In The Afterglow
Dec 19, 2013
Issue #48 - November/December 2013 - HAIM
"Sorry I'm not explaining this very well," says Yuck's Max Bloom. "This is one of the first times I've had to look back and put what happened into words." Taking a break from a day-long session of filming a set of songs at London's revered RAK Studios, the young English singer/songwriter has been attempting to articulate—with limited results—the events that inevitably splintered his band after delivering one of the more critically acclaimed debuts of 2011.
Sometime during the end of last year, frontman Daniel Blumberg simply stopped being part of Yuck. "I don't really know a specific moment where he said, 'I'm leaving,'" says Bloom. "It was just something that happened over a period of time, I guess. He was just really intent on focusing on his solo stuff and we were waiting for a really long time to carry on doing the band and recording the second album and things never really happened. We were just waiting and waiting and then eventually we couldn't wait anymore. I didn't want to wait around. I wanted to make music."
Growing up together, Bloom and Blumberg had been making music for years. While they were still just teenagers attending school they managed to generate significant buzz amongst various blogs and press outlets as part of a quintet called Cajun Dance Party, releasing an album of youthful indie pop titled The Colourful Life in 2008. Trading in precociousness for the influences of Dinosaur Jr., My Bloody Valentine, and Sonic Youth, Bloom and Blumberg went on to form Yuck, releasing the band's self-titled LP shortly after. In the wake of the album's success, however, Bloom says his writing partner and best friend started to check out creatively. With a looming uncertainty of Yuck's future, Bloom describes this period of stasis as "a really tough time," and that the decision for the band to move on without Blumberg as ultimately "bittersweet."
"I didn't want things the way they happened," says Bloom, who is still getting used to the concept of being a lead vocalist. "It was obviously weird that the person who I've been writing music with for years was suddenly not there. But it was also quite encouraging. I could finally take the situation into my own hands a little bit, to make the album I wanted to make."
Regrouping with drummer Jonny Rogoff and bassist Mariko Doi this past spring, Bloom spent two months recording the band's sophomore LP Glow & Behold. Dividing their time at Dreamland Studios in upstate New York and producer Chris Coady's Lower East Side base of operations DNA Downtown, Bloom says the new effort is "more cohesive. I don't know whether people hear it, but the first album was a bit of jigsaw puzzle that we were sort of working out as we were going along. We didn't write the songs to be made into an album. We just wrote as many songs as we could and put them into an album. I was thinking more about the context of an album throughout writing [Glow & Behold]."
While Bloom still remains in contact with Blumberg—who released his debut solo album under the moniker Hebronix earlier this year—the new frontman says the loss of a single member, no matter how important, was never going to change who the band was. "It's just not another band," says Bloom. "Yuck was not Daniel, and removing him doesn't not make it Yuck. I think Yuck is the sound of the whole. This sounds like Yuck."
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