Janelle Borg May 15, 2020
Premiere: NO YES NO’s debut single “Stocktake”
It’s New Music Friday! Today’s tune arrives by way of Malta, the UK and the worldwide web. It’s none other than the new band NO YES NO, Francesca Mercieca’s (Fuzzhoneys) latest project. The band describes itself as “a magic potion of raw garage rock guitars drowning in slapback delay, mixed with warm analogue synthesisers and brutally distorted drum-machines – all tied together by Francesca’s deep and soulful vocal tones.”
Trackage Scheme is premiering the band’s debut single “Stocktake”. We’re also pleased to announce that this is just one of many singles currently in the works, and we’re definitely here for this brand new trans-national, alternative duo!
Trackage Scheme: First things first; How did this duo come about?
Francesca: I met Thom through a Fuzzhoneys show on the Glitter Tour in 2018, we supported his band “Abominable Soul” at “The Washington” in Sheffield.
After that tour, with both of our personal bands planning to release new material, we decided to go on a UK tour supporting each other for our Candy Tour in November 2018. Sharing van rides, pre-stage excitement and being part of each other’s audience was pretty cool.
We both realised that we share mutual influences like Beck, Jack White, QOTSA, Nirvana, PJ Harvey…. we got to live together (on the road!) for a few days and it was super special.
From then on, we became friends… and two plane rides away to our first jam to record our first song “Stocktake”. It happened naturally and considering we weren’t in the same place we sped through really productive first few days.
Sleeping late, discussing, singing and coming back home to Malta to review the material was really interesting. In way, being in a band in the UK makes it feel like a second home. The British music scene is buzzing, and our love for performing makes it inevitable to play these songs on stage.
TS: What can you tell us about your debut single ‘Stocktake’?
Thom: Stocktake was recorded in the middle of a crazy heatwave at my flat in England, definitely by far the hottest I remember it being in my lifetime… we had to keep the only fan we had pointed at the computer all day to stop it from melting, so we could keep working on the song basically all day and night for a week straight.
Saying that I remember when I was in Malta that my phone stopped working because it was too hot so that maybe doesn’t sound so crazy to you.
You’ve got a very distinctive sound on this single. How would you describe this setup?
F: Our format was always backed by Thom’s guitar playing on everything, which is a bit of a break from being in my comfort zone of holding an instrument while singing.
As much as I love guitar, for this project, I’d like to take on the lead singer role and push myself to perform a show that can bring more pop, glam and dance, and focus on new forms of vocal lines and hooks.
I’ll definitely be playing keys once we lock the rig for our live set. My dream is to be able to afford the Teenage Engineering OP-1 Portable Synthesizer, certain bass pads, polyphonic sounds for synth solos and drums that can serve as vocal breaks. It will work beautifully when it comes to creating electronic textures live.
T: Yeah, to be honest, it’s a long time since I played a live show, so I haven’t thought about guitar gear in a while, I’ve kind of stopped caring about it so much since I’m not just a guitarist or singer in this band now like I have been in the past… now I have to think about the drums and synths and everything else too!
My main guitar is a Gordon Smith GS1, which is the best guitar I’ve ever played, and my amp is a Fender Hot Rod, which is the only amp I’ve ever liked and never broken, so I’ll probably stick with that. In the studio, my main pieces of gear are a MicroKorg and an Arturia Drumbrute, but that’s just what I happen to have really, I’m not attached to them, they’re just tools to me.
Are there any touring plans in the pipeline? Post-COVID, of course!
T: It’s definitely going to happen. All of our songs are a real mixture of “traditional rock instruments” alongside more digital and synthesised sounds, so figuring out how to do it live is taking some real working out but we’re almost there.
So far, it’s just been myself playing everything in my flat; there is no live band. I am working with a drummer back home at the moment to see how much we can do between us in a live setting. He’s been building all these crazy drum machines from scratch and hybrid acoustic/electric drum kits…it’s going to be insane once we’ve got it all ready!
There will be live shows for sure but not like you’d expect it to be. Hopefully, it won’t be too long before it’s possible for us to travel again so we can start rehearsing with Francesca in the room with us too.
F: After recording and having such fun productive memories and our previous tour experiences I’d say – hell yes! We’ve discussed my daydreams in between the happy moments of hearing how the songs are coming out over pints and we’ve brainstormed ways of organising shows with versatile set-ups for Malta, UK, Europe and the US if we work hard enough.
It’s all a matter of getting in this remote regime of exchanging our progress and having an album ready so that we hit the road once this COVID madness blows over.
NO YES NO is a project that takes place in a remote manner. If you could give a couple of tips to those bands that are currently struggling to work remotely in the Covid-19 era, what would they be?
T: Honestly, I think it’s important just to be kind to yourself; don’t beat yourself up if you’re not super productive. Things are weird right now, and all of us will have different challenges and ways of coping with it. If the mood takes you then go with it, if not… don’t worry. Do whatever you need to do to keep your head level, and hopefully, you will happen across some inspiration along the way.
F: Thom’s words are totally on point. Being creative with this remote, technological distance makes communicating less human and more difficult, especially when it comes to feeding off the “live” chemistry. It’s important to invest time in a comfortable space and to surround yourself with inspiration.
Recording vocals for me might affect my neighbours, and amps might be too loud at certain times, but it’s just a matter of figuring out what needs to be done and to find a place where you can write without any distractions or worries.
Once you get used to it, it becomes a new talent to improve upon in this new normal really. Just be at peace with it and it will all fall into place as long as you stay faithful to the meditative satisfaction of creativity.
As Cat Stevens says in his song ‘If You Want To Sing it Out, Sing it Out,’ “Well, if you want to sing out, sing out, And if you want to be free, be free. ‘Cause there’s a million things to be; You know that there are.”