Yeasayer have walked the tightrope between being oddball weirdos and genuine rockstar heroes like no other in recent years. At times it has seemed that the stranger they get the nearer to pop perfection they arrive. This is certainly true of new album 'Fragrant World', released later this month.
We recently caught up with bassis Ira Wolf to learn more about the band's third album, why they love Frank Ocean and what it is like to be in a band with the second sexiest man in music.
How would you compare ‘Fragrant World’ to your last album, ‘Odd Blood’?
It is the latest evolution of Yeasayer. We’re facing new challenges, developing and moving forward all the time.
‘Fragrant World’ strikes us as being a lot darker than your previous work. Would you agree with that statement?
I think the last album had a pop sheen that this one doesn’t as much. The production is certainly different there are more obscured vocals and different key changes to what we’ve previously used too. It’s a different album for sure but still recognisable as Yeasayer at the same time. It’s a new territory for us and that’s clear from the start of the album.
Three albums into your career, how would you evaluate Yeasayer in 2012?
We’re working on a lot of ideas and projects as a group and one of the biggest challenges is staying on top of that now. We get to work with very talented people on things like artwork and videos and testing ideas with different directors. It feels that as we progress further we get to collaborate a lot more, which is a great thing I think.
Odd Blood saw Yeasayer become significantly more established in the music world. Are you looking to make a similar leap forward again with Fragrant World?
One of the things with Yeasayer is we tour a lot, play a lot of shows and success is a linear thing. We want to be able to tour on the same scale and play to more people each time we return to a city as well as getting to visit new places as well. We want to be able to play in India and China and be able to visit Africa. You want to continue on that trajectory because the more successful you are the longer you can do this for. That’s what excites us.
The influence of RnB on Yeasayer is as present as ever with ‘Fragrant World’. What do you make of the genre at the moment? It seems to be undergoing a particularly exciting time right now.
Well absolutely but if you look back through recent history a lot of the really exciting production and music from hip-hop to rock has been influenced by RnB so nothing has changed too much in that regard. Think about Timbaland and his stuff is just mind blowing. There is a lot of throaway, regurgitated dance/ pop around at the moment but there’s always two sides to every coin and there is still a lot of new things influencing us as much as ever,
What do you make of the Frank Ocean album?
I think it’s fantastic. I mean, I’m so glad that people are buying that and not, say, a new Katy Perry album. He’s a very powerful social source to have out in the world right now and I’m totally down with that.
Finally, Anand Wilder from Yeasayer was recently voted as the second sexiest man in music behind Kele from Bloc Party. How has he taken the news and has it affected band relations/ hierarchy at all?
(Laughs) Well, let’s see. Anand is definitely the face of the band, that’s for sure. I’m more of the bod and Chris… I’m not sure where I’m going with this! We’re all beautiful in our own ways I think.
'Fragrant World' by Yeasayer is released on August 20th via Mute