Interview: Yours Truly

Yours Truly

A couple of days ago, I was able to catch up with the lead vocalist of alternative rock band, Yours Truly, to discuss everything that went into the writing of their upcoming EP. Mikaila and I also chatted about her and the band’s core influences, their touring plans, as well as the message the band hopes will resonate with their fans both new and old.

Thank you so much for your time today, Mikaila. Let’s talk about your great new single called “Lights On.” First of all, what went into both the writing and recording of this new single?

The writing and recording of it was kind of during lockdown, during the pandemic. A lot of new music, like this song, really stemmed from this feeling of not really knowing where I belonged. Because I wasn’t with my band, and it wasn’t touring, and I wasn’t playing music. So, I think it was, it’s a bit of a self-reflection track of like, “Who am I without this band?” kind of thing. Yeah, so I wrote about that. And then Lucky and I had gotten together when Australia was kind of in and out in that lockdown and we were very inspired by really wanting to write a song that kind of sounds like Miley Cyrus, and stuff like that. That’s kind of the inspiration for that. Stuff like Miley Cyrus and Bloc Party, we wanted to try to find something that kind of sounds like a mix of those two things. So it was a really fun song to write. I really enjoyed writing this one and there’s a lot of changes with this side of the chorus changed a couple of times, but I’m really happy with how it ended up.

Cool! Were there any other inspirations besides Miley Cyrus and Bloc Party that kind of went into the collection of songs that’s gonna be on your upcoming EP?

We were really inspired by Burglarized as well. I’m trying to think…it was bands like Flyleaf and Evanescence. So yeah, there’s a whole bunch of different genres and different kinds of alternative bands and stuff. Yeah, it’s very close to Bloc Party.

Awesome! Yeah, I’m a big fan of theirs too. The “Lights On” music video was really cool to watch, and I got an early preview of that. What was the process of filming that one like?

We were actually in the UK, and we had just wrapped up a tour with Holy Absence. And Australia was still kind of in lockdown. And we were like, “Let’s film a video here because we can,” so we actually filmed everything down in Brighton. So all of the other scenes that you see there, like us running around Brighton, it was really, really freezing. But yeah, it was really cool. We had sets built for it, which was the first time we did anything like that. And yeah, it was just we wanted to make something like a movie. That was the main point of this video. We wanted it to be kind of like this murder mystery that you have to kind of guess what happened yourself. So you never really get to see what happened or who did what, but it’s kind of like a “create your own” story.

Okay, do you find that the future material navigates down that pathway of storytelling throughout the visuals and things within your music?

I would love to. I enjoyed doing it this time around. I think that this EP is a lot more storytelling, whereas our past album, Self Care, had a lot more of this is straight from my diary. This is how I feel. Whereas with this EP that we’ve done, I feel like the songs set more of a tone, and we’re able to tell stories through them. And I think that we’ve learned, just through doing music videos in the past, and now that we’re at a point where we say, “Let’s do something other than just like a performance video, and let’s give it some kind of meaning. Let’s give it some kind of story and keep people entertained.”

Nice! So I understand that your band is going to be releasing a new EP this summer. Who produced the new record, and how would you describe the direction that your band took?

Stevie Knight produced it. He also produced Afterglow and Self Care, so we’ve worked with him so much. He’s kind of like a fifth member of our band at this point. In terms of style, I would say that it’s the darkest stuff we’ve ever done. It’s definitely got some darker songs on there. It’s heavy. It’s got some of the heavier songs we’ve ever done. But then on the other side, it’s got some of the most popular songs we’ve ever done. We’re not really pigeon-holing ourselves with this EP. We didn’t go into recording it or writing it to sound like something in particular. It was a very stress free project of just writing some songs. It [the new EP] was always meant to be like a companion piece of Self Care, and it just turned into something that was not Self Care at all. So we just kind of felt like it didn’t deserve to be packaged as Self Care B-sides. So we took that extra step and experimented with different sounds and experimented with electronic sounds and some heavier things, like heavier guitars. We even have features on this record, which we’ve only really ever done one before. So yeah, it’s just us kind of trying things, which I think is the big difference.

That’s awesome! Every band really has a story to tell with their music. What do you hope fans, both new and old, will take away from listening to not only the new record, but also your music in general?

That self-reflection is never ending. I don’t think you ever fully figured out who you are 100%. I feel like we’re changing every single day, and that’s okay. I think with every single record we’ve ever done, I think I’m a different person. Not completely, but there are things that I’ve gone through that have changed the way that I look at things, and I think to constantly be changing is a really positive thing. Because staying the same, I guess, it just shows that you’re not growing. So I think that self-reflection at most times isn’t glamorous, isn’t fun, and that everyone does it. And I hope it’s a reminder that sometimes going through something tough, puts you out better in the end. And that everyone goes through it. You’re not alone.

That’s a great message to share with everyone. Have you been able to tour much recently? And also, how would you describe your live performances when you get a chance to perform?

We’ve been really, really lucky. We did a tour in the UK at the end of last year, and we just, unfortunately, had to pull off a tour that we were just on a couple of weeks ago, with Against the Current. And we got struck by COVID. So we had it here, and we were gonna go to Europe for the first time. So, we did the whole UK leg, we played our first show in Belgium, and then yeah, someone tested positive for COVID. So it was just the thing of like, I was aware that the world is very much over COVID and wants to move on, but we just didn’t really feel like it was a responsible thing to be around other people or meeting people in Europe for the first time and making them sick. So it was just a thing of saying, “Okay, it’s time to stop.” But we are in the UK still, and we have Slam Dunk coming up, and we’ve got a couple of headlining shows here. So we’re ready for that again, ready to get back into it. But in terms of live shows, the songs that we’re putting out are the most exciting songs for me live. There’s so much life in them, and they’re so much fun to perform. And I feel like it’s like we play these new songs, it’s like a whole new Yours Truly. We’re excited that these songs are coming out, and we want to play them and have the most fun songs to play.

That’s great to hear your enthusiasm for the new material! What are three to five albums that have been key to both your growth as both a musician and a person over time?

I would say Fallen by Evanescence is one of my favorite albums. I used to sing that album from beginning to end as a kid.

Is there something that struck you recently that’s been out in either pop or rock music that you’ve kind of really felt that they were transcending the game, so to speak?

Yeah, the new Halsey album, I think is brilliant. Yeah, I think that it’s interesting because she’s a pop artist, and then she worked with Nine Inch Nails. She’s kind of taken pop in a direction that we haven’t seen on radio and mainstream media for a really long time. I think the fact that she has a song that Dave Grohl plays drums on, I think is absolutely epic. Yeah, she’s just like, I can do all these things with all these big people in rock and bring it into the world.

Awesome. So you mentioned the EP has a couple of features on it. Is there a certain collaborator that would be on your dream list to collaborate with on a feature release?

I’m always really wanting to work with Lizzy Hale from Halestorm. I just think she’s like the most brilliant singer ever. I would love to work with her one day.

Any last remarks for the fans, or a quick pitch about why they should check out the EP, or see Yours Truly on tour?

Yeah, we’re announcing an EP in a couple of days. We’re touring a lot this year, and we’re doing quite a few things in the UK. We’re also doing a headlining tour in Australia at the end of the year, and hopefully we get to the US really soon. I’m absolutely dying to get back. I haven’t been there since 2019. So yeah, I hope people really like the EP!

It was great to connect with you, and it was so nice to meet you. I hope you and your bandmates stay safe.

You too! Thanks for your time.