Rock Cellar Independent Artist Spotlight: YYNOT (Winners of the Independent Artist Spotlight Competition)


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The Independent Artist Spotlight is a new branch of Rock Cellar aimed at presenting under-the-radar musical acts that deserve your immediate attention. As artists and bands are added to the program, Rock Cellar will spotlight some with Q&A-style interviews, allowing the artists themselves to tell their story as they’d want it told. Next up is YYNOT, the winner of our recent Independent Artist Spotlight competition, earning the most votes from all eligible bands and artists. 

The band’s album Resonance is available at this link.

Enjoy a Q&A with Billy Alexander (guitarist/songwriter/producer), Rocky Kuner (vocals) and Tim Starace (bass) below. 

How did you guys meet and how did you form the band?

Tim Starace: I met Billy on Facebook while perusing cat pictures. [laughs]. I lived in Florida and Billy in CA. We were in the same Rush fan groups and Billy had written YYNOT and posted it and I was sharing bass videos and we sort of “cyber” stumbled upon each other. We started doing online collabs of RUSH covers and original material and folks started to dig it. Next thing you know, Billy found Rocky and we really had something special. Eventually we had enough material for an album and then had this crazy idea to fly me out to L.A. and play live. It was so comfortable and natural that we knew it was the right thing to do.

So five years later here we are, shows all over the country, two full albums, and a third on the way!

 How did you get the name YYNOT?

Billy Alexander: Long story short, I got the idea to write and record an instrumental piece as I was watching Rush’s final show in Orange County, CA. in 2015. The piece contains many nods to their early influence on me as a kid, so I gave it the name “YYNOT” as another wink and a nod to their song “YYZ”. Later when we formed the band we just decided to use it as the band’s moniker.

What influences inspired your sound?

Rocky: Rush definitely inspired our sound among other amazing artists and bands that we’ve all been individually influenced by.

Do you have a specific songwriting process?

Billy: Up to this point I’ve written all of the songs, although we are working towards more collaboration in that area. I arrange and record the demo, then have the drummer track the drums. After that I’ll go back and re-record everything, Tim lays down bass, Rocky comes to my studio to re-record my guide vocal, and then I mix it all at my place.

What makes you different from other indie bands?

Tim:I think one big difference is that with the exception of live shows we are rarely in the same room. We live on opposite sides of the country, so that adds a different dynamic. Nearly everything we do is remote. It’s quite a hill to climb but we seem to be able to make it work, kind of like we have to try just a bit harder to do stuff. It definitely is a sign of our dedication to YYNOT, the music, the fans, and each other.

YYNOT has been very effective with building a loyal fan base. What’s the secret?

Rocky: I think the secret is our kindness and honesty. Our fans know that we keep it 100 percent real with them and it helps that we are all really extroverted people. We treat our fans like friends and I think it’s the mutual respect that keeps them supporting us.

What should we expect from YYNOT in the future?

Tim: MORE MUSIC! We have two albums and are currently completing our third, Also shows … like any other band we thrive off the energy of the crowd.

What advice would you give to other independent artists? Any music career life-hacks?

Billy: Work hard. You should want to work on some aspect of your career every day. And I think it’s a mistake to just hope someone will come along and swoop you up. I always say, no one will ever care more about your career than you, so why not just put everything you can into it?

Being good is only part of the battle.

Tim: Never give up, great things usually happen when you least expect it.

Rocky: Surround yourself with people who love and support who you really are. Stay consistently genuine to yourself. Try not to value outside validation. do what makes you happy as much as humanly possible. Don’t be afraid to stick up for yourself and others.


For more on YYNOT, visit the band’s official site.

Comments

  • Bradley Mabb says:

    I’ve been a rock bass player for over 50 years, and have been in a “semipro” band more than once, and have seen some friends, such as Ronnie Dio, (whom we shared several venues back in early 70’s, go big time. I believe YYNOT to be equal, if not more talented, a band ready to take over Rush’s retirement space tomorrow. They are all excellent musicians, with Rocky Kuner showing her young but veteran vocal chops. This band should be stadium quality just as they stand. Listen two their two first lps and put them alongside anyone’s freshman and sophomore endeavors. They are on par, if not exceeding many. One thing for certain, they deserve to be much better known than they are. And all are professional both in musicianship and personally. They need to be taken to the next plateau.

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