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Peggy Chats With: Yard Act

Updated: Nov 19, 2020

Your weekly go-to new music guide brought to you by our London music journo Peggy, as she uncovers the latest ‘bands and artists to watch’ in the post-punk, new wave, jazz and indie communities. This week she discusses bar snacks, northern resolve and just who the hell is Graeme with vocalist James Smith of minimalist rock four-piece, Yard Act. 


Having publicly formed in 2019, what’s the real story of how you first met? Well, I knew Ryan from down the pub and in September of last year he found himself temporarily homeless, so I said he could live in my spare bedroom as long he definitely moved on by Christmas (which, to his credit he did). It was during that time we started making demos together. At first we just wanted to be like Guided By Voices, in sound and in ethos, but we clocked a change had happened and how interested everyone seemed to be in lyrics all of a sudden. I don’t know if you remember, but that wasn’t really the case for years. There was a period throughout most of the two-tens where every band just drenched their vocals in fuzz and reverb and you couldn’t hear what they were on about even if you wanted to… Throughout that whole period I’d been writing similar stuff to Yard Act with my old band but no one ever really paid any attention. After that I went through a phase of being in an alt-country band trying to write ‘classic’ songs as good as Carole King or the Motown hits factory but again, no one really paid any attention. Anyway, whilst I’d been away being irrelevant, everyone started loving clever lyrics about social issues apparently. So one cold Autumn morn, as he was rolling up my spare sleeping bag once more and folding in the snap back springs of the pull out bed, Ryan turned and said to me ‘Look, you’ve done this for years, this is your thing and though it wasn’t before, there’s an audience for it now. We’ve done our time in unsuccessful bands so let’s finally cash in and earn what is rightfully ours’ and so it was agreed, we would write about very important socio-political issues and trojan horse ourselves into the public eye by pretending to be a post-punk band, and make absolutely loads of money. 

Despite best efforts from the ‘C who shall not be named’, this year you kept our spirits high with the release of ‘The Trapper’s Pelts’ and ‘Fixer Upper’. From where do both tracks draw their satirical inspiration? They’re both about money, and what making lots of it might do to a person. 

Who is Graeme and do we all know one?

Graeme is anyone who tells you they are right twice, before you’ve had the chance to tell them they are wrong once.  What’s next on the release schedule? Any goings on this side of 2020? Peanuts. 

Hailing from Leeds, how has the Yorkshire music scene faired during this tumultuous year? I think people have just got on with it as best they can really... As is standard procedure here in the North.  How, as punters (or honorary punters given the lack of live music), can we show our support for musicians and venues alike in the arduous months ahead?

Money and tweets. 

When social distancing is a mere few centimetres and it is ‘cool’ to break curfew, what will be your first port of call? Leaning really far over the bar to look at what crisps they’ve got.


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