with another up and comer SEAS (Moneen) and I was there to capture their raw assault on the unsuspecting audiences and asked them a few questions in between shows.
1 – Beatles or Rolling stones?
A – Beatles to think and learn. Stones to drink and fuck.
J – Both.
M – I love them both. What if I said somewhere existing in time there is, ‘The Beatle Stones’ or ‘The Rolling Beatles’ and I choose them.
2 – You all have accomplished careers with well known Canadian acts. I personally think you guys are ahead of the game already, but does it ever feel like you’re starting over from scratch?
A – It does and it doesn’t. Our position has made it easier to turn people’s heads to see what were doing. But in building a solid fan base it feels a little like starting over.
J – I don’t necessarily feel as though we’re starting from the bottom, only because we’ve all been playing music since we were kids and we’ve been fortunate enough to meet other artists, fans, industry folk along the way. it’s a fairly tight knit group.
2 – Sunrise, fucking hell, I love that song. Your call and response is unstoppable in that number. Who does what in this outfit? Who is writing what? Are you guys switching instruments?
M – Yeah, Sunrise is definitely one of my favourites. Adam and myself share lead vocal duties on most every song, switching between parts and harmonizing and backing up on others. We all share in writing and there is a lot of collaboration on every part, so sometimes looking back its tough to recall and almost needless to say who wrote exactly what part.
3 – Michael, you being the youngest member, and knowing where Adam and Jordan have been, does it ever feel like you guys have big shoes to fill?
M – Adam and Jordan are amazing musicians and have both done some very cool things, yet they are amazing people too and we hit it off right from the start. It was as though I had known them my whole life, and when you are playing in a band with your best buds, wearing oversized shoes is something that doesn’t get noticed all too much.
4 – I’m hearing a lot of 70s rock influences on this EP. Is that something you intentionally brought into your sound or was it natural?
A – I’ve always had a soft spot for 60s and 70s rock, so it always sneaks its way into anything I write or play.
J – There wasn’t a point where we sat down and thought “this needs a squeeze of Q107 or a dash of Zeppelin” if thats what you mean. We write what comes naturally, sometimes it works sometimes you need to go back to the drawing board. What makes us all happy at the end of the day is what moves into the set.
M – I would say if there are 70’s rock influences being heard on the EP they are natural, because I don’t recall any time during writing or recording where it was said that we were aiming for a 70’s rock sound.
6 – Are you worried fans of the other bands won’t dig this new sound?
A – Although the sound is different than other bands we have been in I don’t think that will be a problem. We have already got great response from old fans. The music still has very heavy overtones and isn’t a far stretch from most other bands I’ve been in.
J – Not really, no. You either get it or you don’t. But we hope you do.
8 – America or Europe? What matters more?
A – I would take Europe over the states any day..so Europe.
J – In my experience it’s much easier to gain exposure in Europe, people there are genuine music fans, they’ll camp out for 3 days at a music fest in the rain to see all of their favourite bands. There’s so many summer festivals there it would be impossible for any one person to see them all in the season.
M – I wouldn’t necessarily say that one matters more than the other. I feel it’s more important that the focus is on getting our music heard and known on both sides of the pond.
8 – Is touring Canada worth the drive to Acton?
A – Touring Canada can either be the best for bands or the worst. There’s a lot of driving and a lot of time together. In this case Jordan and mike are the best so im really looking forward to it. Plus I love long drives and Canada so that’s just great.
J – It’s not easy but it certainly is worth the many looong drives. We live in a beautiful country.
9 – I’ve seen some strange things on the road in my time. Seen submerged 18 wheelers in BC and mother and daughter brawls in Texas. What the craziest thing you’ve seen on the road so far?
A – Native man being tasered by a cop and unfazed by it in Thunder Bay. Or bunch us swimming getting naked at the Fairmont hotel in Banff. Classy. Met some of the lovely staff, got booted out and got the gals fired.
J – Thats a tough call, a few years back I accidentally walked into a brothel in Germany somewhere with a couple other guys who shall remain nameless. We were looking for a place to grab a beer and googled bars around us and walked into this place. Took about 5 mins before we realized where we were. They were nice enough to let us just have a couple beers though. Then we got the bill and it turned out one of the guys we were with was buying bottles of champagne and had no money. Jerk. 😉
10 – Accidentally? Hey I repaid you guys back the next day! Lol. – If you ever need a back up singer can I join the band? I make one hell of a roady/T shirt guy.
A – We were thinking of changing the band name to Bowman.
SAY YES are playing Burly Calling 2013 in December. Go and see them and hold tight to the ‘I knew them when’ buzz. In the meantime show their FB page some love – https://www.facebook.com/sayyesofficial and make sure you check out their video for SUNRISE.