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Arboretum Interviews: Branching into… The Yips

By Katie Marsh on August 22, 2014

Editor’s note: All this week Sandro’s been interviewing some of the act appearing at the Arboretum music festival, which ends this Saturday. Today he interviews the Ottawa-based Ouija rockers The Yips.

We trudged through the thick, soggy trails; we emerged. We climbed the teetering steps, one by one, and knocked on the oak door adorned with duck feathers. It swung open smoothly. We walked through the smoke, the corn husks, the reverb, then parted the ruddy curtain that hung from the ceiling. Someone was in there, purring a motorbike. A Yip! But we didn’t know that then. That took engaging…

Sandro: Hello there.

YIPS: Good day.

S: What is a Yip? Or, more specifically and more importantly, if I picked up a bag of yips at the supermarket, what would be inside?

YIPS: A yip both is and isn’t any one singular mass of somethingless nothing. Typically they have a very tender chewy texture, not unlike the duck hearts served at Union 613. That being said, they can be difficult to come across at a local grocery store as they are literally out of this world. See link for details.

S: What kind of relationship do THE YIPS have with Ouija boards? What about with Christopher Columbus?

YIPS: How astute. I think our relationship with ouiji boards is the culmination of having experienced the power of board and feeling it represented the kind of dark, driving foggy tunes we play. With regards to Mr. Colombus, you may have noticed that we share a milestone date of our respective first discoveries of the new world, that being 1492.

S: What role, if any, does the city of Ottawa play in THE YIPS sound? Can any direct links be made between the heartbeat in your 2014 album, Air Loom, and arteries in the city?

YIPS: Ottawa has a very strong underlying influence in our music as we are products of our environment and appreciate all that this city is and isn’t. I think there is a direct link, because the Yips are a greasy little mass that could clog your arteries and lead to a heart attack…so watch out and monitor your Yips intake appropriately.

S: Mother says Air Loom is music to skin a squirrel to. I’d have to say I disagree with her. I’d say Air Loom is music which would aptly accompany a drunken game of darts in the back of pickup that’s slaying sunset dirt-roads.

YIPS: We agree with your mother.

S: In terms of song-writing, what usually comes first, the music or the lyrics?

YIPS: What happened to the chicken? Is the egg okay?

S: Do you have a video in the works for any of the tunes on Air Loom (I feel there might be a strong visual component to this band)?

YIPS: We sure as hell do actually, and just shot one for our tune ‘Pointe Dume’ not even two weeks ago with Mr. Travis Boisvenue, who is the host of CHUO’s City Slang, and has made some great videos for local bands like Boyhood, Pregnancy Scares, Roberta Bondar, and Big Dick. Check out his work here, particularly his recent mini-documentary on modular synthasizers called ‘Modulo’!


S: Can you tell us a bit about Cam Steacy, and his/her role with the band?

YIPS: Ol’ Cameroon? He’s a good pal of ours, wicked musician (Organ Eyes), and is a whiz with the recording gizmos, so he mixed n mastered the EP. Given he buys new gear from Spaceman Music every two-weeks or so we got to experiment with a lot of funky stuff that unearthed some real deep raw tones that he captured well and is now an important part of our sound.

S: How stoked are you to be playing a pig-roast at Arboretum? (Do you know if there is actually going to be a pig on a spit?)

YIPS: As stoked as the pig on the spit!… which I can confirm will be in attendance. We are really flippin stoked to be playing Arboretum as its becoming a staple of the Ottawa music landscape and brings people, music, food, and art together in a way few other festivals can, so we’re happy to be a part of that. So far the Adam Saikaley Trio’s Beastie Boys set Monday night was bonkers and Thursday’s show with Blue Angel, Fresh Snow, and Ought at House of Targ was insane a la membrane. See ya Friday!