Ahead of Yam Haus’ performance at First Avenue’s Best New Bands of 2018 in the First Avenue Mainroom on Friday, January 4, we got to ask Lars Pruitt (Vocals/Guitar), Seth Blum (Electric Guitar), Jake Felstow (Drums), and Zach Beinlich (Bass) a few questions. Read what they had to say below:

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Kerry Gay: How did you meet and decide to first form your band? What’s the story behind your awesome name?
Yam Haus: Three of us (Zach, Seth, Lars) met in high school, and we met Jake through various gigs here in the Twin Cities. Our name originated from the house we were all living in together upon forming the band in August of 2017. We had naturally started calling it the Yam House, for multiple reasons. Soon we were trying to find an official name and someone in our camp threw that out as an option, and we sort of just went with it. Yam is an acronym which stands for “You Are Me". We decided to make this our band motto, reminding us to treat people how we’d like to be treated. That’s a simple enough concept when you’re a kid, but it tends to be forgotten as we grow older. We want to fight that, and hold up love in all that we do. 

KG: What bands most heavily influence your sound?
Yam Haus: That’s a tough question. There are MANY. I guess I’d say Coldplay, Maroon 5, and U2 stick out to me a bit on our first album. 

KG: Your artwork is incredibly unique, eye-catching, and fun (particularly your singles “Get Somewhere” and “Groovin”). Do you create the art yourselves? If so, where does the inspiration for your artwork come from?
Yam Haus: Thank you! Our album artwork is created in collaboration with talented friends of ours. People who we trust to help us bring the message of our music to life. The photography on “Get Somewhere” was shot in LA by our friend Michael Becker. That shot we felt right away captured the message of “Get Somewhere”. It shows us all jumping and looking up, striving for something we don’t really understand. The bright colors, the graffiti, all fit with what that song feels like to us. Our friend David Nanda did the editing and graphics for all of our singles. He is a long time high school friend of ours and has done most of our graphic design and editing work to date. He also did the photography for “Groovin’”, which was a totally candid shot taken on the Stone Arch Bridge in Minneapolis. We jumped in ‘70s clothing and threw a spontaneous public dance party, and he grabbed that shot at peak dance euphoria. It perfectly captures what “Groovin’” is all about to us. 

KG: What particular theme or message are you hoping to convey to listeners on your most recent album Stargazer?
Yam Haus: Perspective. There are so many things in our personal life that can cripple us, but if we step back, zoom way out, and take a look at our lives in relation to this giant universe we are suspended in, it gets beautiful really quickly. In part, it’s an album about healing from what cripples you, and it’s also about exploring your place in the world.

KG: What’s the secret to maintaining your energetic stage presence at shows that keeps your crowds moving?
Yam Haus: I suppose we just don’t see any alternative that would be better. If we’re gonna play a show, we get into it. How could we not? We also want to feel like we’re apart of something with the crowd too, not just animals in a cage being observed or judged, but we’re experiencing something together. We don’t have time for anything else. It’s a privilege to be on stage, we love it, and we mean it. We believe in our music, and we love that we get the chance to perform it with other people in the same room. That’s the best feeling in the world. 

Blog by Kerry Gay (Marketing Intern)