Separated by the pandemic, three friends Ben Masters, Jeff Liffmann, and Max Benson started the musical collaboration YESICAN. While they normally play together as sidemen for other artists, they used their time to create something completely captivating and totally their own. They are planning to release a full album, but to get you into the mood, they have dropped their single ‘YESICAN’. We sat down with the band to talk about the single, their music and much more!
OSR: What prompted the formation of the band?
YESICAN: Before YESICAN, we had an original band with a few other guys called NEON HIPPO. We booked shows at LA dives and improvised for an hour. No rehearsals no songs. People started to come up to us afterwards and ask where they could find our music online. We would laugh because we knew that we just made it up on the spot, but people in the audience thought they were songs. We never made a record.
The formation of YESICAN happened when Ben sent a new track to Jeff for his opinion. Unexpectedly, Jeff sent him back additional keyboard parts that added textures and sounds the song was missing. Then the pandemic happened. All of us had been working as sidemen for other artists, and with all gigs and tours cancelled, we had this indefinite amount of time on our hands. It just made sense to start collaborating remotely and putting original music out there.
OSR: What was it like working on your own music compared to supporting others?
YESICAN: Exciting, fulfilling and scary. As a sideman, we just learn the material, show up on time, get along with others and perform the shit out of the music every night unquestioned. Now, we have the space and freedom to actually create our own music and it can be overwhelming, but in a good way.
The uphill battle of getting signed or having a successful record seems pretty daunting at times. But fuck it, YESICAN. Make good music, people will find it. It’s fun and exciting. Nonetheless, supporting other artists is an amazing privilege. Getting paid to play music and travel is the dream and we don’t take it for granted.
OSR: Do you play any instruments? If so, what?
YESICAN: Of course, we play instruments. We have our specialities. Drums for Ben, keys for Jeff, bass for Max. We also share a knowledge of each other’s instruments and Ben is a production wizard
OSR: What was the creative process like for ‘YESICAN’?
YESICAN: It was very organic. It started with the beat, the main keyboard part and the “Ah” vocals at the beginning. We sent demos back and forth to each other until it became something we all liked. So far, it’s been that Ben writes the initial songs and makes a barebones production. Then he sends it to the rest of the guys to add their parts. We all then just send notes back and forth to each other or get on a FaceTime call and discuss what we want to change. It’s very informal.
OSR: How difficult was it to create this single remotely?
YESICAN: Technically, not difficult at all. We have all the tools and gear at our own houses. The difficult part is getting everyone to respond/work in a timely manner.
OSR: What advice would you have for aspiring bands who want to follow the same process?
YESICAN: Learn the basics of home production and tracking instruments. There are lots of amazing resources on YouTube.
OSR: If the band were pack animals, what would you be and why?
YESICAN: Dolphins. They’re such magical creatures.
OSR: Has your musical journey had a deliberate direction or did it simply evolve into the current direction?
YESICAN: It’s evolved from the get-go. There has been no singular direction from the start. We’re honestly just having fun.
OSR: Is there a hidden meaning in ‘YESICAN’?
YESICAN: We thought, “Now’s the time to try.” YESICAN is like, “yes I can do this shit while all this other shit is going on.” Every time we look at the name we’re reminded of that simple but important mindset.
OSR: Do you have a message for your fans?
YESICAN: Thank you for listening. More music coming ASAP.
Hang in there, wherever or whatever your respective situations are throughout this crazy pandemic. Things are shitty right now but hopefully, we can all find some silver linings. There is still a lot of good in the world and we should all strive to be a part of that.