Kevin Cook

Interview with London-based duo YOVA

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London based duo YOVA (Jova Radevska & Mark Vernon) have announced that they will release a new single.‘Rain’, the follow up to their recent debut single ‘Moondog’, was originally recorded by the YOVA line up of Jova Radevska (vocal & lyrics) and Mark Vernon (music) together with Rob Ellis (drums, organ, backing vocals & keyboards), Ian Olliver (bass) and David Rhodes (guitars).  

‘Rain’ was co-produced with Martin McDougall and then mixed by Grammy-nominated Cameron Craig (Bjork, UNKLE, Annie Lennox and Joe Strummer). The initial single will be followed by a special mix from Erasure’s Vince Clarke that will be available from the 28th of February, both tracks will then be released as part of a four-track digital bundle on the 6th of March 2020.

See our exclusive interview with them below

 Highlights last year

Jova – Being played on BBC Radio 2 & releasing an amazing black & white video made out of paper prints, the way they used to do them in the old times

Mark – Release of our first single ‘Moondog’ and hearing it on radio for the first time  (Gideon Coe on 6 Music). Also the completion of the accompanying video …an amazing black and white film made from 880 stills directed by Cristian Barnett 

– Working and writing with an amazing team of musicians who’ve helped us out including Rob Ellis, Daniel O’Sullivan, Terry Edwards, David Rhodes, BJ Cole and Vince Clarke 

To those not familiar with you, how would you describe your sound?

Jova – Eclectic, something for everyone

Mark – Mysterious and distinctive vocals, coupled with emotionally charged lyrics that in turn both capture and stir the imagination. They comment on the worldly and other-worldly realpolitik of personal identity and self worth, and quietly illuminate a unique and brave narrative for all of us in these Songs For Uncertain Times.

Our music is emotionally charged with infinite sonic landscapes that shapeshift: Hi Vis soul struts, precipative drones, elegiac torch songs, jagged and primitive dance music, pastoral and liminal whispers….

Looking back, what were some of your earliest entries into music appreciation? And music production?

Jova- 7 years old, Tina turner, Queen, Abba

Mark – Radio: obsessively listening to the mighty John Peel for 20 years. TV: a distant smattering of Ready Steady Go, OGWT, and TOTP

Working with the Velvet Underground’s John Cale 

Producing PJ Harvey’s iconic debut single ‘Dress’. (Polly’s first group Rob Ellis and Ian Olliver are reunited on several YOVA tracks including our current single Rain)

Take us through your songwriting process. Are there any particular steps you take when putting music together?

Jova – It could be different every time, lyrics can flow as the music flows, lyrics are added to an already made musical piece. We can work on the instrumental first and later on the lyrics, or lyrics first then add them to a newly made instrumental.

Mark – 1. Improvising vocal lines with random tunings on various electric guitars: tenor, baritone and telecaster initially using a primitive beatbox at YOVA H.Q

2 consultation of Brian Eno’s Oblique Strategies for cryptic objectivity/ Budde box for drones

3 Deconstruction / reconstruction:  Honing down lyrics, defining the optimum key, locking in the song arrangements and cementing raw live demos. These we to and fro until we are ready to

4 Send to Rob Ellis for manipulation and sonic and rhythmic illumination followed by

5 Studio and Imput of Team YOVA

What is the most memorable response you have had to your music

Jova – Someone saying it saved their life, which is a very honoured comment to have received.

Mark – Janice Long saying our new song ‘Rain’ was “remarkable” on air the first time she played it on her show recently…very life affirming

If you could create your own radio show, what kind of music would you feature and why?

Jova – Various, filmic & acoustic mainly

Mark – Genre-free music from around the world interpolated in the way John Peel did – a BBC World Service Sonic Mash Up for independent cutting edge sound. 

Why? – to stretch the ears, open the mind, and not to categorise music to any predetermined formula. Keep it global. It would be called “Expect The Unexpected… !”

Name five artists who would appear on your radio show

Jova – Bjork, Emiliana Torrini, Patti Smith, Nick Cave, Sigur Ros

Mark – The Slits, Fontaine D.C, Fela Kuti, Sunn O))), and Hildegard Of Bingen ( the world’s first female composer from the 12th century )

Do you have any information regarding upcoming releases, projects, DJ mixes or collaborations in the pipeline that you would like to tell us about?

Jova – We are looking forward to having a Vince Clarke Remix (Erasure & ex – Depeche Mode) of our recent single ‘Rain’ coming out very soon

Mark – Vince Clarke doing an amazing remix to our new single ‘Rain’

– The making of an incredible and very moving animated video to one of our forthcoming songs An Innocent Man directed by Jess Cope of Owlhouse Films and based on Harper Lee’s iconic ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’. 

– Also working with several teams of female MA students from Goldsmiths College directing and producing films to tracks from our upcoming first album

– release of our debut album later in 2020

Famous Last Words

Jova – PEACE 🙂

Mark – To be continued…

Follow YOVA online 

Soundcloud | Facebook | Spotify | YouTube | Twitter

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