Theresa Jarvis in conversation
Lucy Tessier
11:24 11th March 2021

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After rising from the ashes this January with the release of ‘Seize The Power’, YONAKA have returned with more kick-ass anthems to satisfy the hunger of their fans. Following a two-year hiatus since their debut album Don't Wait 'Til Tomorrow, the Brighton-based powerhouse today introduce ‘Ordinary’. 

It goes without saying that for fans of YONAKA, new music was in desperate need, especially after what most would agree has been a difficult year for the music industry. Finally, January saw the British alternative rockers grace prestigious Spotify playlists once again as the first track since their debut album was released. It seems that even after such an agonisingly long but exciting wait, YONAKA’s new releases could not have come at a better time for their fanbase. During a period of constant confusion and disappointment, this female-lead force has returned once again to save the day. 

“We kind of had the beginning of ‘Seize The Power’ in December 2019,” begins Theresa Jarvis, the frontwoman of the furiously fantastic foursome. "So we had the whole of the first verse and we were trying out loads of different choruses. It was actually ‘I’m a believer, I’m a believer’ but at the time it wasn’t right, so that ended up being the outro.” A track that illustrates the sheer magnitude of self-worth, especially during trying times, ‘Seize The Power’ perfectly bridges the gap between YONAKA’s new material and their previous releases, demonstrating everything the band aspire to be renowned for.

“You know when you just feel a bit suffocated by your own brain and you’re like 'what am I doing?’ I woke up one day and was like ‘fuck this!’ and I went into the studio and had this melody which is the start of ‘Seize The Power’” explains Jarvis as she illuminates how her writing style has developed since the first album. Whilst once YONAKA were a band that lyrically touched heavily on mental health, they are now venturing into new writing territory as they aim to empower and motivate their fans and their self-belief. As Jarvis establishes, “I want people to feel strong – like they can do anything – and stop getting overlooked by other people.” 

Lockdown last March meant a diabolical struggle for musicians and creatives alike. That was not the case for YONAKA, who utilised this time to reflect on their career...but also to begin the manufacturing process of new music. “The first time the lockdown happened, I feel like it was the first time everyone in the world paused and re-evaluated everything…we were looking for a deal then so it was like everything paused. But it was actually amazing because we got to look at things and be like 'is this going to be right? Do we actually want to do this? What songs are we going to release?’. We’re so glad we didn’t [release then] because it is so much nicer going into a fresh year doing it.”

The immaculate quality of YONAKA’s songs would not be possible without the presence of a home studio that inhabits Jarvis’ living room; the band recorded most of their debut record in the comforts of this surrounding, and they have not swayed from their recording tradition with their new material. She explains: “in lockdown we just wrote here six days a week non-stop and were on a really good flow of creativity. We did produce most of the last album as well, but we’ve gotten better at it. I think where we used to start on guitar or with a melody or something, we just change it up all the time now…it’s just leaning how to try different stuff.”  

A song whose title took inspiration from Picasso during a band trip to Paris, ‘Seize The Power’ was an incredible feat for YONAKA. “I had a really strong idea of what I wanted and so I made a storyboard of how I wanted it to play out…we have this girl called Jade Jackman and she’s just amazing,” Jarvis boasts of the impeccable talent of the video’s director. “I feel like you have to go through a lot of different creative people to find the right ones – it’s like when you find your band…so we did the video with Jade and we filmed it in this huge warehouse.”

The music video for ‘Seize The Power’ sees a gorgeously ethereal Jarvis placed inside a transparent box, surrounded by blue strobe lights that decorate the video – those who have not watched the masterpiece should not hesitate to view it! Jarvis expounds the video’s significance: “It’s supposed to give the story of being reborn and noticing the power you have inside of you. When you become aware of it, you stop letting other people tell you how to live. It’s kind of like you’re looking at yourself as this powerful entity rather than this vulnerable person.” 

Those who have already indulged in the latest release from YONAKA are in for more musical treats as the band today introduce the sensational follow-up track ‘Ordinary’. Aligning with the theme of self-empowerment presented in ‘Seize The Power’, there is no doubt that the track is going to be another force to be reckoned with. “I can’t wait for everyone to hear these new tracks – I think they’re really fucking great," Jarvis says. "The main thing is just not being able to play them live…that’s probably the worst bit, but it does give everyone loads of time to learn the songs for when we do get to play them live!”

Quite the role model for devoted fans of the band, Jarvis concludes by encouraging her fans and keeping the meaning of ‘Seize The Power’ alight: “Stick with what you love doing and what you believe in and just keep going – keep believing. Keep pushing because there are ups and downs – it’s like a rollercoaster – some things are going to go well and some of it’s not, but just keep going. That thing that keeps you going, and keeps you alive, and gives you that adrenaline is the thing that you’re supposed to be doing!” 

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