Lloyd Yates has a voice like no other, all I can say is you just have to hear him for yourself. His rousing, arresting vocals, bitter sweet tone, and visceral emotional charge to his songs makes him an artist not to be missed and I can’t get enough of his music. His current single, Runs Like Fire, is gaining him even more well deserved attention from the likes of BBC Radio 1 & 2 and music lovers alike. He is ready to soar to greater heights this year and with the release of his forthcoming début album hopefully at the end of year, things can only get much bigger for this artist.
I caught up with the man himself, Lloyd Yates, to discuss everything from his forthcoming début album, his songwriting process and his inspirations, plus much, much more.
For those readers that still may be new to Lloyd Yates, can you give them a little summary of what you do and who you are?
I’m a singer songwriter with a band that I love and that represents me in a way which to me is priceless.I write to help me figure out what is really going on internally with my life with the intent to help others. I give myself no pressure and wait till something needs to be said, and can only hope that what I’m saying people can hear.
Your latest single, Runs Like Fire, is a beautifully heartfelt track that you wrote for your daughter. Can I ask if that’s your real daughter in the music video and how was it filming on location for the video?
Yes it is. Leaving Jersey for London was hard and with my daughter still living there, I wanted to give her something to look back on, which I told her that I was doing this for her, and that I love her.
The weather was magic, the people we worked with were gold and Alula was an angel on the day. She talks about it all the time, and does not stop singing. I think she might just follow in my foot prints ha ha.
The video for Bring Back The Life has reached over 38,000 views now on YouTube, it must be a great feeling to know that many people have heard your music and watched your videos. How does it feel to know your music is reaching that amount of people?
It’s a great feeling to know that people dig it. Fearne Cotton shared an acoustic version of Runs Like Fire and within 3 days it hit 30.000.You see it’s a bit of a game, and getting it out can be hard. We feel blessed that great industry people are helping spread the music and people are loving it, but we know there is a long way to go.
We’re all eagerly anticipating your début album, how’s it coming along? Have you started recording yet?
I also cannot wait to see how this album makes me feel. It will be a massive closer for me and I am looking forward to seeing what people think. We have started recording and we are all getting excited. There is no release date yet but we will keep you posted.
Your songs have a real sensory quality to them and of course, they are deeply enveloped in emotion. Can you guide us through your songwriting process, especially in relation to your song, Runs Like Fire. How long did it take you write it?
Some songs happen in one, and this is the case with Runs Like Fire.Sometimes I just know when something is going to happen.It’s a feeling that comes over me and I just need to pick up my guitar. It’s the feeling that goes away and doesn’t come back till you need it. It’s my best friend and cannot be controlled. If you believe that there is magic in us, this is definitely mine.
When I moved to London I gave myself a hard time and needed to convince myself I was a good dad. Runs Like Fire popped out and told me just that and a little more.You see the key is RECORD EVERYTHING.
It’s refreshing to hear an artist like you, making music that is so different from what we hear in the mainstream nowadays. Who inspires your music and what inspired you to go in the folk rock direction?
I love Cat Stevens voice and the way he uses animation to create visuals for his music. I like the elaborate romantic sense of magic achieved. It’s the stuff of legends old England myth sort of vibe which is very much folk based for me. I also want to keep it modern which I suppose the rock side comes into play, Pearl Jam, Led Zeppelin.
I call myself Lloyd Yates but the band are very much a big sound of the final product. This is because, one, the songs are very personal to me and two, I don’t want anyone to get confused. I’m here and what I want to say is big. I suppose what I’m saying is, in bands the focus spreads over the band as a mutual respect and the lead singer gets lost.
I want people to really hear what is coming out of my mouth. I’ve heard some people say the music seems to travel and I put this down to the intention we put into them. We don’t mess about and believe what we are saying should travel, not in a catchy sort of way but in a cannot ignore, must not ignore way.
If you could collaborate with any artist, who would that be and why?
Eddie Vedder for sure. I think we would have a great time just talking about lyrics.
You’ve got a few gigs scheduled in London over the new few weeks, any chance of a tour happening later on in the year?
There are a couple of things in the pipeline which we are very excited about but I can’t really talk about it.We are planning a little tour around the UK very soon and we are looking forward to spreading the word.
How do you approach playing live? You seem to have such a rapport with your band on stage, which immediately transfers out to the crowd, and a Lloyd Yates show always seems to exude a celebratory atmosphere because of that.
We try to remember why we are there, how we feel, what we want to say.You can only do this by having fun on stage and interacting with crowd.I talk a lot about my songs and what they mean. People seem to love that and it really helps us get to where we need to be.
You’ve received a lot of support from BBC Radio 2. Do you feel that their support has really made an impact on spreading the word about your music?
We have seen a change in people’s reaction to us which is the biggest thing I think. Having Jo Whiley and Rob da Bank support us, has allowed heads to turn which are normally quit stiff ha ha ha. We have been given a great platform to showcase our music. Like I said before, we have a long way to go but with this kind of support there are great eyes on us.
Your hair has become a big focal point of what you do, in terms of that it’s something that gets people talking about you, which is a good thing. Do you feel that image is one of the important aspects these days of being a musician?
Image is important because we are trying to sell a product. Some artists are more out there than others but we must remember they are artists. I’m a surfer but I love wearing clothes that remind me of the past. It brings back the feelings I used to get listening to my favourite artist, and reminds me of my intentions.
As long as you feel comfortable and are being yourself, wearing what the f…k you want, unless you are in my band then you have to copy me ha ha ha.
We’re big supporters of new music here at Bitter Sweet Symphonies. Having said that, are there any new artists that have caught your attention recently that you’d like to share with us?
It’s hard for me because I tend to just listen to me, and if not me, no one.I know this sound weird but since focusing hard on my music my relationship with other artists has suffered. But there has been some which I cannot ignore.Lucy Rose, Bombay Bicycle Club and Lissie, which I’m sure you already know.
What would you like to achieve in 2014?
We just want our album out, a tour and to know we smashed it like last year.The support we gained last year was stupid and we just want to keep matching it.
A special thanks to Lloyd Yates for this interview and for more info on his music, check out the following links below.