Interview Look back in anger: Yonaka

Look back in anger: Yonaka

Pissed off with posh bands, these Brighton firestarters are ready to tip the system upside-down.

They may only have three songs to their name, but Brighton four-piece Yonaka have already amassed a formidable reputation as one of the country’s most exciting new live acts. Frontwoman Theresa Jarvis doesn’t spend a split-second standing still, and she’s backed by a band who mix relentless noise with serious swagger. After a couple of years gigging, it wasn’t long until Atlantic Records took notice, but, as Theresa reveals, the band may have celebrated their newfound major-label status a little too heavily…

“We signed the deal and got absolutely wrecked the same day,” she laughs. “We were due to do a gig that night but none of us could play a single note.” 

When the band are on form, however, few can match them for sheer ferocity. The quartet received a priceless education from touring with Frank Carter, after joining him and his Rattlesnakes on the road back in March. ”You just don’t get bored of watching that show. Every night there’s something different - you never know when he’s going to jump off a balcony or something!”

“You learn a lot from touring with acts like that,” she continues. “We’ve been very lucky to play with incredible bands like Drenge - it’s an experience that allowed us to reach different types of audiences, which I think is really important.”

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“I think anger is an important part of what we do.”

Theresa Jarvis

As for on record, Yonaka’s early tracks are just as adrenaline-packed, but Theresa explains it’s a varied mix of music that inspires them. Favourite albums include everything from Jeff Buckley’s ‘Grace’ to Dr Dre’s ‘2001’ - and the latter is more important to the band’s sound that you might think.

“I think that hip hop and rock share a close connection, in that they can both be aggressive, angry types of music,” she says, before essentially spelling out the band’s mission statement: “I think anger is an important part of what we do. People are sick of all this shit posh pop music, and I think that anger is a great thing.”

The sky’s the limit for a band like Yonaka: raw, prepared to remain uncompromised, and skilled in matching anger with killer pop hooks. “It’s a lot of work, potentially a lot more than I ever thought it would be,” admits Theresa, “but there are days when I wake up and think ‘Fuck, I’ve got the best job in the world.”’

“This is my life now. I want Yonaka to be massive. I’m in it for the long run. I want all of it - to headline Glastonbury, the lot.” Michael Eavis, take note, because three songs in and Yonaka already feel like a world-conquering proposition. 

Photos: Louise Mason

Taken from the August 2017 issue of DIY, out now. Pick up a copy from your local stockist, or subscribe below.