Interview: YUCA

Where Are My Soldiers At? cover art

I would like to introduce you all to the amazing rock band YUCA who I first heard while listening to the New Driven show. They played the track ‘Where’s my Soldiers at?’ which has stadium anthem written all over it with its impressive vocals, catchy lyrics and kick ass sound. After that song I had to hear more and so my addiction began!

Who are YUCA? They are a three piece Canadian based rock band that is made up of Matt Borck (vocals, guitar), Andy Boldt (bass, backing vocals) and Dave Atkinson (drums). Their sound has been compared to Muse meets U2 which I can hear, but they have definitely created a sound which is their own.

YUCA are no strangers to the music scene as they have been around for a while and over that time have received many (well deserved) awards and reviews. They have also released the superb albums Things I haven’t said (2004), The Reluctant Cowboy (2005), YUCA (2008) and their latest offering Rebuilding the Fallen Empire (2013). So many great tracks for your audio delight, click the links to listen to the albums.

I had the chance to ask Matt from YUCA a few questions about the band, music and a little bit more. I have had the opportunity to speak to Matt on a few occasions and his passion for music is always amazing to hear. From the answers to these questions I think you will understand just how much the music matters to him and the band.

How did the band YUCA come together and is their a story behind the name?

‘The band came together shortly after I moved home from England. I had always wanted to be in a band as my career and decided it was time to dive head first into the deep end and go for it. When I told my friends and family that I was starting a band they all said “It’s about time!” I knew that I had their love & support and that was the best foundation to start the band on. I always say that finding Dave and Andy was a miracle or magic? or both? I feel like the luckiest guy alive having them in the band. I have known Andy since we were young and Dave…well, the moment Dave stepped into the studio we knew we couldn’t’ let him go. It was like three long lost brothers reuniting.

The name YUCA came from an aggressive fish that we had named “YUKA”. I loved this fish and was one of the only people that could feed it without being bitten. When we were looking for a band name we came up with hundreds of names…which were all taken. We saw “YUKA” swimming around beside us and we thought “why not use that name?” It was perfect, when you met YUKA (the fish) she was beautiful, strong, aggressive yet elegant and mischievous – just like the band! We decided to change the spelling to flow a bit better and that’s how we became YUCA.’

Your music has a good mix of sounds. Who are your influences and how would you describe your sound?

‘We have tons of musical influences and that’s why our sound is so distinctive. Thanks to my parents, I grew up loving and listening to The Beatles, Beach Boys, Queen, The Rolling Stones …pretty much any classic rock. Then as I grew up I got into hip hop, indie, punk, alternative and even some rockabilly. I was listening to Cypress Hill and then the next song that would come on would be Social Distortion or Radiohead. I loved it and loved how it influences our writing. If we had to narrow down who our biggest influences would be I’d have to say “people have said they hear Radiohead, Muse and U2 in our music”. Our sound is raw, passionate anthems that move your heart and your hips! I’d love to say its “sex rock” lol.’

Each album you have released has such a strong collection of sounds, how did you approach your latest album ‘Rebuilding the Fallen Empire’?

‘This has been the album that has defined YUCA. We approached this album with a “No Rules” mentality. We produced and recorded this album and we knew it had to be a massive album for us. Right from the start we agreed that we would push our boundaries, challenge each other and encourage each other to take risks. If we were building our empire, this is how it was going to be done. There was no “you can’t do this” there was more “lets try this and prove this is the best way”. Melody is king in YUCA and so we weaved sounds, textures and everything around to let the melodies lead the way.’

Rebuilding The Fallen Empire cover artWhat was the biggest challenging while creating ‘Rebuilding the Fallen Empire’?

‘Biggest challenge for us was we spent a ton of money and time building our recording studio for this album and after months of preproduction we were a couple weeks into recording and received the bad news that our studios building was set to be demolished. This meant tears in our beers and we had to find a new building and start building our empire again. We all approached it with the thought that maybe this was the way it was meant to be – I have to agree that I think it worked out perfectly!’

Which is your favourite track from the album and why?

My favourite track on the album? I honestly am not sure if I can choose that? They all mean so much to me and have such a special place in my heart. I think I’d have to answer with what’s yours?

What can people expect from a YUCA live show?

Our album is raw, passionate and untamed – those are the exact words that I would also use to describe our live show. But I would add that our lives shows go deeper and engage in a way that you become a part of the band with us. You get to go on the journey WITH us. Not just watching us perform but becoming the other members of the band and participating in the experience. Its surreal and addictive!

What are the bands top 5 favourite albums to take while touring?

I can honestly say that I don’t have a top 5. I am always starving for new music so every tour I load up my iphone with new music that breathes life into me. Here is my top 5 from this last tour (In no particular order):

  1. Small Black – Limits of desire
  2. The Big Pink – A brief history of love
  3. NIN – Hesitation Marks
  4. Daft Punk – Random Access memories
  5. Volbeat – Guitar Gansters & Cadillac Blood

If the end of the world was near and you had enough time to listen to one album, which would you choose?

Holy sh*t that’s a hard question – I think I’d go mad listening to one album over and over but I’ll just go with the first one that pops into my head – The Beatles “Anthology”. I think that’s the Beatles entire collection right? lol

Do you have any musical related goals that you want to accomplish?

Oh yah I have tons! One is performing at Wembley Stadium! I’ve had that dream since I was a kid. Others include performing in different countries, with other artists, writing songs that make us millions – you know just the normal goals!!

What’s the future plans for your music?

Speaking literally – future plans for our music is to start hearing it on radio around the world, in TV shows & ads, Movies…anywhere where people with ears can experience it. From a musical perspective our future musical goals are to always be writing new music that is accessible, relevant and hopefully will be considered “classic”.

I highly recommend that you check out the music from YUCA and that you start with their latest album ‘Rebuilding the Fallen Empire’ as its their finest work to date. From start to finish each track has this infectious sing along quality thanks so some well crafted lyrics. I love the overall sound of this album as it grabs you and takes you on journey. I highly recommend you listen to the awesome tracks ‘Maybe We’ll Riot’ and ‘Where’s my Soldiers at?’ Personally my favourite track is ‘Give up my Ghosts’ which has this haunting atmospheric rock edge that mirrors the lyrics to perfection and confirms the great song writing ability of the band. When you are finished listening to that album, you should check out their back catalogue as there are more musical gems waiting for you.

To find out more from YUCA you can visit their website at YUCA.ca. You can also follow them on their social media sites Facebook and Twitter as these guys understand what it means to connect with their fans. If you like what you hear then support the music and spread the word of YUCA.