Riff Q&A: Yoav

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.


mojo-photo-yoav.jpgOne of the more intriguing artists on this weekend’s Coachella festival lineup, Yoav is Israeli-born, South Africa-raised, and now London-based. His complicated background might remind you of the Argentinian-Swedish José González, and they also share a focus on the acoustic guitar (as well as diverse musical influences). But while González turns bleak tracks like Massive Attack’s “Teardrop” into plaintive ballads, Yoav incorporates effects and treatments into his guitar work to create original music that somehow straddles the line between folk and minimal electronica, with an accessible pop straightforwardness. His debut album, Charmed & Strange, features sounds that you wouldn’t expect to hear come out of a guitar: staccato blips, hip-hop thuds, and, on a haunting cover of The Pixies’ “Where is My Mind,” eerie whines and soft echoing tones. The Riff caught up with Yoav between gigs and tossed a couple quick questions his way.

Lots of musicians seem interested in self-denial these days: The White Stripes, with their wardrobe restrictions and quick recording times, or José González, with his campfire versions of electronic songs. Whatever happened to good old rock star self-indulgence and a warehouse full of instruments?

With technology and the internet and the mass of music out there expanding and exploding boundaries and possibilities, it’s your limitations that define you and set you apart from everybody else.

Despite the fact that you’re creating most of this music using only an acoustic guitar, it seems to have more in common with the minimal techno of, say, Kompakt records. Where would you feel more comfortable, a German rave, or an American folk-rock festival?

I think both would be OK, though I would probably play slightly different sets. My last two opening slots were for Underworld and Tori Amos—two rather different audiences. I was a bit concerned that as a solo guitarist walking on stage barefoot, I might get pelted with something before I even got to play a note, but actually both shows went down a storm.

You’re performing at some intimate clubs on the West Coast in the next few weeks as well as the Coachella festival. How should we act at your shows, do we need to be quiet, like at a Low concert, or can we dance and whistle and stuff?

Well,since you’re asking, ideally hushed during and raucous after, unless it’s a dancey number and then ecstatic dancing would be very pleasing. The shows where I have got the whole crowd moving are the most fun.

I tried looking up Yoav on Wikipedia and it brought me instead to Joab, biblical warrior, slayer of Abner, Uriah and Amasa. He sounds totally scary. Do you, too, come not to bring peace but with a sword?

Well, you know what they say about the pen being mightier than the sword… I wouldn’t mind rustling up a little bit of chaos with my words and tunes, but all in the name of peace I suppose.

Upcoming Yoav Tour Dates:

4/25 Apple Store, Santa Monica
4/26 Coachella Gobi Stage
4/29 Apple Store, San Francisco
4/29 Red Devil Lounge, SF
5/1 The High Dive, Seattle

For tunes check out the Yoav MySpace and his official website.

REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

payment methods

REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate