School plays its part in the origin of countless musical acts; however, for Jono Kirkham and Gav Parry, the two members of indie dance outfit YesYou, academia is a recurring theme throughout the duos evolution.
Kirkham and Parry first started playing music together during their formative school years in what Kirkham describes as a “ridiculously lame rock band”. This first incarnation of what would later become YesYou disbanded before the end of high school with Parry and Kirkham temporarily going their separate ways.
For Kirkham this time was used to study and travel while expanding his musical interest beyond the realms of rock. It was during a stay in the States that the seeds for YesYou’s current sound were sown.
“I was over in San Francisco studying theatre there and then I saw Friendly Fires play and I just had a connection with it straight away… I’m a drummer and so is Gavin, so we just started making really percussive beat-orientated electro-pop music,” Kirkham explains
“And it sort of came from that and I just felt really in my element when I was writing songs with that sort of vibe. So it just kept coming out that way and it was all a natural process from there.”
It was around this time Kirkham also earned a degree in education; a fortunate achievement that led to the naming of the band when Kirkham was working as teacher in Australia.
“It comes from teaching at the all-girls school. One day I was administering an exam or a science test or something. There were about 15 girls in the room and it was all quiet and I was all bored so…I was sitting there with the dictionary writing all these names down, and then…two students put up their hands and I said, ‘yep’ and one said, ‘what me?’ and I said, ‘no, yes you the girl behind’.”
“So I quickly wrote down in the book ‘YesYou’. I forgot about it for about a week and then I was like, ‘hey Gav check this name out’ and he was like, ‘that is awesome’ so we just went from there.”
With a name in place and a sound to work towards, YesYou wasted little time in writing a song that would get them some airplay. Uploading their tune Half Of It to triple j’s Unearthed, the Brisbane based pair showed off their knack for catchy hooks and upbeat melodies.
I just came up with the…chords and the little hook. Then my friend James O’Brien from (The Boat People) sings on it. I called him up and I was like ‘Hey dude, I’ve got a song that will really suit your voice’,” Kirkham remembers.
“So I flew down to Melbourne and had a crazy few days of partying, and the last hour before I had to catch my flight I was like ‘hey we better record our song now’. So we just laid down something; we wrote the lyrics together and then recorded it in about maybe an hour. Then I took it back to Brisbane and Gav and I worked on it for a couple of months and made it into the song it is now.”
Now with the attention gained from Half Of It, YesYou are poised to turn even more heads with their yet-to-be-titled debut EP due out within the next couple of months. As for the immediate future, YesYou will be playing their first Sydney show as part of Sosueme, which will be celebrating its 5th birthday this Tuesday April 24, 2012.
“It looks so fun we’re pretty excited to play…we have a pretty cool cover song we’re going to throw in there hopefully.”
“(Performing as) a live four-piece, there’s two other people on the vocals. We have Tara Simmons, who’s on triple j quite a bit now with some of her own solo stuff, we’re lucky to have her; and another called Sterling Silver from Brisbane, who also has his own project. So we’re pretty lucky to get two awesome people who can sing our songs and translate them from the recordings to the live aspect.”
Watch: YesYou – Half Of It
Watch: SOSUEME’s 4th Bday Highlights