Bristol-based psych prog power trio, Yo No Se, founded by guitarist and singer Alex Studer released their full-length debut album Soma back in October (review here), available on the limited edition Blue with Black splatter vinyl through Stolen Body Records.
Alex answered our question about the album, its album art, future plans, and more. Read more after the break.
Describe the musical vision propelling your debut album Soma.
It was quite a long process to be honest. I started off writing a load of songs with idea of going down a prog path… I quickly realised that I don’t really make that kind of music and that I’m inclined to lean towards heavier music whatever I try to write. We thought about having a flute (this is still gonna happen at some stage) and really spacing it all out. The moment we got three of us in a room and started jamming it was clear that that was all we needed. We’ve played with a lot of ideas and it’s all been quite organic. We’re working on our second album at the moment and it feels like we’ve really found our stride now.
What made this the right time to pursue that vision?
I’ve done several other bands and never quite got what I was looking for. This time I’m happy and I feel like I’m doing the music that I really want to do.
Tell me about what you’re communicating with the album cover.
My good friend Matt Wright took the picture. He’s an amazing photographer. I wanted a round 360 shot of trees and as Matt is one of the best 360 photographers out there I just asked if he had anything. After that I just messed around with it all a little and got to where it is now. We wanted a black and white front cover because so many bands we love had their first album in black and white. A kind of homage to some great music.
What was the creative process for Soma like?
At first I wrote a lot of the music at home just trying to figure out what I wanted to do. The moment I brought it to the practice space though everything changed. Everyone in the band has put their own personality in the music and made it what it is.
Speaking of the album’s creative process, provide some insight into it. How did you document the music while it was being formulated?
We usually record the music roughly and then listen back to it straight away or take it home and take notes and see what works and what doesnt. I’ve got hundreds of takes of bits of songs on my computer. I also film myself playing songs so that I dont forget how to play them as they’re being created.
Is the dynamic flow of the pieces carefully architected?
I wouldn’t say carefully. They’re all pretty simple songs really. A lot of things you discover by mistake and then just follow a path until it doesn’t work anymore.
Did the environment in any way influence the vibe the album transcends?
Not really, the space we practiced in or anything, no. The current state of the world and to be honest how its been for way too long influenced the album a lot. It’s influencing the next album too.
How do you usually go about creating a new song?
Usually I’ll be listening to some music and then find some inspiration and try play around with something similar. It usually ends up nothing like it and I go from there. I sometimes dream a song or just playing around something comes up. Anything really, there’s no recipe.
Which bands or artists influence your work?
A lot but on this album particularly it was Nirvana, Black Sabbath and Hawkwind.
Do you see your music as serving a purpose beyond music?
Not really. I wouldn’t want it to either.
Soma is available as a digital download, a digipak CD and also as vinyl. What in particular made you gravitate towards LP?
Well I run Stolen Body Records and I release everything on vinyl, cos it’s the best way to listen to music.
Do you also maintain your personal vinyl collection, and if so when did you start collecting vinyl? How large is your collection?
My collection is pretty large. I also have thousands of records from the record label sorted in a room. I started collecting vinyl when I was probably about 22.
With the album out, what else do you have in the pipeline?
We’re working on our second album at the moment. We have a new drummer and we’re all working really well together, really quick so the songs are just flying out. We don’t want to hang around for too long. We want to get another record out that Thom (new drummer) has played on and get touring again.