Though The Maccabees split just months ago, and more than earned a bit of a break following a huge summer touring final album ‘Marks To Prove It’ – guitarist Felix White is showing no sign of stopping anytime soon. He’s set up Yala! Records, a London based label/club night which has been working with new acts like Crows, Idles and now London group Happyness. As they ready their upcoming second album, they’ve provided us with an exclusive video of Felix performing with the group on new song ‘Tunnel Vision On Your Part’ and ‘Falling Down’ at his Yala! Sessions, and below they explain how the collaboration came about.
Felix White (The Maccabees)
Yala! has moved on at a pace since our inception roughly six months ago, off the back of The Maccabees calling it time on our 14 years together. Alongside our club nights and upcoming first releases, due early next year, we have started to put out Yala! live sessions with bands we consider some of the most exciting in the country at the moment. Our studio, christened ‘The Drugstore’ by Jesus and Mary Chain from their time there and also Maccabees HQ for the last five years, has seen Crows, Charlie Cunningham, Idles, Canadian heroes Wintersleep and most recently, Happyness come through.
Happyness played our night on the same Friday too, so we had something of a Yala! week residency with them. It’s been fascinating to see how quickly bands make the space their own. For example, Happyness brought multiple cans of Rio, accidentally tweeted, then deleted the details of their album release date and sounded wonderful immediately. Their music has an inner confidence and considered simplicity that I like a lot and I think this session captures something really great about them. The bass playing on ‘Tunnel Vision On Your Part’ probably leaves a lot to be desired though. Hugo [White, Maccabees guitarist] and Jag, responsible for the production and engineering on ‘Marks to Prove It’, recorded the session and Sam, drummer in the Maccabees, filmed and edited, so it’s all still really in-house with our band and not something we’d all do unless we really loved it. I’ve already heard their new record and it’s brilliant.
Benji Compston (Happyness):
Unbeknown to me, I used to live around the corner from ‘The Drugstore’, The Maccabees’ studio in South London formerly owned by The Jesus & Mary Chain, where both bands have recorded several albums. When we were asked by Felix White if we’d like to come down to the studio to record a session for his new project, Yala! Records, we were sold immediately.
We did the session last month, just after we’d got back from touring with Twin Peaks. Paul (Abderrahim, live guitarist) and I turned up quarter of an hour late because we’d been distracted by a huge Vietnamese cafe-supermarket down the road. It was engineered/filmed by Felix White, fellow Maccabees Hugo White & Sam Doyle and engineer, Jag [who are all sweethearts, by the way] and, having played a show the night before which turned out to be a complete disaster, we had a really great day down at The Drugstore.
We played ‘Falling Down’, the first track from our upcoming second album, and ‘Tunnel Vision On Your Part’, the title track from our latest EP which features an altruistic Felix on bass – he’s left-handed and had to play a right-handed bass upside down. The studio is full of incredible gear, gathered by the band over their 15-year career, and we spent the first hour or so just hanging out and pointing at things asking, “what does this do?”. ‘Falling Down’ had just been announced the day we recorded the session, so it was exciting to be hearing people’s initial reactions to the song online whilst recording it for the session – it’s definitely a way to get you psyched for a song knowing that people are listening to it for the first time.
The guys from Yala! Records couldn’t have been more hospitable and we’re very touched to have been asked by them to do this session – so, enjoy! [hopefully] – we did making it.
Happyness’ new album will be released in the Spring through Moshi Moshi Records