YONAKA are a tour de force. By their own admission, the Brighton-based four-piece like to “hang their songs on a knife edge”, fusing razor-sharp melodies with thunderous noise to create something that’s both head-swimmingly heavy and split-second accessible. Their latest single, the rip-roaring ‘Wouldn’t Wanna Be Ya’, was produced by Ross Orton (Arctic Monkeys) and more than lives up to the band’s early promise, recalling the Yeah Yeah Yeahs circa ‘Fever to Tell’ if the NYC trio’s amps had never dipped below maximum volume. With YONAKA set to leave their mark on a host of UK festivals this summer, we caught up with magnetic frontwoman Theresa Jarvis to discuss the fast-rising quartet’s origins and influences.
‘Wouldn’t Wanna Be Ya’ is wonderful. How did the track come about?
“I had a melody and lyric for the verse and was sitting at home and started singing the idea to Alex (our bassist). We created a riff quite quickly, which just rolled into a chorus and then we all played together and BANG, there was ‘Wouldn’t Wanna Be Ya’!”
How did YONAKA start out?
“We’d all been friends for quite a few years before we started playing together. Myself and George started writing and it instantly felt like we had found something in ourselves and then we found Rob and Alex, which completed the line-up.”
What inspired your name?
“It means “the dead of night” in Japanese. I wanted us to be called ‘Midnight’ but it didn’t have a good ring to it. My friend, who is half Japanese, told me it was YONAKA in Japanese and it clicked immediately.”
Who are the Top 5 biggest influences on your sound right now?
“Kendrick Lamar, Jeff Buckley, Kanye West, MØ and Arctic Monkeys.”
Any other new bands that you’ve played with and would recommend?
“For sure! Strange Bones, Valeras, Blackwaters, Drenge and Lewis Del Mar!”
And finally, what does 2017 hold for YONAKA ?
“Loads of gigs, more releases and maybe a vid ;)”