Abbas Ali chats to drummer Jonny Rogoff about Yuck - the exciting new musical project risen from the ashes of Cajun Dance Party and currently making waves all over the UK.
The underage scene which emerged from North London in the mid noughties was an exciting explosion of talent and creativity that gave rise to such things as the recent Underage Festival, and young bands such as Bombay Bicycle Club.
Another hotly tipped band of that era, Cajun Dance Party, sadly split, but thankfully for fans who felt they showed great promise, there is life after that band for singer Daniel Blumberg and bassist-turned-guitarist Max Bloom, in the formation of Yuck.
After their previous outfit split, the duo, who recorded their debut album with CDP at the callow age of 15 for XL Recordings, began writing new material - before deciding to put a new band together. Then, they enlisted the services of bassist Mariko Doi from Hiroshima, with Daniel's younger sister providing occasional backing vocals. The line-up was completed with drummer Jonny Rogoff from New Jersey. The latter, recognisable for his cuddly bear appearance, speaks to Skiddle, explaining how he got involved.
“I met Daniel in Kibbutz in Israel”, says Rogoff. “I had befriended some English kids. He came to see them. We just started talking, listen to same music. It turns out we listen to a lot of the same songs.” Their intense bonding over the music of bands like Dinosaur Jr only lasted a day, before they parted ways. “Six months later I got a random Facebook message, which lead to some lengthy, expensive phone conversations. Then I dropped out of university, after Danny convinced me to come over.”
Yuck emerged into public awareness around the turn of this year, riding a wave of underground cool and media hype before they had even been signed. Their love of J Mascis, , Sonic Youth, Teenage Fanclub and My Bloody Valentine was obviously enamoured by senior music journalists, and fresh and new to a generation of young listeners unfamiliar with late 80s / early 90s music. Rogoff and his cohorts reluctantly accept the comparisons, but are keen to let the music be seen in its own right, to speak for itself. “Those names are always thrown around", he says.
With most of the band aged around 20, the young drummer is enjoying his time in his newly adopted home of London, and is particularly impressed by the live music scene in the city and across the UK. “A lot of times in America, people will buy tickets to a show, and intensely know the bands that are playing,” he says. “In London and England, people go to a show, where they don’t know the band. Seeing a band live is such an amazing way to find music. I really like the fact that here people take the initiative and enjoy seeing bands they have yet to hear.”
While clearly impressed by Britain's scene, it’s his own journey with Yuck that has surprised Rogoff since he arrived. The band only began performing at the beginning of the year, and have since picked up a deal with Pharmacy Records, and already have an acoustic side project, Yu(c)k, with its album out this month. The debut album for their main act will follow later in the year.
“We’ve only been round a short amount of time, and we’ve already shared a stage with Teenage Fanclub and Dinosaur Junior,” explains Jonny, clearly honoured to have shared a stage with his idols. “That would be incredible if we had been in a band for 10 years, but we’ve only been around 4 or 5 months.”
When asked for the future, he’s equally buoyant. “All I want is for to things to continue as positively as they have done. As long as that happens, I’ll be happy.”
Listen to Yuck at their myspace page: myspace.com/yuckband
Interview by: Abbas Ali