There is a marvelous sounding word, in Brazilian language, that translates the feeling of what we call in US, UK and even in Italy, Nostalgia. That word, in Portuguese/Brazilian, is translated Saudade. A word often connected to Latin music coming from that part of the world and present in many lyrics of songs from poets of traditional Brazilian music, from the late great Joao Gilberto to Antonio Carlos Jobim or from Caetano Veloso to Toquinho, just to mention a few.
But Saudade is also something that can relate to other music genres, something that, in later years, London-based Punk/Rock trio Yur Mum have found out by themselves, when they decided to get together and form this highly energetic band. When (at the time) Brazilian guitarist and now drummer Fabio Couto and his partner (in music as in personal life), singer/songwriter and bass player Anelise Kunz met Hungarian guitarist Akos Gado in London, there was a unanimous desire to form a band that would fully express Couto and Kunz’s desire to get back from a more direct and raw sonic expression of their artistry as musicians and fulfill Gado’s rock’n’roll dreams.
Their first album, the 2018’s Road Rage, a diverse, yet direct and straight-to-your face Punk/Rock body of work, is a powerful record that captured the essence of a multi-cultural band willing to communicate hopes, dreams, anger and anxieties of this modern society in continuous transformation, through an universal musical language of strong impact. With a new single out now, called SweatShop and accompanied by a hilariously ironic video, the London-based band continues to impress, entertain and surprise their fans by using alternative vehicles, like the aforementioned video, for example, to touch on issues like danger and rage in their own, inimitable style.
Our website met Yur Mum in the UK capital, just a couple of hours before one of their legendary, explosive shows to talk about the past, present and future of very talented band. Relaxed and ready to create another wild night of energetic and powerful of music, the band starts the interview by going into in-depth details about the birth of Yur Mum's formation and how all of them met. "(AK) It all started with me and Fabio. Back few years ago, we were playing in another band, together with a fellow friend musician called Gabriel (Ralls) and the band was called Plastique. At that time, we felt that our priority was to return to make music, when we moved from Brazil, where we both come from, to London. We were together as Plastique for about five years but, at that stage, due to the music style that we were playing with Plastique, we felt like we wanted to get back to play instruments in the proper sense of the term. Fabio wanted to start playing a different instrument too, so he started to play drums and personally, I was missing a lot playing bass guitar. It just happened that Akos came, one night, to watch Plastique performing and loved the performance. We knew that he is a guitar player and he mentioned, once, that if we ever wanted to start a new project, he would have been very happy to join in. When Fabio, Akos and I started to jam together, Fabio and I decided to put definitely the Plastique project to an end but we did not have yet a name for the band and we had not new material but we were just playing some covers. (AG) We were going, at the time, to the studio just to rehearse and playing few covers of artists we like. We would get together, get few beers and start playing those songs just for ourselves, in the studio, because the places where we used to hang out wouldn’t accept us playing those type of songs, like Queen Of Stone Age, for example. (FC) One of the reasons also why we were, at the time, playing the songs that Ane and Akos were telling you of, it was also because they were the only ones I could play on drums, being myself still a novice of the instrument (laughing). (AK) Myself and Fabio were undergoing more a transformation period, musically speaking, because we were gaining confidence with instruments we didn’t play before or not touched for almost a decade, while Akos had been playing guitar for a very long time. In that respect, for us, getting together as a unity by forming Yur Mum, it taught us a lot, as musicians and perhaps, as people as well".
The musical project called Plastique, at that time, met the favors of few hundreds of fans and a generous amount of attention from the press and our website is wondering whether Yur Mum represents, in some respects, the natural development for Ane and Fabio as musicians "(FC) Yur Mum is a massive departure from what we were used to do with Plastique. Plastique was more an Electro-Rock type of band and we were focusing a lot on programming, sampling instruments and make a great deal also about the visual aspect of the band. I guess that the other band member of Plastique, Gabriel, being a producer himself, together with being a musician and now also a video-maker, he helped Plastique a lot to develop that type of look we were looking for, at the time. We still work with Gabriel, somehow, because he is the director of the video of our latest single SweatShop and he mixed our debut album too. I guess that one of the inspiring factors, about creating Yur Mum, it came by watching a live performance of an Austrian Rock duo called White Miles that just blew us away and kind of making Ane and I wanting to get back to make raw live music and to be able to recreate that energy, that emotion that just a straight-to-your-face, raw type of live performance can produce, like that Austrian band did, including making mistakes while you are playing, which is part of the game. We both felt that performance in our blood and, who knows, that was the moment when, perhaps and unconsciously, we were starting to create the ground for what then became Yur Mum".
Yur Mum's 2018 debut album Road Rage displayed an impressive wall of sound throughout the whole of the record. In that respect, our website is wondering whether all of the album's songs were born in a relatively short amount of time or some of the songs had been around for a while, prior to enter the studio and start the recording of Road Rage. "(AK) No, actually all the songs included in the album took shape very naturally and organically. Once we had started to get more comfortable between us three playing together, we understood that we were ready to write our own material and stop playing covers. So we started jamming relentlessly, assembling together new ideas, even taking some risks, on making our own trademark sound but without sounding too pretentious. All that we fundamentally looked for, when we were writing songs, it was for us to have fun while playing our material. I think that we achieved our goal, through Road Rage. The songs took the time they needed and we never tried to force ourselves to finish a song until we were completely satisfied with it, which is what I was telling you before, about the organic way in which we were shaping our songs. Happy Mantra was the sole song that wasn’t completely a Yur Mum trademark; I had written the first part of the song while I was in a previous music project and then, with Akos and Fabio, we built altogether the second part of the song".
From L to R: Fabio Couto, Anelise Kunz, Akos Gado
Happy Mantra, together with some other key tracks like Crazy and Ivor The Gipsy, represented in our opinion more than any other song included in Road Rage the attitude and the philosophy of the band. The next natural question that comes to mind is to ask to Yur Mum's band members who is the chief songwriter in the band and what kind of criteria does the band follow in writing the songs, starting with writing lyrics first and then the music or viceversa. "(AK) It really depends from song to song. As we mentioned before, with Happy Mantra we had already a music ground from which we could start from. For the other songs, I would say that I would have a motive I could feel in my head and then I would start to write down the lyrics. That was the overall process for Road Rage's songs. But then, having said that, for our new single SweatShop I wrote the lyrics first and then we created the music, therefore it may vary! (AG) Indeed Happy Mantra came from something that Ane had started working while she was in one of her previous music projects. For what concerns Igor the Gypsy, I remember I had this riff in my head that I kept playing and playing over and over again and then all of us jumped in on that riff but it was, all in all, the result of a jam session. The song Crazy came, if I am not mistaken from a jam too, although, honest to God, I don’t even remember even how we started it! (all laugh loudly). It was all super spontaneous. (FC) What we normally do, when we start jamming, is that if we like what we did, we then keep the recording of that jam and then we use that recording as a base to create some improvisations and ideas on top of it. The lyrics are just the final part of the process, in the majority of the cases, except, of course, for SweatShop. (AK) We have been told that some of our lyrics are very political. In reality, we don’t feel like we are a political band but sometimes you cannot just ignore what is happening around you, in the world, therefore, politic is something that just gets into our lyrics because it is part of our lives, among other things".
Some may not be aware that Anelise Kunz, together with being a talented singer/songwriter and bass player of the band, she was also, in a certain time of her life, also an actress, something that might have potentially helped Kunz to build a certain confidence and swagger as performer, especially playing live on stage. "(AK) A lot, definitely. Actually, it helped me more as a vehicle to get to know myself overall a bit better. I was more like a type of theater actress, at that time, with lots happening in the stage’s background, between improvisations and even people dressing up like clowns! I did it for many years and I have got to say, it was an experience that I really loved. In that acting group, the director was a lady that had a huge influence and impact in my life and to these days, she still is. You are quite right, my background helped to boost my confidence as a performer and plays an important part of what I try and do while I’m on stage with the boys".
Yur Mum's brand new single called SweatShop, is deliberately ironic and provocative at the same time. Bluebird Reviews is very curious to know how the inspiration, behind that song and also how the concept of the highly entertaining video accompanying the song came about. "(AK) I remember that I wrote the lyrics re-written while I was walking in Sloane Street, in London, one day, when I was on my way to sort out some paperwork for my passport. Then, when I created the bass line, I showed to the boys what I had done so far. The minute they heard it, it took no time at all for us to create the right music tempo and adapt the lyrics to the song. About the video, we just explained to Gabriel (Ralls) that we just wanted to have fun, on the video and do not treat the subject of the song in a serious way but mostly with irony. Gabriel came up with lots of ideas and we went for them right through. We were talking about acting, in your previous question. One thing that I have learned, at the time I was very involved into acting, it is that often, through a comedic representation, people would pay more attention to themes running in the background of the lyrics. It’s like “Ha! This is really funny but hey, it’s true what they say, it’s all f***ed up!” (smiles). We wanted to try and achieve that goal through that video and, hopefully, we managed to do so".
Photo courtesy of Internet Archive
Yur Mum shows, as a collective, the full musical ability of the band not only through their inspired studio material but also through their strength, ability and talent displayed on stage, when they are on Tour. Surely, there must be a secret they are aware of about being able to create such a distinctive sound like Yur Mum's one, in such a strong and organic way. "(AK). Thank you for your nice words. To be honest with you, we do not see ourselves in this way. We just try and be who we are, without trying to look or sound like anybody else out there. Sure enough, we have a lot of appreciation for many other bands but we never try to imitate anyone else, because music, to me, is a representation of who you are and this is what we try to achieve every time we record new songs or when we play live on stage. We struggle to pigeonhole ourselves, because sometimes people asks us “What genre of music do you play?” and we couldn’t find a definite answer to it. So we came up with the expression “Road Rage Rock”, which obviously inspired also the title of our debut album. (FC) To me, to be able to get back and play live music with more organic instruments, was really a key factor. My hunger for music also come from the fact that after my 9-5 daily job in the office, I find hugely therapeutic to give freedom to my tiredness or, occasionally, frustration for things happening in the office, that kind of things. To be able to do what you really want, after a long day at work, is greatly liberating. Another aspect that I greatly enjoy of our band is that we all, perhaps unconsciously, incorporate into our individual sound as musicians the sound of those music heroes that inspired us along the way, with a very energetic and inspiring outcome that is different every time".
The London-based band is currently working on releasing a new single before the end of 2019 and there are rumors about a possible follow-up to their beautiful debut album that is Road Rage. "(AK) There are indeed plans to release new material but, at this stage, we are not sure hundred per cent whether it will be a full-length album or an EP. If it is not this year, new material will be definitely released early in 2020. (FC) The reality is that we are not talking too much about new material, because we have already quite few new songs finished and mastered. The material we have so far would be definitely enough to allow us to release an EP but we are still pondering whether we may, perhaps, be able to craft few more songs and make that EP become more a full-length album. Time will tell".
Before leaving this splendid band to get ready for their forthcoming show tonight in London, a quote about the power of music from that extraordinary that was Pythagoras comes to mind, "There is geometry in the humming of the strings, there is music in the spacing of the spheres". What is the definition of Music, in 2019, for Yur Mum? "(FC) To me, personally, music is like religion. It is the only thing that I really live in, my safe area, that place where I can find shelter from the madness of the world. I once heard a friend saying that “Life is chaotic and music is the only thing that makes sense, in all that insanity”. (AG) To me, it’s a kind of an emotional release. Music represents, in my life, the fun part of it, which is exactly what I do or trying my best to achieve with these guys all the time. Just having the best fun possible, no matter what. (AK) Music is the place, for me, where you do not need to live with any sort of rules and preconceptions. Music is that place where you can be yourself and express who you are. That’s why I love it so much".