2014 Artist Survey: Yuck

Max Bloom on Sculpting His Abs, Robin Williams, "Weird Al", High School, and His New Cat

Dec 18, 2014 Web Exclusive
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For Under the Radar's 12th annual Artist Survey we emailed some of our favorite artists a few questions relating to 2014. We asked them about their favorite albums of the year and their thoughts on various notable 2014 news stories involving either the music industry or world events, as well as some quirkier personal questions.

Check out our Best of 2014 print and digital issues for answers from alt-J, Camera Obscura, Chromeo, The Dears, Death From Above 1979, Deerhoof, The Drums, The Flaming Lips, Glass Animals, Hookworms, Sondre Lerche, of Montreal, Ought, Owen Pallett, The Rosebuds, Strand of Oaks, Teleman, Sharon Van Etten, The War on Drugs, Warpaint, Woman's Hour, Wye Oak, Zola Jesus, and others.

Here are some answers from Max Bloom of Yuck.


Top 10 Albums of 2014

1. Mac DeMarco: Salad Days
2. Parquet Courts: Sunbathing Animal
3. Angel Olsen: Burn Your Fire For No Witness
4. Beck: Morning Phase
5. Eagulls: Eagulls
6. Cloud Nothings: Here and Nowhere Else
7. Pixies: Indie Cindy
8. Wye Oak: Shriek
9. Aphex Twin: Syro
10. Ty Segall: Manipulator

What was the highlight of 2014 for either you personally or for the band? 

Probably touring America again, even though there was some really bad snow and we nearly slid off the road and died a couple of times.

What was the low point of 2014 for you?

Nearly dying.

What are your hopes and plans for 2015?

Release another album. Learn Spanish.

U2's new album was downloaded for free into millions of users' iTunes accounts without their permission. Was it a wonderful gift to music fans or an invasive action that devalues music? Also, which artist, other than you, deserves to have their album automatically downloaded to half a billion people more than U2?

I don't really see this as anything other than a media stunt on behalf of U2. It's a pretty original idea. Its pointless getting worked up about it because you don't have to listen to the record. I haven't listened to it, but it is still on my iPhone. I don't know how to get rid of it. Please help?

Did you take part in the ice bucket challenge? If not, why not? Grimes declined due to animal testing issues, was the grief she got for that deserved? 

What's the ice bucket challenge?

What's your craziest theory for what happened to the missing Malaysian Air flight?

It's still up there somewhere.

Mark Kozelek was criticized in 2014 for insulting his audience (calling them "hillbillies" for talking during his set) and for making fun of The War on Drugs when their sound bled over to the stage he was playing. What responsibility do performers have to be respectful of their audiences and fellow bands?

I think Mark Kozelek probably should have gone about it in a less cantankerous manner, but I understand his point. It can be really unpleasant for a band to play to an audience that is totally disconnected from what you're doing. I guess if there were members of the audience that cared and respected what they were seeing, maybe they should have taken the situation more into their hands. And in terms of the sound bleeding over from The War on Drugs, maybe Mark should've tried to sing a bit louder (just kidding).

"Weird Al" Yankovic was back in a big way this year. If he were to lampoon any one of your songs, which one would you want it to be? What would the "Weird Al" version's lyrics be about? 

Probably "Milkshake," maybe he could do something with that. Maybe he could call it "Milk Steak" and make it a tribute to It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

Which common criticism of your music do you most agree with?

"Stop ripping off Pavement."

What's the most uplifting or heartwarming fan interaction you've ever had?

A guy in Israel told me that he started his band because of me, and that made me feel really special. I also like it when people come up to me at shows and talk about their favorite records.

What's the topic no one asks you about in interviews that you wish they would? Conversely, if you could get journalists to stop asking you one question, which would it be?

No one compliments me on my physique in interviews. I spend so much time sculpting my abs at the gym, yet no journalists ever think to bring it up, which I find quite offensive. Also, I wish people would stop asking how we came up with the name Yuck. I have no witty or interesting answer for that!

Who from your youth (such as a former bully, an unrequited love) do you most hope pays attention to the fact that you're now a successful musician?

When I was younger, I used to be the first one to arrive into school because my mum was a teacher, so that was the only time I could get a ride. The only thing I could do at that time was hang out in the music department and play music for an hour and a half every morning. Everyone thought I was a weirdo for doing that. Well look at me now, bitches. I play in a band that you probably have never heard of, and you're a successful banker working in the city. But I have my dignity. 

Which musician or celebrity did you most have a crush on as a child or teenager?

Serj Tankian, System of a Down.

Which subject do you wish you paid more attention to in school?

Spanish.

Both Robin Williams and Philip Seymour Hoffman died in 2014. Did either death deeply affect you and do you find it strange to grieve for a stranger? Which celebrity's death in your lifetime has most affected you?

Both deaths affected me a lot. Robin Williams' death was extremely sad and unexpected. We watched Mrs. Doubtfire in the van on our last tour and we all really enjoyed it. As for Philip Seymour Hoffman, he is my favorite actor of all time. My favorite film ever is Happiness, and I think pretty much every film he's ever been in is incredible. I was also really affected by Paul McCartney's death, but I think his stunt double is doing a great job.

What do you think about the international community's military response to ISIS (aka Islamic State), such as the air strikes in Iraq and Syria? Will we be effective at taming the terrorist organization?

Oh my god... why the fuck would you ask that??!! 

Which well-known filmmaker would you most like to direct one of your music videos?

Spike Jonze, Todd Solondz.

This year Grimes scrapped her new album due to negative fan reaction to its first single and her unhappiness with it. How much should fan reaction/expectation play a part of your creative process? Have you ever abandoned a big creative project far into it due to your dissatisfaction?

No, I've never gone that far. I always like to see things through to the end. I think the reaction of the public is very important for me; you can learn a lot from any negative reaction and try to improve what you do.

If you could travel through time, which historical event would you most like to alter the outcome of and why?

Kill Hitler.

What was your most disastrous haircut experience?

When I went through my braids phase.

In which instance did you most sell out and compromise your music?

When our song was used as the theme tune to Everybody Loves Raymond.

What has most surprised you about getting to know your parents as an adult?

My father is a drug dealer.

What quirky piece of band merchandise would you most like to produce for sale to your fans?

Lunch boxes.

Do you ever long for the days before the Internet and cell phones? If so, what do you think has been the worst side effect of those technologies?

I think the Internet has definitely caused an oversaturation of new music, and that in turn has made music less "precious," by which I mean that I no longer save up to buy CDs from HMV every Friday. But then again, I'm not going to be the guy saying things were better in my day. The world is changing and new artists have to look to the future and think up new ways in which to make themselves heard in this new scary world.

Which 2014 song most got on your nerves?

All of them.

Do you have any other thoughts about 2014 (such as on the World Cup, the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, immigration reform, the failed Scottish Independence Referendum, Ebola, Winter Olympics, celebrity nude photo hacks, etc.) or the state of the music industry?

2014 was a great year. It was the year that I got my cat Whiskey, who is a 6-year-old rescue cat from the RSPCA. She is a black and white British shorthair, with golden eyes and a perfectly spherical head. She is extremely sensitive and has severe anxiety problems. When we first got her she hid under the stairs for two weeks and became really thin. But then she had to be taken away to have injections, and when she came back she was so happy to be home, we haven't looked back since! She's a great cat, but she's very bossy. Whenever I'm on my computer, she gives a long meow, which is cat language for "why aren't you paying attention to me?" It gets annoying sometimes, but I don't mind. She has never been outside in her life.

www.yuck-band.tumblr.com

 



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