Useless ID's Yotam Ben Horin and Dan Cribb (formerly of The Decline, now Dan Cribb & The Isolated) recently teamed up for an acoustic split (out now on Pee Records). Make sure to check it out. It's a solid release that is more than worthy of your time. And while you're at it, give Dan's recent album "As We Drift Apart" a spin as well and get ready for Yotam's first solo full-length ("California Sounds"), which will be released late October.
PRT: How did the two of you come up with the idea to do a split together?
Dan: We met back in 2013 while on tour with our bands and got along well. We’ve stayed in touch since and earlier this year started chatting about albums we were recording/working on and how we should work together on something - an acoustic split seemed the perfect fit. I’ve recorded an acoustic EP before, but wanted to do something a little more stripped-back, without drums or bass, and had some tunes that I thought would work well.
Yotam: My band Useless ID had a few shows with Dan’s band at the time in Japan and Australia, Dan seemed like a pretty cool guy, into solo stuff and songwriting, we kept in touch ever since and had this idea of doing a tour together in Australia that will happen in the near future so along with that Dan came up with idea of a split. I had a few new songs lying around I recorded live at Chris Fogal’s Black n bluhm studios (Denver Colorado) so when the idea of the split came, it felt right to use some of these songs.
PRT: Both of you have been in punkrock bands before deciding to go solo and acoustic. Why did you decide to head down that path?
Yotam: Cause everyone’s doing it of course (haha kidding..) Well, as for me the root of my songwriting is always based on a stripped down acoustic version first, I don’t think I’ve written anything on Electric guitar for years…So, as far as I’m concerned if a song sounds good acoustically it’s bound to work. So I thought, why not leave the tunes acoustically and even push my limit further and try writing acoustically without the intention of a band in mind and I must say it’s been going great so far. I always like exploring and expanding in music to keep everything interesting. I’m really into finger picking stuff, On my last tour I bought a 7 set harmonica thing. I’ll explore that too.
Dan: It was a natural progression. I write my songs on an acoustic guitar and most of them work acoustically, it was just a matter of finding the motivation, time and energy to pursue a solo thing.
PRT: What are some of the biggest differences between being in a band and then suddenly having to deal with everything on your own?
Dan: The main thing at first was finding the confidence to perform onstage by myself. It’s easy to play with a band, but scary the first time you go solo. I’ve talked to a lot of other musicians who have done it – some who had been making music for 10-20 years before going solo and they all said the exact same thing. Dealing with everything on your own is more stressful, but far more rewarding. There’s a certain freedom about it, and there’s no unnecessary pressure.
Yotam: I think the biggest difference is that you’re the boss of your time, you decide when to wake up, when to drive, when to sleep, what songs go on the record, how they will sound. It’s full artistic freedom which is great. It’s also an outlet that makes getting back in a room with a few dudes and working on something together exciting again. With Useless ID, we took a 6 month break so I can do my solo stuff so now that we’re back in the rehearsal space writing the next album, it’s just fun again.
PRT: How did you decide whose songs came first on the split? Did you flip a coin?
Yotam: I let Dan decide, though I do think his songs are damn awesome.
Dan: We had an academic decathlon
PRT: Dick question… whose half of the split is better?
Yotam: I will say Dan, Dan will say Yotam. Next question :)
Dan: What Yotam said.
PRT: Dan, you cover Alkaline Trio’s “Fatally Yours”… why that song?
Dan: Best band, and a song I figured I wouldn’t completely ruin. Hopefully I did it some justice.
PRT: Yotam, you went for the Jawbreaker song “I Love You So Much It’s Killing Us Both”… why that song?
Yotam: Jawbreakers album “Dear you” is and will always be on my top 5 list, such a life changing record. So, when I do the acoustic thing I like to add covers of songs that meant something to me with a new interpretation of it. So with this song, I went for a more stripped down Johnny Cash type of vibe. I did a session for “Punks in Vegas” of this song a while ago and Adam from Jawbreaker posted it, I met him. I also had a nice chat with Blake. So life has been pretty awesome with this tune by my side, I hope the guys are cool with that, haha.
PRT: What’s next for you guys? Any plans to tour together?
Dan: I’m working on a pretty exciting release for the end of the year. Stay tuned!
Yotam: My new album “California Sounds” is being released on October 30 through Hardline Entertainment and that day I start a European tour with my friend Mike Noegraf. From there I come back to Israel for 2 weeks, then head off to The Blasting room to record with Useless ID again. After that I do the US tour with plans of doing a One Week Record with Joey Cape so life is pretty exciting. I hope to come to Australia somewhere in that timeframe and tour with Dan, he gets to do so much cool shit.