Chris Keating, Ira Wolf Tuton, and Anand Wilder make up one of music’s most mind-bending/altering, sing-and-dance-along, sensually unifying acts in the business today. Their new album, Fragrant World brings along the fresh, experimental sounds for which Yeasayer has become known. The title is fitting, insinuating the olfactory experience the listener is in for when taking part in the synesthetic discovery. Keeping alive the ideals of generations past while paving the way for a future yet to be uncovered, Yeasayer have found a way to bring you positive vibes during a perpetual time of upheaval. Every generation’s got their speakers of a better way, but there’s only one true Yeasayer in today’s world of nay.
We chatted with Anand Wilder about a broad range of topics, and one thing became clear through our conversation: Yeasayer is ready for their closeup.
Here’s what he had to say…
What is your favorite thing about music?
The ability of music to give you a tingle on your spine, trying to achieve that. The way it makes you feel better when you’re down and reassures you. The soothing power.
How did you guys meet and how long have you been making music together? Are there other members of Yeasayer in the mix?
I’ve known Chris since 1st grade. I’ve known Ira for 10+ years. His sister is married to my cousin, so we’re family. We’ve got a new drummer, Cale Parks, who’s on the new record and is touring with us.
Many critics and fans alike have been quick to put different labels on your music. How would you describe your sound?
Pop music. Not super popular; anytime verses and choruses. We wouldn’t want to restrict ourselves in any way, and pop allows for so many things.
I, along with many music aficionados, was introduced to you through your presence on the festival scene over the years. How does it feel to have your own tour and how is it similar/different from playing festivals?
Being on tour inspires me to create, motivates me to want to spend time wisely when I’m at home. There’s just so much stimulation. On tour, you’re on your own. You find your fans, whereas at festivals you’re trying to win them over in a short time. Hanging out with other bands and musicians during festivals is cool, but there’s nothing like having your own tour with your own fans.
There exists a certain level of visual art conveyed through listening to your music. For instance, my wife says that when she hears your music, she thinks of complex water-color paintings. What do you think about that?
It’s always nice to know you’re inspiring other artists to create. College aged kids and artists bringing pieces to our shows and saying things like, “I made this while listening to you guys,” or “I feel like I’m taking a journey when listening to your music,” or “Traveling on vacation during listenings.” That’s always cool, and (the fact) that synesthesia comes into play is cool.
Odd Blood and All Hour Cymbals are two of the best records to come out in the last ten years. What can fans expect from your new album, Fragrant World?
Thank you. THe new album will have new sounds, unidentifiable sounds. Creating a sound in an unorthodox way is exciting for our music, like: “Oh, I haven’t heard something like that before. That’s adventurous; that’s experimental.”
What is your favorite city to play?
Home in New York, always have fun in Minneapolis. Norway’s always great, Oslo. Love playing in Paris, because I get to practice my French. Melbourne is always good.
What do you guys have planned for the tour, and anything in mind for the show in Chicago, specifically?
We’re gonna have a pretty cool stage and lighting design by Creators Project. Really cool, new stage show.
I wanted to touch on the writing you did for Nehru Jackets. How did the whole Kanye piece come to be?
It was kind of funny about Kanye. The best thing about Kanye is you can’t play him for your grandma. He’s so honest, but he’s not babbling. He seems honest in a self-deprecating way, which is rare for that genre.
How’s the musical coming along? Is that still in progress and in play?
The musical is finished; just waiting on the right time to put it out. It will be an album (released by Secretly Canadian). I’m really proud of it.
What do you want people to think of when they hear the name Yeasayer?
Of course I want them to think we are the coolest, most amazing rock band of the 21st Century.
Yeasayer is playing a sold out show at Chicago’s The Vic Theater, 3145 N. Sheffield, on Wednesday, August 22nd
We’ll have a full review of Fragrant World and the show with photos for you on Thursday.