In 2012, Jake Pinto graduated from a private university with a degree in music, thousands of dollars in debt and an ample angst for the injustices of the world. He formed the The YeahTones together with Doug Berns on Bass, Dillon Treacy on Drums and long time collaborator Michael Harlen on lead guitar, channeling his anger into unabashed rock ‘n’ roll. Taking inspiration from Jimi Hendrix, John Lennon and Jack White the band brings honest, in your face intensity with a late-night-in-the-garage-rock aggression to anyone who has ever been pushed down and has pushed back. On stage the band makes you want to thrash and scream then gives you a goody bag of riffs and melodies to take home for later. They do all this while wearing matching outfits.
Tell us a bit about your current releases! You have a music video out for two different songs, “Find My Baby”, and “What Could I Do”. What can you tell us about both of these tracks? “Find My Baby” was the first guitar rock song I ever wrote for The YeahTones. I had been checking out a lot of folk music and was really into Dylan’s Girl From The North Country. I don’t know where it came from but one day I just picked up the guitar and strummed out the riff to “Find My Baby” which uses the same chord from the Girl from The North Country. It was a really natural thing like that which made it feel really good. The song had an indie rock pop vibe to me and I immediately wrote that first lyric Travelin’ to a foreign land / doin’ anything I can to “Find My Baby”; The rest of the song kind of wrote itself. The riff to “What Could I Do” found my in a similar way. I had my guitar tuned in this weird open D tuning where the B string is still a B and I just loved the dissonance it made on this riff. It reminded me a little of like a Beatles thing. Guitar isn’t my main instrument so I don’t always really know the notes I am playing but I just followed my ear on this one and am really happy with how it turned out. For the melody and lyrics I was really inspired by a poem that my friend Suzanne Highland; the opening line is actually a modification of one of her poems lines.
The video for What Could I Do was brilliantly shot and edited by Joseph Crawford at Black Bear Bar in Brooklyn. Joseph was just hanging at the bar filming some of the other bands but when we started playing he immediately got really into it and started jumping around with us on and off stage getting and getting all those cool shots. After the show we decided to put the footage to “What Could I Do” and he put together that fantastic video that fit the vibe perfectly. “Find My Baby” was a different story. I found out about the filmmaker Colin Marchon when he did this crazy fantastic video for my friends in the band Alto Palo. As soon as I saw that video I knew Colin would be the perfect guy for “Find My Baby” as I wanted something really intense and frenetic to complement the song. Colin has a really cool process of collecting lots of raw materials (magazine, newspapers, yearbooks, etc) and cutting them up to animate them in the video. The entire video is animated by hand!
What is your favorite part about performing live as a band? Performing live with The YeahTones is the most exhilarating performance experiences I have ever been a part of. The music has a vibe and an intensity written into it that really forces you to give 1000% every time. When everyone in the group is feeling the same way with the same intensity that’s when it feels the best. Getting their is a process but recently it seems to click almost every time.
How did you all form as a group? How has your hometown of Brooklyn, NY influenced your music? The band formed a couple years ago when I started writing these rock songs (“Find My Baby” was the first). I wasn’t exactly sure the direction I wanted to go yet but I knew I wanted to play with two of my best friends Doug Berns and Mike Harlen. Doug is the best electric bass player in New York City in my opinion and Mike Harlen has one of my favorite musical minds and can pretty much play anything though his main instruments are guitar and bass. When we started out we were playing as a trio with me singing and playing guitar, Doug on bass, and Mike on drums. While drums aren’t Mike’s first instrument he has a groove and a simplicity that I really love and it helped to shape the direction and keep the focus on the songs and the parts that I was writing. We recorded “Find My Baby”, “Gene”, and “Believe” in January 2015. Later that summer Mike became very busy with another group he plays with and so I brought it my friend from Alto Palo (mentioned above) Dillon Treacy to join the band and help record the rest of the material. Dillon brought a really fresh creative energy to the drum parts and we recorded the rest of the record together. First of all, I grew up in Florida and have still lived there way longer than in New York. That being said New York has a way of pushing you down and the only option is to push back and keep fighting for what you are here to do. This music is about finding that catharsis and release through expression of the frustrations and anxieties of life which includes living in one of the most expensive and challenging cities in the world!
What is next for you coming up in 2017? Next year we are gonna be touring as much as possible. I’m mapping out a tour for March currently and am putting out lots of feelers for agents who might want to represent us and help us get on the road. We are gonna be recording some singles along the way as well.