An indie band that's Yuck, but in a good way
From the ashes of the ultra-Jewish Cajun Dance Party has emerged a new group with a growing reputation as the next big thing
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Yuck: Max Bloom, Jonny Rogoff, Daniel Blumberg and Mariko Doi
At a Seder night a few years ago, a teenager was talking about his schoolmates who had won a battle of the bands and were now being hotly tipped by the music press. To the guests' delight he suggested the band in question, the five-piece, Cajun Dance Party, all from north London, be renamed Kosher Dance Party, so Jewish was their make-up.
Since then, Cajun Dance Party have split up, and singer Daniel Blumberg and bassist Max Bloom have formed a new band called Yuck.
"You'll have to come up with a new one for Yuck," Blumberg says, referring to the Kosher Dance Party nickname of his former band. "How about Yarmulke?"
For a group that have performed just a handful of gigs, Yuck have been attracting considerable attention. Their debut single, Georgia, all reflective guitar pop with shades of early '90s Jesus and Mary Chain, has been played by a host of tastemaking DJs, from Radio 1's Huw Stephens to XFM's John Kennedy (XFM), and Lauren Laverne and Steve Lamacq on 6 Music.
Not that Blumberg and Bloom are new to such exposure. When Cajun Dance Party started, they were in their mid-teens, and they recorded their 2008-released album A Colourful Life in between their A-Level exams at University College School.
The friendship between Blumberg and Bloom goes back still further than secondary school. They grew up in Muswell Hill and Finchley, respectively, and met at cheder at New North London Synagogue when they were four years old.
"Max's mum taught me about kashrut," says Blumberg. "But we didn't meet each other until we were naughty. My earliest memory of Max is when we had to go to the side of the room and wait for everyone to leave because we were being sent to the headmistress. We were standing next to each other talking about how fit Sporty Spice was."
The musical connection came later. On his eighth birthday, Bloom's parents gave him a guitar. "I have no idea why. It was £20 from Argos and I still have it. I've been playing since, and as soon as I started liking more guitar-based music, I wanted to learn drums and bass." Their first band was a punk-pop outfit, but their indie-pop direction soon followed with CDP. But they found it was not producing the music they wanted.
"The most exciting things that made me want to form a guitar band was the music of the American movement of the late '80s and early '90s, combined with bands in Britain in the '80s like Magazine, Buzzcocks, Joy Division and Teenage Fanclub," Bloom says. Blumberg adds: "All that stuff going on in America in the '90s - Dinosaur Jr, Sparklehorse, Silver Jews, Red House Painters… I think it's the best decade for music."
Keen to focus on creating music influenced by their favourite bands, and with Bloom now on guitar, the pair started writing and discovered the songs just poured out. Before long they had 30 to 40 of them. As for the rest of the band, they met their bassist Mariko Doi, from Hiroshima, through mutual friends in London, while Blumberg had met their American drummer Jonny Rogoff in Israel last February. "He was spending a year on kibbutz and I was seeing friends in Israel.We just started talking about music."
Add to the line-up some ethereal backing vocals from Blumberg's younger sister Ilana and the band was complete. With their debut single out now, and a tour with Times New Viking through spring, what is their next move?
"To write music that we love and people love," says Bloom, resolutely. "We want to make lots of albums."
The single 'Georgia' is out on Transparent Records. Tour details at http://yuckband.blogspot.com