Fort Collins band Yail blends science, sadness, sass with first EP

AJ Frankson

There comes a time for every basement jam band, perhaps in between screaming into the microphone and breaking a string for the 50th time, when someone looks up from their calloused fingers and says, “We should make an EP.”

Fort Collins band Yail had a similar moment back in May, when Colorado State University microbiology student Jackson Watkins brought his angsty rock tunes to drummer Nick Visocky. Together they created the five-song EP called “Lung Disease and Scarier Things.”

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“I feel like (the EP) came together too easily,” said Visocky, who is also a junior criminology student at CSU. “It was perfect. I wouldn’t change anything about it.”

Though Watkins and Visocky wrote, recorded, mixed and mastered the EP with nothing but raw creativity and expertise, the band has a third member, bass player Larson Ross, who joined shortly after the EP was recorded. Watkins said it was difficult to give himself credit for creating the band and the EP.

“I just came to Nick with my songs and poems and let him do what he wanted,” Watkins said. “Nick is an amazing drummer. They’re not super structured but I think they come together really well mostly because of Nick and Larson.”

It’s hard to disagree. Part of what makes the EP such a staple for any math rock playlist is the incredible versatility and precision of the drums in every song.

“I’m very particular when I play drums,” Visocky said. “Having Jackson come up to me and give me a lot of freedom with the songs is really cool because when it gets down to the really specific stuff, like pausing for one bar, that’s when it gets fun.”

You can find “Lung Disease and Scary Things” on all music streaming platforms.

The drums alone aren’t what give the album the iconic headbanging feeling that it delivers. Each song has a unique riff or lick that expertly blends math rock sounds and softer, indie beats. The variety of moods and consistent change of pace keeps you on your toes, but the steady drums will have you effortlessly headbanging. The music is accompanied by passionate lyrics, which adds an interesting scientific touch to the tunes.

“For this band, I’ll write music, and then write lyrics for the music based on a word that I like,” Watkins said. “Most of the words I used in this project were science words, so a lot of the songs are about science.”

It’s hard to find local bands these days with such a unique sound, but the combination of Visocky’s expertise on percussion, and Watkins’ passion for science and skill in creating perfect math rock riffs, means Yail is not just another band to overlook.

“The whole point of the band is to jump around and write songs that are easy to jump around to, and educate people about science.”

Though I can’t rightly say that they were completely successful, I will admit that I did jump while listening to this album. And I also might have gotten vaccinated shortly after.

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AJ Frankson can be reached at station@kcsu.com.