INTERVIEW: Yam Haus

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We had the chance to chat with Minneapolis-based Yam Haus this week about their new single, “The Thrill,” their unique take on house shows, and their debut album, Stargazer.

The band consists of Lars Pruitt (vocals), Seth Blum (guitar), Zach Beinlich (bass), and Jake Felstow (drums). Read our interview:

 

MELODIC MAG: To start things off, I just wanted to take it back to your first release, Stargazer – what was the writing and recording process like for you guys with that record?

LARS: So that record was made a little bit before we knew what we were going to do as a band; I mainly did the writing on it with our producer and kind of had a lot of it ready before we assembled the rest of the guys. The rest of the guys – two of them are my really good high school buddies – Zach (bass) and Seth (guitar). Jake, our drummer, we met in Minneapolis just playing around hearing about different local musicians and stuff. The album itself was very personal to me, and it was sort of pre- knowing what we were gonna do as a lineup. 

 

MM: And you guys are from Minneapolis right?

LARS: Yeah – we’re actually 30 minutes outside Minneapolis in a town called Hudson, Wisconsin, but we do a lot of work out of Minneapolis and that’s our main hub. 

 

MM: I noticed that you guys kind of like to stray off the typical path, and one way you do this is with your Haus Shows. Was this your idea as a band? And have you had any crazy or really weird experiences with these shows?

LARS: It wasn’t our idea per se; we had a guy we were working with from the east coast who had worked with some artists who did a lot of house shows. He ran that by us and we like ‘man, that sounds like an amazing idea’. Especially being ‘Yam Haus’ we could just change the spelling to match our band. 

ZACH: It’s been fun! The last couple house shows that we played this summer – we’ll show up and the hosts will have actually built a stage. It’s so funny that they would take the time to actually build a platform. The last one was a graduation party and a dream that the parents talked about for a long time was that when their daughter graduates, they were gonna build a deck over the pond and have Adele out and she’d sing at the graduation party. They’re like ‘well we couldn’t get Adele, but Yam Haus is the next best thing’ and they build the deck still! That was a fun one.

LARS: My weird experience with a Haus Show would be… there was this one where the dad in the house worked for a toilet company and he had really nice bidets everywhere. He was showing us how to use a bidet and we used them for the first time. 

 

MM: Sounds like fun! I also noticed you have a ton of stuff on your Youtube channel between music videos, vlogs, and other funny videos. 

LARS: I’m sorry you had to see that. 

MM: What made you start making all these videos?

ZACH: We were looking at what would set us apart as a band in this day and age, and the same guy that had the Haus Show idea had this idea to make vlogs, and not only music content but also Youtube content because Youtube is such a big platform. I think the people that actually watch them like them a lot. 

LARS: It helps us build like a super tight fanbase between the small amount of local people who have kept up with us. They know us because of those videos. 

MM: That makes sense – that’s cool! Jumping back to music, you recently shared a single called ‘Mama’ right in time for Mother’s Day; what was the motivation behind writing and releasing that song?

LARS: We had been working on a lot of new music in the studio and that song came out of nowhere really quick. It felt really different and it felt almost like its own standalone thing and because we knew Mother’s Day was coming up in the next couple months, we were like ‘let’s just drop it around that time and let it be’ and like ‘let’s not try to make it this big produced song’. We recorded it and just left it stripped, the way it was written. It was the first time in the studio for me that I actually felt really tangibly emotional about something. Normally I don’t really process it in the moment too much; I kind of just pull from something and it never really makes me lose my composure. But that was the first time I really felt like that moved by something we made. I have an interesting relationship with my mom; she’s kinda crazy, but she’s super inspiring and she’s taught me a lot of things. A lot of what I’m doing today is because of my mom, and yet she drives me nuts. I didn’t even plan on doing that, but all of a sudden I wrote a song for my mom that felt really real and authentic to me. 

MM: Aw, that’s awesome. Fast forward to now; you guys just released ‘The Thrill’ this Friday. I think the song is super fun and perfect for driving! Is there any story behind what inspired it?

LARS: That was our first collaborative tune. We threw a lot into that. Together we were all looking at ‘the chase’; we’d been playing a lot of gigs all around and we’d played four hour bar gigs, we played in the city, had the chance to travel to some cities. We were just talking about how everybody’s looking for something, and we wanna give it to ‘em. The lyrics are a little bit vague – somebody brought up a very good point; they’re very nihilistic (the idea that life is meaningless) and kinda poking fun at that in an ironic way. Life is a chase and very quick, and sometimes feels like going through an amusement park. Driving in your car, buying a ticket, all to ride a little 30 second moment of adrenaline, and as a band, we’re just trying to offer that to people. 

 

MM: I think the music video is so well done, and when I first saw it I was laughing so hard at the rollercoaster shots; how did you guys keep a straight face!?

LARS: That was actually really hard. By the end of that day we had ridden the rollercoaster like 17 times. It’s weird ‘cos I learned that I could ride a rollercoaster enough times in a row to get bored and want to get off. 

JAKE: By the end of riding the same rollercoaster four times in a row, it’s definitely not as fun as the first initial time. Your stomach feels it a little bit, and I think Seth and I were both ready for a long break after that. It was still such a fun time. 

 

MM: Did you have to rent out the park?

SETH: It kinda just fell into place. The guys that were doing the video were already doing one for a local theme park. Basically we got to partner with them and create a promotional video for them and we got access to the park for a day and got to shoot whatever we wanted. It worked out super well.

LARS: It was a total barter. The people we hired to make the music video reached out to them saying ‘hey, we’re making a music video for this band, can we use the park and in return make you a promo video?’ and they said yes! It was unreal. 

 

MM: Well I’m so excited for you guys and for the video to come out! Is there anything else we can look forward to from you in the near future?

LARS: Yeah! We’re gonna be putting out so much music in the next year, it’s crazy actually. We want to do as much as possible, but we also wanna be smart about giving things time to sort of fester. Right now we have six songs pretty much done, and then six or seven more that we are in the process of finalizing. Throughout all that we want to make a lot of videos for all the songs, and we wanna put them out one single at a time and we want to be really patient before we drop another full length [album]. We wanna make sure each song gets its proper attention. In the meantime, our goal for the year is to book the First Avenue main room in our hometown and sell it out!

JAKE: The music industry is changing so much these days and people don’t listen to full albums straight-through as often, so we’re approaching this album differently. We’re putting a lot of focus on each song individually so that we can let each one stand out alone, but at some point they will end up on an album. We’re kinda just looking at it from a slightly different perspective than just some other album. 

 

MM: Thank you so much for your time! Best of luck for the future and with the new song!

LARS: Thank you!

 

The fun and hilarious video for “The Thrill” will be out next week, so keep a watch for it!

Keep up with Yam Haus: Instagram // Facebook // Twitter

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