Although Yell is a relatively new band it has already gained a huge name in polish punk underground. A group of highly experienced musicians playing rather ambitious face of punk, while sticking true to the roots. Why Yell is so special and what this band is about? You’ll (hopefully) learn from this interview.
You describe your music as “darkpunk”. What’s the source of this darkness?
BELO: I think that the final character of this band was formed thanks to Olga. As an activist and organizer of anti-hunting campaigns, she brings a lot of darkness with her to rehearsals, which translates into her vocal style and, above all, the lyrics she writes, while we try to follow this lead by arranging riffs and everything else. Filip also sees Igor’s influence, as he is the originator of the Yell’s riffs. This darkness radiates from him too. However, we all contribute to making the band what it is.
Sticking to this topic – what is the role of music that focuses on negative emotions? Catharsis, highlighting them, a kind of capitulation in the fight against everyday life, or on the contrary – art as a means of resistance against the darkness that you have already defined with your work?
FILIP: I think that the vast majority of bands, if not all, in which we played and sang, aim to draw people’s attention to the general evil of the world in which we live and which, unfortunately, we create. It’s the same with Yell., and the said darkpunk is a tool and a form of signaling what’s shitty.
The entire eastern part of the country has always had a strong punk scene – both the Lubelszczyzna and Podlasie regions. What do you think makes the East unique on the scene?
BELO: I think we should go back to the 1990s and think about a few bands that formed the Lublin DIY scene. They tried to infect other people, often young people, with their message. In the second half of the 1990s, I was a guest at Antychryst’s rehearsals. I started going to a lot of concerts and festivals organized by Wolny and Groszek, where I got to know the diversity of the scene. I believe that these opportunities gave an impulse to create own projects to the crew, which is still active on the local scene today. However, I would not look for the uniqueness of the east as much as the local “mustard miracle” from Parczew.
IGOR: From what I remember, at the turn of the 1990s and early 2000s, there were several bands active in concerts in the Lublin region. Of course, we also had an independent place called “Tektura” or later “Zatarg”, where all this could take place. In those years, concerts took place in Lublin twice a week and you could see bands from all over the world. Nowadays, there are not many young people who are as eager to pick up the guitar, drums and microphones as we used to be and want to do something in this direction.
FILIP: I don’t think that the Podlasie-Lublin scene has anything unique about it. Well, maybe apart from the fact that we’ve been stuck in our own cream for years and new people pissed off with the reality around them rarely apear.
I know that the question about the logo is the most cliched question I can ask, but I must admit that I’m curious where you came up with the idea for this particular concept. After all, the inscription “Yell” brings to mind the logo of a large corporation rather than an extreme band.
BELO: When we plan the next rehearsal, the slogan is often “when should we launch Jelcz?” (Jelcz is a cult brand of old Polish trucks) The font chosen for the team’s logo was borrowed from this monster on wheels. It is uncomplicated and readable. That was enough for her to stay with us. Ps. Greetings to the crew from Jelcz and the surrounding area!
OLGA: I guess each member of the team has a nickname by which they are known. It has been like this for years and in this case it happened to our band. We don’t need logo inspiration, what’s in fashion, but what expresses us.
Rumor has it that the full album is pretty close. When can we expect a physical release of the material?
IGOR: We are in the process of recording a few songs, as you know it is not a quick process, so it will take some time. There’s a mix and a master left. We need to decide on the form of the album, whether it will be vinyl, CD or cassette, and find a label or several of them. We don’t want to declare any date.
You are not afraid to romance stylistically with influences that go beyond punk. Is there still room for development in a genre that has existed for so many decades? Was the fact that more and more punk bands draw inspiration from the metal scene (and vice versa) inevitable in your opinion?
IGOR: When we make songs, we don’t think about whether there is enough punk, screamo or metal. Our music is the result of the climates that we listen to and have listened to. Personally, I’m excited about the screamo scene, where there’s a lot of sadness and melodies that I love. I always try to smuggle in something like that and add something to diversify our playing.
Naturally, I was unable to find Yell’s texts anywhere. What do you want to say with yourselves?
OLGA: Referring to the first answer… each of us contributes. Mine is vocals and lyrics. I never spared anyone, any situation – no bullshit. I want to shout out what I sometimes can’t say. I want to tell you what I have seen, what I have gone through, what I have experienced, what I am struggling with, combining it in various forms with what is important. In the texts I mention, among others: the tragedy that is happening on the Polish-Belarusian border. I try to put myself in the place of a migrant in the forest. I’m talking about hunting – I will never erase what I saw from my mind. Therefore, I warmly greet the hunters. “False people, fading stars, two-faced friends”, many of us have been fooled by other people. The destruction caused by man, the tragedy of nature, concreteosis, exploitation, destruction, death. Lyrics are very important to me, as is their understanding, which requires the listener to think and even experience it as I do.
Olga, you are a renowned graphic designer and tattoo artist. I’m always curious about people who pursue their artistic endeavors on several fronts – do you feel, and how, that your experiences in visual arts and music influence each other?
OLGA: Do you think I listen to “disko” while tattooing or creating graphics? I feel sorry for the coworkers at the salon! Of course, one influences the other. Since I was a child, I listened to “heavy” music and started drawing. Currently, I sometimes come up with a verse for Yell. holding a pencil. If it weren’t for the atmosphere of black, death, doom metal, stoner doom, neo, crust, blackened punk, grindcore, I would be doing something else… more delicate. It feels and spews out in different ways. I transfer it to paper and into the microphone.
It’s hard to escape from the past, especially since musically Yell definitely does not distance itself from your previous projects. Do you see this band as the next natural step in evolution? How do your previous musical experiences shape what you do now?
FILIP: Yell. is a continuation of the path chosen much earlier. The bands we played and sang in always put a stick in the anthill and this case is no different. We make every effort to keep it that way.
BELO: I can’t improve my playing skills anymore, so yes. This is another small step in the evolution, where in fact my participation in this band took place after the dissolution of Dødskamp, Poor But Loyal and breaking my declaration of giving up playing. The approach to the style we will play has become secondary. We let it shape itself.
IGOR: In my opinion, musically Yell. it is not a continuation of our previous bands. Each of us has more or less experience and has been involved in various projects, some of which have made recordings, others have only played a few concerts. There was a lot of it and I think that Yell’s music cannot be clearly defined as their continuation. It is also known that with age we become more and more critical and picky about what we do and listen to.
Olga, I know how much effort you put into fighting hunters. With all the validity of the idea – do you think that there can be a real change on this front in our lifetime?
OLGA: Real change has already taken place. It is the awareness of people to whom we show what hunting looks like “from the inside”. Most of them had no idea what was happening during these bloody games. We show not only the violation of all laws – hunting law, law on weapons and ammunition, and even road traffic law, animal protection law, but also the culture of these “people”. There are more and more opponents of hunting, but many of them exist only on the Internet. Animals die in forests, where pathology occurs. I’ve been at this for about seven years and I won’t give up this fight. Unfortunately, hunting was, is and will be. This has been ingrained for hundreds of years. The world will not be perfect, but we can strive to make it better.