We met Emperor Yes! wrestling through burning burritos at the balmiest of 2000 Trees. Our cameraman Charlie told tales of burning urine from eating a Trinidad Moruga Scorpion and so we were off. Perched next to the Lebowski bar, which had become our centrifugal trap for passing bands, we ensnared Ash and Adam (and his burrito) fresh off the back of playing their sun-struck early afternoon set.
Buoyed by the success of their first festival performance in this entity we discussed their first two released (‘three if you count the double’) and the tragic demise of their video for Fishes which ‘sank without a trace’. The reaction of the Trees crowd was clearly uplifting. Ash was beaming that people were singing along and smiling, ‘we had everything you need for a good gig, it was sunny, everyone was smiling, and Hugo’s (bass and keyboards) shit broke!
Meeting through doing ‘music shit’ Ash vaguely dissected their coming together, centered around his recording studio, the House of Strange, where he has recorded both Three Trapped Tigers, who Adam drums for, and Jeremy Warmsley, who both Adam and Hugo have played for. Indeed Adam recorded the drums for Jeremy’s ‘Loose My Cool’ on Coldplay’s gear, ‘it’s the only way I work these days!’ You sense the interconnectivity of this group of musicians runs a lot deeper and Adam credits Jeremy and Toby from Transgressive for being lynch pins to a whole host of London based musicians swirling around all spectrums of guitar (and not so guitar) based pop.
As for the influence behind their psychedelic pop persuasion Adam puts it down to ‘anything produced by David Fridmann’. A lot of the ideas began with Ash’s old band, also named House of Strange, where they tested out ‘all this science and animal shit’, which was similarly influenced by bands such as the Flaming Lips, MGMT, Tame Impala ‘all that squiggle sounding shit… yeah anything by David Fridmann is the fucking business.’
Excitingly Adam admits they’re sat on an album, which is written and has been produced by Jeremy Warmsley (how he keeps popping up!), ‘and we’re just wondering what to do with it, really.’ They haven’t got a label lined up, so are wondering whether to put it out themselves or with the label who put out their singles, Tape Club Records (‘super lovely guys’), or the obvious route of EMI and/or Universal, ‘I hear they’re doing a really good job these days!’ Ash reckoned they might give him some cash just for a haircut, but that they’d probably want to change the lyrics from animals to love… ‘and I’d be like: “I LOVE ANIMALS!”‘ Anyhow, Ash assured us ‘it won’t be out any later than February… she says… errr’.
I asked Ash about his penchant for animal themed lyrics, and he confessed that he didn’t know, ‘I just watch a lot of animal documentaries. I find it really difficult to sit down and try to write a song about what people normally write about, ‘cos it’s like ahh dude, he’s just done it so much better. You wanna write about heartache, but you’re like ahh Elliott Smith, don’t even touch that shit!’ But documentaries, he knows where that’s at. Apparently you all should check out Dr. Iain Stewart’s mini-series, Rise of the Continents. ‘It’s fantastic, I’ve been balls deep in that’ Right. Adam suggests Dan Carlin’s Hardcore Histories, a series of podcasts taking an ‘outside of the box approach to history’, not as I though, a history of Hardcore Punk. I even chipped in with my own suggestion, Mike Duncan’s History of Rome (which you should all check out) as well as all his subsequent podcasts, ‘I could deal with that!’ Ash chimes. ‘Also anything by Alice Roberts, she does anything about Neanderthals, Ice Age creatures, genetics’ and at that point Hugo pops up and we departed leaving Emperor Yes! to lunch and munch under the shade by the watering hole in the savanna that was 2000 Trees.