Please list all of your band members and their roles in the band.
Kianna Alarid - Lead Vocalist, Jared White - Rhythm Guitar, Jacob Temeyer - Lead Guitar/keyboards, Joseph Wilner - Drums, Willie Jordan - Bass Guitar
For starters, what bands were you guys a part of prior to Yes You Are? How long has the band been around?
Kianna was formerly the lead singer and bass player in the indie pop band Tilly and the Wall. Tilly was formed in 2001, made 4 albums and toured until 2013. It was when Tilly want on hiatus that Kianna started searching for a new writing partner, and after many attempts with other collaborators, she and Jared
finally found each other and began Yes You Are around mid 2013.
What’s the origin of that name and have you changed the band’s name before?
"Yes you are!” was an affirmative lyric at the end of one of our early songs in response to the main chorus hook “I got you on the run, running straight into the sun.” We had put it on a long list of names and eventually we just had to pick one because we had booked our first show and needed a name. We went back and fourth between ideas but finally our bassist Willie said “It’s Yes You Are, that’s the best one and it sounds cool.” So we just went with it and ts always been the band’s name, we’ve never changed it since choosing it.
A funny aside about the name involves Gene Simmons, the ultimate branding baron of rock, who visited the studio we are working at recently, to chat with our mutual producer. He asked what our band name was and when we told him, Simmons looked off into space and repeated it slowly, “Yes… You… Are…” Then he snapped out of his momentary trance and said, “Ok! I hope you become big stars.” After he left our producer said, “He always asks bands what their name is and he usually tells them immediately ‘You gotta change that’.” Ours was the first band our producer had seen receive "The Demon’s" endorsement.
Who writes your songs? What are the main themes or topics for most of your songs and do you think these topics will change over time?
Jared and Kianna write all the songs together in what could be called a true collaborative method. It might not be obvious or apparent but at their root all of our songs are about abandoning indifference, taking courage and going on a quest - and all of them say “Yes, it’s crazy hard. No, its not the easy way.. but don't give up. I hope you make it." And that's not gonna change.
What bands are currently inspiring the music that you’re making?
Bob Dylan, Robert Johnson, Robert Hunter, and currently been listening to a lot of Hamilton Leighthauser and The Walkmen, but also, William Blake and Alan Moore are big time inspirations for what we are doing.
Was there a particular band/artist or concert that inspired you to start a band?
Everything Bob Dylan has ever said, even the extremely weird and vague stuff, in interviews and in songs always seemed strangely resonant. Like he was talking directly to us and no one else. He had a look in his eye that told me he'd seen something - something that we too wanted to see. We set out to discover how the old man got that look in his eye. Had he been voodooed or bewitched? If so, who cast the spell and how? Was he in control or was he working for someone? He's such an influential, entertaining and inspiring mystery to so many people, the rabid interest in what he is on about spans many generations. We felt, if we were serious about going into music, then we needed to take very seriously the things that he says and really figure out what he’s about.
What do you do to prepare for a show? Any flexing, exercises, etc …
Kianna: I spend about 20 minutes warming up my voice and stretching and I like to do some focused breathing techniques as well. The dudes are usually all pretty relaxed and having fun and then we all have a huddle and say some words about the kind of performance we want to have before heading onto stage.
What has been the biggest highlight of the band’s career so far?
Kianna: I would say the biggest highlight for us so far was seeing the Pepsi commercial for the first time during the Super Bowl this year. We had no idea when it was going to start airing so it was a huge surprise followed by a ton of texts from family and friends across the country. It was just a nice thing to be featured so prominently because it meant so many people saw it and were exposed to our sound.
If you could tour with any bands, past or present, who would they be and why?
Kianna: If I could tour with anyone currently, it would be Twenty One Pilots. The strategy, work ethic and energy they bring to their performances is very inspiring. They have their show on lock and the response of their fans is incredible. I also think our performance would compliment theirs and would appeal to the same audience.