We caught up with comeback kings Yashin before their recent headline show at The Borderline and talked about their chart success with The Renegades, their unique connection with their fans, why they’ll always be the underdogs and why they couldn’t give a steaming shit about it!
MOSH: So this is your first headline show for… how long has it been?
Harry and Kevin: Two years!
H: Too long!
K: The last time we played headline shows was almost two years ago to the day in this actual venue. We re-released ‘D.E.A.D’ as a single, we decided to go out and do [a tour] at that point, it had probably been a couple of years again since [the last one]. This is like the second lot of headline tours in four years…it’s really a great deal you know?
MOSH: You started off this tour in Glasgow, did it feel like a homecoming?
H: It felt SO good to be in Glasgow and I thought that was just a one-off, special thing, but last night in Manchester it was awesome as well. Like, seeing so many people that we’ve seen for years coming to our shows you know, and then some new faces as well. I think everyone just realised that these shows were more like a celebration and a “Sorry we’ve been gone.” We wanted to do four small shows to celebrate the release, obviously our album’s just come out so there’s gonna be a hell of a lot more stuff coming up but I think this was just to draw a line under everything.
MOSH: So you actually recognise people in the crowd then?
H: Oh yeah! Our fans are amazing, they follow us, some of them travel over from Europe, some people come from the UK and then go to Europe when we play there, and people follow us on entire tours…
K: They follow us on tour yeah, so many familiar faces. It’s been amazing on this run particularly because people are saying “This is the first time I’ve seen you since 2011”, so for us to make an impact like that off the back of a record which has only been around for a week or so is just incredible and it’s amazing to see familiar faces again. That’s what this record’s all about.
MOSH: What’s the furthest anyone’s travelled to see you?
H: We’ve had people from America, people from Australia.. I don’t know if we’ve had anyone from Japan or anything…
K: We’ve had people from Italy over, so mostly Southern Europe.
MOSH: You’ve said it was “three years of hell”, The Renegades is finally out – how good does it feel that the record is finally out?
H: It’s a relief that it’s out, like there were many times we didn’t think that is ever gonna come out you know… the titles you see on the record like ‘The Beginning of the End’, I remember going into the studio to record my vocals and all of us being like, without saying out loud, this is the beginning of the end because we didn’t really see how anything was gonna, you know… We’d just exhausted all options and then luckily Sony came in on the finish line and they gave us the dream producer, and things like that. But yeah, many times we didn’t think it was gonna come out. It was hell!
MOSH: What’s the reaction been like to the new songs?
H: Today we found out about the charts! It’s the highest we’ve even been.
K: I think for us it’s important because when we released ‘We Created A Monster’ for us that was the peak of our careers at that stage. 2012, just off the back of tours with [Limp] Bizkit, Papa Roach, Black Veil Brides, Download Festival, out into Novarock in Europe and stuff like that, and we released W.C.A.M and it charted at number 21 in the rock charts in the UK which at the time for us was just like… it was amazing because your family, if they’re not into this sort of music, don’t know it, unless you’re playing T In The Park and your name’s in the local newspaper they don’t know what you’re doing. But this time around The Renegades has charted at number 11 so to have been away for so long and come back…
H: It’s been totally unexpected.
K: Seeing that we really kinda try and keep our finger on the pulse, like we try and keep in touch with the fans and connected with them on a level that I don’t think a lot of bands really do. To see the response which has come in verbally and what people are saying to us on social media, it’s just been incredible. Even people like I say, friends and family who don’t listen to this sort of music are picking up the record and saying “By the way, this is great, I really like this” and there’s something for everyone on there.
MOSH: What is your favourite track each to perform live, or is there one that has a special meaning for you?
H: My favourite song on the album is ‘Vultures’ but at the moment my favourite song to play live is ‘Play Me’, it’s so fun and I didn’t know it was gonna be like that. That’s the beautiful thing with music, like ‘Vultures’ is my favourite song musically but live something else is completely my favourite.
K: I think when you’ve been playing the same set for such a long time…and we’ve had this material for a while now. This album for the most part could probably have went out a year ago for all intents and purposes you know, but for us we’re starting to get to the point now where we’re writing for number four and everyone’s dying to hear stuff off number three, so I think like Harry said songs like ‘Vultures’, ‘Play Me’, ‘The Beginning of the End’ they’re kinda new additions to the set. It’s just a welcome change for us to be playing new songs. We did sort of test the waters with these songs and set throughout 2014, 2015 and those songs have been through so many changes to get to this stage where they’re at now, they’re almost undistinguishable from what they were when we demoed them but it’s nice to play some new material you know.
MOSH: The Renegades has seen some more of your trademark sound, like you’re rock but you mix metal elements in with it – where do you see your sound evolving? As you said you’ve already started writing for your fourth album, do you see it going heavier?
K: I don’t think we write to a particular style, I think that’s a lot of people’s problem with Yashin is that they can’t listen to an album start to finish and think this sounds uniform. When you listen to an Of Mice and Men album you know it’s an Of Mice and Men album, when you listen to a Yashin record you know it’s one of our records but…
H: We just touch a lot of bases.
K: Yeah, when one song finishes there’s a clear gap between one song and the next, there’s no one song runs into the other and you don’t know where you are with it.
H: It’s mostly people who are heavily into metal who are like “If you’re gonna play metal music you can’t sing and have that kind of melody in metal music, that’s not metal”, but fuck that, give a shit about that. We do what we wanna do, if people don’t like it then don’t talk to us and don’t listen to our music! And people that do…that’s why we’re here.
MOSH: Your album talks about your struggles over the past few years and how you’ve always felt like the underdogs. Do you see this changing after this album?
K: Uhhh…no! I don’t see it changing at all.
H: I don’t think it’s gonna change to be honest but I do see that success will always…if we go back to where we were, further and beyond with this album, this is just the beginning and already we’ve gone – in terms of where we peaked in the charts – that’s just a little thing. Cause we’ve been gone for so long a lot of people have taken the time to just…people’s attitude is to kick you when you’re down or whatever, but you know we see all that stuff and we won’t forget that stuff and when people do start coming round again and they see us more again, we’re straight up and the friends that we have have always been our friends. We don’t dick around with being fake with people at festivals and like “Oh hey man, how’s it going?” it’s just like no, jog it on, we’re not interested like, we’re not here to play games.
MOSH: What’s the dream for you guys? Do you see yourselves headlining arenas, would you want to do that?
K: That’s the problem with the UK scene in particular. Europe is so much more accepting of bands. We’re an easy target for a lot of people because of the type of music that we play. Like I said we cover a broad spectrum. You can listen to an album that has the heaviest song Yashin’s ever written alongside the most commercial song the band’s ever written. People latch onto that and they’re digging their teeth in as a result of it but the UK media needs to get behind bands and actually support them. Bands like Creeper, Dead!, Grader, these guys are out there, they’re on the ground, they’re sleeping on people’s floors, they’re touring around and the press needs to get behind them because there is no generation of future arena headliners. There’s no generation of future festival headliners coming through because the media is so quick to take a pop at people.
This record speaks out for itself. Like Harry says, we don’t give a fuck what anybody thinks about it, these are the tunes we wanted to write when we went into the studio and as I said earlier on, if people wanna come along for the ride then they’re more than welcome and if that [headlining arenas] comes as a result of this then that’s great. We want to take our music to all corners of the world, we want to be in all the territories that this album’s getting released in. This is a total new experience for us. Our album is gonna be going out in Japan, Central Europe, Scandinavia, Australia, America – we wanna see as many of these places of the world and just make happy memories and die happy deaths.
H: I think we learned a long time ago that’s it’s good to have aspirations and stuff like that, but I don’t think it’s good to just be like, we should be doing this and writing this because we want and know we can be playing arenas and know we can be the biggest band in the world. If you chase that in the wrong way, you’re only gonna be…it’s not the right attitude to have to be in a band. You’ll never be happy and out of this long ass struggle I think that we’ve found that the only thing why we kept going is because we love our music and we love music. So as long as you want to keep writing good songs and doing that, then that should come naturally but you shouldn’t want to write music because you want to headline arenas. That’s not….
K: It’s not the right mindset to have.
H: It’s not rock’n’roll!
K: No, and I tell you what, I’ll have more fun here tonight in The Borderline than what we did playing Brixton Academy.
MOSH: It’s true what you say about people sticking to their music…I don’t want to name any names but there’s a band that’s been very popular recently and they’re headlining really big arenas but they’ve changed their sound so much… Bring Me The Horizon, I’ll just say it.
H: Yeah, yeah (laughs)
MOSH: You know, they started off with that deathcore sound and now they’re basically radio rock…
H: Yeah, they’re really smart boys. They saw what they needed to do if they wanted to take it to the next level. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure they do like That’s The Spirit and they enjoy that music but a lot of people could interpret it as you have reached the ceiling, the absolute ceiling of where you can be with the music that you’re writing, in terms of Sempiternal and Suicide Season and it’s just like, they took the only step that they knew was going to, that could skyrocket them around the rest of the world, and that was changing a metal band into a pop band. They are a pop band, they take out bands like PVRIS and things like that, and they’re like pop rock bands so fair play, they did it the long route but the completely correct way to keep the masses with them. Whatever they do is cool, like, everything they do is accepting because they’ve not manipulated, but they’ve just done it in such a business, straight really good way and that’s really great management and good music. They write good songs, they know how to write good music.
K: And they’re also one of the bands who again, the press was against them for a very long time, and they’ve completely turned it around but without actually speaking to these guys and finding out where their heads were at when they wrote that album, you don’t know if that’s what they wanted to do you know? But I think That’s The Spirit’s a great album but whether they just decided “We’ve had enough of this”, again, “If people wanna get on board with this than this is where we wanna be” so it could be that. But maybe they’ve been strategic about it, or maybe that’s just the tunes that they wanted to write at the time…
H: I’m sure it crossed all their minds because it’s a bit… all perfect timing. It seems a bit strategic, but good for them man.
K: Fair play to them.
MOSH: Yeah, good for them. So will we see Yashin at any festivals this year?
H: Ummm, it’s hard to say cause we’ve had a lot of changes in the Yashin family behind the scenes recently. You know, more stuff to add to the list of er…going through changes (laughs) but yeah our new agent is working on it. Our record obviously has done what it’s done now which is much better than the last one and 100% for sure you’re gonna see us touring this year with other bands and getting back out there because we’ve been gone for too long!