Indie-pop quartet Yes You Are is KC's latest music sensation.
Fans of early-2000s Midwest indie pop will instantly recognize Kianna Alarid as the former bass guitarist and singer of the force that once was Tilly and the Wall. Now raven-tressed, the Omaha, Neb., native is back, bewitching crowds with her sultry vocals as the frontwoman of up-and-coming band Yes You Are.
Self-described black pop band (a play on black metal band), Yes You Are formed in 2012 after Alarid and rhythm guitarist Jared White met through a friend on Facebook. The duo began swapping ideas and lyrics, and their exchange, as Alarid recalls it, was explosive and life-changing. The rest of the band lineup includes Jacob Temeyer (guitar/keyboard), Willie Jordan (bass) and Joseph Wilner (drums).
Alarid and White serve as the outfit’s co-songwriters. Their writing process can be described as a true collaboration, combining Alarid’s bubbly ‘80s-pop-to-present vibes with White’s brooding folk and blues background to create a sound that is both infectious and familiar, yet new.
“What we’re trying to do is cause a nostalgia that makes you feel like you’ve heard something before, but you know you haven’t,” she explains. “That’s one of the magical ways that things make me feel. You can’t put your finger on it. It almost bothers you.”
Lately, the quintet has been gaining popularity with its supernatural carpe diem earworm of a song “HGX,” which is as ubiquitous as a KC pride T-shirt. A selection from Yes You Are’s EP A Dream, the anthem to doing what feels right has been heard on the summer blockbuster Bad Moms, MTV’s Tyrant, the Oscars and a Pepsi MAX commercial.
“So I’m doing our taxes the day of the Super Bowl with the TV on, watching all the pre-game commercials, and I hear our song, and I’m like, ‘what?’” she recalls. “That’s how crazy it was. We had no idea. We had hopes that it would debut in America, and the first time America sees it is during the most-watched TV day of the year.”
Currently, the band is putting the finishing touches on their debut album, an effort Alarid says has been three years in the making. And that’s not because they don’t like anything they’re creating — it’s because every word and every note is intentional. One of the songs to be featured on the 10-track album is the song “Titan,” which was the first song White shared with Alarid during the band’s early days. She credits the song as saving her life when other musical opportunities didn’t pan out.
“It’s one of those things that when you put it on, you put it on on purpose to pump yourself up. I was in a low place … I know it sounds really crazy, but it saved my life in a way. It’s probably one of the best songs we’ve ever done,” Alarid says. “It’s going to be crazy. It’s relentless, pumps you up. I want to end up on the Olympics. We have a lot of big dreams.”
Catch Yes You Are at Buzz Beach Ball on Sept. 8 and 9, and at Kauffman Stadium on Sept. 27. To learn more about the band, visit weareyesyouare.com