I see a bright future ahead for Your Illuminations, a pop punk rock band out of Thirsk, North Yorkshire. This dynamic quartet has outstanding melodies and monstrously-huge dynamic sounds woven into their songs. Oh, and did I mention to someone recently called them “Blink18U2”? Yes, they are that good …
The line-up of Robbie Stuart (vocals and guitar), Richard Sansom (drums and vocals), David Fink (bass and vocals) and Anthony Jardine (guitar) is one that works phenomenally well.
Their debut track “Hey Scarlet” has it all — power, energy, punchiness and that certain something I refer to as pop punk ear candy — and I am always delighted to hear it.
“Dead of Night” starts quietly, with an electronic sound, then kick it out with furious guitars and blends great vocal harmonies.
“Heart Will Explode” is killer too … it’s almost an ode to Green Day, with chugging guitar licks and bombastic drums.
Your Illuminations is another brilliant band that will be playing at Oxjam Leeds Takeover on Oct. 22 (http://oxjamleeds.co.uk/). I was able to have a texting chat recently with Davey to learn more about the band, their influences, and those ever-present beautiful fairy lights …
Here’s our conversation:
How did the band come together and when?
Robbie and I first got together in 2012 after being in two separate local bands, he hired me to fill in for bass for a couple of shows until he could find a permanent member and I’m still here four years later! But the band as it is now didn’t really start until we found Rich in 2014 — he had recorded a drum cover of one of our songs (“Heart Will Explode”) and was told by a friend that we were actually looking for a drummer. We went round to his house for a couple of drinks and a jam, and everything really took off from there! We’ve only recently added Anth to the fold after trying a few other guitarists over the past couple of years, he’s a really fantastic, unique player and has a great energy, he’s really been a huge boost to the band.
Your music is very energetic and explosive — it’s hard to sit still while listening. Is the sound where you want it?
That’s an amazing thing to hear — we always try to explore with different feels and styles to keep our songs surprising and full of energy. We certainly don’t want to fall into traps where we make predictable choices so we always try to take sharp turns whenever they feel necessary! I would say we’re at a good point in our songwriting right now, we all seem to really understand each other and bounce a lot of ideas off each other — I think that really contributes to the sound as it’s not so much something we aim for, but something that comes out naturally. The most exciting thing for us is to see where that approach takes us next!
Most of the songwriting happens as a group then? Where do the ideas start from?
It can really vary how each song gets written, sometimes one of us will turn up with the song mostly written and then we’ll all add to is as a group, sometimes we’ll just jam an idea that gets fleshed out over a few practices, and sometimes we tear apart old unused song ideas and rework it into something new. For instance, one of our upcoming songs is actually a combination of three other tracks we never used, which was a cool thing to do. At the moment for us, nothing we’ve written is safe — we’ve spent a lot of time taking old ideas we liked and making them really sparkle in new songs and it’s really done some great things for certain songs.
Have you been playing the new songs live yet?
We’ve been cycling through quite a few tracks over the past few months — some that people may have partly recognised from a long time ago and some that are totally new. We’ve had a great response over the past tour and a few one-off shows, but I’m very pleased to say we’ll be debuting some new tracks we’re incredibly excited about on our tour later this month. We definitely have some big surprises coming in the very near future.
Will we be hearing new music at Oxjam Leeds Takeover? I’m flying over from the U.S. specially for it …
Wow, that is amazing! We’ll definitely have to see if we can sort something out … We always try to do something special for charity events, let’s put it that way!
Haha, sounds good … Who do you guys look at as musical influences? Where does your style originate?
This always a difficult one, between the four of us we have a lot of different influences that always fight for a place in the songs, I think it’s clear that we’re influenced by big rock sounds from bands like Green Day and The Who, but we always feel like we’re also somewhere between U2 and Bring Me The Horizon in terms of sound. We also have some upcoming tracks that are influenced by heavier genres but also ambient music — it’s definitely a mixed bag! Someone at a show recently called us “Blink 18U2,” which was a pretty clever way of putting it.
I like that term, don’t mind if I might use it. Were you all young when you started playing?
Feel free — it’s good one! I think we were all between 13 and 15 when we first joined bands, Robbie’s pop punk band was up against my prog band in a Battle of the Bands when we were both 16 years old and by that point we’d both been playing for a while. Rich had been in a couple of metal bands before joining us so that was a really big jump but it made a really cool dynamic when we started playing together. Anthony was only 17 when he joined and has been playing both solo and band shows on his local circuit for a while now!
You certainly mesh together well as a band and the metal background is perfect for Rich’s hard drum style …
Now on the softer side, tell me about the fairy lights … Do they tie in to your name? How did that start?
I think it’s just something we all really like doing, they add an extra dimension to the live show and give us a real identity that really lets you know it’s YI playing. They’re influenced by cityscapes during the night. We live in an area surrounded by hills and there’s something about the views over valleys and cities during the night really captures the imagination so we try to take it everywhere we go. I don’t think it’s a thing we ever officially made “ours,” but over time we’ve grown into the fairy lights and we love how they fit with what we do.
I think it looks really cool and I like the guitars being lit up, it adds a new dimension to your look.
We think so too! It’s great how it ties in with the name too, but I don’t think that was a conscious decision
Nice … Are your live shows as much fun as they look like on video?
There’s only one answer I can give here — you’ll have to find out! I’m really happy to hear they look good from the videos, but there’s nothing better than being there in the flesh. And of course the more people there the better, if anyone wants to experience a great show the best way to do it is grab a ticket and enjoy yourself!
Will do! What’s the coolest thing so far that’s happened to/or for the band?
An absolute highlight for me was hearing our track “Hey Scarlet” debuted at Leeds First Direct Arena in front of 15,000 people. We turned up to a show there and suddenly we heard our own song played back to us! That was a really surreal moment, and it was so gratifying to hear how great it sounded after all the work we’d put into it. Another amazing thing for us is working with some incredibly talented like-minded people when writing and recording music — we’ve made some great friends along the way which has made the experience so far really rewarding for all of us.
Amazing! Are you working on your debut EP? I know you have your singles out …
I’m afraid I can’t comment on that right now… If you keep checking back on our social media then I’m sure there will be answers soon enough.
Anything I missed, or did we cover it all? I’m really excited to see you play at Leeds — you have one of the later time slots too!
If you’re happy I’m happy! Would just like to quickly plug our October tour hitting Yeovil, Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds and Newcastle (all UK) — tickets are available at http://www.yourilluminations.bigcartel.com now — and if you follow us on social media you’ll be kept up to date with any news in the future.
We’re really looking forward to it too, we play a lot of charity shows for various causes and they’re always great. There’s nothing better than entertaining and supporting great causes at the same time! Hopefully it’s going to be a busy night that can raise a lot for some people who need it most.
Just brilliant, Davey! I’ve really enjoyed our chat and will be looking to meet you guys in Leeds.
Thank you Rebecca, it’s been a lot of fun! Looking forward to meeting you too, come chat to us and we’ll hook you up with some treats to take back to the U.S. with you.
You can find Your Illuminations on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/YourIlluminations/, on the web at http://yourilluminations.bandcamp.com/ and on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/user/Yourilluminations.