Interview with YAKI DAH
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
We all have similar reasons why we got into music, Mainly its due to influence from family members at an early age, For example Christian’s (Vocals) father was a musician and some of his fondest earliest memories of his father are surrounded by music, Jack Lee’s (Bass) cousins and uncle are all in bands and grew up watching them play gigs from biker festivals in Margam park to playing shows in and around Swansea. If not music I hate to think what we’d be up to, we’ve bonded and created such a strong connection because of music.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
As a whole the band seems to have different things we like to do when not playing music, Christian is a football fanatic so you can definitely catch him cheering on Liverpool in every game, Jack Williams (Guitar) is a huge history fan, I can’t count how many conversations Me (Lee) and Jack have had on the topic of history such as WW2 and Jacks speciality Welsh history and mythology, I love to be in nature, any chance I get I’ll be either down the beach, in the woods, up a mountain or just road tripping somewhere. I just love to get out and about seeing and experiencing new things and Francesco (Drums) is somewhat of an enigma, hailing from Italy I know he loves spending time cooking, at our first recording session he brought us the best bolognaise I’ve ever tasted and he also does some side work as an extra in TV.
How long has your band been around?
The band first formed in February of 2022, Christian (vocals) and Francesco (drums) met online after searching for like-minded musicians. Jack Williams (guitar) had been on the local music scene for a number of years alongside Christian where they had played a number of gigs together in previous projects and they had formed a strong friendship through this. After recruiting Williams for the band, the search then turned towards a bass player. Jack Williams and Jack Lee (bass) have been friends since they first met each other in school and had formed a lifelong connection ever since. Jack Lee had even initially taught Williams to play guitar in the early days and Lee to our surprise was ecstatic to join the band and adapt to to playing the bass despite being a guitarist first and foremost.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
Being based out of Swansea in sunny South Wales, as cliché as it sounds music is quite literally in our blood. 3/4 of the band were born and bred in Swansea, we have been brought up with the power of males voice choirs, music competitions every year in school and the most passionate national anthem there’s ever been. We are quite lucky to be Welsh as I feel no other nation understands the emotion of music better, It influences our music is so many different ways, when being surrounded by music from such an early age it’s really hard to not take inspiration from everything life throws at you.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
When trying to decide on a name we really wanted to pull from our Welsh heritage, after searching through old Welsh mythology books and literature we wanted our name to bring a feeling of warmth and bring a smile to any who hear it. Then we finally landed on YAKI DAH, we really liked it - we felt it invites people to learn more about the Welsh language, the actual Welsh phrase and spelling is “Iechyd Da” - a toast to good health, we thought this way we can invite a lot more people into the world of Welsh culture, at least that is the hope whilst gaining fans along the way
Tell me about your most memorable shows.
By far our most memorable show has to be our first show we played, We supported a band named Private Party for their EP launch in Swansea at The Bunkhouse, we were main support so on just before the headliners and I remember not being able to see the back of the room due to so many heads being in the way. The crowd was going crazy, there were mosh pits opening, everyone having a great time listening to our music. It was a huge moment as it showed us that people actually enjoy the songs we had been writing for months leading up to the show and for me ( Lee) it was my first show live so nerves were running high but after such an incredible experience I couldn’t wait to come back for more.
What is your favourite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
Favourite venue we’ve played at so far has to be The Bunkhouse Swansea, from the sound quality to the awesome owners and staff it’s just a great venue that welcomes all types of genres and really keeps the local music scene going. We would love our own headline show in Sin City in Swansea, I think for any local band it is a key stepping stone to play there as it’s one of the biggest and most respected venues in Swansea, Going further afield we’d love to play somewhere like the Cavern Club. Looking at the history of bands who have played there it was just be a huge honour if anything.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
Being a Welsh band we’d love to play with bands such as, Holding Absence, Those Damn Crows or Funeral for a friend. If we’re looking bigger and further afield It would be great to play with someone like Clutch or Queens Of The Stone Age
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
I (Lee) feel pretty qualified for this one as this is my first band that I’ve played in. The number one piece of advice I’d give anyone wanting to play in a band and get started is to find people you enjoy spending time with and have fun with. You could all be the best musicians in the world but if you hate each other or cant have any fun then I don’t see the point. I see these boys as my extended family and as my brothers, we have the best times while rehearsing, recording or playing live. I couldn’t picture this band without them and that’s what makes us work so well.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
The first thing we would tell ourselves is invest in Bitcoin, but the second thing and most probably the most important thing would be to not take yourself so seriously all the time, make sure to take time to enjoy the small things in life and as they say stop to smell the roses every once and a while
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
Of all of our songs we have right now the one that means the most to us is a track called Hills In the Night, this was the first song we wrote as an entire ensemble. It wasn’t our first song but the first two songs were already done and prepared by Williams and Francesco. This song is where we all came into our own and we can’t wait for you all to hear it.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
Favourite song to play definitely has to be You, Me & Lee. It’s one of our quicker songs, the bassline just makes you want to dance and I’ve never seen a still foot or a sad face when this song is playing.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
What usually happens is Lee or Williams comes forward with a new idea, be it a new riff or just a couple of notes and we bounce these off each other until Christian comes in to sprinkle some melody magic on top. We never have to worry about what Fran is going to come out with as he is a library of new and heavy hitting rhythms.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
This is where things get a little less straight forward, our messages change through every song. Some lyrics take you on a psychedelic journey, others are about meeting a nice young lady and then we’ve even got a song about a vampire slayer. So really, it’s a free for all as far as messages are concerned.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
We find ourselves in disagreements from time to time but nothing ever really too crazy, more often than not its due to Christian telling Francesco to hit the drums harder or to turn up the volume on Williams guitar, Creatively we all respect each others opinions and know if we listen to one another we can get past any difference with ease.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
We’re looking forward to getting back out there into the public eye after some setbacks and a considerable break from gigging due to health issues. We have a few local shows lined up in the coming months and look forward to hitting the road further afield once again. You can catch our next live show supporting Ryan Mccombs (frontman of SOIL) at The Bunkhouse, Swansea on Sunday 5th March where we’ll be playing a stripped back acoustic set.