Interview with John Hassall
By Julia Grant
Photos by Michelle Dee
I'd rather listen to Beethoven, Bach or The Smiths.
Surely everyone's heard of The Libertines, but it seems like so far, only a
fortunate few have heard about Yeti. With their debut single
Never Lose Your Sense Of Wonder receiving very little radio airplay,
there are bound to be a lot of people left wondering who they are and what they sound like.
John Hassall may be better known as being the bass player in
one of the most influential bands of the past few years, The Libertines,
but now he's taking on the role of front man in his new band, Yeti.
So how does it feel to go from being bass player to the main man in the band?
It's not the easiest transition. It's a very difficult role. I didn't appreciate how difficult it can be to lead a band and I think I'd always take it for granted as a bass player. It's a lot more emotional to have that responsibility placed on your shoulders. I suppose it's proof to myself of what I'm capable of doing.
How long have Yeti been around?
About a year and a half, but every opportunity I got for song writing was in my spare
hours from The Libertines. It's taken a while for it to sink in that there'll be no more Libertines, which is hard to distance myself from, so now this is closure from that.
I formed loads of bands trying to get the right one. You need to make the band your own. It's not easy living up to your own expectations. We want to get respect for what we're doing.
What words would you use to describe your music to all those people out there who haven't heard it yet?
Melodic. Intense. A bit Beatles-ish.
Have Yeti taken their influences from the same types of bands as
The Libertines did?
There are very similar aspects. Being in the Libertines had an influence on my song writing, although, at the same time it's nothing like it. It's a new band and different people are bringing different influences to it, creating a sort of chemical reaction.
And what was the last record you bought?
The Dukes Of Stratosphere.
They were an XTC alter ego band. I liked how they were just going out and doing what they want. A lot of bands feel the need to be contemporary. They had that opportunity to do exactly what they wanted to do. I'm very conservative with music buying. I have to really love the album to want to fork out for it.
What new bands have you been listening to?
I'd rather listen to Beethoven, Bach or The Smiths. I have very particular music tastes.
Does that mean The Smiths are your favourite band then?
No, I'd just rather listen to them than any of the music around at the moment.
My favourite band is The Beatles. Everyone else just comes second to them.
I like things like Dylan, Floyd, Walker Brothers, Crowded House, XTC.
Are there any bands out there that you think deserve a lot more recognition than they're currently getting?
The 747's. They were touring with us.
We then left John to go and get a bite to eat, although not before he'd
given us a good run through of what had happened in Dr Who.
I can't believe we missed the last one!
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