Two years ago I did an interview with Zach Yudin of Oregon Bike Trails. Now he’s changed his band name, written a whole slew of amazing new songs and released them on the album Bigfoot, out now on Secretly Canadian. I was excited to check in with Zach to see how the past two years have changed him and what the future holds for his band.
Zach Yudin of Cayucas :: the YANP Interview
YANP: As a longtime fan, I’ll start at the most obvious spot: your band name changed since we first heard you as Oregon Bike Trails. What made you pick Cayucas when you decided to rename yourself?
Zach Yudin (Cayucas): I wasn’t planning on changing it, a couple people had suggested that OBT wasn’t really the best band name. It was a name that I had come up with before recording any music, so it felt a little disjointed. The record label suggested Cayucas, which was a song title at the time. I thought about it and liked it.
When you were initially writing and recording under the OBT name, how were you recording back then?
I was sampling vinyl/cds, doing a lot of looping and recording vocals in my bedroom. Also, adding some instrumentation on top.
Did you have to recreate any samples for this release?
A little bit, some drum ideas & bass lines but for the most part not really.
How were the sessions recording this album different? Did you have the band already set when recording?
Well my brother & I went into the studio to record the album in 10 days, with the intention of doing 1 song/day. We had lots of new songs that were just ideas written on guitar/piano so with the help of Richard Swift (producer) we were able to take these ideas and turn them into full songs. He actually helped record a lot of the parts on guitar/bass/keys etc., but it was just me & my brother at first. The band came in after the album was recorded.
What was easier/harder about working with a others to record this album compared to recording by yourself?
A little bit. I had less control I guess, but the overall process was easier because we would finish a song quickly and move to the next, where as I tend to spend weeks writing songs and complicating things.
“High School Lover” got a really fun music video earlier this year. What was the conception and filming of a music video like?
Well, Cameron Dutra was the director and he really wanted to use this glitch effect he’d been working on for a long time. He was actually going to use it in the Foxygen video he shot, but it didn’t fit. So he showed it to me & I thought it looked great w/ the High School Lover track. We shot it all in 1 day at a sound stage in downtown Los Angeles & had a lot of fun dancing around, playing instruments. After he added lots of stop-motion, as well as cartoony scribbles tying in the high school story.
What was the process like assembling a live band? When did everyone fall into place? How extensively have you toured together?
I ended up putting the band together last September, over the course of about 1 month. I reached out to lots of people & things came together nicely. We’ve been playing non-stop since last October, so 7-8 months.
The production on “Bigfoot” really makes that song. It feels like every instrument and vocal melody comes in and out of focus with a part that’ll hook your brain. What was it like taking that from your notepad to the final version?
That was an idea I had that I wrote on piano, that I wanted to turn into a sort of simple reverb-y chant. Once in the studio Richard started recording with a Moog and the song took a new direction. It started to feel like a hip-hop beat, & I just wanted to match the vibe with the vocal and end the song big.
All of your songs (even the slow one) feel very carefree. Do you ever write when feeling uptight or stressed, or do you find that you have to be similarly relaxed as your songs are?
Well, I think I usually write when I’m in a relaxed state, when I’m stressed I’m usually dealing with a stressful situation (ha). But to me the songs aren’t carefree, though I realize they do come across that way.