Hype List 2019: Yonaka

On tour with Bring Me The Horizon and with a pair of storming EPs behind them, in 2018, Yonaka have primed themselves for the big time.

With a new year, comes the weight of expectation on a new batch of artists, thrust into the spotlight and expected to set the agenda for the twelve months ahead. That’s what The Hype List is about – a series of interviews, profiles and more highlighting who we think will be making a noise in 2019.

Creature’ is the third EP Yonaka have released in just over a year, and they’re only getting started.

Today they’re in Chemnitz, Germany for the fourth date of their tour with Bring Me The Horizon and Fever 333. They’re the biggest shows the band have ever played – “It’s so fucking cool,” beams singer Theresa Jarvis – and they cap off a year of big things. There’s been ‘biggest ever’ headline shows that quickly didn’t feel so big as they gave way to other ‘biggest ever’ headline shows. There’s been a non-stop summer of festivals, a growing noise around the group and a sense that they’re finding their groove.

“It’s been crazy,” continues Theresa. “2018 has been sick, we’ve taken a big step up.” The turning point was their ‘Teach Me To Fight’ EP. While ‘Heavy’ was a glorious mishmash of a band playing with what they could get away with, ‘Teach Me To Fight’ was “the change,” she explains. “We all knew what we were doing a bit more. ‘Teach Me To Fight’ is about posers. You’ve got to stand up for yourself; that whole EP was about that, and love. I can’t not write about that.” 

For ‘Creature’. The band started writing differently, putting themselves in other people’s shoes and looking inwards. “It gets dark in areas, and it sounds wicked. It’s all about anxiety and unwanted thoughts and feelings.” 

Across the outward swing of ‘Teach Me To Fight’ and the insular wrestle of ‘Creature’, Yonaka have found their voice. “I didn’t use to know I actually had something to say. When we started, I was just getting into the swing of writing a song, but now I feel comfortable. I know what I want to say, what I mean, and how to say it now. That just comes from growing.” 

It’s been a full on 2018, but the band have never struggled to keep up. “I can’t think of anything that’s been hard yet. I get a bit tired, that’s about it. I did lose my voice once, that’s horrible, but that’s about the worst thing that happened.” 

Instead, the band are using every opportunity as a chance to grow. “Watching Bring Me and Fever, the energy is insane. It’s so good to watch; it makes me want to go harder as well.” On paper Yonaka might stand out on this bill, but “everyone seems to be loving it,” says Theresa. “Our music is a little bit different, but it has tones of all different genres. 

“I love watching other artists play because it’s so inspiring. On this tour I’ve also learnt to sleep in the van and to make little lunches from breakfast to take on the road, I’ve been eating cheese sandwiches every day.” 

Despite the speed that things are moving, Yonaka want to go faster. Three EPs in thirteen months? “That’s not even fast, is it? That doesn’t seem very fast to me.” Next year will see the band head out on tour, play a shitload of festivals and release an album.

“We’ve been writing for the album recently. We’ve got a few songs ready, and we’re going to keep writing until we’ve got it. It’s mainly just about what you go through. Life and how it hits you. Anxiety, mental illness and love. It’s a mixture of things that I feel passionate about and things that need to be addressed.”

Taken from the December 2018 / January 2019 issue of Dork. Order a copy below.

Words: Ali Shutler

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