The Whole Of It

5 December 2012 | 6:30 am | Benny Doyle

"We really wanted to get this one out of the way so we can keep doing stuff, instead of y’know, ‘We still haven’t released an EP yet, we still haven’t done it, we have to do it soon’. Now it’s done, it’s really good.”

Yes who? YesYou. Yes, them, the electro maestros that have fast established themselves as one of the more exciting acts crafting pop music in the country. The production pair – Jono Kirkman and Gav Parry – came together to simply write songs; to scratch a musical itch inside. Now, the boys find themselves on the eve of something big, with a canon of class tracks ready to rocket them around the globe. Kirkham calls early on a simmering Brisvegas Friday, and a sense of celebration is palpable; however, it's balanced with an air of accomplishment, his buoyant mood levelled by the liberating edge of having ditched the ol' back monkey that had been putting pressure on the pair.

“[I'm feeling] excitement for sure, but probably relief to tell you the truth,” he concedes. “It's like a weight has been lifted off our shoulders. We were just working on heaps and heaps of songs and then we had to select five of the best ones to put on the EP. It's a whole year of work but now it's like, 'Okay, this is finished, let's move onto the next one'. We really wanted to get this one out of the way so we can keep doing stuff, instead of y'know, 'We still haven't released an EP yet, we still haven't done it, we have to do it soon'. Now it's done, it's really good.”

The large pool of songs that the pair waded through won't be strewn away and relegated to the scrap heap, though, with Kirkham informing that there's plenty of merit to be found in the music, some of which we'll probably be hearing, in due time of course. “We've got heaps of songs for the next EP or an album, for sure,” he says. “Because we work with lots of different singers and collaborate with a whole bunch of different people, the songs don't sound exactly like each other. We had to choose five songs that all worked together aesthetically for this EP, so it's not a huge jump from each track. A bit of genre-hopping is cool, but I guess with our first [release] we just wanted to get a sound that people recognise, so we chose the five songs that sit [nicely together] and complement each other, and the more crazy stuff we can release a bit later.”

Unless you've had your head in the sand, you would have stumbled across joyous 2011 single, Half Of It, at some point during the past 18 months. It was the tune that undeniably got the ball rolling for the pair, and injected the Brissie lads with the sense of confidence needed to put their regular careers on hold, throw themselves in the deep end and pursue music full time. “We did that song in my bedroom, then I flew to Melbourne and finished a song with James [O'Brien] who sung on it, one of The Boat People,” Kirkham recalls. “But it was all done in my bedroom so the [success] was totally unexpected. At the time I was living at my parents' house, and they were just like, 'Please shut the fuck up!'”

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Ironically, the crystallised moment for that track, and perhaps looking back the tipping point that turned YesYou the bedroom project into YesYou the band, occurred in the very school grounds that Kirkham had to leave to make their aspirations a reality. “The choir that sung on Half Of It was the choir from my school, so I got about 25 girls to come down and sing on it – they were all real giggly,” the former high-school teacher remembers. “But as soon as I heard their voices sing in a chorus I thought, 'Whoa, maybe there's something here? I dunno, but it sounds pretty special'. Then we just gave it a quick mix and put it on Unearthed. But it was a non-expected thing. We were driving in the car one day and it came on the radio; we thought that our iPod was connected, then we realised [and] we were just like, 'What the fuck!' It was so unexpected and we really had no idea at all. Then two weeks later it was on high rotation. So after that it was just like, 'Let's do this'.”

If that first single was the morning after, though, the lead track off their self-titled EP, Frivolous Life, is the heart of the evening. Featuring the smooth vocals of Marcus Azon, Balearic rhythmic infusion and drifting guitar work, it's very much a song for now, a fact that's been picked up quickly. “It's funny – when they played it on Good Nights [triple j evening program], and they asked to, y'know, 'Text in and tell us what you think of this song,' two people wrote, 'summer is coming'; I thought that was pretty funny,” Kirkham admits. “Then all these reviews we've been getting [are] all about summer. I guess I can make a connection to it, but every review that I've read about it always calls it a summer anthem or something. So there you go, it must be a summer song.”

Following this interview, Kirkham and Parry are jumping in the car to meet the lovely Miss Tara Simmons as she arrives back into the city from down south. Currently kicking goals herself with her solo work, the local starlet will continue to be an integral part of the YesYou touring band, even if it means a few extra coffees. “She's in Melbourne now. I'm actually going to pick her up from the airport today and then bring her back to our studio to rehearse. She just did her own show [down there] last night; but no rest for her, I'm a ball breaker!” he chuckles. “She said, 'Look, I might be tired,' and I just said, 'Nah, not good enough.'

The tongue is firmly in cheek as Kirkham adopts the role of taskmaster over the phone, but it's worlds away from the conversational reality of the young man. With a friendly disposition, a creative heart and a head full of musical dreams, he's not here to crack the whip. Kirkham simply wants to lay down more tunes with his friends, tighten up on stage and ride this wave for as long as possible. “I want to release another EP soon because we've got songs ready to go and I think they're a step up from this release; we've had time to work on our songwriting and production skills so it should be better. And the other thing is our live show, I really want to start doing more [touring]. We're not really a live band yet, we've just been focused on recording and stuff; we haven't done any huge, massive tours, so I guess the goal for me is to start playing a lot of shows, get on some festivals and really have some fun.”

YesYou will be playing the following dates:

Thursday 6 December – The Toff In Town, Melbourne VIC
Saturday 8 December – Ed Castle, Adelaide SA
Thursday 13 December – Oh Hello! Fortitude Valley QLD
Monday 31 December – Tuesday 1 January – NYE On The Harbour, Cargo Bar, Sydney NSW