Mid-morning, Monday 30th April, I walked through Stokes Croft in Bristol under a sun that was trying its best to creep out from behind the ominous conveyor belt of clouds overhead. Stopping in at ‘The Social’ on Cheltenham Road to interview up-and-coming band ‘Yes Sir Boss’, I met Matty Sellors (lead singer/rhythm guitarist) and Josh Stopford (Bass/Backing Vocals) for a chilled-out chat a few days prior to the launch of their new EP, ‘Desperation State’. Eagerly anticipating the EP launch party on the 5th May, they were both in high spirits.
Darren Paul Thompson (DPT): Cool, so what's the band name about first of all? The ‘Yes Sir Boss’ thing...
Josh (J): ‘Yes Sir Boss’ came about from a lyric of one of our songs, which is now called ‘Not Guilty’, which is gonna be a single that we’ll release. The song was written during the time of the Iraq invasion and so the actual lyric came from the chorus which is a social comment on the ‘Yes Sir, Boss’ attitude that everyone has to the powers that be. We thought it was a punchy name, we took it on and it suited the band’s music.
Matty (M): I think it’s quite simply sarcasm; the only time I’ve ever said, “Yes Sir Boss” in my life is when someone’s telling me what to do and I’m pissed off with them and I’m like, “Yes Sir Boss! Right...F*ck off!”
J: He says it to me quite a lot!
M: Really, it's always totally said in sarcasm, and yea, besides that, ‘Yes Sir Boss’ just sounds cool. It’s really punchy and it sounds great... It’s ‘cheek’ and we’re a bit cheeky!
DPT: I like that; it’s like a little dig!
M: Yea, really, and that’s what the ‘Yes Sir Boss’ means in the song, it’s said as a dig.
J: If any of us are ever being assholes in the band then it’s always, “Ohhh, Yes Sir Josh! Bossy bastard!”
DPT: Cool, now I looked on your Twitter page and it said your sound was ‘indefinable’. Have you got any particular flavours or genres that you draw on heavily there?
M: I think it’s a massive, mixed bag really ‘cos there’s six of us and sometimes we have an idea that comes to the band, but as soon as someone else sticks their little bit on it the whole thing can evolve into quiet a different sounding song to how you first envisaged it.
M: But as far as genres go, I was talking to someone who said, “How do you describe yourselves and your music?”, and I was like, “No-one seems to be able to describe us and I don’t really know how to describe us”.
But what we do do is we work within genres which are already existing... we seem to be doing something kinda fresh I guess, but it’s not something completely new, it’s playing around with genres; it’s like you’ve got a cocktail bar, and you’ve got all these different spirits and mixers and we’ve kind of used everything which is there and just created...
J: A big brown mess!
J: A shit mix!
All: (More laughing)
M: We’ve made a new cocktail, which is made of the same ingredients but a different flavour.
J: Yea, yea definitely, I’d agree with that.
DPT: It’s one of those awkward situations because if you describe yourself in one way you can get pigeonholed, and yet if you don’t describe yourself there’s nothing for people to latch onto.
DPT: It’s like when I get quite a lot of these interview opportunities come through in e-mail, I’ll just scan them for key words. I saw ‘Reggae’ in this one and immediately I was like, “Right, OK!”
M: We’re not a reggae band though, that’s the thing...
DPT: Yes, I know...
J: That’s what he’s saying though...
M: And I wouldn’t ever pigeonhole us as a ska band which I generally think we get pigeonholed as. There’s much more depth to the sound we create.
M: And I guess for that very reason I don’t think we’re wholeheartedly a ‘live band’, so we get pigeonholed and play with all these bands and Bristol-bands like ‘Babyhead’ and so on and so on, which is very much that Bristol ska-y, reggae, hip-hop-y sound. They’re a massive live act and it’s all very much based upon live reaction from the audience and lots of dancing and everything else. We’ve got that as well but there’s also lots of different sides to us... it’s not necessarily just getting wrecked, dancing and being silly. You can listen to it and have that much more ‘listening audience’ aspect to it with us as well. If you come to our gig on the 5th, especially with a lot of the new songs we’re writing, it’ll be really good to see the direction and the positivity of the songs we’re writing.
J: I think a lot of our inspiration as well for songs, if you’re talking about genres, comes from not necessarily a musical thing, but more almost like a visual thing. Quite a lot of our songs sound quite cinematic, quite ‘spaghetti western’-esque and in some ways I would rather describe it in those kind of visual, cinematic genres than musical genres, although obviously we do take flavours from everywhere.
But then the other thing about our influence is that that we are heavily influenced by the festival circuit that we’ve been playing on. But where our music is quite theatrical, we’re not as people that theatrical, so you come to a bit of a funny place when it comes to playing live where you’re playing this big, cinematic music but you yourself are more just like a band really, you’re not those big carnival-y type performers...
DPT: Yea. Festivals have been a big part of what you do as well...
J: Yea, huge...
DPT: I read somewhere... this almost sounds ridiculous... over a thousand festivals?!
M + J: (Shocked Laughter)
M: It’s more like five...
M: ... thousand.
All: (more laughing)
J: No, it’s not anywhere near that much, but I know that we’re playing 40 festivals this year.
M: A thousand festivals... that’s amazing!
J: I love it! I’ll go with it, but it’s not true!
M: That’s amazing! That’s like saying, “WE WRESTLED A BEAR!”
DPT: I can’t remember where I read that... I’m sure I wasn’t drunk when I read it... so it must’ve been the person that wrote it!
M: Quote that though, go with it!
J: Yea, yea... it’s not quite that many but it’s a lot!
M: I’ll go with it!
DPT: Allegedly over a thousand festivals!
M: ...And we hitchhiked to all of them... with all our gear... on our backs!
DPT: I was listening to your new EP on your Soundcloud and it sounds, even in the final product, very ‘live’. There’s a lot of bands that sound really polished, almost down to the point where they’re ‘flat’, but there’s a real ‘live energy’ even in your CD. So would you say that you have a preference between the studio or the stage? Because it certainly sounds like even in your final product there’s a live sway there...
M: Yea yea, I hear that! The EP is ending a catalogue of work. We’ve got to the point where we compiled what we thought was the best of the new material and some old material and that’s the product. That is very much based on the time when we were quite often thinking about writing for the stage and for the audience, over record. So at the moment I guess yea, it’s a live sound, but I’m really excited from after this record, the ability to think, “Ok right, we’ve done that, the slate is clean, we’ve done up to now and it’s been put into history and immortalised”, and now we get to progress and work onto writing new material. I think we all really want to be in the studio, for sure, like every band would. For this album yea, it’s got a real live sound and that’s what we wanted to capture, ‘cos that’s what we’re about.
J: We were thinking, “Right, let’s draw a line under this old stuff and write some new stuff”. Part of the challenge was to try and get what you made for ‘live’, like Matty said, onto a record, without it just sounding like a big mess. Our producer really recognised that and streamlined quite lot of our parts, simplified quite a lot of our pieces of music and really listened to the fact that we had to give each instrument its space in the speakers. It’s really easy to get that many instruments, just squash them all into a big mess and just pump them out in a flat way like you said. That was a huge skill on his behalf to get that many instruments sounding in their right place.
M: And he did a lot of production and put a lot of other sounds like ‘gloc’ and organ and I think our producer really wanted to capture this live, fantasmagorical, kinda crazy sound which I think suited us for those songs. If you listen to the album, there’s a few songs that’re much more chilled, kinda hinting at the direction perhaps we’ll go from now. Really, yea, the whole thing is an explosion of sound.
DPT: It sounds good; a lot of energy.
M: Yea, I think it’s the kind of stuff you put on and it’ll make you into a good mood.
J: To sum up your question though, I don’t think there’s a particular preference as to whether we play live or do an album because they’re two really different things. With the kind of music that we write we always have to do a bit of work to transfer what is a ‘live’ thing onto a record. As Matt said, it may change this time because now we’re actually writing a little bit more with a record in mind rather than a live show, so we’re having to do the opposite.
J: We’re having to try and pin bits of music onto the end of our songs to make it more of a live experience and extend parts, whereas before we were doing the exact opposite; trying to cut back to put it on a record.
DPT: You guys have got the benefit of the brass as well, which is perfect for ‘live’ isn’t it, it lends itself perfectly, a lot of energy in there...
J: That’s what gives it all the flavours. Really we’re a rock band, but we have a horns section...
M: (laughing in approval) A guitar-y rock band!
J: We’re a guitar-y rock band but the horns section just turns it into something else.
DPT: And what’s the story behind the band? I read that you guys got together at University. Was everyone involved at the start of has it evolved over time?
M: I formed a little band. I was writing songs and I wanted to create my little band to support me; it was a three-piece of drums, bass and me. It was kinda like funky, bluesy; all the stuff I’ve ever written has been quite roots-y; I’ve never wanted to go and write ‘Indie-Pop’ exactly.
Yea, and then I got Tom-lad in, and then some shuffling happened within the band members; Josh joined, Potter joined and then Jehan did. Then when we finished University and decided to take it a step further, we were like, “Yep, we’re all having fun and think there’s something there”, so we moved to Bristol, we changed our name from ‘Sellors and the Scientists’ to ‘Yes Sir Boss’ and then the whole evolution of this new band happened. You could say they’re separate bands and I think you could say that ‘Yes Sir Boss’ was born two years or three years after ‘The Sellors and the Scientists’.
J: You’ve gotta remember we had a new drummer in as well; Reuben came in a little bit later. Apart from Reub’s, the stewing pot of the band was Darlington College of Arts and then as soon as we came out we were the baked... the finished product, do you know what I mean?!
M: Aw, that’s nice!
J: Apart from Reuben, who was like the icing on the top!
DPT: I’m glad that you kept that analogy going! That’s good!
J: Shall I try and keep this whole interview baking-orientated?!
DPT: I’ve never experienced that; go for it!
M: So yea, probably about four years I guess ‘Yes Sir Boss’ has been in existence.
DPT: And how long have you been in Bristol?
M: ...Four years!
J: Well yea, going with the idea that ‘Yes Sir Boss’ only really started when we got to Bristol, about four years. Six years since the very beginning though.
DPT: So Bristol must’ve shaped you guys quite a lot as well, ‘cos it’s wicked for music; I mean we’ve got ‘The Croft’ just over there...
J: Well we moved here for that reason. We moved to Bristol because we were aware that it had some kind of a scene going on that was gonna suit us quite well, I mean, that with the fact that it was quite cheap to live in, but I think that has something to do with making that scene as well because it’s cheap and arty.
M: It just seemed like the right place to go. Everyone, especially South West people, end up going to Bristol or Brighton or London; you just meet so many people from the South West and so many people from Darlington come here too. I remember we were doing a gig and we loved the vibe here and also we thought when we first watched Babyhead, this is like four years ago, “Oh my God! That’s how it’s done!”
J: Yea, they were real heroes to us, we really based a lot of our performance and writing aspirations on what we saw from bands like that, so we were heavily influenced by Bristol music.
M: Yea, we were definitely influenced by the festival scene. Babyhead were really cool, they were always really supportive of us. They set up a little label and they were thinking about signing us to do a single release, that was five or six years ago, and then we came up here. It’s really nice now ‘cos we’ve kind of grown and then I end up hearing from loads of other artists and upcoming younger people who state us as their influences and a band which they aspire to be like and it’s always really, really warming. It’s nice to think that, you know, we were there and then the opposite’s happening and we’re getting to inspire the younger...
J: And eventually they’ll be there, inspiring others. It’s a nice little cycle.
M: ...yea, it’s great!
DPT: An interesting parallel to that is the Joss Stone record label thing, ‘cos I know she said that she wants to take people and try and help them grow as well, as someone did for her, so there’s that comparison as well...
J: Yea that’s true, very true.
DPT: When I was looking through the e-mail opportunity, I saw ‘Reggae’ and I saw ‘Joss Stone’ and I thought this sounds really interesting. So it would be interesting to hear how you guys got involved with her and what that’s actually changed for you?
J: Yea, that kinda came about almost by accident when we were on our way to a gig, way back when we were ‘Sellors and The Scientists’ and I phoned her up by mistake. We were lost in the midst of some f*cking moor trying to find this gig and I phoned her by mistake and she just said, “Would you like to do a gig?”. I had her number because I went to school with her.
DPT: Right, okay.
J: She said, “I’d like you to do a gig with us” and that kind of kick-started the beginnings of the relationship; we went and did a gig with her in Amsterdam. Then, when she decided to make this record label, which was something she’d wanted to do for a while I think as a kind of backlash to her experience with EMI, she wanted to make something that was a little more small and wholesome... She wanted to sign us to it straight away... so that’s how it happened...
DPT: That’s quite incredible... how some opportune phone call like that can potentially change your lives!
J: You have to say... it helps; ‘who you know’ does help, definitely! With regards to how much it’s changed everything, I think we’d still be in this band and still be pursuing it for definite, but being given the opportunity to record an album and record an album in the way that we got to record it as well... the studio we went to was amazing. It was an old, vintage 60’s/70’s studio up in Wales, exactly our style, something we never would have been able to do without that kind of support. So it’s changed everything for us really.
M: As far as the connections go and who you know... it is exactly about who you know and plugging yourself and you’ve just gotta wait for that right person who obviously likes it enough to want to invest in it; we were just damn lucky that Joss has always liked us.
J: There’s a lot of f*cking amazing bands around that could easily... that given the same opportunities that... what am I trying to say? Basically there’s an awful lot of great bands around and to some extent the tragedy is it doesn’t matter how f*cking fantastic you are, you can still go unnoticed because it’s just so over-saturated. So I don’t have any delusions that it’s like, “we’re this f*cking amazing band so we deserve it!”; I think there’s a lot of them and we’re just one of them and we just had that one little extra thing that managed to give us the push up, y’know?
M: I reckon that there’s so many people who could be stars, not perhaps superstars because of their performance but because they’ve got an incredible voice or something, but they’ve probably got so much stage fright they probably haven’t left their room yet. I reckon there’s loads of them! I reckon there’s probably so many incredible people out there that haven’t even got anywhere because they’re just too shy.
J: I have to say, as far as Joss and the label goes it’s nice to be picked up by a label that wants to try and push bands into the forefront that may have not been commercially/financially viable, or seemed that way for bigger labels. I think that’s the whole idea; to give that other side, that undercurrent of musicians a chance, to come up into the forefront.
M: I do think a lot of labels generally, probably thought a lot of these ‘Bristol bands’, ‘festival bands’ were...
J: ...not a safe bet.
M: Yea, it’s not a safe bet at all. It’ll be interesting to see what happens. It is great that Joss has wanted to put the time in and the financial clout into helping us record an album and put it out there... so we’ll see.
DPT: It will be very interesting because I know just from Bristol that there’s a lot of bands that do brilliantly at festivals, like Laid Blak for example if you know Laid Blak?
DPT: They’re wicked, ‘live’ they’ve got a great show, but I’ve been seeing them for about four years live and the crowds... they’re not as big as they should be. Everybody loves them but there’s just somehow a seemingly ‘invisible barrier’ there.
J: I think that happens with a lot of bands; they reach their maximum potential because they’re still having to work jobs, they haven’t got the time to write new material, they don’t have the energy to be gigging as much as they should and they don’t have anyone helping to give them that big push to get the gigs that they deserve. So I think you work as hard as you can then you hit this bar that can only be ‘sacked-off’ unfortunately by a bit of financial clout... it’s a shame.
M: I think it’s also song-based as well; the songs have got to work on record, so we’ll see what happens with this album and how people receive it and if people really like it and want to buy into it... or whether it’ll be the next album. But I certainly want to break that invisible barrier, I want to evolve past a maximum limit for the genre which we play; I really, really, really would like to break the mould and get somewhere with it.
DPT: Well it definitely sounds to me like, even in what you’ve got already, you’ve got a mixture of influences, you’ve got a mixture of sounds and with your album plan to diversify you’re certainly not gonna pigeonhole yourselves there... you’ve got a nice spread, which sounds good.
J: Yea, I think every album’s going to be so different. You’ve gotta remember that 80% of that album is some of the first songs we wrote. We’re all 28/29 years old now, not 21/22 any more and we’ve got shit-loads of material to record! We’re still catching up, there’s still songs that we wrote a couple of years ago that we want to record. There’s lots of catching up to be done; we want to get into the studio NOW!
DPT: Ok, so before the band, what was everyone doing? Was everyone still massively into music or was there quite a mixture of different passions?
J: Yea, we all played music; we squeezed it in, in the hours that we weren’t working. We all had normal jobs; learning support, ‘chuggers’...
J: Yea I’m not gonna say who though. Teaching Assistants...
M: I’ve had so many jobs...
J: Y’know, just your normal jobs, but on top of that we were coming in on Monday morning after doing 3 festivals or whatever and we were gonna fall apart eventually. It’s lucky we were young and full of energy ‘cos f*ck me, it takes it out of you.
M: It was so tiring.
J: I don’t think we could’ve done it for much longer without being a wreck or... fired.
M: Yea... I did get fired!
J: Oh yea!
DPT: Shall we get into that or not?!
M: Chugging, I tried my hand at chugging because Potter did it for years but I was rubbish at it! I just couldn’t...
DPT: It’s quite an art form isn’t it...
J: I don’t know about art?!
J: I wouldn’t put it in the ‘art’ category!
M: Bullshit artist!
J: Yea... shit artist!
All: (more laughs)
M: I did have reservations and opinions about the whole thing but it was good money and I needed it and it was appropriate at the time. I was just getting sacked all the time ‘cos I was knackered from festivals and I was just no good at the final, “Please can I have your money?” and if they were like, “No.” I was like, “Well thank you SO much for stopping, I really appreciate it!”
J: We all had real trouble holding down our jobs...
M: I was the nicest chugger you could probably ever meet; that’s why I was crap at it and I got sacked all the time!
J: We all had our brushes with a f*cking talking to on a Monday morning because we got to bed at 4am, that kind of thing, so yea, it was tricky. Thank God we can just about afford to do it full-time now.
DPT: Yea, so what do you reckon you’d be doing if you weren’t in the band now then? Chugging?!
M: No, no way! (laughing)
J: I wouldn’t be in this country... I’m sure we’d still all be playing music...
M: Yea. I don’t know what I’d be doing?!
J: ...What, you mean if we weren’t in this band or weren’t playing music?
DPT: Well, I suppose if you weren’t in this band...
J: I’d probably be in a band very similar to this to be honest! (laughing)
J: Especially me and Matty because we write lots of the songs, well Matty writes most of the songs and I write a couple, so we’d probably be in a very similar band still writing songs, I should imagine...
M: Yea, I don’t really... I don’t have a backup plan, which is maybe a nice thing ‘cos I guess my eyes are on the prize a bit. So...
J: This has to work! ...This has to work!
M: Yea, if this doesn’t work I’ll be...
J: Yea, we’re f*cked otherwise!
M: Yea you’ll just see me on the street with a can of Special Brew, (in croaky voice) “A pound for a song!”
J: Oh God! Yea, Heaven forbid it doesn’t work! We’ve put so much time and energy into this that we’ve forgotten what else we can do.
DPT: Yea, well that’s gotta be the ultimate driver then...
J: Yea, and it’s one of those jobs or ambitions that you’re never not going to do it, just because it’s not working, you’re still going to do it... because you have to. It’s an impulse isn’t it.
M: Yea, it is.
J: You can’t just stop writing songs... because that’s your diary, it’s what you live for in a certain respect; so even if they’re not getting put onto record it doesn’t matter, it’s still therapeutic. It still does its job for you and your f*cking soul. So yea, it’ll always be done.
DPT: So with the EP coming out next week, the 7th, and then the album coming in the summer, have you got any particular ambitions that you’re gunning for? Have you set targets?
M: Whatever we’re at right now, which I’ve got an idea of the gist that we’re on, if we could double that by next year I’ll be happy. As long as we’re taking steps up.
I find it really, really hard to gather a grounding or any kind of idea of what the hell is gonna happen in the future ‘cos for all I know this album could do really, really well or you know, it might not... you just can’t ever tell in this industry.
You can get a feeling but I think I’m too within the making of it... and the kind of engine of it, to understand the potential of it... if that makes any sense?
Somebody could come in and listen to it, love it and think it’ll be a smash hit, but for me, I haven’t any bearing on it; I don’t have a clue what’s going to happen with it... I just hope it does well.
I just want our live act to get better and better and the songs that we’re writing to get better and better and to keep releasing. As I said, I’ve got my eye on the second album hugely and that’s a big thing that’s motivating me at the moment. So yea, as long as we’re still together and we’re surviving more comfortably and Joss is happy, ‘Stone’d Records’ are happy, then I’m happy.
J: Our motivation has to be constantly better gigs, bigger gigs, gigs that are suited to our audience because we’re working musicians. Our living all comes from gigs; we won’t see any money from album sales, no-one ever does! Especially with the way the label has been set up; it’s been set up specifically so you work your b*llocks off doing gigs and that’s how you earn your money, an honest living.
So our progression is always going to have to be in the gigs stepping up and one thing that I think we want to do is to get a decent tour support with a great band, someone like The Cat Empire or someone like that, that we can go round and appeal to those kind of fans that they already have. I think we’re doing well on stepping up already y’know, we’ve got some second-to-headline and headline slots at festivals that we haven’t played before and we’re getting really nice responses from the festivals that we played last year, so we’re definitely going up, but when you’re in it, it’s quite hard to see sometimes, but we’re making strides forward I think.
DPT: Cool. And have you got any particular musical influences? I know you mentioned Babyhead earlier...
M: No, that was just someone who, for me, I looked up to and thought “they know how to perform!” and I did like their music and I do think they’re great, I love them to bits but I wouldn’t consider them someone I aspire to be like musically. For me, I listen to a lot of quite chilled rock music to be honest. I like quite roots-y, expressive... I’m listening to ‘Alabama Shakes’ at the moment who’ve just come out. I love that raw, rugged sound...
DPT: I’ll check them out.
M: Yea, they’re brilliant!
J: Check out the new Dr John album as well!
M: I’m a sucker for the western, jangly guitar sound. There isn’t really any bands which I specifically want to be like and I don’t think I’ve ever really been like that, but I’ve liked particular sounds. When I first started singing, Tom Waits was a big influence and I used to be very gruff in my singing.
DPT: That’s a crazy voice he’s got, isn’t it!
J: F*cking mental. I don’t know how he hasn’t sung his lungs out... or just died!
M: He had to give up smoking, like me; I can’t do that anymore. I’ve tried to expand upon that and find my own voice from where I first started. So that and the jangly guitars, western sounding guitar, spaghetti-western kind of thing which I love, a bit of rock, and that’s where I’m at.
J: But it’s all individual; I’ve always loved the riffage, rock-riffage and quirky sounds and quirky production like Waits. Different instruments, different flavours. Every single band member has their own influences that are really, really different, which makes the sound like it is.
DPT: Yea, it sounds that way ‘cos there’s so much going on. One minute it’s brass, the next minute I’m thinking “I like that guitar solo!” and I think you’ve been dubbed as ‘the man with one thousand voices’ before...?!
M: I think that was from backalong, when I used to do a song like “raaaaaaaa”... really, really gruff and I’d end up using that low-end and gnarly part of my voice and then I’d try singing falsetto and being all beautiful up in my high chest and trying to do all these different things and by the end of it... I think I was just excited about exploring...
J: You always said the singer from ‘Modest Mouse’ was someone who you really respected the way he sings...
M: Yea I loved him, but he’s massively influenced by Tom Waits as well. Yea I loved, sh*t, what’s name... Isaac something, yea he’s awesome, absolutely loved his vocals, as he’s someone else that can be so fragile but can shout his head off! So yea I’ve forgotten what we were on about!
J: Yea, you’re not very good at answering questions! (laughing)
M: Shut up!
DPT: It was musical influences, but it’s all good anyway, we’re certainly getting that with Tom Waits and other people...
M: With everyone else, everyone’s got their own individual moments, but something which we all have, which we all kind of relate with, is that we’re all quite quirky. So a lot of the hooks we can write are all quite fun and rambunctious and silly, so they all tie in together.
DPT: Cool. When I was trying to arrange this interview I heard that you guys had been in Poole doing a video and then doing some gigs over in Europe, so it’s been pretty full-on at the moment then?
M: Yea we just got back from Vienna!
DPT: How was that?
J: It was one long motherf*cking drive!
J: It took us 24 hours to get there with just piss-stops basically and then 19 hours to drive back! We broke down, we got our van impounded...
J: ...but it was quite an experience, yea!
DPT: But worth it?
J: Yea I think so! We got some great fans from it. Yea, we didn’t sell one CD that we didn’t all have to sign and we hung out with everyone afterwards and got drunk and had a nice time. Before that it was the music video yea, so it’s been full on.
DPT: So this music video, which song is this?
J: ‘Not Guilty’
DPT: ‘Not Guilty’, ok... and do you know when the video’s going to be launched?
M: Ummm, end of May probably.
J: Yea, end of May.
DPT: And what’s going on in the video? Is there any specific theme or is it pretty hush-hush?
J: No, no, no... I suppose we could give away the theme of it. Because the song is, like I said, about Iraq and the concept of the ‘Yes Sir Boss’ attitude... but because we’re not political activists or anything but we’ve written a political song, we wanted to express the sentiment of the song in a way that was a bit lighter, but not in a patronising way, so we decided to go down an animated route. We thought it would, y’know, give it that opportunity to have some comic elements and quite fantastical elements as well.
J: I don’t want to tell you what the storyline is... but that kind of stylisation was the way we wanted to approach the heavy political theme.
DPT: Well I’m interested already just hearing ‘animated’ ‘cos I’m thinking, “What’s this gonna be?!” There are so many different types of animation...
J: We’ll leave it there for you and then you’ll have to watch it.
DPT: That’s a good little hook, that is!
(Josh Leaves briefly)
DPT: I’ve got a question here that was just meant to break it up a little bit, ‘Desert Island Discs’ style...
DPT: So if you were gonna go to a desert island and you could take two records, you could take one book (but you get a religious text given to you) and one luxury item, what would you take? It’s just a bit of a light-hearted question but it’s quite interesting...
M: So I’ve got two albums...?! (To himself) What do I listen to all the time? Hang on, I’ve got an album which... I might say to start with, Tom Wait’s ‘Alice’, then the second album... can I have a box set?!
M: Then I’ll get loads! (laughs)
DPT: No! Not a chance! I was trying to answer this myself...
M: It’s really hard!
DPT: ...and for the book question I thought I’d take a Kindle with a thousand books on, but you can’t be doing that, that’s cheating basically.
M: Ok, I’m stuck on a desert island. I’d like to take a book which is titled, and I’m hoping there is one out there, ‘What To Do If You’re Stuck on a Desert Island”.
DPT: That’s practical.
M: What was the other thing?
DPT: One luxury item.
DPT: I asked this to Matisyahu, if you know of Matisyahu?
DPT: Well anyway, he said ‘motorbike’!
M: Motorbike?! Is there a petrol station there?!
DPT: Well, very good question! (laughs)
M: Stuck on a desert island, what would I take? A CD player so I could play my CD’s!
DPT: Again very practical, you’re applying logic to that!
M: ...Which was powered by solar power! And my second CD, actually ask Josh because I’m going to think about my second CD.
J: What’s this? Desert Island Discs?
DPT: You can take two records with you and then one book, you get a religious text anyway (of your choice) and then one luxury item.
J: Records I’d probably take Pink Floyd ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ for feeling miserable and then I could take one to cheer me up. I would probably take something like...
M: I’ve got mine.
J: Oh have you? Ok, I don’t know my second one yet. A book... I would probably take... I think I’d take an Atlas; I’d rather spend my time looking at countries than I would reading to be honest, especially if it’s just one book... do y’know what I mean?
DPT: Fair enough.
J: I’d memorise the capitals and all that kinda shit. My luxury item would definitely be a guitar.
M: I didn’t think of that! I was just saying I should have a CD player so I could actually play the CD’s, otherwise there’s no point in having them!
J: I know but that’s not what ‘Desert Island Discs’ is about is it, it’s not that pedantic! (laughs)
M: Yea, well I am! My second CD would be the ‘Queen Greatest Hits Volume 1 and Volume 2’ – you get them together. That would be my happy music for a bad mood.
J: Yea I’ve still not thought of my happy music...
M: And yea, if there was a CD player there already, I would have a guitar.
DPT: Cool. You’ve got a lot of years on a guitar haven’t you, you could be playing that for the rest of your life.
J: Yea, exactly, exactly.
M: ...with unbreakable strings.
J: Yea, f*cking yea! “At least I’ve got my old...”
All: (more laughs)
DPT: You’d have to just get a vine from the jungle and stick that on there!
J: Yea, I’m sure you could improvise! Cat gut isn’t it.
M: Yea... hunting... cats.
J: A guitar with a... A SWISS ARMY GUITAR! With a huge spoon on the end and a knife!!
M: A CD player on it!
DPT: Take it to Dragons Den, you never know!
J: Swiss Army Guitar! Yea, why not! Yea, for desert island users!
M: It turns into a bicycle as well!
DPT: Or a boat!
M: Or a boat, yea!
DPT: Anyway, digressing!
DPT: Yea, so you’ve got the EP launch and the launch party as well... are there any special plans aside from this launch party or is there anything exciting planned for this party itself? Something a bit different that people should get on down for... or just to experience the music?
J: With regards to ourselves, we’ve brought in this big f*cking horn section; we’ve got another two extra horns on top of what we usually have.
M: A ‘bari’ and a trombone.
J: A ‘bari’ and a trombone and like a ‘mega bari’, I can’t remember what it’s called, which is gonna help to replicate what we recorded ‘cos we used a huge horn section, so that’s gonna sound absolutely phat! We’ve also got loads of new songs which we’re showing as well as showing the old classics as it were...
M: Yea, we’re gonna try and get in early to decorate it as well. We’ve got a cool little support act, ‘ASBO Disco’...
J: Yea, ‘ASBO Disco’ does wicked tunes. It’s just gonna be a really nice evening, but it’s mainly just a real celebration of finally bringing out these songs that we wrote so long ago, we’re finally getting to see them out on a CD! It’s really just a big celebration of that, so if you like our band or if you know us personally, it’s quite a big personal event for us really.
DPT: Brilliant, brilliant, ok! So we’ve pretty much wrapped up everything for the interview there. Any parting comments or anything you’d like to say that you haven’t so far?
M: Yea, the album which I just said, Tom Wait’s ‘Alice’, I didn’t mean Alice I meant ‘Mule Variations’.
J: OH... YEA! (shocked)
M: That’s what I meant, but that was totally like, a tangent of what you said.
J: In fact, this (referring to the background music) is off ‘Mule Variations’ I think...?
M: (Doing an exaggerated Tom Waits impersonation) “Yeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!”
J: I can’t think of my happy CD to be honest...
M: Just get Queen from me! You’d love it, you love Queen! Put ‘I Wanna Break Free’ on and camp it up around the desert island! Loads of fun!
J: I don’t know, I don’t think there’s anything else to be said really. Apart from to give the video a big plug for us; tell them that that’ll be on in seven weeks to be safe, but yea, that’s gonna be a good one.
DPT: I’m looking forward to that. And a video can be incredible too, you can get a video that flips the game completely!
J: I really hope so man! If this thing goes viral then we’ll be laughing, that’ll be great, as obviously it’s the single too so we’ll be heard by millions hopefully! We’ll see! (laughing)
M: We’ll see!
DPT: Fingers crossed!
Darren Paul Thompson
'Yes Sir Boss' will be playing their EP Launch Party at The Fiddlers in Bristol on the 5th May.