Jon Attwood grew up with the tail end of punk and post-punk of the early 80s, playing in a few London punk bands around 81-84 before moving to the suburbs. Following flirtations with goth, folk and Stax/Motown soul during the 90s, Jon Attwood started Yellow6 as a solo guitar project, initially inspired by space/post-rock, electronica and reverb soundscapes.
A debut single in 1998 on Enraptured started a flood of releases over the following decade, and in 2010 is approaching 80 releases on almost as many labels.
In the time since that debut single, Yellow6 has released 9 official albums, a further 20 cdr albums, and myriad singles, compilations and remixes (over 250 tracks totalling 30+ hours). Yellow6 material has appeared in film (American Nightmare, August Evening, 9732) and TV productions (Staying Lost, Wasted, Petrol Wars) and there have been over 60 live shows in Europe and North America since a debut in 2001.
One of the founders of Make Mine Music, Jon has launched the Editions6 imprint to issue future Yellow6 releases. The latest of these is CUT, a 70 minute album exploring minimalism and repetition, in addition to the themes of previous releases where elements of post-rock, ambient, drone and Americana meet in layers of guitar arpeggios and melodies.
Mastered by Mark Beazley (Rothko / Trace Recordings), Dave Collingwood (Yann Tiersen / Gravenhurst) is featured on drums on the song diagnosis (two).
CUT is also available as a strictly limited mail order version with a bonus 50 minute CD of alternate versions, mixes and demo recordings. This version is only available direct from www.yellow6.com , and in very limited quantities from Norman Records and White Noise.
With a foothold in several genres (post-rock, shoegaze, ambient) but not limited by any particular boundaries, Attwood has been a symbol of consistency since he released the first Yellow6 single in 1998. gentle shape-shifting misery, designed to edify and haunt in equal measure (Leonards Lair)
More ambient than post rock, Yellow6 draws comparisons to Labradford, Cocteau Twins, Durutti Column, Slowdive, Windy & Carl and Erik Satie, as opposed to the quiet/loud exponents; this is quiet/quiet, with an overall air of wistful melancholy (Resonant Recordings)
Post-rock without the rock (Unknown)
a truly independent artist at work outside the sphere of large or even medium label support, this is really lovely stuff (Almost Cool)
Raised on punk, Jon Attwood has given up high-tempo, high energy three-chord anger and given himself over to a slow-motion, instrumental dreamland. Heavily reverbed, beautifully distorted guitars gracefully ascend, swoon and dip, freefall towards the earth, then catch themselves again, slowly tracing a complex and epic trail. The background is minimally constructed, often consisting of little more than some programmed beats and perhaps a bit of feedback. These all-instrumental compositions quietly arouse emptiness, void and the likeness of being. (Arctic Circle).
Long after my first musical revelations of glam rock on Top of the Pops, and hearing the Sex Pistols at the age of 13 (my inspiration for starting to learn guitar), via the 80's anarcho-punk scene and my flirtations with early goth (influenced by Bauhaus, UK Decay), I heard Bark Psychosis from two routes in a short time... My neighbor, whose daughter knew Mark (Simnett-their drummer) played me a tape, describing them as “how a post-punk Pink Floyd SHOULD have sounded? and the arrival of a copy of their Manman EP at the radio station my friend worked at. Having left my last band I wasn't sure what to do next and was playing around with effects. BP got me interested in sounds rather than riffs and introduced a whole new way to play guitar. From here came experiments in drone guitar, cavernous reverbs and discovery of the still young world of Post Rock.
I was at that time relatively unaware of the shoegaze roots of post rock: Slowdive and Seefeel and Slint and Cocteau Twins (ok so I was a bit out of touch!), so followed my own path slowly discovering others along the way... Tortoise, FSA, Stars Of The Lid, Labradford, Mogwai... In time there was more structure, and music I thought worthy of sharing. Enraptured was the recipient of an early demo and offered to release what would become my debut single.
Fast forward 8 years and I'm at release number 50... after a number of albums, cdr’s, singles, many compilations, remixes, collaborations, gigs?more than I had ever imagined, expecting maybe a single or two at most.
So much has changed in the world and in music, but by some miracle I'm still here, making records and people are still buying them. Post Rock has become just another genre with it's own stereotypes (“quiet-loud ™? and "stars" on major labels.
Of course I like what I do-most of the time! I, like a lot of artists don't often listen to my own music. That others do is a constant surprise to me but always a nice one. I've taken a few chances - 20 minute songs, an album with vocals, remixes, cdr's... I still feel I have yet to do my best work which is why I keep going I guess... That, and an obsessive need to create. Just when I thought interest was waning, along come more offers for releases than I can write music for... So... Y? I know why I still do it... although I have wondered if maybe I still would if no-one wanted to listen any more?
I often find it amazing that bands I saw live 25 years ago at 2500 capacity venues (like Stiff Little Fingers for example) are now doing the pub circuit as they have for the last 15 years or so to small nostalgic audiences. How does a band carry on after that initial success, when half the audience only remembers them from hearing their first few singles on John Peel in 1978 and are reliving their fading youth for one more night. It’s not just them? Nine Below Zero, UK Subs, Peter and the Test Tube Babies?and all those who have re-formed to varying degrees of success (I recently saw Bauhaus who were far better than any expectation I had)?obviously the thrill of playing (and creating in some cases) just keeps them going it’s better than working!
So why do people still listen to Yellow6 - 8 years on? There is obviously something I can't determine that keeps both myself, and others, interested. I have never really felt part of any scene, or felt accepted in the way others have (some of the most interesting and influential magazines, the ones that I read, have ignored promo copies of releases over a number of years)... Maybe I just don't sell myself very well? Maybe even post-rock ’n' roll is a young persons game?
Having said all this, I'm not sure I would want the pressure of 'success' - at least I have absolute freedom to make and release the music I like, and have cd's sell enough for a small, but significant, profit - one that allows me to fund the next release. I guess people still have expectations of you as an artist, but I can certainly do without the patronism, and, ultimately, derision of those like the NME... the ‘popular press, who will champion and build up and artist, only to trample them in the dirt when a new favorite comes along (with increasing frequency the sell by dates are getting shorter all the time).
The thing is... I still lack confidence in what I do... I'm still in awe of so many musicians who I love so much. I don't understand how they make the wonderful music they do...Low, Rachel's, Sophia, Bark Psychosis, The Dead Texan, Brian McBride, Silver Mount Zion and countless others. I guess maybe others think the same of Yellow6 to some small degree? I'm not too sure how I write the music I do but, thankfully I can. I see creativity as both a blessing and a curse... There is no way I would want to be without it, but it is the source of frequent frustration. The times I pick up a guitar and can't find the notes, or I just find no inspiration... When it all sounds so dull... But it's all worthwhile when that spark appears from some unknown source.
Ok...so what am I saying here? I guess I'm just highlighting that it's not always easy and not all fun being a creative musician... But, even though I don't understand why people still buy my records I am incredibly grateful that they do allowing me to carry on doing what I love to do so much.
Maybe I won't make it to my 100th release but who can tell... I know of the next 5 so I'm not going away yet... So thanks for listening to all those that have... As long as you keep listening and I can still create I'll still be about!