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Meet YaM: The Screwball Trio Who Are Out To Change The Future of Film

We sat down to speak exclusively with YaM about the need for a revolution in comedy film-making.

13th Jan 2017

With the release of their long anticipated content website, the founders of YaM sit down to speak exclusively to Eloka Agu about the need for a revolution in comedy film-making.

We first heard rumblings about the activities of YaM (Yahtzee & McGee) in the summer of 2016. The art and comedy creative collective, comprised of Horatio Gould (HG), Andrew Kiran (AK) and the Keakie Breakdown's Alfie Green (AG), had produced a series of absurdist music videos that had been doing the rounds across a number of university groups. Shortly after that, we then came across their energetic radio show, The Gould and Kirwan show. Their brash nature and ‘in your face’ form of screwball comedy is challenging, engaging and wildly entertaining. To coincide with the launch of their main content hub, we caught up with the young men behind the art to discuss their motivations for creating the collective, to gain some insights on wider trends in the filmmaking industry, and to get an exclusive look at their new content hub: yamavfc.com

Keakie: So what was the motivation behind YaM?

HG: Well, we realised that we were doing a lot of different creative things ourselves. We had radio, film and music and it was all a little messy. So we said, why don’t we bring all of the creative things we do into one place, and ended up creating a purposely ludicrous thing called the Yahtzee McGee Audio-Visual Farming Collective. It houses our film, music, clothing, radio show, and now a fully developed website.

We wanted to make a creative website that was an experience in itself. One that showcased all of our work. Comedy is our focus, but we also love incredible art. We love talented comedians and amazing filmmakers, and we don’t think they cross over often enough. The only people who I can personally think of that are respected both as great filmmakers and as masters of comedy are the likes of Woody Allen and Wes Anderson. We want to build something similar, but for the new internet generation.

Keakie: You don’t think there is anything like this on for instance, YouTube right now?

HG: YouTube had such incredible potential. When it was young, people thought it had the power to completely revolutionise the way we live and think creatively. In many ways, it hasn’t fulfilled that potential. The people who get the majority of the views on the platform are vloggers who spend most of their time telling you about their life. I think it’s cool the way that YouTube has evolved a kind of ‘personality as art’ trend, but I think it’s abused. There just isn’t enough integrity in internet art at the moment. There is so much clickbait out there. I would like to think that we’re trying to bring back some sort of artistic integrity to the internet. Though we want it to be popular, our focus is on sticking to what we like. It’s less about conforming to accepted standards and more about expressing ourselves, creating our own lane and showcasing it to the world.

I remember Ricky Gervais and Steven Merchant were once asked about why they made ‘The Office’, and they said that they basically just made something that they really wanted to see. They reasoned that there were bound to be lots of people who thought like them, and so they did not set it up for what they thought people would like. Instead they created what they liked and attracted like-minded people. We want to do the same, and we’ll probably attract younger people who are into weirder things. We’re definitely on the avant garde side.

AG: Above all else, we are filmmakers.

We love other things like music and comedy, but the dream is that YaM will become the first internet sensation group that is based in film rather than music. It makes sense looking at history. Since the advent of the internet, music has become increasingly democratised - and the same thing is happening to film. As the cost of film equipment continues to fall, the distribution of content is more or less free. Soon we’ll see a whole wave of film collectives springing up. We believe we’ll be the first to do it. Think about it, we are all 19 / 20 years old, and yet we’ve built a website, films, musical productions and more - all with very basic tools. We’ve built this whole thing on our laptops. Anyone can do it as long as they put their mind to it.

Keakie: Who are your biggest inspirations?

AG: We are very inspired by Hip Hop. Hip Hop is in many ways the new Punk, the new Grunge, the new Rock and Roll. It’s one of the biggest parts of youth culture right now. I guess the first innovators of this were Odd Future (The US Hip Hop collective featuring the likes of Tyler The Creator, Earl Sweatshirt, Frank Ocean, Syd and Domo Genesis). Though we are much more film focused, we found that what they have done is what we want to be like. There is a forceful honesty to their work. If you ever see someone ask Tyler, The Creator why he’s made a creative decision, he’ll just reply “because it’s dope”. That disinterest in justifying his creative choices just to seem normal is powerful.

HG: I feel that what we want to do in film was represented by Frank Ocean’s Blonde album. It was so experimental, yet it was also able to be accepted by a mainstream audience. You don’t get that often in film. You don’t often get films that are interesting and weird, but are also commercially successful. Kanye’s Life of Pablo did that for music. It completely captured the weirdness of 2016; the paranoia of it all. Yet it was accessible to such a wide range of people.

AG: We want to push the industry to the point where we can make a ‘The Life of Pablo’ through the medium of film, and have it be as successful as the Life of Pablo album was musically. That is not the case at the moment. If someone did things as weird and brash in film as Kanye West does with music, and got a lot of coverage - we could say that film content is being democratised. We are all massive fans of Kanye because his art strikes a balance between the mainstream audience who loves Stronger, loves Power, but he also brings amazing, primal things into his music. The most awesome stuff is primal, and film is able to do that too. Kanye is a huge inspiration because what he and Odd Future have done.

Keakie: What do we have to look forward to post launch?

HG: We have a lot of content on the site. There are a fair amount of videos, a lot of blogs, and we will post fresh content every couple of days. From then on we will be building content over time. So go ahead and explore the site, we’ve made it for people to enjoy.

AK: An example of one our blogs is ‘Fleece Watch’ - it is a blog analysing the latest and best fleeces on the market. There are pieces like ‘Fleece of the Week’, analysing the use and abuse of fleeces in mainstream culture. We’ve even done a few exposé pieces about people who label something as a fleece, but it isn’t a fleece. So not only are we comedians and artists, but we are also investigative journalists that are trying to stop the radical, sordid abuse of fleeces.

That was YaM, a creative collective that is willing to represent itself and run completely against the grain. In our opinion, their artistic integrity is commendable and we are sure that this is not the last we will hear from them. Be the first to see what they have in store by checking out yamavfc.com.

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