James Smith from Yard Act talked to Matt Wilkinson on Apple Music 1 today as part of his UK City Spotlight on Leeds. They spoke about collaborating with Elton John on the reworking of their track ‘100% Endurance’ taken from their debut record ‘The Overload’ and the breaking music scene in James’ home city of Leeds.
Yeah. Always. I mean, it always has though, but I mean, it does feel like there’s new blood in it now. There was definitely a transitional period of a couple of years where it felt like a lot of the older bands dropped off and the new ones hadn’t really pushed through, but there’s tons of young bands coming through, and I think there has been a resurgence in bands. I won’t use the term, guitar music, because I don’t know if it accurately represents what it is, but there was a point where there were less bands being formed. And now the likes of English teacher, Fuzz Light year, Treeboy & Arc, those bands, The Shakamoto Investigation, all those bands coming through, they’re all young bands. You got the likes of stuff like Mush as well, who’re a bit more established and yeah, the bands are there and yeah, it’s great. I love it.
Yeah, we had a lovely afternoon together at Metropolis Studios in London. It was beautiful. We wanted to shine a light on 100% Endurance a bit more, now the album had been out a bit and we felt we’d established the one side of Yard Act. We wanted to highlight the other side of it a bit more, which is explored on the back end of the album. It felt like there was more we could do with that track. It felt like there’s ways we could accentuate and highlight the melody and the emotion of that track without over egging it, while still sling in a string section and loads of lush Elton John piano all over it. And then, obviously, because he’d been so kind about us and he’d been calling me a little bit, we thought why not ask him?
Yeah, he rings. Yeah. He rings. He gives me a ring, so we put feelers out to see if he built for it and he rang back, said, “abso-f*cking-lutely” were his words. Then we organised the date and I mean, he’s a very busy man, so the fact that he even found time was amazing, but he did. He came down after doing, I think he’d been for a Chairman of the Board meeting at Watford or something, and then he came to us. It was bananas. Then he was off for, I think he had a gig, the following day or something, so he was off-
Yeah. Yeah. It was amazing. When it was like, “Would you be up for doing this line?” He was like, “Yeah, of course, whatever you want.” It was wicked. I don’t think there’s anything more Yard Act than you directly addressing Elton John within a song he’s playing piano on. You know what I mean? The fact he went for it. I was like, “That’s amazing.” It was such an experience and he was just such a sound, sound person. He was brilliant.