Willow Shields
Willow Shields

Music photographer and journalist based in South London.

YNES is one of the newest names in a genre that mixes punk rock and blatant Brit-pop. After collaborating with pop princess Girli on a remix turned feature on debut track ‘Pretty Sure‘, YNES‘s popularity rating has sky-rocketed. Having discovered her through her catchy and engaging Instagram Reels and Tik Toks YNES has become a fast favourite.

Her newest track ‘Better Job‘ a stomping, visceral ode to jobs or lack-of in our current economic climate is out today. Along with a green velvet backed music video, where YNES releases all her pent up frustration. Coming next week is a collaborative video featuring CLUNK faves Pretty Preachers Club alongside Girli, Venus Girls and many more incredible people letting go and releasing all lockdown stress.


Willow: So, your new single ‘Better Job‘, is out today! And I think the first time I saw that was on a Tik Tok or Instagram Reel, does that sound right? 

YNES: Yeah it was! I think it was the first Instagram reel that I posted and I was really surprised! Loads of people shared it and I was like maybe I actually should work on this as a song and now we’re here. 

Willow: Something always has to start somewhere! With Tik Tok and Instagram reels do you think that that’s a big part of you as an artist? 

YNES: I wouldn’t have said before lockdown which I feel like loads of people are on the same page. But I hated using Instagram before the end of [last] year and to an extent I kind of resent the fact that we have to use it but I think I’ve definitely adapted a lot more to writing jingles and it’s kind of “don’t hate the player hate the game” sort of thing. I hate the fact that I have to use it but the whole social media thing is way bigger than me so if I can find a way to use it that can be useful to me then I can’t really complain.

Willow: I know that you did a song with Girli a while ago, are you friends? Do you think she’s influenced you as an artist? 

YNES: For sure yeah, she remixed my track ‘Pretty Sure‘ which was my first single under YNES. and then we re-released it together and she had a verse on it and at the point that we released it, in my Spotify bio she was listed as one of my influences. So to then have worked with her was really weird because it was like ‘okay what’s going on’. The first time we met I was like I’m definitely being set up by some old man who’s pretending to be her but yeah I just engaged with her through Instagram and she said “we should jam together one day” and we did a demo and I asked her if she wanted to feature and she did so… wild! 

Willow: It’s always really weird when you meet someone who you’ve always put on like a different plain and then you meet them and they’re really friendly and it blows my mind every single time. 

YNES: Yeah it’s strange! Like I said I definitely thought I was being set up. I live her music, her sound – she’s one of those people who… like you said it’s definitely because you have that connection to their music … but she’s one of those people who when they’re around you just get their energy and it’s like I need more people like that in my life. 

Willow: You’re from Coventry right? Do you think that’s influenced your personality and your sound?

YNES: You’re the first person to ask that who hasn’t been like “mmm questionable.” It’s not as bad as people think but it is limited in terms of creativity. Considering it’s between Birmingham and London there’s not a lot of creativity here which I think is why I’ve pushed so much to be creative. I think the ideal thing for a lot of artists is to move to London or move to Manchester and it can be isolating here and it always has been but I think it’s definitely developed me as a person to have a thick skin when it comes to expressing myself through my music or through how I dress. It’s not like going out in Camden where everyone’s supportive of that, like sometimes I’ll put an outfit together and I’ll be like ‘oh I have to go out in Coventry like this.’ It’s a totally different thing, but it’s definitely had reverse psychology because there not a lot of creativity, it’s made me more creative I guess. 

Willow: I know that one of our favourite bands here at CLUNK Mag – FEET – went to and formed at Coventry Uni, I kind of wonder what influence that had on them and why they decided to leave. 

YNES: It’s strange because one of my closest friends moved here for uni, she’s from Newcastle and she moved to Coventry because it was ‘close’ to London. Being from here, it doesn’t feel like we are but I guess when you consider how far some places are from London, Coventry is like an hour away. So I know she moved here as like a stepping stone to then prepare to move to London. So I get what you mean about going to uni and then making that move. I think they did a performance in HMV here a little while ago and obviously they went to uni and they’ve got a bit of a following here.

Willow: I’ve seen on your socials that you’re doing a collaborative music video, is that video for better job out today as well? 

YNES: There’s a music video out today which is the ‘official’ music video. There’s a guy who did the drums on the track called Felan Quirke and another artist called Ace Ambrose who did lead guitar and I really wanted to do the music video with them but because of lockdown I had to limit it completely. So then I decided to do a remote video and get them in and then I thought why not get in as many creatives as possible and like just be angry together. The official one is out with the track today but the collective one will be out in a weeks time. 

Watch the official video here:

Drums – Felan Quirke 
Lead Guitar – Ace Ambrose
Videography/Album Art – Jessica-Rose Lena

Willow: With the collective one, have you had any favourite submissions? 

YNES: I’ve had half of the videos back, a lot of them have been within the past two days so I think people are like ‘shit ok!Girli’s involved in that as well which is I’m just like, anytime anyone who has a big platform and makes the time I’m like “I don’t know how you do it but thank you for doing it.” Honestly there are so many people who are just inspiring in their own way, Venus Girls; a couple of their members are in it. The energy on all of them is matched, which I love because obviously we’ve all done it from home it’s not like we’re all in a massive room vibing off each other. But every one I get sent through everyone’s got the same tenacity and I love it! A friend of mine called Shay Kahn sent me it yesterday and she’s got a fish and she slaps the camera with the fish and I’m like ‘how do people even think of this?’ I just love the anger, it creates a sense of solidarity for me because it came from a place of frustration and obviously it’s quite shit that everyone’s frustrated but I guess it’s at least were frustrated together.. I hope! 

Willow: This is a question I like to ask everyone I chat to: what is your favourite supermarket and why? 

YNES: It definitely defines who I am as a person and it’s definitely a toss up between Aldi and Lidl. Lidl, they’ve got a massive range of cider – this is where I’m the strangest person – like more than any other supermarket, every time I go there I’m like how is this considered cheap crap. I just have the time of my life there, and they’ve got that bit in the middle where you can walk out with a table or a duvet. That’s the energy I need in my life. 

Willow: Walk into a Lidl and you don’t know what you’ll come out with…

YNES: And they’ve put doors in their fridge section now and I appreciate this because it means that they’re not wasting energy. So yeah, Lidl.

Willow: I don’t like to compare musicians but for me (I don’t know if you’ll agree at all) your music is almost reminiscent of Siouxsie and the Banshees. The raw emotion and the energy is just … there. 

YNES: I’ll take it! I love them, I find it really hard as an artist because when you send out a press kit or even a Spotify bio, people always want to know what you sound like. I really struggle because I really don’t know, but I’ll take it! I think Britpop has also had a massive influence as well and there’s a lot of post-punk North American bands that where the first bands I listened to along with the likes of Kate Nash and Lily Allen who sung about real life. There’s so much pop music that’s symbolic and vague and there’s all these metaphors like ‘I’d run to the end of the earth for you’ and it’s just like sometimes you wouldn’t sometimes someone is just OK. I find myself relating to music where the lyrics are a lot more realistic and I think one of the things was listening to songs and hearing details in them and feeling like ‘if they said this instead it would relate to my situation’ so then writing songs that relate to my situation. Which is probably bad because it means that no one will ever 100% relate. 

“There’s so much pop music that’s symbolic and vague and there’s all these metaphors like ‘I’d run to the end of the earth for you’ and it’s just like… sometimes you wouldn’t sometimes someone is just OK”

YNES

Willow: I think even when you write super specific songs, there will be someone who relates to it because it’s about the feeling. So I think you’re all good! 

YNES: Yeah like I love pop music but I think there’s a lot of over dramatisation. Like you know you’re like “I’m kind of into this person but I don’t know” and you don’t want to listen to a song that’s about giving them your whole heart. Sometimes you just need a song that’s like ‘you’re a bit of a dick but you’re okay’. Lukewarm music. I saw some banner recently, it was these insane religious people in America saying you’re going to hell if you do this this and this like weed smokers and one of them was ‘Lukewarm Christian’ and I’ve never heard that term before. The fact that they think that people who don’t 100% give themselves are lukewarm. Honestly love it 

Willow: To round things off, what can we expect in the future for YNES? Are you planning an album? An EP? 

YNES: I released an EP at the end of last year which was to round off my first collection of music. When I launched YNES it was really with the intention of having that first angry EP and then maturing more and somehow now I’m more angry! But I don’t know with lockdown if I’m going to have to keep recording at home but I think for now I’m just going to focus on some singles I have lined up, and I think I’ll focus on them individually. It’s so hard; I feel like people’s attention span is getting shorter, I don’t think I could ever release an album because who’s going to want to listen to ten songs in a row, do you know what I mean? Like the average person just wants to watch a 30 second video and be like “hah that’s cool!” So it’s hard to know what’s going to be digestible but also still doing what I want to do.


Listen to YNES‘ brand new single ‘Better Job’ here: