“When you have complete control during the construction of a song and your thoughts get re-affirmed through it, it is a really cool feeling”, explains songwriter Samuel Jones about his new musical venture, Mr Yolk. After previously putting out music as part of Velvet Morning and Rocket Ship TV, Jones decided that his next project was to look inward, avoiding the headaches that can arise from a group creative process.
The album – Self Portrait – is aptly named. The album feels as personal a work as Jones has ever put out. Focusing on dealing with the complexities of being human and the plethora of moods that come with that, Jones explains: “I prefer to be alone. It’s a personal thing for me ya know? My own sense of humour, views, and in some cases vulnerability is being exposed”.
Self Portrait is strikingly incisive, with Jones dealing out eleven tracks of pop gorgeousness that treads along the line of hazy garage psych in the same manner as Tim Presley’s White Fence project. “When I started recording, I made the conscious decision to use fewer effects than I have done in other bands prior to this one, ” Jones elaborates. “I wanted to make something that was a bit more concise in its rhythm and hiding behind less of those effects”.
I emailed Jones to ask him about how this album came to be:
NFC: You’ve previously written music as a part of two bands. What brought about the need to write by yourself under the name Mr Yolk?
SJ: A misunderstanding of the name of our last band. We called ourselves after a Lee Hazelwood song and in 2013 I didn’t even know what that song was called. That and the fact I have a completely different band and new songs I felt it was right.
Is there a meaning behind the moniker Mr Yolk?
I had a dream that I was looking in the mirror and in my reflection was a fried egg. I woke up laughing and though it was completely stupid. I think it is descriptive of my humour and a positive representation of myself. I also just tend to laugh when I see it on gig posters.
You only released ‘Better Days’ with Rocket Ship TV earlier in the year – how did the process for this album compare?
Well I recorded that album in my garden with my engineer at the time so I guess the difference would be the recording studio. It was lovely as it was in the summer. Very different vibes to endless winter train journeys to Peckham
‘Green Valentine Blues’ is a track that stands out to me on the record. I feel like your vocals on the track are much more immediate here. Have you played around with this spoken word-esque style of delivery a lot?
Yeah. In a previous project of mine, Velvet Morning I use spoken word on a few tracks. I think spoken word is powerful. It’s amazing how much you realise you are hiding behind things sometimes when you do poems. I am also a huge Ginsberg fan and it is almost a nod to him. I normally do my own words.
I’ve read that you’re also a visual artist – have you thought about combining the two mediums for a project? E.g. with a visualiser?
Yes a think about it all the time. I am swamped with work at the moment but I intend for ‘Mr. Yolk’ to become my own multi creative project. I think I would be a fool not to.