By Kieran Webber
Yaglander is the new project by former Lost Dawn member Joel McConkey. He’s left the golden shores of Falmouth and seeked out the big city dream and now resides in North London. Recently he has released the new ‘Straight And Narrow’ EP which is a short but sweet collection of bedroom indie jams. We wanted to have a quick chat to him to see what he has been doing during lockdown, his influences and much more.
Kieran: Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions, how has your lockdown been?
Joel: Hey. No worries, it’s a pleasure.
I’m doing fine, been a bit up and down but overall i’m good. I’m keeping myself busy and motivated, but also taking this time to just relax and catch up on life. I’m really enjoying the slow pace, even though I’m not working and can’t really leave London, which is tough, it could be a whole lot worse.
Kieran: How have you found the quarantine? Has it sparked any creativity?
Joel: Yes and no. I’ve been given this endless amount of time to work on my music, which is a dream but i find after a week of just writing music my ability to do so runs out. I think it’s good for the mind to have other distractions, like work etc. But again can’t complain, it’s abled me to focus on elements of my music that might of been overlooked before.
Kieran: When writing your music where do you normally take influence?
Joel: Anything that I’m listening to really. Normally I hear a song that I like, and then I’ll try imitate it somehow by borrowing something. The song always ends up sounding completely different to what I originally intended, but thats what you want. But I found you can’t approach all songs in the same way, I always find that the same approach almost never works twice.
Listen to ‘Straight And Narrow’ here:
Kieran: What took you to London and how have you found living in the big smoke?
Joel: Wanted to get out of Cornwall and experience somewhere that was the completely different. Most of my friends were living here. London is a strange one, its very polarising… Sometimes I have this overwhelming feeling of love and awe towards the place and then other times it can be the complete opposite, but it’s really inspiring. Don’t get me wrong I love Cornwall, but definitely needed the change of pace.
Kieran: Do you miss Cornwall?
Joel: I do a bit especially when the sun’s out and I see people on online posting pics of themselves on the beaches. That’s definitely a big con of living in London.
Kieran: What was the idea when starting Yaglander? Did you have a particular sound or message?
Joel: It started because I wanted to write and record songs myself, without other people to rely on, basically. Maybe in the future I’ll be more open to collaborating but for now this a way to express my ideas without going through others.
“It started because I wanted to write and record songs myself, without other people to rely on, basically.”Joel McConkey
Kieran: Do you have any particular influences? If so who and why?
Joel: Tonetta. We don’t really sound alike but I like how his songs are simple, nothing flashy but totally unique and a great aesthetic, he’s like this weird pop star from another world who never leaves his flat. It’s homegrown and has a direct connection to his fans. It’s inspiring that can happen now. Total independence.
Kieran: What’s the plan for Yaglander post-lockdown?
Joel: Gig. I’ve yet to play live and I’m very eager to do so. I had a band going just before the pandemic hit the UK but I’m open to the idea of playing solo and going down a sort of karaoke/ early metronomy route. I’d like to do both really, I wouldn’t want to just do one or the other. Hopefully release something before the years out.
Kieran: Lastly, we like to finish on a story, could you regale us a strange or funny tale?
Joel: I was an extra on Poldark twice. I was paid to sleep around St Just and at some point to look at a horse with utter disgust (no idea). The other time we had to do a sort of ‘fight/brawl’ scene and some of the other extras really went for it. Fighting on a beach dressed like Frodo Baggins, was a real turning point in my life. My friend who didn’t really want to do it but, who i dragged along anyway, ended up sitting and breaking his phone and all the money he made that day went to buying a new one. Probably not the craziest story but a Cornish one at best. Any others might not of been appropriate haha.