2012
09.22

Yashin Feature

From Rock Sound magazine, June 2012.

YashinThe year is 2001. The place is the Barrowland ballroom, Glasgow. A young man by the name of Kevin Miles looks up at Papa Roach, the band performing in the two thousand-capacity venue. Taking in the size of the place, the height of the ceiling and the crowd, the aspiring musician dreams of one day playing with his heroes such as that evening’s headliners.

Flash forward eleven years. The adult Kevin reminisces about the summer he spent touring Europe with Papa Roach, befriending frontman Jacoby Shaddix (‘the nicest guy you could imagine’) and gracing the stage of the Barrowland. By the time you read this, he will have played with three of the five bands he lists as heroes, all thanks to his band Yashin. Incredible as these achievements may be, and despite a small but devoted following, the post-hardcore boys remain something of an unknown in rock circles.
So, just what makes Yashin so special?

The story started in 2006 when a group of Glasgow lads – guitarists Paul Travers (also songwriter) and Lewis Millen, bassist Andrew McShane and drummer David Beaton – put together a rock group with vocalist Michael Rice. The first of the EPs that followed, 2007’s ‘Pay To Play’, was a slice of 21st Century emo-by-numbers, while 2008’s ‘Miles Away But Getting Closer’ (a prophetic title), showcased a developing sound and some more interesting ideas, but it wasn’t until a double-pronged lightning bolt struck them in 2008 that the title would prove to be particularly prophetic.

After Michael’s departure that year, the band decided to soldier on with a replacement, holding auditions for a new vocalist. It turned out, however, that filling the singer-shaped hole would not be as straightforward as hiring a new one, and the final outcome saw two co-frontmen join their ranks: Kevin, and American-born Harry Radford as screamer and singer, respectively.
‘I was undecided on a dual-fronted band at first.’ reveals Kevin. ‘But Harry and I get on great. We’re at total opposite ends of the spectrum. It’s a clash, but we just come together, and it’s recognisable as Yashin.’

They then took the next step to success in recording their debut full-length ‘Put Your Hands Where I Can See Them’, an expertly-constructed smorgasbord of danceable pop-core, emotive rock anthems, crushing metal chuggery, and captivating interplay of sweet and sour vocals.
‘We’ve always felt like an original band in an unoriginal genre.’ explains Harry. ‘Our music is a wide spectrum. There’s heavy stuff, melodic stuff, and poppy hooks. There are lots of bands in our scene, but I don’t think any of them write music like we do. If you were to listen to a mix tape of those bands, you would be able to say “that’s different – that’s Yashin.”’

And on the back of this original album came major support slots with their aforementioned idols, and the chance to take their music past the choppy shores of Scotland’s east coast.

‘We play in Europe, and there are fans who can’t even speak English singing along to our songs.’ explains Kevin excitedly, in a tone of both pride and disbelief at the fact that the integrity and power of his music transcends language barriers. This wasn’t the case for Harry, however, as made clear by the phone call in which Paul asked him to join the band.
‘After the audition, Paul rang me up. I hadn’t spoken to many Scottish people. We spoke for about five minutes and I didn’t understand a single word he was saying.’ laughs the Yank, before doing a patronisingly bad impression of the guitarist. ‘You can only say “what?” to someone three times before it gets embarrassing, so after that I just went “yeah, alright, cool.”

An explanatory text message later, and Harry found himself in the band, whether able to converse with his colleagues or not. No stranger to the road, the Floridian was bitten by the touring bug a long time ago and, with Yashin, found that its eggs were beginning to hatch under his skin.
‘My mom and I moved around a lot when I was younger. I didn’t like it at first because I had to meet and leave so many friends to start again, but now that I look back I see that it has made me such a more open, confident person in meeting new people and being in a band.’ he says of his travels. ‘I’ve lived in places like America and Singapore, and now I’m based on the Isle of Man, but spend time between there, Glasgow, and Stockholm, where my girlfriend lives. I’m constantly on tour! I feel at home on the road. If I’m in one place for two weeks I feel I need to move or do something.’

And he’s been scratching that itch by working on ‘We Created A Monster’, Yashin’s second album, due for release this summer.
‘We were really proud of the last album, but it never really got the push it deserved.’ explains Kevin. ‘We wanted to do this record justice for our fans. They’ve been so patient; our last album came out in 2010 so they’ve been waiting over two years for a new release. It’s a progression; when we set out to do this album, we decided there and then that it was going to be the heaviest but most commercial album we had ever written.’
‘The bits that were heavy on the old album are heavier now, and the bits that were poppy are poppier now.’ agrees the other frontman. ‘It’s more to the extreme in every direction. The first album was kind of safe, but this is us saying what we’re about, like it or not. It’s the album I wish I was able to write the first time around.’

Rock SoundNow when Kevin looks down from the high ceilings that he found himself staring in awe at as a youngster, he finds himself on the other side of the barrier, leading the audience as opposed to being a part of it, an experience he describes as ‘unbelievable.’
‘There are moments where I’ll look up at the roof and remember playing the Corner House pub on the Isle of Man.’ echoes Harry. ‘Surreal moments like that blow our minds.’
But this success is far from a stroke of luck. Yashin would need to have a horseshoe up their collective arse for this to be luck. This is the result of years of toil, devotion and passion.
‘Not to sound ungrateful, but we deserve it. We’ve worked so hard to get here, and now we’re gaining momentum.
‘People are starting to see what we have seen for a long time.’

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