Published Oct 29, 2015Nashville's Yautja recently released their seven-song EP, Songs of Lament, which showcases their heavy and unique sound that combines a wide range of styles, from grindcore and death metal to sludge and crust. The EP is the follow-up to the trio's well-received 2014 debut LP, Songs of Descent, but as guitarist/vocalist Shibby Poole tells Exclaim!, the new EP actually precedes last year's album.
"It's funny that to most anyone listening, these songs are new. But to us, they're actually older than most of the LP we did. Just because of scheduling and complications, it didn't really materialize until after," he explains. "So it's fun to be playing them again, because we kind of ditched all of these songs after the LP came out, and we were just playing those because that's what we were more rehearsed on. But it's good to get back to these songs and give them the treatment they deserve."
Poole explains that the EP started as a very DIY project before Yautja had signed with a label.
"No one had approached us about doing a record, so I started recording the EP myself because we didn't think anyone was going to help us out or anything. We figured we were on our own and had to just do it ourselves. So before we had talked to the Forcefield guys, I actually started recording this EP myself and I kind of did the whole thing."
Rather than re-recording the EP, the band opted to go into the studio and record a set of other tracks they had written, which became the Songs of Descent LP.
"After we heard what Mikey [Allred], the guy who did the LP, was capable of, we were like, 'Okay.' I mean, what I did wasn't terrible, but we knew that it wasn't really up to par," he says. "Once the label hit us up and we could actually afford to go to a real studio as opposed to having me do it, we talked it out and talked with the label too, and we decided to do the LP first."
Following the acclaim that Songs of Descent received, releasing the Songs of Lament EP has come with some apprehension.
"[Because] these songs are older and since I recorded it myself, I kind of really stressed over a lot of the aspects of it because I had been mixing it, a different version of it, myself the whole time. So I had been going over it again and again in my head. In that way I had sort of gotten sick of it in a sense. But once we got it out, I was pretty into it myself, so I don't really care how it ends up sounding to anyone else," Poole laughs.
While Poole says there's not much of a lyrical concept behind their music, both releases do share similar ideas, which connects with the titles.
"A lot of the songs were written at the same time, so we felt like they were kind of related. Half of it was like that and the other half, we didn't know what to call it, and that was like somewhat clever and sort of tied into the lyrics. Songs of Lament and Songs of Descent both kind of have similar things going on, similar feelings that kind of tie into each other, in a weird way. So we thought we'd run with it."
Poole explains that all of the members write lyrics and each person writes in their own way, which is why there isn't much of a traditional theme behind Songs of Lament.
"The name would sort of imply that there's more of a theme, but there really isn't," he says. "I feel like Tyler [Coburn], the drummer, is really metaphorical most of the time. And Kayhan [Vaziri], the bass player, is a little more straight-forward, usually. And mine are kind of really half-and-half, it's either you know exactly what I'm talking about or you have no idea."
But Poole says there is an overarching feeling of loss conveyed in the lyrics.
"I guess the sort of gist of the songs, the title and what it's referencing, is the sound and feelings you might be going through if you've lost someone in a certain way. Whether it's death or addiction or whatever, and what leads up to that and the aftermath I guess. But then some of the songs are way more political and less out there than that. It's just sort of a funny variety, there's not much of a theme, as much as I might want there to be."
Songs of Lament is out now via Forcefield. Listen to the whole EP below.