When we first interviewed Jacksonville musician Yuno, his song “No Going Back,” which had already become ubiquitous on contemporary Indie Spotify playlists, was fast-becoming the song of the summer (5.3 million plays on Spotify). In addition, he’d only just inked a deal with unimpeachably cool Seattle record label Sub Pop (Nirvana, Soundgarden, Mudhoney, Fleet Foxes, Iron & Wine, Father John Misty, need I list more?).
Yet, to many in his native region, even among those in the music community, he was still an unknown entity.
“I’m still a homebody,” the newly famous bedroom pop standout told us last spring. “My physical form is in Jacksonville, but I feel like I mostly live on the Internet. I only really leave home to get groceries or go to band practice.”
The band practice thing was a fairly new undertaking at the time, as, in preparation for his upcoming Sup Pop-funded tour, he’d had to quickly cobble together a group of musicians to perform said song of the summer, as well as other tracks from his subsequently released mini-album Moodie.
Fortunately for Yuno, the local music scene, always overflowing with crack players, came through. Yuno’s supporting cast, which hit the road early this summer, consists of Colin Adkins (guitar) and Brian Squillace (drums) of notable local act Sea Cycles and well-known Fjord Explorer bassist Jordan White. In another laudable move, Yuno took local act Lannds on the road as a supporting act. With this prominent collection of Jacksonville musicians blowing minds and melting faces across the country, we caught up with one of Yuno’s hired guns, Squillace and asked him about life on the road with as part of the hottest ticket in the country.
How’d you guys get connected with Yuno? “No Going Back” seemed to be everywhere last spring and into this summer. Had you heard his music? Had you met him before?
I met Yuno because I’ve been a fan for years, way before “No Going Back.” He’s been releasing music online for a long time. He was putting out tracks that were getting a lot of traction on Soundcloud and bandcamp. I sent him an email just letting him know I was a fan and if he ever wanted to play a show in Jacksonville I wanted to help make it happen. Years passed and he wasn’t releasing a lot of new music, and I heard from my friend Rania [Woodard, Lannds] that he was working on a new EP, so I reached out again just saying, “hey, If you need a live band I’m interested.” Sub Pop was going to put him on tour with Twin Shadow and he did need a live band, so it just worked out like that. I was bugging him at the right time [laughs].
How’d the first practice session go? Any good stories about the band gelling before (or during) tour?
Practice was a rough start. Yuno had never played live, nor even imagined how these songs would be played live. It took a lot of trial and error to get things right. Even after we started playing shows we had a ton of technical difficulties and weirdness. We had to figure it out on the fly in front of an audience. A little nerve-racking. Now we’re 13 shows into the tour and we’re sounding awesome every night.
What was the KEXP [live in studio performance on Seattle’s well-regarded public radio station] experience like? That’s a big deal! Any good stories from that?
Holy s***, KEXP was scary. We were only four shows into the tour, and here we are playing on a radio program that we would all consider a bucket list thing to do. I think we pulled it off fine, but you can watch the video knowing we were dying inside [laughs]. It’s just crazy playing music in this space that all of our favorite bands have been in, and here we are just barely into our first week on tour.
What’s been the biggest show, thus far? Have you noticed some momentum building the more places you play, either more people attending or more engaged audiences?
The biggest show so far was Music Midtown in Atlanta. It was our first outdoor festival and the crowd was huge. Everyone was going crazy. It was really unexpected. You just don’t know where there are fans. Some cities in the Midwest we’ll play a tiny show to nobody, and then followed by a packed room the next day in Denver. It’s actually fun that way. The majority of this tour has been supporting Super Organism though, and they have a big dedicated crowd. The shows with them are always good. It’s the headlining shows that I’m talking about that can be all over the place.