Yuke: Tracks That Shaped Our Sound
YUKE is the result of four East London friends who have merged their creative energies to craft a unique and eclectic blend of DIY indie postpunk. Picture the sonic resonance of Talking Heads, Parquet Courts, or Parcels, infused with layers of lush 70s guitar melodies, sweeping synths, and a harmonious chorus of vocals. This auditory mosaic brings together a fusion of brilliant guitar riffs and high-octane beats, compelling you to move to the rhythm. YUKE's music serves as a vibrant tapestry of styles and influences, spanning from jazz to northern soul and even French house. Their latest track is Small Rotations, recorded at Gunfactory Studios it's been a firm favorite to listen to in the studio.
Their magnetic presence led them to headline illustrious venues like The Victoria Dalston and The Shacklewell Arms. Their prowess isn't confined to the spotlight, as they've also graced stages at revered spots such as The Garage Islington, Sebright Arms, The George Tavern, and The Old Blue Last. We spoke to them about the tracks that shaped their sound:
Love - "Everybody's gotta live"
This song was pretty much the impetus for our new single "Small Rotations" coming together how it did. We had chords and we had a kind of melody but it didn't really breathe for me until it could speak. I heard this song in the soundtrack for the film Jojo Rabbit. The messaging of the song was so obvious, I never knew that you could write songs which so effortlessly encapsulated the human experience. There's not much to it but it covers the equality of mortality and the way that affects basic liberty pretty succinctly.
Pixies - "Bone Machine"
We've always had a kinship over Pixies. Me and Gabi [Demera Jones, bass] recently found ourselves in the depths of a Pixies show being aggressively beaten by a bunch of 40-year-old Radio 6 listeners and while I respect the band's live tenacity, I realised that what I love more is the sound of the recordings. In much the same way as a church organ is like playing a whole church, their recordings capture the sound of a room being played by the band. We try to capture that in everything we do and for "Small Rotations" we hired a larger, more cavernous space and explored as many new ways to record the space as we could.
Steely Dan - "Kid Charlemagne"
I'm going to get a lot of hate for this from the rest of the band but I love Steely Dan. I understand the flack, I do. It's jazz for coked-up 80s stockbrokers. But if you can get past the yacht label and into the sweet jazzy juice within it’s so infectious. They had about 5 different bands on rotation for every album and they picked out the best takes, so you know that every song is the best iteration of itself, and there’s wild stories of 90 grand being blown on single tracks which were lost to time. I dig that perfectionism.
-M- - "Elle"
A friend brought this one back from France with him. He never told me what any of the lyrics mean but I don’t feel like I need to know (so uncultured). His music weaves such a story. When we were in St. Etienne recently we spent so much time on trains and I kept playing this because it evolves so perfectly, it’s great window-watching music. I had this fantasy that we might run into him in the wild. I don’t think he speaks English and I don’t speak a lick of French but in my imagination it worked out.
Fleetwood Mac - "The Chain"
This is an obvious choice but as a kid when I first heard it on an F1 commercial I had no idea what it was. I just knew that it was immense and dark and that I was obsessed. I had no interest in F1 but I would wait for that commercial to come on until one of my parents gave me a CD of the album. I asked the others what they were reminded of when we started recording "Small Rotations" and they said this and I get it. We really tried to capture that feeling that something bigger is coming if you just wait.
The Horrors - "Mirror’s Image"
When I was younger I had the good sense to crush on someone who had great music taste. It never went anywhere but it got me hooked on The Horrors' music, and from there I fell in love with the whole shoegaze genre. I used to run into Rhys (bassist of The Horrors) at the corner shop while I was high but I could never build up the nerve to tell him how much The Horrors' music meant to me because he cut such an intimidating figure. They took a turn out of purely psychedelic into more industrial but they still hit the same, and I’m always looking forward to seeing what they do next. I use them as a reminder to us to never fear new frontiers.