Interviews

Meet Yam Haus, the Feel-Good Pop Band From Minneapolis

One part retreaux vibes, and one part modern pop, the Minneapolis-based band Yam Haus recognize that they’re a bit of light in a world that’s really, really bummed out right now.

After opening for artists like Kacey Musgraves and AWOLNATION, Yam Haus are now gearing up for a spring tour where they’re the headliners. The band recently sold out the iconic First Avenue in Minneapolis and is hoping to add a few more “sold out” venues to their name.

Soundigest sat down with lead singer Lars Pruitt to talk their newest single, “Cute,” Minneapolis and why the world should care about Yam Haus.

Hello, and thank you for taking the time to talk with Soundigest! First things first, tell me about your newest single “Cute,” and what it’s about.

“Cute” is a song that points towards my fear of falling for someone. Attraction often leads to giving a part or all of your heart away, and that’s actually quite a terrifying proposition. When you give your heart to someone, you’re giving them the power to hurt you or make your life that much better. I wanted to write a song that approaches that angle when it comes to love.

Can we also talk about the music video? It’s got this kind of funky retro vibe to it, and I’m curious as to why you went that route for the visuals?

Honestly, our friend Kaleb Musser really carried the vision for this video. We had like zero budget, and in super short notice, he sketched out a rough storyboard and we shot it in one night. I really resonated with the idea of the shade of red representing the emotion of being infatuated with someone — being in a trance. When I get in the car, I’m totally giving my attraction and emotions control, and hoping I don’t get driven off a cliff. I’ve committed. Kaleb brought that to the table and we all went, “Yeah.”

In an age of skepticism, why do you choose to play such fun, upbeat pop? Certainly, it’d be easier to write moody ballads, no?

At this current time, we save the moody ballads for ourselves mostly… as a treat. Those types of songs are what naturally spill out of me. But I don’t want to bore people too much while we’re still very much trying to get our name out there. And I think that our energetic songs are a way for us to stand out in the midst of what’s being released right now.

Someday, we’ll allow ourselves to be a bit more audacious in that respect, I believe. Plus, there’s a therapeutic aspect of them being just for me that I enjoy right now. Also, I think it’s a fun challenge to write peppy upbeat songs that still feel honest to the painful realities and nuances of our collective human experience. I like when all those things attempt to coexist inside an expression of art. Because that’s how life is. You smile and drink a coke, and you go to the beach with friends, you go to a fun party and dance and jump, yet you battle mental illness, experience loss, get hurt by people, struggle to find yourself or any meaning. It’s all there.

You’re from the Midwest — Minneapolis to be exact, which is most notably the home of the legendary Prince. How has your hometown inspired or influenced your sound?

From our perspective, the Twin Cities seem to be so beautifully full of independent sounding music and musicians that aren’t afraid to write music that might not fit the mainstream. In many ways, we resonate with and love that sound, but this caused us to say, “Screw it, let’s try to write some pop music like we’re out in NYC or LA.” We wanted to stand out. So I don’t know — it’s weird to live in the Midwest and admit you‘re trying to blow up.

I hear you’re gearing up to go on another tour, which is probably exciting considering you’ve recently sold out venues like First Avenue in Minneapolis. What are you most looking forward to this tour?

Lots of reading time in the van, and seeing new places, meeting new people — all those things are great. To be honest, I’m kind of terrified of tour because I have no idea if people will show up.

Speaking of tour, your fanbase is growing rapidly. You’ve played along the likes of Kacey Musgraves and AWOLNATION — so what can the world expect from Yam Haus in 2020?

More music, bigger shows and maybe even a haircut — who knows. Sorry, that rhymed.

Not a super deep question, but where exactly did the name Yam Haus come from?

Our house that we all lived in when we started the band a couple years ago inspired the name. “Yam” stands for “You Are Me.” It’s a very simple reminder to treat people well. It’s the name we hated least when trying to find a name that wasn’t already taken.

And finally, my favorite question to ask every artist: why should the world care about Yam Haus?

I don’t know if it should really care about us. There’s a lot more important things to care about. But if you care about yourself and are looking for some music that you feel like you can get down with on some level, hit us up. We’re trying to deliver that to as many people as possible.

Yam Haus will be on the road June 4 through June 26.

Featured Image: Amanda Marie Johnson

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