Sunday, 15 June 2008

YIFI's Weird Weekends

feature for the skinny

Writer’s block is a malaise that all lyricists, authors and journalists suffer periodically, with no known cause, no reliable prognosis, and no certain cure. “Write about what you know”, the clear-of-thought advise, but often that just results in musicians whining about the hazards of musicianing; if it’s not “boo hoo, too much drugs and too much sex”, it’s “whinge, cry - nobody listens to my profound decrees - waaaaahh!”

But after Y’All Is Fantasy Island’s Adam Stafford succumbed to the mind-numb last year, he didn’t recover by writing about what he knew: he made a breakthrough writing stories about murder victims being cooked for dinner, stalkers threatening suicide, and dyslexic skiers with Body Integrity Identity Disorder. Well, we assume they’re just stories, aren’t they Adam?

“Yes!” he laughs, to our mighty relief. “The main difference between Rescue Weekend and the first album [In Faceless Towns Forever] is that the first was lyrically quite personal, it was all stuff that I had experienced, but with this I wanted to write in a more narrative style, so the songs are not necessarily about my life at all.” Rescue Weekend is not entirely flights of fancy - “I can identify with the dyslexic skier because I used to be one myself!” says Adam – and there is, inevitably, one song in which he complains about the struggle for recognition. With these two excellent albums under his belt, he's well entitled to vent such frustrations, because YIFI are undoubtedly fully deserving of your attention. "Some promoters - music fans as well - are really set in their ways. There's a lot of people who only listen to certain bands." But the conversation doesn't dwell on this, because there are plenty of positives to talk about instead: like how gorgeous Rescue Weekend is; how Adam's new found storytelling abilities mean he'll never have to go over old ground again; and how a third YIFI album is but months away. Firstly, where on earth did this Body Integrity Dyslexia tune come from?

"There was a programme on about a surgeon here in Falkirk who was the only person in the world that would operate on people suffering from Body Integrity Disorder", he says, explaining that this is a problem where people desperately wanted their perfectly healthy limbs amputated.

"There was a lot of controversy surrounding that because people thought it was unethical to treat them, but patients came from all over the world to be operated on. Then our guitarist Tommy told us a story about a dyslexic skier who got into an accident because he couldn't read a sign that indicated he was approaching a cliff," and Adam combined both stories to invent one helluva unlucky girl, who sadly won't be making a reappearance on the next YIFI album, No Ceremony, due out in October.

"We don't want to repeat ourselves, we want every album to be different, and this is night and day compared to Rescue Weekend. We're mixing it now, but it's taking a long time because there's a lot of production on it - there's 12 guitar parts on one song. It's a lot heavier, it borders on punk rock." Rescue Weekend, he explains, is essentially a solo album (with key contributions from multi-instrumentalist Steven Tosh), while No Ceremony is a full band effort, hence the quiet doleful record being succeeded by a louder, probably still doleful one.

In whichever formation Adam and Y'All Is Fantasy Island decide to arrange themselves, their first two albums are evidence enough that there's plenty more to come from Adam's active imagination - providing, of course, it can resist the dreaded curse of The Block.

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