The Unusual Suspects: Backstage With YEASAYER (pics by Kris Krüg)

Brooklyn’s own Yeasayer is running through, like, a zillion and three songs at soundcheck in Vancouver.  The newie, “The Devil and the Deed” is sounding stonking. So I’m dancing around the Green room, singing along to the muffled sounds from the stage next door while photographer Kris Krüg plugs in a light and chuckles at my excitement.

The band wrap up and step into our lair – a quickie photoshoot in a dull room normally reserved for the catering. Sexy, no?  “Is it someone’s birthday?” Chris Keating asks. “MINE!” I yelp, grinning like a kid. (Okay, the birthday was the next day but whatevs, this is present enough).

Yeasayer, pic by Kris Krug

Keating, Anand Wilder, Ira Wolf Tuton and percussionist/drummers Ahmed Gallab (aka Sinkane Tell ‘Em) and Jason Trammell look a bit shagged but you cannae blame them. One-third of the way through a tour and the last thing they wanna do is a photoshoot. But they’re game, tolerant. It’s only in the pictures that they look narked off … they chat and smile between clicks.

We talk about Keating’s family, some of whom live on BC’s Denman Island, “It’s a little far for the Denman crew,” he says, “but I think my mother in law is coming tonight.” He excitedly – well, as excited as a kinda tired Chris Keating gets – tells us about the time they found and ate oysters right off the beach on the island. I tell them about the time I hitchhiked and camped on there, and ate blackberries straight from bushes. You can tell the East Coaster digs West Coast living. (Me? I dig West Coast living too, but I ALSO really dig bassist Ira Wolf Tuton. He’s like, 18 meters tall and more beautiful in real life. But anyway. *crushes*)

Yeasayer, pic by Kris Krüg

As Kris moves the band from ratty, splatty stained sofa to the floor, we chat about the new stuff. They’re playing three new tracks tonight, Anand and Chris say, among ’em “Devil”. “Yeah, that sounded fucking brilliant on Conan and looked fun,” I say. “No, actually, it’s, like, totally the opposite of what we like doing,” Ira laughs. “You sit around and then you have to go out  for one song, it’s weird.” Then, he asks, “Do you get Conan up here or did you see it on computer?” I saw it on computer I say, and yeah, I’m pretty sure we get Conan. I resist the urge to make a comment about how I’m pretty sure we also have electricity here in Canada. ‘Cos that would not endear me to my new boyfriends.

I also tell ’em that Yannis from UK band Foals is in town tonight, and that he wants to hang. “Yeah, man! Get him to come!” Ira says. I try via the Tweet route, but no answer. Maybe Yannis is still pissed off at me for “over-egging” my last review of ’em. Spent parts of the night looking for the broody Greek at the venue, but alas. Not sure if he made it. But who cares. What was on stage – ie, the very wonderful Yeasayer – was more important.

Then click click click, it’s police line up time. Kris shuffles the band over to a wall. We’re chatting until the clicks, then it’s nuffink but serious/tired/aloof from the lads. PROS.

Yeasayer, pic by Kris Krug

But what I wanna know is goss on a new album. My fingers long to cradle new vinyl, or EVEN a digital download code. The ears crave new food. It’s back into the studio in September, Chris says, with no producer. I make some joke about having to hunker down and work after a long tour.  “That’s the stuff we love, though,” Chris says and smiles a sweet grin that says “Yeah, we like fiddling in the studio. We’re geeks.”

Then before it started, it’s over and we all shake hands. Ira leans in, and asks me if I’m coming to the show. I resist the urge to lunge. “Absolutely.”

The band go, and I dance around the Green room. And Kris, once again, chuckles at my excitement. \m/

All Yeasayer photos by Kris Krüg, exclusively for BackstageRider. Visit or for more infoAnd check out our other Yesayer Live shots by KK!

Yeasayer, pic by Kris Krüg

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