Yumi and the Weather: We need to do everything we can to keep the arts alive

Header image by Emilia Cox // @EmiliaAliceCox // Yumi and the Weather : Instagram // Facebook // Twitter // Bandcamp

Yumi and the Weather will be bringing its unique brand of dreamy electric pop to the Brighton Dome for the very first Live is Alive showcase this coming Saturday. We caught up with singer, composer and all round multi-instrumentalist Ruby Taylor ahead of the event to talk musical positivity, the importance of the arts, and recording an EP in lockdown.

Undercurrent: How did you get involved with Live is Alive?

Ruby Taylor: I got involved through Anna from Melting Vinyl and St George’s Church. We had played a gig for MV at Prince Albert in 2019, and we’ve worked together a fair bit over the last few years. It was a really nice surprise to get chosen for the gig, it’s at The Dome after all, which is very exciting.

Is this the first time paying a venue of this scale?

As a full band I believe so. I’ve played at Worthing Pavilion supporting ABC which may not be as big but was still very much a big venue, big theatre vibe, which was really fun, but that was on my own! 

We’ll be playing as a band for Live is Alive and it should be pretty special, I’ve seen so many great bands in the venue so it will be exciting to be on the other side!

How is it being involved in such a diverse event?

I think it is probably the most diverse single day bill of the whole event, which is cool. I’ve got friends playing in CLT DRP and LibraLibra that are playing on the other days, but it is really nice to have a great mixture of artists on this show (Saturday 17 October) for sure.

Do you feel that it is crucial to use events such as this to highlight the terrible situation the UK arts community is currently being placed in?

Absolutely. It seems bizarre that venues are almost being left behind when you see the crowds in shops, in supermarkets, and being implored to go out to restaurants and bars. It doesn’t seem to be part of any joined up thinking, but that just means that we as musicians and venues, have to do what we can to make things happen, like Live is Alive! Everyone is just trying their best, and it’s great that this is happening for sure.

The arts are so important for people’s wellbeing, for their mental health, and also for many  people their income, so we need to do all we can to keep it alive. I don’t know what the future holds, but we have to be strong and make sure that we as communities support what we can.

Playing new tracks at the gig, and EP written in lockdown, how did that come about?

I was supposed to go on tour in April and May for a ten day run of shows, which was going to be the first real tour we had done and then obviously Covid kicked in and really threw the future of gigs up into the air. As lockdown wore on and it became clear it was going to be around for longer than we all originally anticipated, I then focused my energy on writing and finishing these songs, as I felt I just needed something positive to do. I didn’t really expect to write an EP, it just kind of happened. The songs were all very representative of how I was and am feeling, they’re all quite upbeat, so I just wanted to work on them and get them out as soon as possible, as I felt it might be able to lighten up people’s moods in the crazy time we are experiencing currently.

I was in the process of writing a second album but that was put on hold, so writing and producing new material was mainly to keep myself busy, along with some painting. I also created two music videos in two weeks which was really fun, so thinking about the last few months I don’t think I’ve ever been this productive in my life!

How have the restrictions placed by lockdown impacted the development of the EP and the preparation for Live is Alive?

I originally thought about having a five piece for the new album as it was shaping up to be a lot more band-y, with a lot more guitar parts, but with the upcoming EP it’s not gone that way. There are two tracks on it that don’t even have guitar on them, so it didn’t seem right to have a five piece for Live is Alive! We will be playing as a three piece with additional backing tracks for the parts on the record that we can’t ourselves reproduce live.

So we can expect to hear new material at the show?

Yeah for sure. The songs we will be performing at The Dome were all written during lockdown, and have been influenced by the current times though It’s not a heavy or angry political statement per se, a lot of it is very metaphoric, hopeful and uplifting, as there have been times where it has almost felt like being lost in darkness, and moments like that is when music matters more than ever.

Yumi and Weather will be playing Live is Alive on Saturday 17 October. Tickets to the event are available HERE.