Yes-Nice-Photo-Credit-Jesse-Nakano

Yes Nice shares share focus track “Few Words To Say” off new LP

Yes Nice is the brainchild of Scott McKellar and Nathaniel Wong. They have been writing and recording songs together since 1998. Now, they are still writing and recording music together releasing albums every so often as they feel inspired as Yes Nice.

Their new album Eternal Flame is a collection of ten songs that put together elements of 80s synth, funk, jazz, folk and rock into a sonic assemblage. By experimenting with sounds from different genres and using recording techniques, they challenged their songwriting process to emphasize rhythm, bass and improvisation.

The album’s focus track, “Few Words To Say,” was inspired by learning to speak in the context of growing up in Alberta. Alberta can be quite polarized in its social and political realities and finding a voice in that can be a struggle.

Listen to the new single and check out our interview below!

Can you talk to us about the inspiration behind your single, “Few Words To Say”?
Few Words To Say was in part inspired by learning to speak growing up in Alberta. Growing up in a mixed race family, with my Father, Chinese via Malaysia, who was speaking english as a second language and my Mother, whose heritage was English and Danish but raised in rural Ontario; language around the house often relied on non-verbal communication.  My family ended up having a good sense of humour and we laughed a lot but often it was not easy to point, with words, at what any of us were laughing about.  So I have always had a tenuous relationship with words to explain things, even now, trying to talk about how this song is related to my experience of learning to speak, growing up, seems really laboured.  Nonetheless we have to speak and form opinions and act in the world regardless of how far our inferences lead us from facts and reality.  There is a reluctance communicated in the song, to decide between tribe and nation which is a debate that seems so important and yet acknowledged so inadequately in our feedback loops of social media.
How do you think your community has contributed to your success?
Edmonton is a great place to grow up and play music.  I think one of most important things about playing music is being deluded enough in your own abilities to not give up right away.  Edmonton is small enough to have those not so judgemental nice people who are encouraging to you even though you might not be that great at what you are doing musically. We have watched enough cult documentaries now to know how conducive group delusion is in promoting satisfaction, albeit short lived.  We enjoy.
What was the first thing that got you interested in music?

Scott grew up loving Jimi Hendrix and has always been drawn to the production side of recordings and song writing.  We have been writing and recording songs together for many years and it has always been something that was fun, challenging and engaging.  Writing and recording was that thing for us that we could spend hours working at and lose sense of time and place.  From the beginning I think that is what got us interested in music.  

Describe to our audience your music-making process.
Scott calls me up and is like “I have this great new drum sound that I have been working on for the last 94 hours, can you come over and record?” and I’m like “ok, but I’m just at the African market buying berbere spice and I have to finish cooking dinner, how about we meet at 8pm?” On my way over to Scott’s house I lift lyric ideas from radio shows, because if we have nothing to sing generally the song ideas die on a hard drive. We proceed to get deep into a trance like state through jamming, Scott plays drums and I get on the guitar or piano and hash out some kind of chord progression or song arch and test out some lyric and melody ideas. Once the song is kind of shaped we throw in whatever other instruments we like and then the song is ready for three years of polishing. It sounds funny to say this out loud but it is very accurate.
What advice would you give other musicians?

Same advice I give everyone, learn how to sing, find people to sing with and sing together as much as possible.  I don’t know if there is a better thing to do as humans than to sing together with a group of people. 

How did it feel when you released this new music?

Releasing this music was a great relief. Generally we don’t release our music. In fact, just before releasing this album we sat down to listen to a separate group of unreleased songs that we made during the same time period and we thought it was way better.  I’m actually surprised we ended up releasing this and not the other songs but these songs were far closer to sounding finished. 

And finally, if you could collaborate with any musician/band, who would it be? And why?
We have a pretty strict adherence to certain possible collaborators in our songwriting / recording fantasy world.  At the top of our list is Donald Fagen from Steely Dan, because he seems to be best at articulating diversions from predictable song structures in ways that are the most fun.  I think he thinks in a way that we are often trying to emulate in our writing process.
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