Gimme Your Answers: An Interview w/ Say Yes

Say Yes
Photo by Justin Godelie | @jurego

 

If you’ve seen Say Yes play live, you’d understand that this band is packed full of talent.

With a number of years in the industry and a handful of successful projects behind them, they know how to make a great album- and they’ve done just that.

With the new EP out, AMBY sat down to talk with Adam, Michael, and Jordan before their performance at the Niagara Craft Beer Festival. The guys were excited to reminisce highlights from their summer, chat about being back in the studio and share some exciting teasers about what’s brewing for them!

AMBY chatted with the talented singer-songwriter about getting back in the studio, being on a movie soundtrack, career highlights and being in a Beatles Tribute Band at this year’s Niagara Craft Beer Festival.

AMBY: I’m here with the guys of Say Yes, would you care to introduce yourselves?

Say Yes: My name is Jordan (drums), I’m Adam (vocals,) and I’m Michael, I play bass.

AMBY: The band has had a busy summer- playing shows, as well as getting the record ready. With the EP now out, what have been some of the highlights of the summer?

Say Yes: [Michael] Definitely just getting the CD release happening has been a highlight because this has been a long time coming. We’ve had the recordings finished for a while and it was just a matter of fandangling a couple of moves before Dine Alone ended up jumping on board. We were just really excited this summer to see the EP released.

[Jordan] Another highlight was playing Bala with The Sheepdogs. Bala was a lot of fun. That venue has been my favourite place to play up to date. It’s beautiful, you can pull up on a boat and play a show- it’s fucking awesome. [laughs] Northern Ontario is not cool at all; beautiful scenery, great music and nice venues. [Michael] The next morning after we played, we had a bunch of friends hanging out behind the Kee to Bala and a float plane showed up and just parked right beside us- crazy. Just fucking amazing.

AMBY: Let’s talk about the new EP. It had to be amazing to be back in the studio.

Say Yes: [Michael] Oh for sure, I love being in the studio. It’s always nice, once you’re in the studio, to get back out of the studio, because it feels like you’re in a dungeon for months and months, depending on the project, but it’s always nice to be back.

[Jordan] The studio experience was great, we got to be back with our old buddy Justin Koop who’s worked with tons of bands, from Grade to Walk Off The Earth, to every other Burlington band, [Adam] and every band we played in in high school.

[Jordan] Yea, he recorded us at least two or three times back in the 90‘s. It was just great being back in that space. It brought back a lot of old, fond memories. It’s great.

AMBY: The album is very much just a good ol’ rock n’ roll piece. Where did you draw influence for this EP?

Say Yes: [Jordan] Everything and anything really. It wasn’t so much a thought out process, it was more so just what came naturally. All of our influences come from classic rock, definitely, with 90’s on top of that. You know, we’re 90’s kids so, it’s hard not to throw that in there. That’s where it came from for me anyway. [Adam] Definitely from the subconscious. Not planned out, it just naturally all came together.

AMBY: So Jordan, I’ve read that you’re the primary songwriter…

Say Yes: [Jordan] Maybe in the beginning, I mean, I had a couple of the songs laid out, maybe 4 or 5, but then some we totally tossed aside and some we worked on and made into what they are now. Off the get-go I had a couple of ideas, but it’s definitely a 3-way writing process nowadays, by far. These guys made it. The songs wouldn’t have been nearly as good if I had to sit down and play all of the instruments [laughs]. I can kind of strum a guitar and write stuff, but to actually sit there and play it- that’s a different story. [Michael] You’re not a bad djembe player though, I must say [laughs]

[Jordan] I hate those fucking things with a passion.

AMBY: So now you guys are ‘kicking it old school’, as it were, touring out this EP. What’s it like to play to smaller crowds, in smaller venues? Is it sort of a flashback?

Say Yes: Yea, we’ve played to some very small crowds. Some very small crowds and it is what it is. We just love playing music and that’s what we’re here for. Whether there’s 5 people, or 2 people or 80,000 people, we just love to play music. I don’t give a shit about the size. That’s what I like to do and now I get to do it with two of my closest buddies, so all is good!

AMBY: How long have you all actually known each other then?

Say Yes: [Jordan] Adam and I have known each other since ’95 probably. [Adam] Jesus, yea… that’s crazy. [Jordan] Well, I would have been in grade 9 when I met him, so maybe ’96. [Michael] I’d only met them towards the tail end of 2011. We all have mutual friends, so that’s how that came together.

AMBY: The young blood of the group.

Say Yes: He takes a lot of shit for it too [laughs]

AMBY: Fans are going to be able to see you at Riot Fest in Toronto coming up, what else do you guys have in the works?

Say Yes: We’re going to hit the road in late September/ early October. Nothing conclusive yet, but some things in talks, it’s just a matter of the right time to announce them. We are playing Riot Fest though and we’ve been added to Burly Calling.

AMBY: A very diplomatic answer (after almost giving away some spoilers).

AMBY: Playing shows like Riot Fest and Burly Calling, you’re playing with bands like City and Colour and Dead Tired. Do you guys, from the Alexis days, go out, watch each other’s set and support each other?

Say Yes: [Jordan] Yea, absolutely! I’ve actually never seen Dead Tired, as of yet, unfortunately.

AMBY: I’ve even seen them!

Say Yes: I’m definitely going to. George was even at our CD Release Party, which was great. I hadn’t seen him in a while. I’ve been talking to Dallas via email about the Riot Fest thing, how it’s going to be exciting.

AMBY: Riot Fest is just missing Gallows on the bill… what the fuck?

Say Yes: It does cost a lot of money for them to come over here. Wade lives here obviously, but the rest of the guys are in the UK.

AMBY: If Wade were on the bill, everyone would be expecting something from AOF.

Say Yes: Yea, well you never know. Who knows?

AMBY: What a tease!

AMBY: Lastly, since we’re here at the Niagara Craft Beer Festival, if you guys were to make a Say Yes beer, what would you call it and what would it taste like?

Say Yes: That’s tough because we all like drinking a million different types of beers at any given time. As well as drinking a million beers in general. We’d call it WAH! Beer.

AMBY: How would you spell that?

Say Yes: W-A-N-Y? No Y? Exclamation point! Maybe a Y after the A? (All making hilarious kung-foo sounds).

AMBY: It’s more of a sound really.

Say Yes: That’s the marketing behind it. It’s the sound it makes when you open the bottle, like those old milk cartons that would moo? Instead this is a beer bottle that goes WAH! The beer wouldn’t be too hoppy. We don’t want to throw you off and make you throw up immediately, “not so hoppy that it throws you off-y” [laughs] That’s our slogan right there. Or, “not for hop-sters”. That’s what I call the new beer hipsters, “hopsters”.

AMBY: Well, thanks so much. I’m loving the new EP, it’s such a great album. Thanks a lot for chatting today guys.

Say Yes: Thank you very much, always a pleasure, thanks for having us!

***

Thanks Say Yes, for giving us your answers!

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Interview by Shannon Bryan | @xoradioxo

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