While he was at Greenville College in Illinois, Yorba Linda-native Jake McMullen was honing his craft not as a singer, but as a pitcher. As much as he enjoyed striking out batters, McMullen had to put down his glove due to arm trouble and turned his attention to his true love: songwriting. While the connection between athletes and musicians has been long documented, McMullen has taken it to a different level. Performing first under his own name, the singer/songwriter is now part of York, who will be playing on Saturday night at Detroit Bar. The band's indie folk sound has caught on locally and ahead of the show, we caught up with the singer, who just got back from Nashville, to find out about all things York, including the meaning behind their name, which may not be as simple as it seems.
OC Weekly (Daniel Kohn): What's going on with the band?
Jake McMullen: After touring over the summer, we're starting to realize what our goals are and what we want to do. At the end of this month and early December, we're going to start pursuing them, which is to make this a full-time career for us.
What went into making the new record? What was the songwriting process like?
I wrote the basic structure of the song and the general idea for the lyrics while I was out in Illinois and I recorded the demos and sent them to the band to see what they thought. When I came back for Christmas break, we took one week before going into the studio to finalize and confirm what we wanted to do. The following week we went into record and did the whole thing in one week. We were in there for 12-14 hours per day. We were really happy with the way it turned out.
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Why did you decide to use York as the band name as opposed to your own name, which was used on the first EP?
We decided to change the name because it was a lot more of a collective effort now. It wasn't just me, which it was before, and now we're a complete band. We started writing songs and putting in things that we were all influenced by. York for us is something that we believe in, and symbolizes the music that we enjoy and that people can enjoy as well.
What is the meaning of the band's name?
It was our drummer's sister's friend's dog's name. We liked the sound of it so it stuck.
How is the rest of 2012 shaping up for you guys?
In December, we'll be playing some more local shows. We have some stuff coming up that we're going to announce and we just confirmed a House of Blues show with Devious Means. It should be good. In January, we're booking some stuff in the Santa Cruz area, San Francisco and we're going to play up and down the coast for weekends and stuff like that. We won't be venturing out on the road too far until March when we're looking to go to South-by-Southwest.
Daniel Kohn is a writer based in Southern California. With bylines in an assortment of outlets, Kohn primarily specializes in music with other interests ranging from sports to food. As a transplant, Kohn loves the beautiful weather and is glad he no longer has to deal with brutal winters. If you see him, say hi and of course, he’s always willing to down a beer or two…if you’re paying.