The much anticipated concert this Friday in Der Rathskeller includes the one and only Yellow Ostrich. With their recent release of Strange Land, we can only expect great musicians performing new and exciting tracks. Alex Schaaf, the singer-guitarist of Yellow Ostrich, spared a few minutes to talk about the new album, and beloved crowds. Originally from Wisconsin, Schaaf moved to Brooklyn and since then has seen much success within Yellow Ostrich. However, Brooklyn does lack one essential item that resides in Wisconsin– Spotted Cow Ale. So come out at 8:30 p.m. to Der Rath to see Yellow Ostrich’s show with Lower Dens, Grace Weber Band, and 1,2,3. Witness the “raw and aggressive” songs played with passion, and let’s get these guys a Spotted Cow!
Have there been any artists that have influenced Yellow Ostrich’s melodic style?
Neil Young, Velvet Underground, The Beatles, Talking Heads, Shania Twain, Bob Dylan.
What inspired you to make a head out of fur on your Strange Land album cover?
I really wanted some element of mask-wearing on the cover, and the ideal mask is one that doesn’t have any face, that’s just sort of a blank slate. So that one ended up working out perfectly. It’s my furvorite. Sorry.
Were there certain instruments that you guys wanted to emphasize more on this album?
Not specific instruments so much as a certain kind of feel and vibe. We wanted it to be really raw and aggressive and live, rather than quiet and “nice” and adorable. We wanted to take a sledgehammer to cuteness.
Since you have moved from Wisconsin to Brooklyn, and have had the chance to perform in Madison, do you notice a difference between Brooklyn crowds versus Madison crowds?
Well Madison crowds tend to be friendlier and more supportive. But that probably has to do with the fact that my parents and family are always at the Madison shows. Regardless, I always like the vibe of Madison shows. And the Spotted Cow. There’s no Spotted Cow at Brooklyn shows.
Are there certain songs that you enjoy performing live compared to others?
A lot of these new songs are really fun to perform live because they are so aggressive and raw, it’s a very effective way to release everything that’s been pent up throughout the day. It’s like emotional vomit, just cleansing your system of these feelings by just ripping them out through the guitar. But in a more melodic and harmonious way than actual vomit.
Anyone that I’ve talked to that has seen Yellow Ostrich live here in Madison just loves your music, what can we expect from this concert here Friday night?
It should be good, we’re going to play a lot of these new songs and a couple of our older jams as well. We have our own little lighting setup for our current tour, so that’s been something new and interesting. Also, there will be Spotted Cow. I specifically demanded it in our contract.