Listening to the new album Live at the Blue Room, I was hit with a couple of distinct impressions. All I Feel Is Yes has a variety of complementary musical influences – I was loving the keys and melodic instrumental vintage sound of the 60’s and 70’s psych rock bands, but there is also something more in the way of modern layering and complexity. The keyboard work on this particular set of recordings is outstanding, and immediately drew my focus. Thankfully, when I reached out to the band, keys player extraordinaire Alison Dennis was the member who answered me! In this Q&A interview, you’ll get an insight into the band’s musical influences, and their motivation to create and release this collection of live recordings.
The band is very busy preparing to release the live album this June 10, while simultaneously working on recording a studio album. Members Jacob Anderson (Bass), Mike Chastain (Drums), Alison Dennis (Keyboards/Vocals), Alex Deussen (Violin/Percussion/Vocals) and Jason Ferris (Guitar/ Vocals) aim to inspire and engage the imagination by creating a lush aural experience with a carefully crafted combination of all their instruments. All I Feel Is Yes’s music explores ecstatic, humorous and melancholy themes and will likely appeal to fans of Grandaddy, The Flaming Lips, and early Pink Floyd. The band enjoys experimenting with sound, and letting the music guide them – they embrace the idea of improvisation, and love the passion and energy of a live performance.
Kelly: Who would you say are your older musical influences – I hear some 60’s psych rock coming through…
Alison: I have baby boomer parents, so I grew up listening to the usual suspects: The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Jefferson Airplane, and Pink Floyd as well as stuff like Pamela Polland/Gentle Soul, It’s a Beautiful Day and Moby Grape. As I got older, I became interested in more proggy and/or kraut-y stuff like King Crimson and Amon Duul II. I think a lot of my “psychedelic” tendencies were also heavily influenced by neo-psychedelic music of the 90s and early aughts like Elephant 6 groups and bands such as The Flaming Lips, Grandaddy and The Super Furry Animals that fused more modern synth music with psych rock to create really lush sounds.
I know Jason is a big Parliament Funkadelic and Neil Young fan, which is a huge part of our sound. We’re not afraid of being a jam band. I don’t think we’re concerned with being an authentic throwback 60s band and we all have a lot of influences beyond psych, but we all have a deep appreciation for the grandiose arrangements, spacey sounds and intense emotiveness of psychedelic music, which is reflected in our songs and performances.
Kelly: Your keyboard work is insane (in a very good way)! What are you using as your instrument?
Kelly: Why would you choose to record live rather than have the tight control of recording in a studio?
Alison: I think we’re strongest energy-wise when we are playing live (and also improvising),although the first set of recordings that became part of this album weren’t initially intended for a release. Our drummer, Mike Chastain, has a small, portable stereo recorder and we figured we’d record one of our shows for posterity and to get a better sense of our live sound, what we liked and what we’d maybe like to change/try differently. When we listened back we enjoyed the tracks and figured we should release some of them. We decided to record at another show so we could choose our favorites from a larger pool of live recordings.
We release a lot of “live” recordings of us rehearsing and jamming in our practice space. I think it captures the energy and real-time collaboration that happens when we play together incredibly well. We have everything routed into a DAW so we can easily record all our practices and we usually choose a few tracks to upload to our tumblr for streaming: aifiy.tumblr.com. Mike also sends out an email newsletter periodically with a couple of our favorite recent mp3s attached for fans.
Live at The Blue Room was a good way to capture the feel of a live show with an audience, which is always different and, I think, often a bit more kinetic than just playing by ourselves. It also serves as as a convenient excuse to have a more “official” release. We also have a “studio” album in the works (using our practice space recording set-up) involving a lot of tinkering and overdubs, and I think releasing both a live album and a studio album, both created on our own terms, allows us to showcase our various abilities and sensibilities as a band in very different ways.
You can catch All I Feel Is Yes live at the actual Blue Room (8145 SE 82nd Ave) ,where the album was recorded, Friday June 10. The show begins at 9PM, and is free – fantastic opportunity to experience the band live, and take the joy of your experience home with the new record! They’ll be playing with Ross Beach and Dr. Something. Come check out this unique local band! You can also find their music on Tumblr, Soundcloud and ReverbNation like them on Facebook, and follow the band on Twitter.