In the spirit of killer female fronted bands, I have another one for you this week, one of my all time favorites! It’s especially fitting to post this during this week seeing as though The HUSH is LA based, so we need to have a NYC based female fronted band to balance it out. The band I speak of is one jam packed with killer talent, especially rocking front woman Anna Morsett. If you read the blog often, you will recognize the name, Anna is also a member of The Kissing Club which was an earlier featured Badass Band. You may also recognize the name of one of her band mates, Jake Miller, whom fronts The Kissing Club. He and Anna flip roles here and she takes the helm with the tunes of the eerily beautiful Yet Cut Breath.
I can’t exactly trace the origin of when I first saw Yet Cut Breath, but I have seen them many times now in a variety different situations and lineups. No matter what, they are always phenomenal. This is not necessarily a band you rage to, but one you become hypnotized by. The beats on their debut album ‘Hinges’ are not something you are going to bang your head and shake your ass to but that is no reason to write off this band. This band produces tunes that you can immediately tell were written with intense emotion (and performed with just as much, EVERY time) and absolutely fantastic instrumentals backing them. They are songs you listen to and think ‘That was absolutely perfect.’ When you listen to songs on their album like ‘Kindness’ or ‘Tied’ you feel the need to absorb all parts of the tracks. These are songs that are not only lyrically impressive and relatable, but expertly calibrated to the point in which the music backing the lyrics truly tells the story.
YCB is made up of (as mentioned earlier) Anna Morsett on vocals/guitar, Jake Miller on guitar, Luke G on bass and Aaron L on drums, with various other musicians filling in at times to play instruments like violin, cello, piano, etc. I have yet to see YCB with Luke and Aaron, but as for Anna and Jake, they are a dynamic duo. I have rarely witnessed from anyone else the intensity these two musicians throw into playing their instruments live. They often play their instruments in ways that will amaze you, sometimes bringing in random objects to create sounds you didn’t realize those instruments could create. This band is one that will amaze you through talent and craftsmanship and keep you guessing as to what they will create next. Who could ask for much more than that?
Anna was kind enough to take some time to do an interview with BBB and below you will find the answers to how she and Jake met, the significance of the name Yet Cut Breath, and how she feels being a woman in rock n roll! ALSO PLEASE CHECK OUT THEIR KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN HERE: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/yetcutbreath/well-do-anything-for-yet-cut-breaths-new-album
I PROMISE YOU THIS IS THE BEST KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN VIDEO YOU HAVE EVER SEEN, AND CHECK OUT THE KICK ASS QUIRKY STUFF YOU CAN GET!
When and why did you start playing?
I first started playing music when I was really young. I took four years of piano lessons when I was 7 or 8 maybe? I was also a huge choir nerd throughout middle and high school. Oh yes, jazz choir and all. But I started playing guitar when I was 12 … I wanted a guitar so badly. I had a fake toy violin that I would strum like a guitar until I got a real one on my birthday. I just loved that so many sounds could come from one instrument, that you could move around and play it … I was totally drawn to it.
What kind of music did you listen to growing up? How does that differ from what you listen to now?
I grew up near Seattle so when I was younger I was really into Pearl Jam and Nirvana, that whole scene … wore a lot of plaid, as you can imagine. I was also into Third Eye Blind and Green Day during middle school, of course. These days, I guess, I listen a lot of indie rock (how vague an answer is that!?) and a lot of what friends send to me. A little bit of everything truthfully, totally depends on my mood. A day could range from Motown classics or Andrew Bird to instrumental music like Zoe Keating or Explosions in the Sky. I love instrumental music, can’t get enough of it.
Which famous musicians do you admire? Why?
Oh that’s tough, honestly, I’d have to say that the musicians I admire the most are those that are inclusive of others, kind and humble, regardless of their enormous talents. Really, I admire anyone who is making music because they MUST make music, because they love it and because it’s their passion.
What is the significance of the name Yet Cut Breath?
The name actually comes from The Winter’s Tale by Shakespeare. At one point in the play several characters are discussing how life-like a statue is and one character says to the other, “What fine chisel could yet cut breath?”. That really stuck with me, the idea that an artist could create something that, though it may not be breathing yet, COULD breathe, and seemingly have a life of its own. I liked the idea of creating music in the same vein, of making music that would take on a life of its own in the experience of listening to it. Something that would connect to you as a living thing.
Do you get nervous before a performance?
Not so much anymore, I used to, but now that we perform so often it’s just exciting and fun.
Any rituals before a show?
Whiskey. Jumping around.
Describe what it’s like to perform for a crowd?
HUGE FUN. There’s nothing quite like it, the energy is amazing.
How does your creative process typically work?
For me, songs are born out of playing for a few hours and stumbling upon some cool lick, or progression or tuning that I like. Once I’ve got that, I expand on it and then trek back through a series of notebooks I have and try to piece together lyrics … or just play until the words come. The latter seems to be more often the case these days.
What do you think you biggest break or greatest opportunity has been in your career so far?
Getting to work with Kaki King, she’s been a huge inspiration and a great friend. Working with her and her team has been an incredible gift over the last few years and let me pursue guitar repair/techdom AND music in ways I wouldn’t have been able to otherwise. I’m hugely grateful, she’s just amazing.
What has been the biggest challenge for you so far?
Trying to balance everything! Balancing work and the non-work projects, like this one, can be very tricky. It can be difficult finding time/energy for the things we love, like playing music, while also trying to just survive.
If your band had a slogan, what would it be?
“We’ll cut you up!” ha, what are we pirates?!? ok, no. But maybe something like, “Tag, you’re it!” or “You belong here”.
Why should people listen to your band? What makes you unique?
People should listen to our band because we’re in love with this (!) and think that you might be too! And, we’re unique because our mothers have told us so … ahem.
So you ever feel like women in rock n roll are treated differently from the men?
Absolutely, it sucks. It certainly makes me work a hell of a lot harder, but it can be hugely frustrating. I think there’s a certain level of skepticism or something that we’re faced with that men aren’t. I often feel like I have to prove myself over and over again. And not to say that this always happens, because that’s not always the case, there are a lot of supportive and great people I’ve worked with who could care less about my being a girl. I feel it more when we’re on the road at different venues every night, when I have to prove to a new crew that, no, this isn’t my first time at the rodeo and yes, I know what I’m doing. I’ve become better at dealing with it but it can be really disheartening when you’re just starting out in the world.
If you had the opportunity to change something about the music industry, what would it be?
I don’t know how I’d do it, but it’d be amazing to find a way for musicians to be paid more often, or at all in some cases. You know, not like millions, but enough so that they could survive. It’s enormously expensive to get a band off the ground when you’re doing it all on your own and it certainly takes a toll. I’ve seen so many bands shrivel up after a few years because they just couldn’t afford to keep going.
What’s the difference for you in playing a TKC show versus playing a YCB show?
Oh I love playing with The Kissing Club! For those shows, because I’m not the band leader, I get to relax a bit more and worry less about trying to say something witty in between songs. Ha! And because I’m not singing all the time I get to jump around a bit more and THAT is great fun. For YCB, I do still jump around when I’m not singing, BUT not like I can when I’m playing for TKC.
You and Jake Miller are in two bands together, how did you two meet?
We actually met through Missy Liu back when her and I were playing with Drew. Missy and Jake all went to college together. We played together once or twice, had a few beers and decided to keep playing together. Jake is awesome and just enormously talented, I feel very very lucky to get to play with him.
What are you working on now, and what can we expect from you in the coming year?
Ah! We’re making a new record, RIGHT NOW! We’re so excited, just can’t wait to record these songs. WE JUST LAUNCHED OUR KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN! Those who help us by donating will get copies of the new record, t-shirts and a bunch of other fun things. Not to mention our undying gratitude. We had a blast making the video for it too – I think it’s just hilarious.
Can we expect any music videos from YCB in the future?
Yes! After the fun we had making the Kickstarter video, I can’t wait to make another proper music video. If were lucky, perhaps the lovely and very talented David Sosnow (responsible for several of our videos) will help us out! Fingers crossed …
One song you never get tired of.
Superstition – Stevie Wonder
What is the best live show you have ever gone to?
Tough one, either Bon Iver at Bonnaroo in 2009 OR The National at Beacon Theater this last fall. Actually, Kelli Scarr and her band blew me away when they played at The Way Station in Brooklyn a week or so ago. It was a tiny little bar and they just killed it!
Hedwig and The Angry Inch
This changes every time I read something new it seems, so … a recent favorite was Miranda July’s “Nobody Belongs Here More Than You”.
Favorite things to do NOT musically related.
If you could be a fictional character, who would you be?
Any character from the muppets, I just want to move like they do!
What is something no one knows about you but you wish more people did know?
I can still climb trees and still enjoying building forts.
Best prank you have ever pulled?
Stay tuned for our summer tour; certainly they’ll be some good pranks then.
When people leave their windshield wipers on when it’s completely stopped raining.
If you had only 5 minutes on Earth to perform one song that would leave an impact on the world today, what would it be and why?
Superstition – Stevie Wonder. Again. Or maybe any Motown song, a Jackson5 tune or something – I would want to play anything that people could just dance to … something that you just couldn’t help but move to. What better impact to leave than just dancing?
Find Yet Cut Breath here: