Yugoslavian Boys - Interviews - Soundblab

Yugoslavian Boys

by Rich Morris Rating: Release Date:

Leeds' Yugoslavian Boys are simply one of the most thrilling, fun, dumb, angry, plain odd live acts around right now. I saw them open for Vivian Girls at the Brudenell Social Club back in July and watched alternately slack-jawed and giggling as they shouted non-sequiturs at each other and the audience, smashed up their kit and jumped around like special needs rabbits. Their furious punk sound is made with organ, bass and two drums - no guitar - a set-up which makes the usual rock 'n' roll tropes feel unusual in their hands.

As their set continued, a saxophone and a trombone appeared, seemingly from nowhere, to be abused briefly before clanging to the floor, abandoned. The fact that they were on first and the crowd was still somewhat thin and appeared utterly confused by what was happening on stage only made Yugoslavian Boys more endearing to me. Totalling your drum kit is just a sad rock-star indulgence when it's expected. The way Yugoslavian Boys did it felt almost heroic while still being very silly.

The band is made up of Billy Bonehead, Coby Wong, Seany Boodwah and Hamish Samtron. I caught up with them for a chat about... stuff.

How did the band come together?

Sean: It started with Coby, Billy and myself, playing in different punk bands and all being that one person who pushes the live performance bit further than the rest, then Hamish came along after producing our first demos, doing more drums and all that business.

The two drummers/bass/organ set up is very interesting. How did that come about? Was there a conscious decision not to have a guitar?

Sean: This was the set up we chose to counter the influx of straight up guitar-led bands that we had all been in previously. We wanted to push it further without relying solely on guitars to sound more aggressive.

Billy: Guitar music has pretty much been done to death especially in the genres you might use to describe our sound, I had been playing guitar in all the bands I had been in leading up to Yugoslavian Boy's so I wanted a change. This band started from having fun more than any aesthetic wants.

What music are you guys into right now? What would you recommend Soundblab readers check out?

Sean: A mixture of punk and northern soul, which for me, are the two definitive genres! But in Leeds some great bands like Russell and The Wolves, Rent Boys, Black Moth, Nervous Twitch, Mother/Destroyer. Support your local scene!

Coby: Musicians: Clout!, Death Grips, Kate Bush, Flocka, The Invisible, etc, too many to name... Anything released on our website http://www.ratswithglasses.info - Bill releases funny-unfunny comic books through there and we have a free album by flight pilot Johnny Phazer, that was produced by Hamish.

Billy: I have unwavering conviction that Drunk in Hell are the best band in Britain right now. Also Prussian Blue.

Hamish: I've been getting really into Odd Future, they're pretty cool. Also Normal Man. They are proper ace.

You've got a fantastic song called 'Shopping List'? Is that a metaphor for something or is it actually about shopping? What other mundane subject would you like to write about?

Coby: Cheers - it is what it is. Bill's interests seem to lie in grit and trouble. Sean and Bill are the most likely to write lyrics, I've only written the lyrics to two songs so far. Subjects start of from any of us.

Billy: The lyrics to this song came from two poems that I had previously written, the verses being a depressed racist's shopping list for a visit to a Spar garage, the chorus a little thing about cooking lobsters which is self-explanatory. They were adapted to the song. The shopping list got more bizarre and horrifying.

Hamish: What's mundane about shopping?

You're pretty lively onstage, smashing equipment, jumping into the crowd etc. How premeditated is that?

Sean: It's a show! We aren't going to stand there and play you ballads, we're gonna give you some mother-fucking action!

Coby: It's 110 per cent pre-meditated. All of it. Down to a tee. Haha.

Billy: We have always been about entertainment over art, so there is a premeditated decision to be entertaining.

Hamish: yeah usually cause we smashed it up at the gig before.

What kind of reaction do you like to get from an audience? Do you like when people are enthusiastic or is it better when people are confused/pissed off?

Sean: Don't really care, just a reaction

Coby: We've had both and usually the audience get taken out by us!

Hamish: Any reaction is a good. It's when there is no reaction that it isn't much fun.

Billy: For me, it depends on the biological/chemical ratio.

Where did the band name come from?

Sean: I'm quite the fan of Yugoslavian punk like Pekinška Patka etc but I don't think the influence for the name came from that direction.

Coby: We had a period as a band watching films or docs on Eastern European war-related affairs. It probably stemmed from that.

What are your influences?

Coby: Tough question... I'll leave a generic ambiguous answer... "We influence each other".

Sean: For me, it ranges from, like, Small Faces to Cock Sparrer to Guitar Wolf to Dr Feelgood to Jay Reatard to northern soul to Killed By Death punk to Ian Dury to Ted Nugent and much more. All bad-asses in their own way.

Billy: Because the clothes you wear are a lot more important in this game than the music you make, I'd say Italian police.

What music pisses you off?

Sean: Music with no soul in it. I don't really know the names of them because I avoid it at all costs but you know the sort of pop singers with the million dollars sets and it's like watching a fashion show with like crack-head dancers and shit.

Coby: Hahaha, mannequins and shit. For me, all music when I'm not in a cheerful mood, which isn't often.

Billy: There's a terrible hegemony that seems to have affected all popular music, the musicians are just as much to blame as the industry. Most people are sheep, they will eat up whatever half-baked mechanically retrieved meat is put in front of them. Watch Geno Washington live on YouTube then watch whatever is in the top 20 at the moment that makes me fucking sick. These guys have so much pussy but no dick to fuck it with.

Hamish: If I ever met Scouting for Girls in person I'd kill them. Either that or disfigure their faces.

The mental punk noise you guys make looks either really easy or really hard to make. Which is it?

Sean: It's not so much easy or hard, it's just how we've moulded as musicians with the limitations of having that guitar/keyboard, bass and drums set. Now we are able to throw it all together in a completely different set up, producing completely different results.

Billy: If you aren't a Yugoslavian Boy I imaging it would be impossible to make it; seeing as we are the Yugoslavian Boy's it comes as natural to us as breathing.

Hamish: It doesn't take much effort. Comes naturally

What's next for Yugoslavian Boys?

Sean: We got a split cassette out with The Bad Bad Bad on Onec Records in the UK and Canada and you can it purchase here http://onec.greedbag.com/buy/yugoslavian-boys-the-bad-bad-bad/.

Billy: World domination or career suicide - whatever it takes to get on The Price is Right.

Photo by Joshua Quiney (joshquiney@gmail.com)

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