Yes Sir Boss: a band once described as “reggae with teeth”, and the jewel of Chai Wallah’s already well encrusted crown. This permanent ska party currently takes the form of a rock six piece, and they were the first to be graced with a signing to Stone’d Records, the independent label of soul singer Joss Stone, with their debut album Desperation State. They’ve followed the record up with appearances on stage with their boss and label buddy, and live sessions for BBC Radio London and Rob Da Bank’s Radio One show.
Now approaching the final days of their latest UK tour, itself sitting on the tail of a forty-day festival onslaught, the band’s uniquely gifted vocals Matthew Sellors gives Drunken Werewolf’s Graham Ashton some titbits on the bands successful chemistry.
What do you consider to be Yes Sir Boss’ most defining feature?
I think there are many, but for arguments sake I would say Yes Sir Boss’ most defining feature must be the horns; they feature in every song we have ever written and I guess that’s what sets us apart from another indie band.
Being that you’re the first band to be signed to her label Stone’d Records, can you tell us a bit about the bands working relationship with Joss Stone and in what ways her boundless experience has imparted on you?
Joss is a real hippy at heart and has a family, co-exist kind of attitude to the project which is great because between Joss, us and our management we all share these similar ideals. The most important lesson we have taken from her is to be creative, play and write what we want.
There are definitely some noticeable influences in your music. Do you think there are any staples, either in the music itself or performances, which you wish was more prevalent in the industry today?
I think if you ignore some of the real crap then it’s already prevalent in the music industry. I hear older eras of music in so much of the music we listen to today. I think songwriters will forever be searching through the old classics for the tried and tested seeking inspiration and influence or samples to add to the creations. To name a few classic sounding charting bands/artists: Jake Bugg, Muse, Adele, Queens of the Stone Age, Hot Chip, Lana Del Ray.
As the band’s principle songwriter, what do you draw upon to create the vivid imagery within each piece?
Descriptive and emotive language I guess. All the songs on our debut album Desperation State are an opinion on a subject that we feel strong enough about to write about or they are autobiographical which makes it easy because you have instant passion for what you’re writing about.
Your single “Not Guilty” and its V for Vendetta styled, ‘paper-thin’ video suggest there is a level to your music that is politically charged. Where do you guys sit between the spectrum of a political anarchist band and one that doesn’t have a message per say?
Slap bang in middle! We are not doing this to force our personal socio-political opinions down people’s throats trying to insight rebellion and riot at all. We write about many different subjects, but we have an opinion and feel affected by the world like everyone and we need to sound off from time to time. When that time comes and combined with the right music to inspire, a war cry of song is born.
Do you have any details yet for your next music video?
It’s all top secret I’m afraid but I can confirm we won’t be paper thin!
What’s the longest time a single jam session with all the members of Yes Sir Boss lasted?
About three days.
What bands and/or artists have you supported or toured with that you feel compliment your sound quite nicely?
We’ve supported people like Reef, The Bees, The Black Seeds... They all compliment different elements of our sound –rock, indie and reggae. We’re doing a couple of dates in January in Holland with our friends Will and the People that I think will create a rocking night.
Being regular players for festivals and programmes organized by Chai Wallah, how do you feel their unique style of venue, service and brand contribute to the success of underground and alternative acts they ask to perform for them?
Chai Wallahs is like an un-official and underground BBC introducing stage for the festival scene and most definitely a great platform for its artists. They’re hugely loved and respected by their audience and have a reputation for showcasing a high quality roster of musicians in a professional environment.
Are there any plans for the band to tour the US or any other, more ‘exotic’ lands next year?
In February next year we have our album out in Europe and that will be followed by touring in Germany, France, Holland, Switzerland and Austria. That’s just for starters! Then maybe somewhere more exotic or further afield later in the year.
What has been the crowning achievement for the band up until now?
Playing to a sold out venue at Thekla in Bristol and having the front few rows of people sing nearly every song back at us with massively happy grins upon their faces. Mission accomplished… Awesome!