Musings of Provo (Our Blog)

Archive for November, 2008

The Yaks Interview

Posted on: November 24th, 2008 by musemusiccafe No Comments

Today, we sit down with The Yaks, recent Muse Battle of the Bands winners, and talk about their fascination with cowboys, Outkast, and retro garage rock. Don’t let the 14-15 year old age fool you; these guys know how to rock!

Muse Music Café (MMC):

What’s the name of your band? (What’s the origin of that name? Have you changed the band’s name before?)

The Yaks: Originally, we were called “Nothing But Flying Yaks”. Everyone called us “The Yaks” or “The Flying Yaks”, so we eventually just gave up and shortened it to “The Yaks”.

MMC: Who’s in the band and what are their contributions?

The Yaks: Schuyler plays the bass and sings. Joel plays guitar and sings. Tagg plays guitar and sings. Danny plays keyboard. Creed plays drums and is a recording wizard. We all contribute to the songwriting process.

MMC: What genre of music do you consider your work to be? Who are your major influences?

The Yaks: We all listen to a lot of different kinds of music. Our biggest influences are probably older bands like the Beatles and the Kinks, but we also dig newer bands like Grandaddy, Belle and Sebastian, and DR. Dog. Our genre is a kind of a garage rock/country rock/indie pop mix.

MMC: How long have you all known each other? How did you meet?

The Yaks: We have all lived in the same small area. Danny, Tagg, and Schuyler are the original yak gangsters, and they started playing together around 2005-ish. Joey and Creed had been jamming in Jazz bands and stuff since before then.

MMC: When did you form your band? What inspired you to make music together?

The Yaks: Our newest version of the yaks came together around this last April. We all loved to jam and play music, and its cool that people think we are the least bit cool and can dig our stuff. We would still be playing even if no one liked us at all. Frankly, the Yaks only try to impress the Yaks.

MMC: What can you tell me about your instruments? (i.e., Are you subject to brand loyalty or will you play with whatever’s available? What made you choose the instruments you have now? Was it cost or was it a style/model/brand/color preference?)

The Yaks: I wouldn’t say we have any brand loyalty or anything. But both Joel and Tagg play Fender Telecasters through Vox amps. Strange. Actually, the whole story of all our gear is kind of a joke, because Creed is really a guitar player, and Joel is really a bass player. So Tagg plays his guitar through Creed’s amp. Joel plays Schuyler’s guitar through Tagg’s amp. Creed plays Tagg’s brother’s drums. Schuyler plays his own bass through Joel’s amp. And Danny plays his own keyboard, which is awesome. Very confusing, but we are all cool sharing our stuff, which is nice.

MMC: Where have you performed? Do you have any upcoming shows?

The Yaks: We have played at Kilby Court , Solid Ground Café, the Velour, and the lovely Muse Music. Our favorite gig though, is at this Halloween party that Joel’s and Danny’s distant family puts on. There are less indie kids, and more costumed dancing kids. It’s very fun. Our next show is at Muse Music on December 18th.

MMC: Does the band have a favorite song to perform? Do you ever play any covers? Do you usually have a set play list?

The Yaks: We usually try to have a set list, but we usually forget to make one. Our newest song, “Pushing Daisies”, makes everyone go wild, so that’s our favorite right now. We play some covers, most of them Halloween tunes like “monster mash”, “I put a spell on you”, and a Harry potter medley. We also play “hey ya” by Outkast.

MMC: Who writes your songs? What are the main themes or topics for most of your songs? Do you think these topics will change over time?

The Yaks: Our main songwriters are Joel, Tagg, and Schuyler. Everyone really contributes to the arranging though. Mostly, we don’t really write about anything. We try to put two words that sound good next to each other, and that’s about it. Every once in a while, a song might contain a phrase about our feelings or something. Maybe someday we’ll actually write about something.

MMC: Could you briefly describe the music-making process?

The Yaks: Someone will bring a cool set of chords to a practice/jam session and from there we just begin building off of it all together. And we eventually have a performable song. But the songs are generally subject to change over a period of time. There have been exceptions from this process when we have written a song around our recording process.

MMC: What are your rehearsals generally like? (Do you have a set time each week in which you practice or are rehearsals more spontaneous?)

The Yaks: We know it is an awful habit, but we generally get together and practice/write when we have a show coming up in the next week or two. We hope to fix this by playing more shows closer together. Maybe then will we completely finish writing the material for our next album.

MMC: How has your music evolved since you first began playing music together?

The Yaks: The overall musicianship and level of our playing has definitely been one of the bigger evolutions in the band. But the depth of the actual songs has gone to a much greater level with better lyrics and deeper grooves.

MMC: What has been your biggest challenge as a band? Have you been able to overcome that challenge? If so, how?

The Yaks: Gaining the Indie-kid’s approval as a viable source of music. We are still working on it.

MMC: What’s your ultimate direction for your band?

The Yaks: One word: Hollywood .

MMC: What advice do you have for people who want to form their own bands?

The Yaks: Play what you want, and not what everyone else wants. Play shows only when you’re ready, we found that out the hard way. It wasn’t pretty.

MMC: How can fans-to-be gain access to your music? Do you have a website with sample songs or a CD?

The Yaks: Right now we only have a Myspace (myspace.com/theyaksmusic), but we have a website in the works and a potential facebook page.

MMC: Any last words?

The Yaks: Nah.

Matt Weidauer Interview

Posted on: November 19th, 2008 by musemusiccafe No Comments

Few musicians have accomplished what Matt Weidauer has been able to do musically in the past few years. Each of his songs are polished folk gems which sound mature well beyond his years. His lyrical themes range from riding trains to family illnesses to God. His music carries an extremely sincere, honest, and warm tone. Matt is a Utah valley native who grew up in Cedar Hills. His is starting work now on an EP with a full length album to follow. We recently caught up with Matt to talk about what inspires his music, how he got to where he is now, and his mild obsession of Iron Madien. We plays at Muse Music Cafe Thursday, November 21st at 8pm.

How did you first get interested in music and/or playing music?

When I was in 7th grade I became infatuated with punk music (like so many of us!) I bought “Face to Face: Live.” That album made me fall in love with music. I originally wanted to play the drums but decided on learning the guitar. From watching live punk videos I knew I wanted to be on stage. Certain bands laid a musical foundation for me like the get up kids and face to face.


What aspect of making music excites you the most right now?

I really enjoy writing lyrics. Most of my guitar parts are fairly simple minus a few little diddy’s. So I love finally finding that line in the song that kind of connects the chain and makes it become my own. I love it.


What aspect of making music gets you the most discouraged?

As well as lyrics getting me excited, at times lyrics get me very discouraged. Some times it is sort of like trying to leach something from my bones without being able to find it. Another aspect is striving for originality. It is difficult finding a distinct sound. It is a matter of refining it down and having it become my own. This is very hard sometimes.


In what ways does living in Provo, or other places you have lived effect music you create or your music taste?

I don’t think living around Provo has effected my style of music. I have always played the style I wanted to regardless of my surroundings. Although for the time I lived in Hawaii I found the island style music slowly began to creep into my playing. But the islands are less musically diverse than the mainland. So I don’t think Provo has necessarily effected my music.


What band or musician do you love? Is the music you listen to similar or different from your own?

Right now I’m listening to a lot of M. Ward, Johnny Cash, Fleetwood Mac, Calexico, and Matt Pond P.A. Most of the music I listen to is similar to my style. But I also have a passion for Iron Maiden and other power metal bands. In fact I am working on converting some Maiden songs into folk songs. But I primarily listen to indie music.


What happens during the song writing process for you?

Most of the time I begin with a tune on the guitar first. Some times I have a good idea lyrically or a good topic, then I would add guitar. But mostly I begin with the guitar and then the lyrics. The two tie together as the song progresses. Usually I write music in my car at night. Often times I use the things I am seeing around me to spark ideas for lyrics.


What are the main themes of your songs? Do you think these topics will change over time?

My songs usually are about actual events in my life. I have a few that are fiction. I always try to incorporate God into my music. Some of my lyrics are embellished a bit by western themes but most of them are true. I don’t think my themes will ever change. It is easy for me to talk about God because he is the one who is making all of this possible. And I’m sure I will have many more experiences to write about.


How has your music evolved since you first started songwriting?

When I was 12 I began learning punk/ska songs. Those changed into emo songs. Those turned into metal songs. And those became folk songs. That is kind of how I have musically “matured” over the years. The first song I ever wrote was in 8th grade and it was very similar to “Dashboard Confessional” or something like they would play. Now my songs are more personal, less emo, and more western and folky. I really feel like this is my home in music.


Do you have a favorite song to perform?

My favorite song to perform is called “A Just and Perfect Man.” It is the story of Job from the Bible told as if I were him. In a way his words become my own and it is a way for me to express the way I feel. I really love playing this song. I wrote it when I was 17 years old and it hasn’t changed since then.


What can you tell me about your instruments? (i.e., Are you subject to brand loyalty or will you play with whatever’s available? What made you choose the instruments you have now?)

I do not suffer from brand loyalty. I play on a Guild GF-60 acoustic guitar. I love the sound and playability. If I could afford it I would probably buy a Gibson or a Taylor. For now the Guild is working great. I used to own an Epiphone Hummingbird that I loved. Years ago I owned an old beat up Fender acoustic. That is what I wrote a lot of my old songs on.


You play with a backing band. Who are the members and what are their contributions?

Sydney Rigby plays violin and the late Derek Lowry played harmonica for me. My brother, Jason Weidauer, also is occasionally playing bass with me. They have added so much to the songs to give them more of a unique and distinct sound. In time I plan on having more of an assortment of friends playing different instruments for me. Derek Lowry’s recent passing will be a great loss to our music and our lives.


What do you hope to be your ultimate direction as a musician?

Right now I’m just grateful people like my music. Of course I would love to go some where with it but for the time I am very content playing local venues that I love with the people that I love. I imagine I will never stop playing music whether I go some where or not.


What advice do you have for people who want to write and perform their own music?

Just write the music you want to write. Don’t write the music that influential people are telling you to write. Write what you feel. Be original but not off the wall. Have fun and love it.


How can fans-to-be gain access to your music? Do you have a website with sample songs or a CD?

I have a facebook fan page. Most of the songs are older recordings and live material. There are also live videos on youtube. www.virb.com/mattweidauer


Any last words?

Thanks everyone who has supported me since I began playing music. Thanks friends and family. Thanks muse music. Music is the greatest.

Paul Jaeger

Posted on: November 18th, 2008 by musemusiccafe No Comments

Check the amazing work of Paul Jaeger, featered in our Cafe for the month of November. Contact the artist with information about purchasing his vibrant pieces. PaulDJaeger@gmail.com