the YeahTones: Yay for Rocking, Yeah for Beats

The YeahTones rock it with Jake Pinto as their lead singer. A gritty, yet sonorous sounding voice, Pinto can balance singing with fluent mastery of his guitar, moving up and down the neck with extraordinary ease. Their Rock and Roll tunes make you want to sing along, the vibes and beats permeating the audience with passion. In his lyrics, Pinto infuses a release of frustration with the system of higher education, having graduated from NYU with debt and limited job prospects, and through his music is able to fight back through razor-sharp harmonies. Listening to his music, and there is a relatability factor in anyone who’s experienced setbacks and have overcame them. Other members include Doug Berns on bass, Dillon Treacy on drums and Michael Harlen on lead guitar, who contribute their musical talents to implement the flow of the group dynamics of the YeahTones. Eviction Notice, the debut album of nine tracks takes you on a journey revealing rough times millennial artists must endure. However, in these tough times, the YeahTones give musicians hope that potential success in the music industry is achievable. 

What kind of feelings do you get when you share your music at a live performance?

This is probably the hardest of your questions to answer – it feels like trying to explain the universe sometimes. When I am on stage with The YeahTones there is this weird sort of time traveling experience where from moment we start to the moment we end I feel like I was somewhere else and often someone else. The band definitely brings out a lot of my more aggressive feelings of anger, resentment and frustration but we are also having so much fun that it becomes this interesting melting pot of feelings. 

When and how did you develop your musical style and voice as a musician?

Well I started playing music in high school but at that time I was just playing piano and was pretty set on the idea that I was a jazz/improvising musician. Then I went to NYU for jazz and went even deeper into jazz until I kind of burned out towards the end of my senior year. After college I started getting back into playing guitar (which I had picked up freshman year to obsessively learn bossa nova songs, haha) and found it to be incredibly liberating as I didn’t really “know” the notes or chords I was playing but I loved the sounds I was hearing and the feeling of playing the instrument. Because I wasn’t super familiar with the guitar, The YeahTones  sound developed really naturally in this way where all the songs came from a feeling I was expressing through the guitar rather than a musical/intellectual idea.

Do you like performing in a big group like you did when you were with EMEFE or do you prefer running the show?

I like it all but my personality definitely lends itself to running the show. There really is no feeling quite like being a part of a 10-12 piece band like EMEFE though, it’s an unstoppable feeling, haha. With The YeahTones, because it’s smaller everyone has more control over whats happening or about to happen and that’s a great feeling. 

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What’s the hardest part of being a musician as a millennial?

I think navigating the “diy music” world these days is just so impossible to understand. Everytime you think you understand how to invite people to shows/check out your music/etc a new system arrives that completely changes it. At this point Im trying to take a big break from overly promoting on social media and just focus on making the music and allowing people to gravitate towards it on their own if they want to. 

What was the inspiration for your hit album Eviction Notice? Any story behind that?

Well all those songs came out of so much frustration and anger I was feeling at the time towards many systems that we live with today. We have an education systems that pressures very young kids (and their parents) to go to the “best schools” then charge $200k+ to attend with basically negative guarantees of opportunities when you finish, a medical system that charges you beyond absurd prices and half time has no idea how to help you and are often using equipment that looks like and functions like it was made in 1986, a political system run by jokers and corporations with little to no comprehensible moral compass – and that’s to name a few. On top of all that my land lord tried to evict me from my apartment right smack in the middle of working on the album, so that’s where the title came from (and the song). 

What musicians do you aspire to be like?

In term of people who are alive I probably most admire Jack White’s career. He’s been able to make so much great art and also collaborate with so many different and incredible people. The Beatles are my always idols and more specifically I always aspire to reach the rawness of John Lennon and creative intensity of Paul McCartney. 

What do you think the world would be like without music?

Well I don’t think we’d be able to speak, haha. Music is a part of life always. Great artists are just taking what already exists in everyone language, rhythm, sound and rearranging it in a way that is inventive to the “non-musician.” We never really make anything new we just make you feel like it’s new, like a magic trick!

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