San Francisco-based four piece Yassou Benedict recently released the second single from its debut In Fits In Dreams EP, and the band’s video for “The Cloisters,” which features Melissa Auf Der Maur (Hole, The Smashing Pumpkins), was recently accepted into the Woodstock Film Festival. We had an opportunity to chat with Yassou Benedict about inspirations, the San Francisco music scene, and the collaborative process involved with making “The Cloisters,” as well as their more recent, self-produced effort for “Last Cicada.”
Fishpork: Who did you admire, look up to, or seek inspiration from as you were developing your own musical identities?
Yassou Benedict: Radiohead was a large influence both musically and how they handle themselves and present their art. Their vicious attention to upholding certain standards and ethics creatively and business wise is still something I find inspiring.
FP: I’ve read that each of you has a dissimilar taste in music. How does that work when writing a record together?
YB: We don’t really think about it. We all are very much on the same page when it comes to creating things within Yassou Benedict, and there is not much creative conflict. It definitely shows more in the live show where there is more freedom to express something in the moment, then I would say you can see more of the different influences.
FP: We’re from the New York area, and music is available in every corner of the city. The challenge is weeding through to find the hot spots and worthwhile stuff. What’s the music scene like in San Francisco?
YB: We had a really wonderful, supportive group of people where we came from in Hudson NY. We were definitely spoiled and didn’t realize how rare our situation was. Moving out here was definitely a shock and is a continuous and long learning process. It feels like in the last six months or so we have gotten to a good spot though. Bottom Of The Hill is an amazing venue and has been very good to us. We have had the opportunity to open for some great acts as well as play headlining shows there. It is nice to know that there are people who still give bands like us a home and an opportunity to grow.
FP: Your new video for “Last Cicada” was quite an undertaking. Who came up with the idea and what was the experience of making that video like?
YB: All of our videos have been with no money in a very short amount of time. So the creativity comes with being in this small box and trying to figure out how to still make the box beautiful and relevant and not seem so small and flimsy. We had a much more elaborate idea to start, but we could not find a space to use that would allow us to break things so we just went outside. I like the end result more anyways.
FP: Congrats on making it into the Woodstock Film Festival. What can you tell us about The Cloisters?
YB: The Cloisters is a continued collaboration between Steve Durand and ourselves. We recorded In Fits In Dreams at his studio Dioramaland in Hudson and one day during recording he was telling us about this awesome hilltop he found and said it would be a cool place to shoot, so we went there that afternoon and shot the video. From there Steve really made it his own and continued to work on it after we left, turning it into what it is now. We love it, because it is someone else’s visions and feelings as a backdrop to the song. We’ve got mad love for Mr. Durand and plan to continue working on creative things with him for sure.
FB: What does the band have planned for the rest of 2013? Can we expect to see Yassou Benedict live any time soon?
We will be touring the West Coast in November. So yes everyone come to one of our shows. We are much better in person.