With the aesthetic of windswept New Zealand beaches and lush West Coast rainforest permeating their two releases so far (2010's 'Piha' and 2012’s acclaimed 'Exit City' EP), Yebiisu have managed to distance themselves from the traditional kiwi ‘barbecue reggae’ sound.
Lyrically, they are known for mixing an uplifting blend of party tunes and upbeat ska (‘Take You Away’) with socially-aware anthems of anarchy (‘Money's Gonna Get Ya’, and ‘Mr Policeman’) to follow in the vein of protest songs perhaps lacking in recent years amongst Aotearoa reggae.
Formed in 2009, Yebiisu wasted no time making an immediate impression on Auckland’s live scene, leaving audiences both stimulated and euphoric, and exciting reviewers and fans alike. Helped no doubt by decades of live experience from band members’ appearance in other influential local outfits (dDub, Katchafire, Avalanche City, New Way Home, The Managers, Newmatics, Murderchord, to name a few), a stream of high profile shows followed, including support act for international reggae heavyweights and huge inspiration, Groundation (USA), as well as sharing the stage with the likes of Streetlight Manifesto (USA), Barons of Tang (Aus), Unity Pacific, Night Gaunts, House of Shem, and countless others, as well as dozens of festival appearances including the annual Raggamuffin international reggae festival.
2010 saw the release of their debut Piha EP, achieving airplay on Kiwi FM, Radio One, and 95bFM, and the national tour following it helped sell out the band’s first run of CDs. Last year’s follow-up, the self-released Exit City EP is a natural evolution for Yebiisu, with a heavier sound, polished performances and personal, introspective lyrics from Jayme Wallace, who is often compared to some of reggae’s greatest voices. Both produced by Stu Fu and mastered by Chris Chetland (Concord Dawn, Shapeshifter) of Kog Transmissions, the latter includes fan favourite track ‘420’ which would feature a guest appearance from British MC and frequent NZ visitor Kevin Mark Trail (known by many for contributions with The Streets, Beverley Knight, Nathan Haines, and Nitin Sawhney).
Despite two releases and a remix EP, Yebiisu’s continued love is for earth-shaking live performances, and it is within this arena that the band truly shines. With a stage full of musicians who love their craft and dedicate their lives to it, sold-out audiences keep returning to witness Yebiisu live around the country.
Yebiisu: Simon Ross (bass) / James Bristow (guitar) / John Faulding (keys/melodica) / Scott Wotherspoon (drums) / Ignacio Valencia (percussion) / Jono Tan (trombone/shells) / Scott Thomas (saxophone).