Clash Magazine

Next Wave: Yak


“We’ve recorded lots but we’re just holding it back,” begins Oli Burslem, frontman of London’s Yak, an exciting trio of upstarts that are still shrouded in mystery surrounding their early days, speaking to Clash while putting some last minute touches to the band’s debut single ‘Hungry Heart’, out now via Fat Possum.

At the time of our conversation there’s no readily available material from the band but they’ve been gaining a grand welcome on the capital’s vigorous live circuit. “I suppose it’s still early days… we’ll get some bits in towards the end of the year,” he professes. “There’s only three of us [Oli, Andy Jones, Elliot Rawson] but [the single is] quite noisy and we just wanted to do something that was to the point. It’s aggressive. I’m hoping it’s going to knock everybody’s socks off.”

“It’s weird how it’s all come about,” he elaborates on the single. “A friend of mine called Levi builds amps from scratch and we used to go round his flat and it’s just full of old analogue gear. He had an old radio transistor and then one day I went over and he’d made me an amp, from scratch. There’s an answerphone message that he left me when it was finished and that features on the start of the single.”

Having played a handful of enticing shows thus far, the live setting is the best outlet to catch Yak. “The whole band just came around by just wanting to play, really – we had no aspirations to do anything with it,” Oli explains. “It’s a weird thing playing a gig, because you go from spending time in bedrooms recording and having three or four musicians equally as deluded as yourself, and then you go on to the live show with backing tracks and laptops, and the same tempo every night. Which sort of sucks the life out of why we enjoy playing live. So we don’t play with a setlist and there’s lots of improvising, a lot of noise. I think it’s better for us to put ourselves upon the audience. All four of them,” he jokes, “or perhaps even 20 of them.”

Words: Jonathan Hatchman

WHERE: London via the Midlands.
WHAT: Noisy, to-the-point, post-punk.
GET 3 SONGS: ‘Hungry Heart’, ‘Plastic People’, ‘Something On Your Mind (Karen Dalton Cover)’.
FACT: Although originally a Midlands band, one of Yak’s members grew up on a farm in Tonga.

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The original article can be found online at and in Clash Magazine #100.

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