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Memoir: chaotic, emoviolent screamo act YUSUKE (track by track commentary)

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The now defunct screamo band YUSUKE were one of those bands that expertly balanced dynamics for an engaging, varied and mature experience, rather than just pummeling us with unceasing chaos and screeching vocals. And it’s not that they weren’t able to deliver a jaw dropping, twisted, chaotic blend of screeching vocals, broken drums rhythms and emotional bursts anger and dedication. Their final EP was released on June 21st, 2016 via by Friendly Otter Records and Zegema Beach Records, and now it’s available on cassette tapes, thanks to new NY screamo label Larry Records! We have teamed up with its founder Eric (also of PEOPLE’S TEMPLE PROJECT) and YUSUKE themselves to pay homage to this amazing release and give it a proper track by track commentary!

Tracks from YUSUKE  EP were intended for a split with TENTACLES (TX). The band’s line up was: Guitar – Tyler Berchtold, Vocals – Tony Smith; Drums – Ryan Hill; Bass, Piano – Matt Smith. Guest speaking by Thomas Lamothe, Gena Lamothe, and Shelley Smith. Artwork by Micah/Schwarzer.rand. All tracks were recorded by Matt Smith in Peoria, IL. Mixing and mastering done by Hank Haus Recordings.

Larry Jablon from Larry Records commented:

My interest with the band Yusuke started off in 2013. At the time I was really getting into underground screamo and spent a lot of time looking through various labels bandcamps. The label Friendly Otter was one of my favorites and helped put out all the Yusuke releases. When I heard this band I was blown away by their sound. The raw recordings, the screeching vocals, the incredible guitar riffs and insane drums really pulled me in. When I heard their last release I feel like they truly hit their final form, the interlude tracks coupled with the amazing songs they wrote really spoke to me. A release like this is the primary reason I started Larry Records. Many amazing bands from this time period put out killer music but they broke apart and therefore did not make any physical release.

Continued below…


The band recalls:

Releasing this album was a cathartic experience for us. We were in a transitional stage in life at the time we wrote and recorded everything, and the mix of feeling both uncertain and stationary was a big influence on the overall feel of the music. We didn’t record until probably 6 months after we wrote most of the songs, and it wasn’t released for another year or so after that. Our lives were so different by the time it came out that even listening to it felt like a weird connection to a world we didn’t live in anymore. Playing our last show in 2016 alongside the release of this EP felt like finally letting everything go and cutting the the last remaining tie we had to this chapter in our lives.

This was the first album where everyone’s ideas were equally involved. Nothing was really written as a big group, but rather each person had their own ideas that would add on until we had something that worked. Prior to our last release, the interludes were mostly guitar-based and were driven by Tyler’s history in post rock bands. The Lori split was the first collaborative one, with Matt adding vibraphone and recruiting a friend to play violin over the top of the guitars. This release followed suit, with both the interlude and end track consisting of several completely separate ideas from each member, which we ended up combining together in the end.

This is the best release we ever put out, and really feels like the final evolution of Yusuke and really incorporated the different interests everyone had by the time it came out. Ryan started focusing on electronic music under the surnames Chimess and Kagami Smile, Matt was focused on his recording efforts under the Hank Haus Recordings name, and Tyler and Tony had stylistically moved on to a techier screamo band called Kelut (which also had Ryan on vocals).

Continued below…

YUSUKe cover

Solace In These Hands

This is the most collaborative song in this style on the EP. We all wrote the first half of it during practices over a year before recording, meaning we had to re-learn it from the scraps we remembered. We actually debated not even playing it at our last show because none of us could remember how it went without going back and listening to it.

Stomp The Ones Who Define You

This song is a direct response to the Change.org petition to get us to play more sweeps. The bass part also contains sweeps. I like the middle part the best because it sounds like it could be a Controller-era Misery Signals song.

Interlude I – Anxiety

I originally had the idea for this one as a recording experiment, and the overall sound and meaning didn’t come until later. I had a bass riff in mind, and I just hit record and told Ryan to jam out on drums along to it until it felt like we had a long enough take. I added the piano later. The voices are myself, my mom, and two friends. The short story was written by a friend heavily struggling with depression, and I had originally reached out for writing help to try and include him and give him something productive to do and feel good about. I wanted the song to replicate the feeling of lying awake at night with rushed, anxious, and unending thoughts keeping you from being able to sleep. This was a very common experience for me at the time.

YUSUKE by Céline Antoinette Photography
YUSUKE by Céline Antoinette Photography

A Devastating Sign Of The Times

This is my favorite track and is probably the most “Yusuke” song on the whole album. This was written entirely by Tyler and Ryan, and Matt had never even heard the song prior to this.

Interlude II – Rest

This started as two separate components — one was an electronic, ambient track created by Ryan akin to his personal projects, and the other was a repeating riff played by Tyler. We decided to try putting one over the other while recording and liked the result enough to keep it. The title came because the simplistic, relaxing nature of it is so contrary to the last interlude that it worked to represent the feeling of finally calming down after an anxiety episode.

YUSUKE by Tyler Jones
YUSUKE by Tyler Jones

YUSUKE live at Total Drama Island, Bloomington, IL, April 30th, 2014:

Karol Kamiński

DIY rock music enthusiast and web-zine publisher from Warsaw, Poland. Supporting DIY ethics, local artists and promoting hardcore punk, rock, post rock and alternative music of all kinds via IDIOTEQ online channels.
Contact via [email protected]

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