-Interview- Yotuma (4/13/22)

Yotuma talks about their start with music, the current state of Death Metal and much more.


From: Wisconsin
Sounds like: Death Metal

1. How did you get started with music and how did you develop your sound? Who thought of the name "Yotuma" and is there any meaning behind it?

We all got started with music pretty young and always wanted to pursue being in a band from a young age. I (Ben Van) started taking violin lessons when I was about eight. I got good, but I never really connected with the music I was playing on a deep level. Gradually overtime I started playing a lot of Guitar Hero and started listening to heavier music. I started listening to bands like Guns 'N Roses and Ozzy Osbourne, which is ironic because I fucking hate Guns 'N Roses now. It all went downhill from there and now I'm in a death metal band. My music taste is pretty diverse, same as the rest of the members of the band. I think this really helps bring a new vibe to our group in a genre that can seem redundant at times. Ella (bassist) actually has a background in jazz and I think it really shows in the basslines she plays, same goes for our previous drummer (Silas). Ryan listens to a lot of power metal and early 2000's metalcore, and I think that's a big reason as to why he comes up with so many catchy vocal hooks. Now days, I'm listening to a lot of old school death metal, hardcore, sludge and progressive music and I tend to wear my influences on my sleeve sometimes. When you combine all these different backgrounds in music you get a weird concoction of groove based, melodic death metal that I'm very happy with.

I came up with the band name. As far as I know, it has no meaning. I just wanted something that rolled off the tongue nicely, was simple and not taken by anyone else.

2. What do you want people to take away from your music?

I can't say specifically what I want everyone to take from our music, because everyone interprets music differently and I'd like them all to experience it in their own way. I just hope they can get lost in the grooves and phat riffs for a little bit, ease the stress of a long day. As long as it makes them feel something, I'm happy.

3. How would you describe your sound to the average listener?

Melodic and abrasive. Progressive, yet visceral.

4. Who are three bands you’d like to tour with?

Gatecreeper, 200 Stab Wounds, and Creeping Death.

5. How has Covid affected what you do as a band?

We started as a band right at the beginning of the pandemic. So if nothing else, it's given us a lot of time to stay inside and practice. I'm honestly kind of glad we didn't have the opportunity to play gigs right away, because we are miles ahead of where we were when we started.

6. What’s your take on the current state of Death Metal?

I'm noticing a resurgence of a lot of bands with a more old school death metal approach. Just straight to the point, foot to the floor kind of style, not being overly complicated for no reason. And I have to say I love it. And then on the other side of the spectrum there are groups really pushing the boundaries but in an interesting way, taking influences outside of the death metal genre and integrating them into something fresh. I think the pool of amazing bands has grown exponentially in the last 10 years and continues to today. Overall I'm super stoked to see where the future of death metal is going to lead in the next decade.

7. What’s the current music scene like locally there in Wisconsin?

We're from Madison, and the scene has been growing a lot recently. A lot of bands from out of state have been visiting us and it's been really cool to see. People typically skip Madison and go for Chicago or Milwaukee, but we've really been trying to make Madison a hotspot for metal bands to come and play. There are some seriously kickass bands here like Casket Robbery, Toxic Ruin, Hex Tripper, Cast in Fire, Primal Enemy, etc. It's been really cool to work with these bands and see them grow.

8. What’s your take on the royalties that streaming services pay out to artists?

I think most royalty rates from streaming services are pretty pitiful to be honest. But people will always exploit the music industry in one way or the other. That's why I think it's very important to buy merch or go to shows for bands you love.

9. What’s next for Yotuma?

We are planning a tour with Double Speak this summer, many other one off shows and we'll also be heading to Northern Wisconsin Metal fest. It will be our first tour and festival so we're super excited. We are almost done with the writing process of our next EP and will hopefully have a release date in 2023. We're just trying to get on the road as much as possible this year now that venues are open.

10. Any shoutouts?

Shoutout to Adrenaline Armory, 301 Productions, Narrow Straight records and Double Speak. Y'all rule.