Monday, 1 March 2010

Yeti Interview

I realise that I look like a Beatles fanatic in this.

Song writing is obviously important to you as a band, is it an aspect that you all participate in, or on different songs, or what?

I guess it depends on the song; it depends on who started it.
Whoever sings lead on the song. Usually they write it. Our writing processes are pretty similar.
It’s just like the Beatles.

I have to say, I did turn to my friend during the gig and say that it was just like if the Beatles were together again. Almost.


In parts.

We would have twelve albums out by now.
And been a bit better rehearsed, tighter.

And you’re not eating cheese sandwiches on stage.

That’s because they haven’t given us any cheese sandwiches!
(John enters)
Apparently Ali thought that we were like the Beatles, in the way that we sound.

Well I know that everyone says it, but it’s true. You can just hear it in certain moments.

Maybe in a couple of songs, especially “Say it like you mean it”. We just ripped off the Beatles.
It’s not ripped off, it just sounds like them…

In the first magazine I put you on the Jukebox with ‘Catch 22’, “so damn malodorous of The Beatles.”

So do you like The Beatles?

Who doesn’t, really? Apart from the people who say they don’t just for effect.
(General murmurs of assent.)

I don’t believe it.

The Beatles were all very well, but they were just the seed of the great back that would become Boybands really.

I don’t get the whole Stones vs The Beatles thing. I like them both. Why do you have to love or hate something?

Well…the Stones were rock, The Beatles were pop.

The Beatles were very Rocknroll.

One’s Northern, one’s not. Same as Oasis and Blur.

I dunno, I think most music of that time just stands in a league of it’s own. You can’t compare the different bands.

So who do you prefer- Oasis or Blur?

I’m not a big fan of either.

What if you were pushed to answer, which one then?

I quite like that big piece of art that Blur had, it was in the portrait gallery.

Oh yeah, yeah.

So that would probably swing it for me.

Are you an artist?



I had a life drawing class today actually. It’s really good.

Do you have a model posing?

Yeh, a man and a beanbag.

Was he naked?

Yeah, it’s life drawing.

What? But it doesn’t have to be naked?

I think it generally is. Naked people drawing. Drawing naked people, even.

No, that’s pornography. Prawn porn.

Or bath time.

So you’re a pornographer?

No. (chuckle) Might be in the future. (if only we knew then what we know now- Ed.)

[Jumble of words, something about plumbing.]

This guy was nice to draw. He had a slightly rounded belly and good lines. And really good legs like a greek statue.

Nice as in attractive, or nice as in nice to draw?

Just good to draw. We were doing white chalk drawings on brown paper, in blocks of light. If he’d had been really skinny it wouldn’t really have worked.

I’ve done a bit of drawing in my day.

Actually, drawing is going to come into one of the questions, so I might as well do it now.

I think that I should answer this actually, because I’m pretty skilled.


Yeah, because your fucking pictures in the studio are terrible.

They’re better than your pictures.

Actually Mark, you’re pretty good. Didn’t you do painting and drawing and stuff?

I was twelve.

You were twelve when you were at art school?

I was a man of mystery. I quit when I was fifteen. I decided I wanted to play football. (hoarse laughter follows)

What a career change.

Guitar’s third choice. Guitar’s third choice. You’re just unravelling the pages of mystery here.

You should write a song about it.

Would that not be a bit self-indulgent, to write about my pop career when I was twelve.

Not if one of the others wrote it.

(Someone begins to sing something that sounds like “my dream, what should I do with my brain”. I’m sure that wasn’t the words but hey, it’s lost in the digital vaults of time.)

That’s what the third album is going to be called…and each of us is going to write a song about our teenage rejections.

What kind of football was it that you played?

It was soccer.

What happened, did you injure yourself?

(Something about a joke.
Greg always makes jokes, really bad jokes.
That had actually never been said before)

Norwich Arts Centre didn’t give us any orange juice. Just soya milk. And no cheese with the watery warm meal either.

That wasn’t too hot, the quorn concarne.
I had some in Sheppard’s pie, it wasn’t too bad.
(Man comes in, talks about tshirts.
Do you want to draw us naked?
The room we are in tonight is a DORM. As in we are all in the same room.
You’re shitting me.
So I hope you like it.
We’re paying £120 for that?
Is it like a big brother room?
There’s only four beds (ha ha ha)
He’s only on this tour to lure us in.
Yep, just for some kind of homosexual fun.)

Some kind? Is he leaving it up to you to choose? (Project ‘At Your Happiest’ talk talk tak tak tak- see website.)

Is that a spaceship?

It’s me, running.

With a football?

It’s actually a giant orange. I’m definitely the fastest.

Are you the fittest?

Sure for hell.

It looks almost like Chinese calligraphy.

Or Norman lettering.

You know in the Chinese ink paintings of trees and reeds and stuff

I’ve done that

Me too. And each branch is a character- like, a word. So the whole painting tells a story.

Have you been told your Chinese name, so you know what it means?

I was at one point. I think it was something strange like Soup Girl.

Soup Girl? All the Chinese names are meant to be about something that’s aesthetically pleasing.

So for example, my name has ‘light’ and it has a bridge in it, so it’s like ‘the bridge of light’.

My exchange partner Zhu, her first name was sunrise, because that’s what her mum saw when she was born, but her surname meant Pig. Sunrise Pig.

Really? Well the thing is when you have something like Pig, it can mean all kinds of different things. The word for pig can also mean pearl. So they’re quite different, because one is very aesthetically pleasing, and the other one oinks.

I wish English names were like that.

Well English names are different, because they’ve got more history. Chinese names aren’t really to do with history. It’s more of a puzzle. They’re a lot more aesthetic, and to do with how it sounds.

(Other drawings offered forward. ‘Is that blood or a ponytail?’)

On a lighter note,

What could possibly be lighter than the death of David Tenant?

What’s your favourite insect to eat?

What kind of a question is that? Who eats insects?

It’s in your fucking song! Insect eating man.

Apart from flies by accident, the only insect I’ve ever eaten is shot-put ants. Have you ever tried them?

I think they used to serve them in a pub I used to work in.

How much were they? And how many did you get?

They came with pudding. Chocolate covered ants.


Custard? Chocolate ants?

You like custard don’t you andy.
It’s my favourite dessert.
I bet we wont get any in our swanky hotel. We’re paying £120 per person, and sleeping in a dorm.

Per person?! You’ve been ripped off.

Yeah of course we have.
No way, we paid £220 for eight people. It’s still a rip off…but Travelodge.

You know Travelodge has got offers on at the moment for £19 a room?

But that’s the thing with Travelodge you get that sofa thing which isn’t a bed.
It isn’t so bad. You get good free stuff.
No, I like Travelodge. But certain members of the band stole stuff from Travelodge and were caught on camera. So we’re in their black books now.

Do you ever watch Flight of the Concords?

It’s rubbish. It is rubbish. Do you like it?

Yeah it’s funny. Have you listened to their songs properly?

Yeah, they’re crap.
Flight of the Concords.
It’s two kiwi dudes on BBC3 comedy. Set in New York isn’t it? And they’re kind of a band.

(Looks as though there isn’t any possible way this blurb can be elaborated)
Have you watched the actual songs, not in the series? It’s a bit less deadpan.


You should.

Ok I will.

They’re really witty, and have brilliant timing.

Not like us.
No, we keep great time.
Like The Beatles in fact.
(John has finished his picture).
Is that a rosary?
It’s beads. Chanting beads. I decided to become a Buddhist.

How long ago was that?

Seven years.

What made you decide to do that?

I just felt there was something missing in my life.

Has it helped?

Yeah, absolutely.

Is it Buddhists who believe that desire leads to pain?

Yeah, that’s sort of old Hinayanda Buddhism, where you try and cut off all your desires. But the Buddhism that I practise,Mahaygana, sort of takes into account that you can’t…because that’s desire in itself, to cut out desire. But you can actually use the desires…

Why would you want to cut out desires? All types of desires?

Not all types.

Everyone has desires.

You’d probably die if you didn’t follow your desires.


What about when you’re hungry?

You’d die an inner death.
We never follow our desires. Like instead of doing something else tonight, we played the first show of this tour.

Did you enjoy it?

I did, yeah. I was saying, you said it was rubbish but I thought it was really good.

I didn’t think it was really good.
I thought Say it like you Mean It went alright.
It makes a change from playing everything the same every night.
As long as Ali thought it was alright.

I did, I assure you.

At the end of it, I realised that I wasn’t actually giving 100%, so in the last one minute I did.

The last one minute? (enthusiastically shouts BYE! THANKYOU!! Big smiley faces all round.)

I was giving it like 99%...
99%? More like 64%.
You were all bopping around, I was bopping around more than anyone… I felt I was putting it on, the bopping up and down.

Does it ever come naturally? The Bobbing up and down?

Yeah it does. Just tonight it felt a bit contrived. Like I was doing it to enthuse myself slightly.
It depends on two important factors: How bouncy the stage is- some stages actually bounce and some don’t-

Your shoes?

Yeah, you can wear bouncy shoes too. And also if the music’s really loud and you’re getting into it. Then also the crowd. If they’re going up and down, then you just follow that I guess.
I bounce when I’m happy.
There were a lot of drunkards dancing tonight.
They were drunk?
They’d jump to anything then wouldn’t they.
(Graham finishes his ‘at your happiest’ picture)

What are you drawing graham?

That’s at his most happiest…(laughy)
It’s a kind of religion too. Called Pub.
It’s a pretty good self portrait actually.
So what have we got. We’ve got John chanting yay, Graham in the pub drinking, Mark killing David Tenant, and we’ve got Andrew…

With a giant orange.

With a giant orange…(chuckles)
What is he doing?
I’m chasing A Dream. A tangerine dream.
It’s obvious. I could have drawn a robot but that would have been cheating. So I drew a dream instead.

They look like they’ve all been drawn by five year olds.

Interview & Words- Ali Hewson

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