We sat down with Yassassin on the rainy first afternoon of the Liverpool International Festival of Psychedelia to talk about their new EP, Vitamin Y, and the wide range of influences inspiring their art.
Yassassin creates something hardly matched in modern music, even with a limited amount of released music to date. A fun approach mixed with deeply philosophical messages in their lyrical content, plus a mastering in the art of music that is obvious from the get-go, makes them into more than just an interesting bunch. It makes us think that they will become one of the most influential bands of this modern age.
The day after catching them at the Lending Room in Leeds, I met up with Yassassin after their set on District Stage–one of the first shows of the afternoon.
To start off, tell me your names, three of your favorite bands or music artists, and your favorite place to go (anywhere in the world).
Raissa: Hi, it’s Raissa, I play bass in Yassassin. My favorite bands are Replacements, Gunk Club–ah, it’s so difficult. I like so many genres of music, so I would say. I’ve been listening to a lot of Replacements recently. The place I wish I was today is–I really want to have a Bloody Mary and some tacos, so maybe Mexico, but tomorrow I’ll change my mind.
Joanna: Hello, I’m Joanna, I play guitar. My three favorite bands today are The Beatles (because we’re in Liverpool), PJ Harvey, and–
Raissa: Oh, can I put The Stooges in mine?
Joanna: Gonna say–Love. And, favorite place in the world, I love Thailand.
Anna: My name is Anna, I sing in Yassassin. My three favorite bands today are David Bowie, Dungen, and I have to say The Beatles as well, because we’re in Liverpool. If I could go anywhere today, I would go to India.
Moa: Hi, my name is Moa, I play guitar. I don’t limit my music to favorite bands. Today, I would like to go to sleep.
Ruth: Hi, I’m Ruth, I play drums in Yassassin. Three of my favorite bands, this is so hard, because I’ll probably change my mind, but I love The White Stripes, Broadcast, and–I can’t think of anything else. Place I’d love to go: Mexico.
Your EP, Vitamin Y, came out earlier this month. How was your experience recording it?
Joanna: We recorded it with a guy called Dave Allen in Tottenham, in London. It was great, it was really easy-going, and it was kind of our second time for a few months. It was a living room kind of vibe. We had a lot of fun, and we’re very happy with it.
Anna: Super happy.
Ruth: He had lots of cool toys in his studio, like the vintage synthesizers.
Raissa: He’s got Joan Jett’s synthesizer! A Wurlitzer.
What would you say your main influences are?
Raissa: We all come from different kinds of genres, and it’s great! Some of us listen to world music, as much as punk, as much as psychedelia. That’s why I think we can’t fit ourselves into one genre. I feel like London is inspiring us a lot as well, because it’s that kind of mix that you find in us as well. We are coming from different places, we do different things, and that’s why London happened.
Ruth: It’s a bit of a blend of punk, post-punk, new wave, world music, psychedelia, dance–
Raissa: Well, it’s also art, not just music. We get influenced by artists that are doing any sort of art, I guess. Just by living in the city, it’s really important and it gives us inspiration for different sorts of arts. It can be an exhibition, an installation, a photographer like you, anything.
Anna: Everyday life situations, really. What’s going on in the world really affects us, gives subjects to talk about in songs.
Raissa: It gives you the strength.
Moa: Traveling and meeting people, too.
Who are you most excited to see at this year’s Liverpool Psychfest?
Raissa: DUDS, Endless Boogie, The KVB.
Anna: Dead Vibrations.
Moa: Songhoy Blues, Trad Gras Och Stenar.
Ruth: LA Witch, Cosmonauts, The Black Angels, Telescopes.
Check out our coverage of Yassassin and many others at Liverpool Psychfest!