First of all, who is in Yellow6, and how did it form?
Yellow6 is just me – Jon Attwood. It started in about 1995 after the breakup of my last band. I wanted to play around with guitar textures and it developed from there. I have been assisted by Mark Simnett (Bark Psychosis – drums/bass) and Scott Sinfield (Portal – bass/guitar) at some gigs but am now totally solo.
Give us a brief rundown of the creation of a Yellow6 song, from writing to recording.
Writing and recording are part of the same process… I tend to start with an idea in my head which is usually a guitar part. I record that with a simple beat and play over the top of it, part improvised until I have something I think is complete. I tend to work quickly and usually have something completed in a day. I never have any idea when I start how it will sound when it’s finished.
Do you have any musical influences that inspire you as you write Yellow6 music?
I find most music to be influential in some way – either a positive or negative influence. I guess the positive ones (things I like) outweigh the negative… I listen to quite a diverse range of music and not what a lot of people expect. some of my recent listening has been: Belly, Kraftwerk, Steve Reich, Charles Atlas, Boom Bip, Micro:Mega, Motorhead, Stars of the Lid, Led Zeppelin, Miles Davis, Frank Sinatra, Beth Gibbons & Rustin Man, Residents, Devo, Morton Feldman, Talk Talk, Nick Cave… I guess the thing that moves me most about music is melody.
How in the world do you release so much music? (it seems like you’re releasing some new stuff every month!)
As I mentioned, I work quickly so usually have a lot of music finished – too much to release. I’ve been very lucky that people come to me with offers so I’m not sending out demos. The next album will be my 41st release! It surprises me more than anyone as I always thought people would lose interest in Yellow6 after a few releases.
Do you have a favorite Yellow6 album or track? Why is it your fave?
I go through phases of liking and hating my stuff – I tend to like the newer tracks better. I think some of my favourites would include “Mojave” (from Catherine Whiskey), “Orderfromnothing” (from Music for Pleasure), “Silhouette” (from New Found Land), “Decay:Repeat”… I guess there’s little I dislike but I tend to like the tracks where I can’t really remember how I created them so they always surprise me!
If you had your choice to collaborate with any artist, who would it be, and why?
Mark Beazley (Rothko) would be a ‘realistic’ choice as I know him ‘fantasy’ choices would include John Cale, Nick Cave, Spring Heel Jack, Beth Gibbons, Low… all chosen as they produce music that I love and could never approach.
Where do you get your inspiration to write the music that you do?
All over the place – a lot comes from just playing the guitar, others from hearing something and playing harmony parts to it, other from rhythmic ideas and also from visual sources (films, scenery etc.).
Do you have a label, or will you continue to be independent/freelance, and why?
I’m not tied/signed to a particular label and everything I’ve done has been as a one-off deal. At the moment, along with Portal/Epic45/Schengen/Avrocar and others, we are trying out releasing stuff on our own label (make mine music). I’ve never been offered a contract with a particular label or been short of someone to release the next album (I had offers for this album from 3 labels) so I don’t see any reason to change.
What is the ambient/dream/slow core scene like in the UK these days?
Quiet! For a while, there seemed to be a lot of bands doing that sort of music but it’s all very quiet these days. There are not many gigs, partly as the UK music scene isn’t really suited to that sort of music – if you are thought to be ‘avant garde’ enough then you can find a receptive audience but indie audiences aren’t very sympathetic to quieter music. I think most people in that area of music just don’t play live.
What has been the response to Yellow 6, both in the UK and across the Atlantic?
I’ve had a good response from both sides but I tend to get more people contacting me direct from the US/Canada and Europe as it’s more difficult to get the records. Distribution outside the UK has never been great for any of my releases so the people from overseas are making an effort to get the records. I’m always happy for people to get in contact and it means a lot to me to know that other people are enjoying what I do.
What is in the future for Yellow6?
The next album is out in march 2003 – Disappear Here and that will be followed by a short west coast US tour with Charles Atlas and Jessica Bailiff. We hope to get some recording in while I’m there as well. there are also more releases lined up including some collaborations with Bauri, Pascal Asselin (Below the Sea/Glider) and I should be involved in a film exhibition with Whiteye Film Tones and a stone sculpture project with Stonescapes. Aside from that, I’ll see what comes along.
Any other comments?
Thanks for your interest in what I do. I hope you continue to enjoy it!