Interview – Yester Daze

Montreal-based band Yester Daze recently released an EP titled Yours To Follow and we decided this would be a good chance to have a chat with vocalist Brandon McShad, the results of which can be found below. See how we got on below, and make sure you check the EP out if you like the sound of it!

By Jane Howkins

You recently released a new EP titled Yours To Follow. What can you tell us about that? How has the reception been so far?

The EP originally wasn’t planned to be honest. We were just recording whatever ideas we had and doing what most bands do, which is aim to make an album, but then COVID hit and everything was halted. During the first lockdown, we talked a lot about what we should do, and realized we, as well as our fans had been waiting for so long to have something out for everyone’s listening pleasure, so we thought well why not just put our 4 best songs out and show people just what we’re capable of.

Reception wise, it’s been incredible, way crazier than we thought it’d be. Most bands could only hope that someone will like it, but then you have blogs and radio stations you grew up listening to talking about it and it really just leaves a warm feeling. Our views and streams have been going up exponentially as well, which is just as crazy because we’re an independent band from Montreal. We had a little help along the way which we are super grateful for, but the fact that we did all this without a label is insane.

How was the writing and recording process for the EP?

Writing is always a mess with us because we don’t really have a fixed way of doing things. Either one of us will come to practice or the studio with an idea and we’ll work it out, or we might do the classic jam at practice and potentially have a song by the end of it. In most cases, it’s just happy accidents. Like our song Otherside was born out of Zach, our bassist, messing around with a bass line between songs and I remember just stopping him and saying “do that again” and cueing Matt to come in with a drum idea. I’m a bit of a freak sometimes when I try to explain ideas to the guys, not gonna lie. However, with other songs, like our biggest one so far Backseat Bingo, I was walking home from my bus stop after work and started humming the opening riff. To avoid forgetting it, I sang it into my phone. Then, I wrote the whole song structure-wise and lyrically, then I brought it to the boys to fine tune it and make it sound massive.

Recording wise, we’ve been working with Matt Nozetz at Avbury Studios, our producer, for years. He really knows our sound and how we write, so there’s never any pressure to be anything other than ourselves. We come from a lot of different backgrounds musically, so it can easily get messy and overblown, however we’ve kind of found the right blend and how to, I guess wear our influences on our sleeves without being blatant ripoffs of any of them. With a producer like Matt, we’ve really honed in on that skill as well and he’s just as important as me or any of the boys in the band’s sound and energy. Another reason we sound the way we do is thanks to Dave Traina from Freq Shop and Montreal-based band The Damn Truth. His mixes are just incredible and he’s been the best mentor on this journey with us.

Do you have any plans to release a full length album anytime soon?

That’s every up-and-coming band’s goal, the debut album. For now we don’t know because unfortunately with streaming, people kind of listen to stuff for a bit and kind of move on really quick, so we don’t want to put our all into an album that might just get left behind. We’d rather tease and make people want more by giving them a packed EP, or maybe a standalone single. Honestly, no one knows what might come next, we’re always writing and coming up with new sounds and finding ways to break out of our comfort zone. Maybe, it’s on the horizon, who knows?

You released a single titled Backseat Bingo in February. What can you tell us about the track, and why did you pick that song for a single?

I personally think Backseat Bingo is our best example of all of our influences kind of compiled into one song. The song follows a very simple pop-oriented song structure that everyone is familiar with. For those reasons alone, I think that’s why we pushed for that song to be the single. All of our songs are written fairly quickly, as we try not to overthink them. As previously mentioned, the song was born when I was walking home and humming the riff into a voice memo. The moment I think we realized that this was the song we should release as a single was when we were actually recording it with our producer. The studio is always the best for really hearing your ideas come to life and seeing what works and what doesn’t. When we played back the song after wrapping up vocals, we kind of all looked at each other and thought “holy s***!”

Do you have any more singles planned for release anytime soon? If so, can you tell us more about those upcoming singles?

For now, we don’t know because Backseat Bingo is doing so well, we don’t want to take away from that by rushing out another single. Like I said before, we’re always writing so we definitely have something brewing. When will that see the light of day? Absolutely no clue, but we’re not going anywhere that’s for sure.

What sort of music influences you most as a band, and what have you been listening to recently?

I’d say our biggest 3 influences are Foo Fighters, Muse and Royal Blood. They’re also the most obvious ones you can hear in our stuff. Other bands who’ve really influenced the sound are The Pretty Reckless & My Chemical Romance. There’s probably other ones I’m forgetting, but they’re also always changing too as we kind of branch out influence wise with each song. I tend to go through phases and obsess and during that time I’ll start writing a certain way and playing a certain way, but then the boys will bring their own flavours and it makes for a tasty mix.

Currently, I’ve been listening to a couple of Canadian bands I love like The Dirty Nil and The Damn Truth, as well as Soundgarden, Audioslave (definitely not going through a Chris Cornell phase), Alice in Chains, as well as the new Royal Blood tunes. Not too sure what the other guys are listening to, but we tend to share whatever we’re listening to at rehearsal so I’ll have more intel then.

Has the pandemic hindered the workings of the band much over the last 12 months?

Yes and no, like I said we kind of were just recording every idea we had and working on finding our sound and finishing whatever ideas we had. It definitely affected the live shows for us though because we would’ve been on our first tour by now probably, and had some nice co-headlining shows lined up right before the pandemic hit. Even now, normally with releases we’d celebrate with a show and all our friends, but that’s just not possible right now unfortunately. But we’re lucky enough to still get to write together and rehearse. In the early days of the pandemic, we’d track demos separately from home and just send files back and forth.

Do you have any gigs planned in the UK at all? Would you ever consider doing socially distanced gigs?

Unfortunately not because of the whole pandemic, it’s a little trickier to get out there. But we do dream of playing festivals like Reading + Leeds, Glastonbury among many others. We just got to keep doing what we’re doing and maybe in a year or two we’ll see you lovely lot there.

What can people expect from a Yester Daze gig, and why do you think people should come and see you perform live?

High energy, stadium-like vibes even if it’s just inside a small bar or club. I love dressing up for our gigs as well, whether it’s my military marching band jacket a-la-Freddie Mercury and Gerard Way, or my outfit changes between sets. People should definitely come if they just want to have fun and feel taken out of whatever negativity might be going on in their lives or in the world. We really like to interact with the fans and always encourage participation from them. We play with wireless units live so I’m free to run into the crowd if I want and be amongst the lovely people who chose to spend their evening with 3 loveable idiots. Plus, at live gigs we tend to test out new material, so you never know what might happen when you’re there.

Any last words for the fans?

Thank you for choosing us whenever you’re scrolling through Spotify or Apple Music. But in all seriousness, thank you for the constant support over the years and for always coming out to shows, sharing the music, buying merch. We really couldn’t do this without you, and we’re forever yours. We love you!