YJY | photo courtesy of artist
YJY provides the perfect end of summer soundtrack with a new EP, The Same Noise
Jersey alt wunderkinds YJY just released their sophomore EP The Same Noise — and it’s anything but. Hurdling the band into more refined territory since debut EP Couch Surfin’ USA, piecing together four tracks with diverse qualities and standing out from the rest of the scene, YJY’s The Same Noise is the result of being unabashedly true to yourself and your craft — a mentality that simply couldn’t end in the status quo. Comprised of surf-tinged opener “Summer Lifeguard,” quirky pop “Past My Prime,” the anecdotal “Through Being Hip” and light as air closing track “Evergreens,” the new EP captures a mood and translates it amongst several different sounds and styles.
Tapping into a new vein of moody alternative-meets-beachy-basslines, the hooks on “Summer Lifeguard” are infectious. The scene is certainly set for a shoreline but the pulsing drum pedals offer a more gray and foggy image. “You don’t know it but I’ve been thinking about you / but unless I’m drowning you don’t give a shit about me,” lead vocalist and guitarist Steve Sachs bellows, yearning and frustration present in equal servings.
“Past My Prime” takes a page out of SoCal surf rock great Wavves’ playbook — jingling guitars, high school sentiments and that signature lyrical delivery whine filled with simple, catchy, poppy goodness. The song tells the tale of popular has-been, sitting on the couch with nothing better to do as he thinks back to how it used to be so much better. I can’t help but imagine this is what happens to Johnny Football Hero from Nada Surf’s ’90s cult favorite “Popular.”
With a nod to Saves The Day’s scene defining album Through Being Cool, “Through Being Hip” get its title, although the story behind it is much different. Fed up with the fakes and trends, Sachs sings smirking jabs like, “did I choose to live like this / or was I always full of shit?” and “I’ve got no place in my heart for all these mason jars / I’m through being hip.”
The Same Noise closes with “Evergreens,” an airy song rooted in more stellar guitar work and natural imagery.
Earlier this week we spoke to Steve Sachs about song inspirations, DIY spaces and what’s next for the band.
The Key: Your new song “Through Being Hip” has some really fun lyricism about all these millennial trends happening right now. Was there a particular cold brew encounter that made you bang your fists on a table and say enough! What were the thoughts going into this track?
Steve Sachs: Through Being Hip was written after wandering around Fishtown and stopping into one of those boutique thrift stores. I had a frustrating encounter with the person behind the counter and I got the distinct sense that despite working at that store, that person probably would have mocked the idea of shopping at a thrift store as too “hipster” a few years earlier. I was curious where this person’s quest for an identity would lead them next, once they decided they were through being hip. It was funny to imagine them waking up one day feeling unsatisfied, taking a look around and thinking, “Now what?” Musically, it came together at practice after I brought the chords and melody to the band. Everybody worked out their own parts after that.
TK: That being said, how important do you guys feel it is to always keep your individuality? Your music, especially this new stuff, definitely has this distinct quality to it. Is that something you actively seek or something that naturally comes together?
SS: The four songs on The Same Noise were selected by Dave, our drummer. He felt like they would fit together musically, and I feel like he’s absolutely right. They’re a bit cleaner than the five we put out on our first EP, Couch Surfin USA. I don’t think we’re aiming for anything in particular when we’re working on stuff, so in a way it just comes together. I think some of the newer stuff that’s not out yet has continued in the direction of this EP, musically if not lyrically. In that way, I guess we are working toward something even if we don’t know what it is.
TK: You guys have really made a name for yourselves in the New Brunswick scene and beyond now, how pivotal have these DIY spaces been for the band and for fostering this sense of community between fans and artists?
SS: The cool thing about the DIY scene is that there isn’t much of a difference between fans and artists. Most people are contributing in some way, whether they perform or take photos, make zines or run a venue. I’m a fan of a lot of our fans. It’s important because rock and roll isn’t at the center of the culture anymore. The average person isn’t that interested. I’m not saying rock and roll is dead — far from it. The difference is that now it’s just the people who really love it keeping it alive. So it’s a special group of people who have taken that on, whether they realize that’s what they’re doing or not.
TK: You’ve got a show this weekend at The Barbary — what can you tell us about what you’re looking forward to with it?
SS: This show is coming at the end of a short weekend tour with our friends and labelmates, NGHTCRWLRS. We’re kicking it off in New Brunswick with our EP release show in celebration of The Same Noise. After that we head to Salisbury, MD, and then finally to the Barbary here in Philly. I’m excited for it because I expect us to be tight after playing the two nights prior, and it always feels good to play well. Plus we’ll finally have vinyl, cassettes and CDs for sale for people who want to purchase The Same Noise. It’s an exciting time for us and the show at the Barbary should be a nice way to cap off the weekend.
TK: With this being your sophomore EP, can we expect a full-length release soon? Are you a band that’s always writing and thinking up riffs or does it happen more so when everyone sits down to go in and record?
SS: Well, like I said, we’ve got a bunch of songs that are done and ready to go. That said, the plan right now is to focus on promoting The Same Noise. After that, we’ll think about the full-length. But we’re always writing, so we’re going to keep doing that. This answer is starting to feel like the trailer to a Marvel movie — let’s let people watch this one before we start hyping the sequel.
You can catch YJY at The Barbary on Sunday, August 21st, find out more info on the gig by heading over to its event page here. Stream The Same Noisebelow.