Welcome to “Six Questions With…,” a series of interviews with emerging artists, musicians, and bands focusing on the music scene and how they live within it. It started as a quick, fun project, but has quickly gained serious interest, so we’re making this a permanent feature on the site. Over time, the questions may change, but the sentiment will stay intact. This is a way for independent artists to be discovered by new fans on a global scale.
Within in each post, you will find all of their social media links, and also either a link to their music, or the ability to stream at least one of their tracks or videos, depending on the availability.
We hope you enjoy this series, and if you know anyone that might be interested in being part of it, please have them reach out to us for more information.
Next in the hot seat is Kansas City-based indie alt-electro-pop band Yes You Are. We have had the pleasure of covering the Yes You Are in the past, so we are excited for this feature! If you’re not familiar with Yes You Are, sit back and enjoy! This is what is great about this series – the discovery of new music.
For those who may not be familiar, please tell us about your music: the type of music you play, where you are from, and how you got started?
Kianna: Jared and I comprise the nucleus of Yes You Are. Like any two parts of a whole, we’ve been drawn to each other our entire lives, though we never knew it. In 2010, after my former band Tilly and the Wall went on hiatus, I moved to Kansas City and began searching for the perfect writing partner to collaborate with on a new project. I started three different bands and even traveled to Sweden to collaborate with someone before finally meeting Jared, who was right here in my proverbial backyard. Jared and I had a mutual friend on Facebook and we’d made our first connection on an thread of comments about some weird theory about Jesus being an alien or something like that. He started messaging me because he thought I might understand some far out experiences he had recently had, he was not wrong. We bonded over that and talked a lot. Soon, we realized we were both musicians struggling to find the right collaborator. Odd right? We immediately started trading lyrics and song ideas. By the time we met in person, we already had two songs written together that we felt were super special.. at that point there was no denying we’d found our perfect partners for our ultimate dream project.
We quickly wrote about 20 songs and chose 10 to make demos for. Then we had to put a band together. Jared’s good friend Jacob had been helping with mixing our demos and as he is also an amazing piano, keyboard and guitar player; he was our first recruit. Then their mutual friend Joseph was our first choice for a drummer and although he turned down the gig at first, he later came around and we were very happy to have him. The last piece was finding our bass player, we had zero ideas. Then one evening, after having brainstormed ways to find the right person, we went to a sushi restaurant for happy hour and Jared immediately felt like he knew the kid who was filling the water glasses at our table. We talked to him for a while and though it didn’t seem to be possible that they’d ever met, the feeling never left Jared. Then on a whim I asked him what he did besides bus tables. He said he was a musician. I looked around the table at everyone, knowingly, and they all caught my drift. I then asked him “What do you play?” He said bass guitar. We all just nodded and he went on to the next table to do his job. We left him a note that said “We want you to play in our band.” and it had my name and phone number. He called about an hour later, came to rehearsal with us the next day and has been our bass player from that moment on. He could have been awful but no, he is a classically trained bass player who is not only talented and a kind person but a total blast to watch onstage. Destiny moments.
As an artist, how do you define success?
Kianna: To me, success as an artist starts with aiming higher than seems possible. I believe there is great purpose in art, and that it has to do with the human heart and a spirit that binds us all together, beyond time. I believe that true art comes from getting out of the way and allowing that spirit to come through you. If you can do that, then you’ve successfully made art. But to me, to become a successful artist, it does entail the inclusion of others experiencing your work. Thats how the spirit continues to inspire others.. maybe to become artists themselves. So the more people you can reach and possibly inspire, the better. So in my reality, success for me as an artist will be when we are household names. Whether that’s in our lifetime or not.
What do you find to be your greatest struggle when it comes to the music business?
So far we’ve learned that the greatest struggle in the music business lies in the fact that no one is going to help you until you’ve helped yourself get as far as you possibly can. This was a big lesson for us to learn and has built up our character in ways we never would have built otherwise. Knowing people in the industry, making connections and networking is important, but none of that even matters if you don’t have good material or a strong work ethic. So the struggle is a good one, one that gets you out of bed everyday and say to yourself “What can I do today to be a better writer, singer and performer? What can I do today to enhance our presence?” There is always work to be done. They say the struggle is real, and it is, but it doesn’t have to be miserable.. its an acceptance that life equals hard work and hard work equals a good life.
If you could only play ONE of your songs for the rest of your career, which one would it be?
Jared – at this point, probably HGX. Lyrically it lays out who we are, who we’re singing to and why we’re here and it’s got that riff that gets inside of people. If I HAD to i guess I would sacrifice all my other children and keep HGX alive.
Who do you consider your greatest influences?
Jared: Bob Dylan is far and away our greatest influence. When we started out, the goal was to find out why Bob Dylan has that look in his eye. We wanted to find out where he’d been and what he’d seen. We pretty much hang on every word he says, writes or sings. Alan Moore is also a pretty big influence. All the themes that we concern ourselves with can be seen coming through his work.
Outside of music, what do you like to do that you feel contributes to the creativity that you tap into for your music?
Read a lot of books, lots of literature, the classics, poetry – fill our brains with inspired prose and verse. We also both do a lot of yoga and feel that the profound clarity meditation brings is essential for channeling inspiration.