Yuka Tree is a hotly-tipped new indie-punk, or in their terms, ‘Plant Punk’, band based in the north of England. The outfit has already noted by Reyt Good Magazine in their ‘Bands to Watch in 2020’ and by Music is My Radar as one of their ‘Sounds of 2020’ Their debut single via 42’s Records Preacher is released January 24th and was recorded with Fat White Family producer Jack Howorth alongside Stephen Harrison. They also play The Eagle Inn in Salford that night. We caught up with Kieran Breese of the band to find out a bit more the band and their music.
What made you want to get into music?
I think just the desire to play live. Music has always been a big thing in my house growing up but when I started to go and see bands live was when I really fell in love with the idea of being in a band.
What inspires you to write?
More than anything I’d say the things I write are inspired by things that upset me. I had a strange time with my mental health in late 2018 early 2019 which I write lots of lyrics about. Lots of our lyrics are quite political as well but I think it all depends on the instrumental that the other lads have written, if we’re working on something quite moody then the lyrics will match that, if it’s a harder tune then I’m probably gonna write about something that’s pissed me off and I think the state of country at the moment pisses me off in an inspirational way.
Who has had the most influence on your music?
I never would have been into music the way I am now if it wasn’t for my dad. He’s into a lot of mod revival stuff which probably hasn’t made too much an impression on me, but he plays a lot of reggae and ska which I’ve always been into, a few 60s bands like The Who and The Kinks and just lots of big Motown tunes, all of which I still find myself going back to. More recently he played me some Bauhaus singles which instantly excited me. In terms of an influence on the band’s music, I’d say we’ve got a huge range of influences, all of the lads have distinctively different tastes in music, which is really nice.
What has been the biggest challenge in your career so far?
I think as lads in the band we’re all very different, especially in the music we listen to so we often have quite differing opinions. I wouldn’t say it’s a bad thing at all though as its led to a nice mix that I don’t think you’d be able to compare to another band, which can only be a good thing, however, it does mean we quite often have heated debates about our music. That’s the only “challenge” I can think of, but it shows we care a lot about what we’re creating.
What has been the nicest thing ever written about you?
We’ve not released any music yet (at the time of writing) but have got quite a few nice reviews written on our Facebook and we’ve had a few nice tweets from people who have come to our gigs. A personal favourite could be “Up the fucking Yuka Tree,” because you’re right, up the fucking Yuka Tree.
What has been the best and worst gig you’ve ever played?
I think our best gig we’ve ever played was at the Star and Garter in November, simply because it was a full crowd and we smashed it, along with the other bands on the line-up. It’s hard to pick the worst gig but any gig we’ve been held back by technical difficulties are the ones that get me down the most because if it was your own mistake you can own up and have a laugh about it but when we aren’t responsible for something, for example, an amp cuts out, you feel as though you’ve robbed out of a good gig.
What was the last album you played on Spotify?
Stormzy’s most recent album, which didn’t particularly impress me other than the odd tune like Audacity with Headie One.
If you could support anyone who would it be and why?
Probably The Specials because they’re one of my favourite live bands and its always a good atmosphere at their gigs even for the support bands. They always have good support bands. I’ve seen them before with Toots and the Maytals and they always give time for smaller bands like The Tuts.
What other bands do we need to be checking out right now?
There’s a lot of good underground artists around at the minute. I’d say Dolphin Centre, Gardenback, Sick Boy Method, Velvet Shakes and Harpans Kraft are a must listen/watch. But there are so many people doing interesting things like Swine, Nothing Pretty, Look Busy, Average Joe, Furrowed Brow, The Clause, Ryan Jarvis, Just Banco, Tobi Sunmola and Holly Jenkinson to name a few.
Give us a few hints on what’s in store next for your band…
We’ve got our biggest gig yet coming up on January 24th at our first ever headline and debut single release show. Other than that, we should have a few more tunes released in early 2020 and hopefully more and more gigs.