Just before independent multifaceted artist YNES dropped her single we managed to get her on the line to learn more about not only the single, but who she is as an artist in all forms. Ever since the likes of Bowie musical art has pushed the boundaries further than just the sound that comes from the speakers, and in the digital age we the realms can be pushed even further which YNES loves to play with.
Hi Kira, How are you? We’re chatting to you just ahead of your forthcoming single All I Do (Dream Of You), how do you feel about YNES right now?
Hey! I feel pretty positive – thanks for asking haha. I think this is around the 8-month mark from when I first started investing heavily into my music, so it feels like the momentum is starting to speed up – which I’m super grateful for.
From what we’re led to believe your work is more than the music you release, how true is that? And what is YNES and who is Kira?
Thanks for noting that! Really, even as an observation it means a lot that people notice how much work I try to put into the feel of everything.
I’m Kira, of course, and I started recording really when I was about 14. I didn’t have an ounce of self-esteem, and a lot of my songs were very introspective, as was my general ‘vibe’. Building on my own confidence has been a massive focus for me in the past couple years, and so my music – as something that reflects me – kind of followed suit. I finally feel as though I’ve kind of lived through enough experience to be able to stand here and say yep, I’m mature and assured enough to give the world the best version of myself and not apologise for it anymore. That’s YNES.
You’re branded as YNES, how does this work as a songwriter? How do the songs come together and who is on the tacks?
To be honest, I tend to write the tracks at home, just me with my acoustic guitar. I try not to over-romanticise, and write lyrics that are in a similar tone to how I would have a conversation. As someone who’s generally introverted, I prefer the freedom of thought that comes with being alone in this writing process. I’ll then write what I can in terms of chords and bits I think would sound interesting – but I let the guys in my band decide what they think would sound best for their instrument, so brainstorming is the next step for us. Everyone has their speciality and I think we all work best when we’re just shooting ideas!
When it comes to bringing YNES to the live arena, how do you present it and who plays with you if anyone?
There’s usually four of us playing live – Jack on bass, Felan on drums, and George on guitar/talented solo bits and myself on backing guitar. I can just about multitask, but don’t ask me to solo successfully. For me, I try to just emulate the raw energy that goes into the music. I don’t like to overplan any specific moves or gestures, I guess just feeling powerful and bringing that empowerment through to the audience.
Your debut YNES single Pretty Sure and your new single both discuss romance, what themes lyrically does YNES cover in all your work? We’re feeling an element of feminist social commentary?
I like that! Yeah, I guess regardless of the theme, I try to be realistic in my lyrics. Maybe because there are so many love songs I’ve heard over time, in which either a) the concepts are outdated OR b) the cheesy metaphors are just too wild – that I kind of wanted to rewrite that narrative to a more progressive, realistic one. I only ever try to write lyrics that are realistic for me, for example, I don’t believe you always have to romanticise a situation, or demonise someone for good lyrics, sometimes situations are complicated and we have fluctuating emotions and it’s okay to write about how we don’t know what the fuck is going on. I felt that this was something that was missing when I was younger, and I’m so glad to hear that there’s a feminist reflection in this too!
And in this manner it feels as if YNES is Riot Grrrl for the authentic pop music fan, who do you aim your music at and what influences you musical sound?
I think anyone who feels they share a similar experience to myself, I love the idea of bringing Riot Grrrl ideas and morals to a more mainstream audience though – especially nowadays where it seems more important than ever to use your platform for good. I take a lot of influence aesthetically from 80’s pop culture, new wave, punk, and lyrically I’d say I listen to a lot of DIY post-punk (Front Bottoms, Modern Baseball, Heart Attack Man, Prince Hyena) so it’s kind of a mixture of these with my own personality on top haha.
Talking further about what YNES is, you recently shot a video for All I Do (Dream About You) what was that like and what was the concept for it?
It was ace! It’s a song I’ve held on to for a few years, it’s very important to me and I’ve always felt I have to do it justice with a video. We shot four looks over two days in studio, it got SO messy (as you’ll see) but it was so much fun. Each look represented a feeling I had within this period of heartbreak. There’s the childlike waiting around, checking your phone, eating junk food, everything indulgent that doesn’t quite fill the void. There’s the despondence in being out with friends, no one quite understanding, people persuading you to drink your feelings away. There’s the shameful desperate attempt at winning someone’s attention by being as seductive as possible. Then, after months and years, there’s the performance and melodrama of it all. Which I guess is where I’m at now. Where you can’t quite tell if you’re over it all, but you’re used to talking about it as if it’s nothing. All these themes kind of tied in together as the recurring stages of losing someone. There’s one line towards the end ‘there is more to life than what I will probably pursue because all I do is sit around and dream of you’, which I think best summarises the meaning. Whether it ends up being true or not, it’s that intensity at the time of truly feeling as though you’d rather die than lose this person.
All I Do (Dream About You) will be our third instalment of YNES, how do these pieces connect together and what is next for YNES?
In terms of any sort of connection, I think ultimately, it’s honesty within my work. Sometimes it isn’t life or death, sometimes it’s past the point to look at a situation and start romanticising and pinning meaning onto small details. I’d hate to write a song with the meaning of Pretty Sure, and start singing vaguely about how this person made my world shatter like it was a glass, and that glass is fragile just like me, and that picking up the pieces hurts yada-yada-yada. I feel as though it’s overdone. I try to write as straight-forward as possible, even if that means I’m singing just as I would talk. I hope that translates into honesty, because that’s the goal haha.
What else do we need to know about YNES and 2020?
I said last year, 2019 was the year of building foundations and 2020 we’re gonna hit this industry like crazy. I don’t know who ‘we’ is but PMA and all that. My next release will be a Pretty Sure remix out mid-March, and then I have an EP release on 29th March. I can’t say much more for now but keep in touch to stay updated!!