Scottish rockers Yashin have opened up on their decision to split after 10 years as a band, laying the blame on record label Sony for “changing” songs the band recorded for their most recent album.
We spoke to vocalist Kevin Miles at Yashin’s London farewell gig last Friday, and he revealed the band called it a day after it took three years to release final album The Renegades. Last year their previous label, Transcend Music, pulled funding, which left the band with no option but to buy out their contract to ensure they had ownership of their own songs. Things then seemed to have taken an upwards spiral as Sony stepped in, but it soon became clear that this was the beginning of the end.
Kevin revealed: “At that point it was like the fairy-tale had come true as Sony picked us up, but it just didn’t materialise for us in the way that we thought it was going to. We felt like we had gained more traction from the self-release of We Created A Monster than we had through the release on Sony. It felt like it was old school guys who worked on Roadrunner Records back in 2002 and had no concept of what bands at our level in this stage of our career needed.
“It was just wasted resources, the money that they spent on the album was absolutely sickening and they came in and changed songs like The Renegades after we’d finished them. We wrote songs to suit us live, so we’d pick bits where we wanted a heavy section that people can get involved with, a singing bit here or an angsty bit for this verse. But they came in and basically changed all our songs from what they were, which was raw and energetic, and made it all formulaic verse-chorus-verse-chorus.
“It was soul destroying to see that done to your music. We thought that at this stage in our career these guys knew what they were doing – these are the big boys that have put out all the biggest acts and biggest albums in the world, so we need to have a bit of trust in them. But it was trust that was misplaced.”
It certainly seems that Yashin are going with a heavy heart, they’ve had some great times and will likely continue to be involved in music in some way, but felt that there was no going back following the latest record debacle.
Kevin told me: “It’s emotional, it’s bringing to a close a chapter in our lives that has lasted ten years for Paul (Travers, guitar), Andy (McShane, bass) and Dave (Beaton, drums) who’ve been there since the beginning. I don’t think it was ever going to be easy and I think it’s been difficult for people around us to accept that we’re finished.
“But here’s the thing, we’ve not lost the love for the songs we’ve written, the times we get to perform or the people that we’ve met over the years – those are memories that’ll outlast anything else that’ll happen in our lifetimes and it’s a difficult thing to walk away from. But it’s got to a point now where the good times have been severely overpowered by the bad times and when we stopped enjoying ourselves it was time to call it a day.”
Yashin went out on a high at The Garage, in north-east London, on Friday. They gave us a lasting memory of what a great band they are, with superb energy and a whole host of awesome songs – from Get Loose! and Last Man Standing to Let It Go and their final ever track in London Stand Up – making it one of the best gigs I’ve ever been to. After all, this is a band that has played alongside the likes of Papa Roach, Korn, Limp Bizkit, A Day To Remember and more. So with that in mind, we asked Kevin about his favourite memories during his time in Yashin.
He said: “In terms of individuals, the guys in Papa Roach were the definition of the nicest guys in music. Every single one of them, you’re talking friends for life. When Jacoby (Shaddix, lead singer) found out the band was going to split I got a text message saying he was really bummed to hear about Yashin, asking what’s going to happen next, that he’s really excited for me and it’s the start of a new beginning.”
A particular tour that stands out for the band was when they began to get a bit of momentum after the release of Put Your Hands Where I Can See Them back in 2009. They were approached to go out and support a band called Black Veil Brides and initially knocked them back, then accepted when the offer was increased and they were given the chance to be main support.
Kevin explained: “We realised this was a chance to go out and expose ourselves to a completely different type of audience and little did we know that we’d become the main support to one of the hottest bands of the year. We were put in such a good place and were possibly naïve and over-arrogant to knock it back in the first place, but we went out on that tour and it was like being in a movie and a taste of what it was like to be a rockstar.
“Then there’s the Limp Bizkit tour, because that was the band whose posters were on my wall as I was growing up. To have Fred Durst single you out to play alongside him was insane – these are memories that are forever imprinted in my brain and I’ll never forget them.”
We then asked Kevin about the best gig Yashin have played, and his favourite song from his time in the band.
He said: “We have fond memories of supporting Madina Lake in 2009, again another hot band at the time, and we managed to scrape onto the opening set of the tour by the skin of our teeth. We came on five minutes after doors so there’s not a lot of time to try and make an impression with a cold audience walking in, but I’ve got a memory of being in Nottingham Rock City playing a song called Mr Hyde, old school Yashin, a really bouncey tune.
“I just remember looking out and every single person in the 2,000 capacity was just bouncing. There’s videos on YouTube and every now and again you’ll nip back on to remember those good memories when we were so hungry for it.”
Here’s a clip from that gig!
Kevin continued: “For me D.E.A.D is the best song that Yashin have written. It came about at a time where we were looking for something different and I had this idea for a riff. I don’t play guitar in the band it’s just something I do in my spare time, so I picked up the guitar and played it, taught Connor (MacLeod, guitarist) how to play it and he presented it to the band and Dave just latched onto it and said ‘yes this is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time.’
“Between the three of us we knocked our heads together and that was the tail end of it. There used to be a different chorus but Harry (Radford, fellow vocalist) came in and wrote the big ‘feels like I’m buried alive’ bit, and everything just clicked and it was the song everyone wanted and it’s still a highlight in sets for me.
Given Yashin’s experience in the last few years we asked Kevin for his advice for any new bands out there that are looking to get started in making music and touring.
He said: “The first thing I would say is don’t be bullied into buying an LDV Pilot because they are the shittest vans in history and you could be the tightest band in the world but if you don’t make it from Glasgow to Manchester for that show then nobody’s going to hear you. And if you drive an LDV Pilot you will never make that show because it will break down all the time.
“In terms of young bands starting out, what got Yashin a foothold was gig swaps, which I’m not sure if people do now. But we picked a band like The Casino Brawl from Newcastle and said ‘look, we’re doing maybe 100 tickets in our home city and you guys are doing 100 tickets in Newcastle, so will you come up here and support us and we’ll do the same thing there?’ Before we knew it, when I joined Yashin they were a bigger entity in Newcastle than they were in their own hometown so that model worked well.
“Even The Glamour of the Kill tour was an opportunity for us to go out with like-minded individuals and have a great time – that was a 38-day tour of all the B-towns across the UK in 2010 and it was hard work sleeping on peoples’ floors, waking up the next day working out where you’re going and just had no concept of time.
“But just work hard, try and keep a hold of it as much as possible, take pride in what you do and, as we’ve just experienced, when you stop enjoying it it’s time to draw a line under it and not be dragged into a downward spiral of just playing shows for the sake of it.”
Yashin are a great example for any young band out there. Just look at some of the gigs they’ve played, the great music they’ve given us and what can be achieved with a bit of hard work. But there also an example of the need to be enjoying whatever you do in life.
Thank you to Kevin for speaking to us, and thank you to Yashin for a decade of great music. They’ll go out with an almighty bang in their final show ever on Friday in Glasgow, but I’m sure, and let’s hope, we’ll see them back in the music industry in some form soon.