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Interview with Yila & Friends, performing at Norwich Arts Centre on February 19!

Vist Emily Godden's Profile

Interview with Yila & Friends, performing at Norwich Arts Centre on February 19!

Right now, someone, somewhere feels exactly like you do.

Does it help to know that another is experiencing the same situation? How do people from different places, backgrounds and times deal with the same psychological scenarios? Can we compare memories or ideas of the future? Can we portray these subjects in an objective manner when differences in context can evoke the illusion of being the only one?

Performing at Norwich Arts Centre on Thursday 19 February, the Escalator Music showcase by collective Yila & Friends is centred around a box of potential memories. Using conceptual music, sonic art, physical movement, video, projection, animation, written word, storytelling and poetry it will put social, physical and emotional concepts in perspective.

The metaphysical and physical souvenir box calls upon everyday experiences, psychogeographic, weaving a journey from birth until death. The group and shifting collective will present not only an avant-garde experience but one which can resonate with a wide audience. Toured in different cities and towns, the show will be responsive to each community to represent subject matter by changing structure, order and media.

I caught up with ring-leader Alaistair McNeill to find out more…

You (Alastair McNeill) say you have worked with a number of talented individuals - care to share how you stumbled across/came to work with these talented human beings?
That’s right I have! From Scroobius Pip and David Toop to Roisin Murphy and all the talented members of the Yila group!

It’s about location, the street, my home town and the street corner outside Cafe Oto in Dalston where our studio is based. The internet never helped. Just being out and about and being available. Scroobius Pip and I met at the Pink Toothbrush, an alternative nightclub in Essex, for example, that led to meeting (Steven Camden) aka Polar Bear who writes and features on the record. All the band are my good friends and people who I’ve connected with through Scroob, Roisin, or connected with in the street in Dalston around Oto. I never thought I’d be in a ‘scene’ living in Essex but I’ve found myself in one by accident.

Any advice/tips for other artists to sustain a healthy collaboration?
Bond. You can bond with anyone if you just find out what that bond might be. Don’t focus on potential outcomes and work out the process, the process is the outcome.

The show is centred around a box of potential memories - do you have a specific memory which shines through from the process of creating the show?
So many things have happened that it’s hard to pick one that shines. We’ve had people being born, dying and married in the process. It’s about the coincidence of human experience through our collective memories such as all of us relating to the memories of our lost grandparents. Steven’s (Polar Bear’s) prose on baking with an older relative could have been any of our memories in the group. The sound of my nan’s pilot-light flicking into life behind her voice is like a portal to all of my past. I hope that I can awaken some memories for everyone who experiences the show.

Yila & Friends will be performing at Norwich Arts Centre on Thursday 19 February. For a mere £3 concessions or a fiver for everyone else, do go and take a gander!

About Yila & Friends
Yila & Friends is a collaboration between the artist and producer Alastair McNeill Aka ‘Yila’ (Scroobius Pip, Roisin Murphy, Nuik Collective) and a group of talented individuals he has worked with along the way; the spoken word artist and writer Steven Polarbear (Harper Collins Childrens Books), Vocalists; Rosa Slade (Peggy Sue), Rhianna Kenny (Faithless), Jodie Scantlebury (Kele, Bryan Ferry), Drummers Tom Skinner (Zero 7) and Paul Glover (Scroobius Pip), Saxophonist Andy McDonald (Petite Noir), Flutist Renate Sokolovska (Floating Points), Film maker Julian G Harding. Illustrator / Animator / book design – Andrea Kearney. 3d Animation Dylan Sheehan. show developer Jvan Morandi (Placebo, Covent Garden Royal Opera House, Teatro La Scala Milan, Faithless, Roisin Murphy & more)


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