‘So in my world Skywriting is a “ridiculous success” (to quote a famous Dutch tv celebrity).’, says Olaf Koeneman.
The Yearlings regrouped and are about to release their new record, an alt.country & Power Pop love affair.
The meaning of ‘success’ has changed over the years. When will the new record be a success?
It already is. Since we are obviously not in this for the extravagant influx of money but for the music itself, a record is a success for me when I am happy with it. That means that I should have a good feeling about the new batch of songs and the way they have been recorded and that I should have the impression that I have improved myself as a songwriter and that we have generally grown as a band. In every aspect, this last record exceeded my expectations, certainly after the time gap of around eleven years since the previous record. So in my world Skywriting is a “ridiculous success” (to quote a famous Dutch tv celebrity). This does not mean that it would not be very nice if other people appreciate what we do, and we certainly have an outgoing attitude now that the record is done, but for me appreciation by others is secondary. I am pretty sure the other band members feel the same way about this.
What was the biggest fun during the making of the last album?
For me, it was the recording of the electric guitars, which I did using an amp profiler called Kemper. This machine makes it possible for you to record guitars at home with sufficient quality and still be friends with your neighbors. It means that you have a big range of amps at your disposal, and I had quite a few guitars as well, some borrowed. I would do one song a day: look for the right sound in the morning and then record the parts in the afternoon. The outcome is that I am much happier with the way the guitars sound on our last record compared to our previous efforts. In the past, it was more like “This is the amount of time we booked the studio for. Let’s try to get the best result within this time frame”. It was never satisfactory.
If the budget was unlimited, how would you record the next record?
By doing less work in a real studio. This would basically entail that we would do the drums, bass, acoustic instruments and perhaps even vocals ourselves. The quality would definitely suffer because I do not underestimate one bit what Jordi Langelaan and Martijn Groeneveld have done for us in terms of engineering. But when push comes to shove you have to make a choice: wait for another, say, five years until you have financially recovered from your previous release (which involves way more than just recording costs, by the way) or compromise the sound quality and put out the next record sooner. I have no idea what our situation is going to be in two years, but I start to believe that perhaps the sound quality should not be leading. First of all, you need to keep the flow in the band alive. Second, I recently fell in love with Pinegrove’s latest record, Skylight. It has a strange production. You can see on youtube how they recorded it. It is certainly low budget, and I am not sure whether this was because of their financial situation at the time or for artistic reasons. The thing is, I love that record anyway, and the strange production is part of the appreciation.
If you could tour the world with 2 other bands, who would you ask to join?
At the moment I would say The Maureens and Reiger, two Utrecht-based bands with very sweet and interesting people. I appreciate their work a lot and I think I would have a great time with them on the road.
What’s up for the rest of the year?
We’re still waiting for the record to officially come out, so that will certainly be a big moment for us. Then we will go out and play. First the release show in Ekko, on December 9th. There are some in stores planned, which I am looking forward to, and club/café gigs are coming in as we speak. We have some left-over songs that for some reason did not make it to the record and we may decide to put them out as an ep. And the songwriting needs to happen again because ultimately that is the biggest joy of all: going into a rehearsal room with a new song, and see what it does.
The Yearlings are:
Herman Gaaff: bass, definitely no vocals
Leon Geuyen: drums, backing vocals
Niels Goudswaard: vocals, acoustic guitars, harmonica, percussion
Olaf Koeneman: vocals, guitars, mandolin, keyboard
Bertram Mourits: slide guitar, dobro, keyboard
With René van Barneveld on pedal steel