Interview & Guest Mix: Melbourne band Big Yawn discuss their remix album and stop by for a guest mix

“I suppose the album being very sample and synth heavy lends itself to being reimagined – chop and screw until it’s something new”

In March 2020, electronic four-piece band Big Yawn released their mighty debut album No!. The release merged elements of krautrock, UK bass music and ambient jazz into a consumable package, which reflected a novel band that was here to stay.

A year later, and the Melbourne group have released a remix version of their album, which includes edits from Sleep D, Jay Glass Dubs, Maria Moles, Bullant and Raymond Scott Walker.

This new offering sits as a complementary counterpart to Big Yawn’s original release, with the remix version acting as the darker, more dynamic of the pairing. With a range of expansive production, broody drums, droning synths and a general industrial make-over, No! Remixes is a perfect example of a second round edit that simultaneously pays homage to the original work whilst exploring new sonic avenues and delivering a fresh package.

We caught up with the band to delve a little deeper. The band also recorded a captivating guest mix for The Noise Narrative, which can be listened to at the bottom of this article.

Big Yawn released debut album No! in March 2020

How are you doing guys? How has the past year been for you?

We’ve been well – feels good playing shows again. We’re busily finalizing a new 6 track release called Pressure Acts, to come out in a couple of months – so it’s exciting times. The past year, like for most humans on earth, has been a bit of a drag, especially due to the fact that No! came out just before the lockdowns. But it made us productive in other ways, creating and releasing the South Preston Garage tape and writing new material. So not all bad!

Your 2020 LP No! was extremely well-received, cited as a release that took the listener on an improvised, hazy journey through a soundscape infused with krautrock, bass and jazz music. What made you decide to put together a remixed version of it? Did the open-ended feel of the album lend itself to new interpretations?

I’ll be honest – we never really loved the idea of a remix record – it was something our mates Aless and Maryos at Research Records had in mind. We were like, “yeah that sounds cool”, but our hearts weren’t really in it until we heard the remixes come back. When they did we were like “fuck ok, this will be mad”. I suppose the album being very sample and synth heavy lends itself to being reimagined – chop and screw until it’s something new.

How did you go about curating the list of artists to remix your tracks? What stood out to you about the artistry of those on the release?

Bar Jay Glass Dubs, all of the remixers are friends of ours based in or around Melbourne. Being familiar with their work and creative process we knew that the tracks they chose would be in safe hands. Jay is the only remixer we don’t know personally – I think Maryos hit him up and he was keen – and he absolutely nailed it. All of the remixers have their own distinct style, which is why they were chosen and why this collection of remixes really stands up on its own.

No! Remixes sleeve

When you were making No!, did you always have in mind the idea of a remix version of the record, or was it something you realised after it was completed?

Absolutely not – we were just focused on producing the best record we could at the time and getting it out to people. The remix idea came long after the release.

With the coronavirus crisis hopefully winding down this year, do you think you have emerged as different artists than before the pandemic? If so, how?

Different? Probably not – but maybe slightly more productive and confident that we can make the best out of shit situations. But essentially we’re just the same old silly sausages wanting to make fun, energizing, interesting music we were pre-covid.

If you could bring four essential records with you on your travels this year, what would they be and why?

I can’t speak for everyone here but personally (Stef) it would need to be a bit of a mixed bag, so mayyyybe if it was 4 records something like;

1 – Larry Heard – Sceneries Not Songs, Vol 1 – Larry’s long format explorations would suit long ocean side drives, palm trees to my left, white sands to my right, sipping slowly on an iced tea with the gentle white noise of the waves crashing mixing perfectly with Larry’s arrangements 

2 – Shinichi Atobe – Heat – it’s inevitable that on this hypothetical holiday some precise packets will need to be acquired at some point, nothing better than having Atobe around to egg us on to keep going and maybe think about getting another

3 – Strapping Young Lad – City – just a few riffs and double kicks to get the vibe up when we’re getting a bit flaccid-o Domingo. Couple-a pinched harmonics fires up even the saddest soul – S! Y! L!

4 – Dj Python – Dulce Compañia – back to chill vibes, after a long hike through the ferns and dewy undergrowth on this tremendous tropical getaway, haphazardly emerge back at our rainforest shack, open a red stripe, light up a Marlboro light, kick my hiking boots off and let Python do the rest. Pure bliss 

What do we have to look forward to from Big Yawn in the coming months?

Having our new mini record, Pressure Acts, out will be a hoot – most likely around July. We’re having our pals at PHC Films create an accompanying film for the title track so we’re really looking forward to seeing how that comes out. Playing more live shows, hopefully festivals can go ahead and we get onto one or two. 

We’re in the process also of potentially relocating our studio to a new space which is very exciting being that some of us have been working in the current space for a decade or so in other musical configurations. That will be very re-energizing for our collective creative process. Overall it should be an exciting year!

Big Yawn dropped by The Noise Narrative for an hour’s guest mix

Listen to Big Yawn’s stunning guest mix here:

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