Jeremy Williams-Chalmers, Arts Correspondent

Musical Motivation: Noah Villeneuve

Bristol based melancholic duo Yard Arms are building towards the release of their third EP. To tease the release they have revealed the emo-anthem Mantra, which they describe as a triumphant love letter to the anxious. We caught up with lyricist and vocalist Noah Villeneuve to find out what songs have influenced him, as we ask what songs make you...


The Cure - In Between Days

An extremely important band in my life, along with bands like The Smiths and Joy Division, I truly discovered what I would define as ’sadhappy’ cult acts that impacted my writing heavily during my teenage years. Hearing The Cure come on anytime, anywhere, makes me smile. I think this was one of the first tracks I’d heard by them, it was such an early understanding of that juxtaposition of happy music combined with morose lyrics like ‘yesterday I got so scared, I shivered like a child, yesterday away from you, it froze me deep inside’, just incredible work.


Sigur Rós - Von

Sigur Rós were an absolutely seminal band for me growing up and across their discography you can pretty much tap into any emotion you desire. I listened to them a lot whilst travelling, spending a lot of alone time soundtracked by the early records. I’m choosing Von as it’s one of their more cinematic and contemplative tracks; it’s a strong 10/10 for longingly staring out the window on the train on a rainy day, pretending you’re in a Charlie Kaufman movie.


Radiohead - Fake Plastic Trees

A song I associate pretty heavily with a particular bereavement in my teens, there’s a beautiful ambiguity to a lot of Thom Yorke’s songwriting which inspires me deeply as a writer.


Barenaked Ladies - If I Had $1,000,000

Being from Canada and spending every summertime of my childhood there, this is a bit of an anthem sing along in the car with the family. BNL were one of the first bands I ever caught live and I admire their impressive use of humour and tongue in cheek lyricism whilst still being able to engage with people’s hearts. There are certain lines in this tune that will never fail to make me raise a smile.

Want to work out

Marilyn Manson - The Beautiful People

Safe to say I’m not the biggest gym bunny, but I had a stint in my early teens where I was into long distance running and martial arts. What really got me going in those sessions was usually 90s/early 00s heavy rock/dance crossovers, lots of Prodigy, lots of Manson, Nine Inch Nails etc. I think this song is pretty exemplary of the energy behind those times.


R.E.M. - Imitation Of Life

The sound of R.E.M. is always such a throwback for me, it reminds me of my childhood, a time of musical naivety and discovery. As a young kid, trying to determine the meanings behind Stipe’s lyrics and the joy that their musical world gave to me is something I reminisce on with extremely fond memories.


Brian Eno - 1/1

If I’m in a wind down mode, I do often gravitate towards ambient / instrumental music, so it was difficult to narrow down to one track or artist. I chose Eno because he was kind of my gateway into the genre, it definitely wasn’t very cool to be playing Music For Airports at 16th birthday house parties, but that’s what I did. That album expanded my musical knowledge and understanding of experimental writing significantly.

Feel Determined

Fatboy Slim - Right Here, Right Now

I can’t quite pinpoint where the exact nostalgic memory was born from with this one, a culmination of this track being used a lot in sports television and movies when I was a kid I think. Fatboy always brings the hype.


Talking Heads - Once In A Lifetime

This song changed my perspective on bands that used guitars the first time I heard it, I’d never heard anything like it before. Everything was so exciting delving into Talking Heads' catalogue, they opened up my mind to how you can use such infectious rhythmic devices and partner them with extremely engaging, human, relatable lyrics.

Yard Arms Bandcamp