woensdag 12 maart 2014

Roadburn 2014 Warm Up - Part 1: YAMA

It is only four more weeks until the Elysian Fields of stoner, psychedelic, doom and other related genres will be upon us once more. That's right, I am talking about the Roadburn Festival 2014, taking place of course again in lovely ol' Tilburg in the south of Holland. Those who don't know what this festival is about are either on the wrong side of the musical spectrum or have been smoking so much they cannot see further than their front door. Those who know about the festival either long have a ticket or are bummed out about not having one since the festival is once more sold out. The next few weeks I will be paying attention to the festival and everything it stands for. Mostly as a nice warm up for myself to increase the anticipatory feelings, but also as a small and humble hommage to the festival and the music it advocates.

Yama to play Roadburn
I want to to start off this series by focusing on a Dutch band that will be playing this year's festival. Hailing from Tilburg and making ferociously intense Roadburn music it was only a matter of time before they would appear on the festival's poster. Needless to say I was very stoked to find out a couple of weeks ago that YAMA were to play at Roadburn 2014, I believe on the Saturday at newly added location Cul de Sac. That feels like more than justice, because not only does Yama do a great job promoting both the festival and the city with their smashing music, but also by being great and hospitable guys. Last year I had the honour of doing an interview with the entire band at Roadburn 2013, where they were present simply as attendees and music lovers. I tried to combine that interview with some new insights into the article here below.

Yama - Seaquake EP
Yama has been playing together in the current formation for about two and a half years. In that period there has been a slight evolution in their music. "We used to play a bit more stoner than we do now actually, when it was just Alex and Sjoerd playing together. Later Peter joined and when Joep was added as our drummer we felt complete. From then on Yama as it is now really took shape. We also got more serious about our music when we had become a four piece. It helped that people immediately responded to our music as well." Coming not only from Roadburn-city Tilburg, but also having the south(east) of Holland as home country, meant there was a huge potential of both fans of the stoner, metal and heavy rock genre as well as a lot of bands who played music along similar veins. "We've always had good support from Tilburg and basically the whole of Brabant. There are likeminded bands as Sungrazer and The Machine, although their music does definitely differ from ours. We have more of a focus on grunge elements, reminiscent of the nineties. Other good Dutch bands in the genre include Herder (although they are from a bit farther away), Orange Sunshine, Sons of the Patriots... It is all perhaps a bit of a niche market, but there is definitely a great scene for this kind of music. Plus here in Tilburg you have great venues such as 013 and Little Devil."

Yama - Ananta
Vedic mythology
In 2012 Yama released their first EP, called Seaquake. Although admittedly the production value could be a bit better, the enormous quality of the songs definitely makes up for that. The EP has been met with very favourable reviews and it is no surprise that the physical copies have long been sold out. Luckily, now there's new material. "We recorded our new album last year in Utrecht at Independent Recordings. It's a full length this time, and it will be released soon. It's around 40 minutes long and the sound quality is great, so we are really stoked about it!" For the title of the record Yama stayed close to their origins. Just as their band name (Yama meaning 'God of death and illusion, servant of Vishnu') the name of the record comes from Vedic mythology (related to Hindu mythology). "We've decided to call the record 'Ananta'. It basically can mean different things, but for us it stands for the thousand-headed serpent, representing the Infinity of Life." This intriguing meaning calls out for fitting artwork. Yama have found the perfect artist to help them out there. "We're good friends with Maarten Donders, who also does a lot of great artwork for Roadburn. He is also responsible for our band logo and he has made a great piece of work for our album. In the Bhagavad Gita there is a passage in which Vishnu, the supreme deity, sails across the world on the serpent. Maarten has done a wonderful job capturing that image."

With an album full of quality music and majestic artwork, Yama is ready to take on the world, and to do so in a professional way. "We're kind of past the point that we will play just for a few beers and a laugh. It always depends of course who asks you to play and where the show is at, but we've definitely matured in that regard. The show needs to have some sort of relevance, whether it is for setting up a network or just because the setting of the show is great. We've done a few shows in Belgium and Germany now as well, and the people responded very enthusiastically. In Holland we've mostly played the southeast, but little by little we are conquering the rest as well! We have a great booking agency with Bidi Bookings so we will definitely have some great shows coming up. We are all committed to the band and our music and we will work hard to get our music out there."

Acid and spliffs
The hard work seems to be paying off, because the mighty Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats have asked Yama to open up for them at their shows in Amsterdam, Nijmegen and even Bochum in Germany. The future is looking bright indeed, and it is comforting to know that the lads of Yama know to combine the hard work with a little pleasure, considering their mantra: "No spliff, no riff!" Amen to that. Go check them out at one of their upcoming shows with Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats to get in the right high moods for Roadburn 2014!



Yama is:
Alex Schenkels - Vocals
Peter Taverne - Bass
Joep Schmitz - Drums
Sjoerd Albers - Guitar

Upcoming shows:
- March 14 - w/ Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats @ Doornroosje, Nijmegen
- March 15 - w/ Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats @ Melkweg, Amsterdam
- March 16 - w/ Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats @ Matrix, Bochum (DE)
- April 12 - Roadburn festival, Tilburg


2 opmerkingen:

  1. Nice work, Nielsje!! Gaaf geschreven; verzorgd, volledig en persoonlijk. Mooi!! Hoop dat mijn reactie nu wel gepubliceerd wordt.. Leuk je weer te zien straks bij de Melkweg! Ben benieuwd wat je vindt van het nieuwe materiaal van Yama. Ik zelf vind het heel vet!! X Jis

    1. Yama in de Melkweg was moddervet! Nieuwe nummers staan als een huis. Ben benieuwd naar de rest van de nieuwe plaat! Volgende maand weer op Roadburn :-)