YONAKA - Going Through The Emotions - The Mind Map
By Conor Giblin

YONAKA – Going Through The Emotions

“I personally love running. It does amazing things for my brain, I feel clear and great after a run”

Published 24/04/2018
YONAKA are earning a reputation for themselves due to their epic live shows filled with ‘dark pop’, epic guitar riffs and Theresa’s fiery vocal delivery.

In the last four months, they’ve supported the likes of Andrew W.K, Don Broco and The Courteeners, so they are certainly ones-to-watch in 2018. We chatted to Theresa about cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), the importance of maintaining a healthy diet, their upcoming new material and much more…

Hey Yonaka, what are you up to at the moment?
Hey! Theresa here, and I’m currently sitting in the van travelling to Glasgow for the last show of our tour with Andrew W.K. We have just got our next single finished, so we’re working on everything around the release of that at the moment. We’re also playing loads of shows and doing loads of writing.

Your track ‘Wouldn’t Wanna Be Ya’ promotes the message of not giving a fuck and not listening to wannabes or people standing in your way. Is your music a way of you letting that frustration out? Does it help you to get over those feelings?
Yeah it’s definitely a great way to release emotions and feelings, and hopefully it’s able to connect with people and be a release for them too. I feel so lucky to have this platform and have a way of getting this stuff out, it helps a lot.

Singing and performing definitely releases tension for me, but I wouldn’t say it cures it completely. I want people to feel empowered when listening to these tracks.

Is it satisfying to be able to call someone out in a song? For them to listen to it and know that it’s about them, but without directly saying anything to their face…
I don’t think so really, I feel like they shouldn’t have the honour of being called out or having a song about them. This is something I have to say and get off my chest, so when calling people out, I do it more for myself.

Your unreleased track ‘Fucking With The Boss’ also seems to be pretty empowering and it’s been going down well in your live sets, people are really eager to hear the studio version. What was the inspiration behind that song?
I love this song so much and playing it live just feels so good (it’s my favourite to play). The studio version is now ready and will be out soon!

The inspiration/meaning behind this song was that I was getting tired of being told ‘NO’ or ‘YOU CAN’T DO THIS’ or being made to feel like I was rude or sassy because I knew what I wanted/liked. It’s basically a big ‘FUCK YOU’ to anyone who has made me feel small or tried to get in my way of where I want to be and what I believe in.

I feel like women’s voices still get put down in groups of men and it just needs to change.

What has been your biggest life challenge and what did you do to overcome it?
There’s been a few things but I’d say it’s probably the onset of anxiety that first started about 16 months ago. It makes you feel out of control, and it’s hard to keep at bay and learn to deal with.

I have good and bad days. I use diets, exercise and CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) to help me keep on top of it.

How important has music been to your mental health?
Extremely important, I think I would be lost without it. Music is such a release for me, whether that be the writing or playing live. I need it! It’s what I was meant to do and is such an amazing platform to express myself. I still get quite agitated in the studio but I’m getting better. I don’t like being in one place for too long and I end up getting cabin fever, which can sometimes put me on a bit of a downward spiral.

What would constitute a ‘perfect’ day for you?
Waking up on a beautiful beach, clear blue water, not many people around, with my friends, family and my boyfriend, feeling happy and enjoying life.

For what in your life do you feel most grateful?
Love, family and friends.

Complete this sentence: “Ace mental health for me means…”
Feeling calm, a clear mind and a good sleep.

Who was your best friend at school? What was the funniest thing they did?
My best friend in school was a girl called Carly, we also lived opposite each other so we used to write notes to each other from our windows.

The funniest thing we ever did was probably when we made a dance video to Girlfriend by Avril Lavigne. Watching it back we were these totally stiff, awful dancers but we laughed so much afterwards, so it was all good.

What advice do you offer to friends when they are feeling overwhelmed?
I think just take a moment to breath and think about nothing just for 10 minutes. Drink some water and then write out what you need to do and why you feel overwhelmed and work it out one thing at a time.

What three songs lift your spirits?
There’s quite a few! But here’s the first three off the top of my head:

Ain’t No Mountain High Enough – Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell

Get Free – Major Lazor ft. Amber of the Dirty Projectors

Something Stupid – Frank & Nancy Sinatra

Do you have any routines that help you through stressful situations, such as right before a live performance?
I do some breathing exercises, I pray and I’ll do some form of quick exercise to get my heart rate up… this way I feel like I’ve taken control of my heartrate because I purposely made it go up!

What do you eat to stay healthy?
I think what food you eat is so important and we have so much info on what’s good and bad that it’s silly not to listen to it. It effects my mood, my anxiety and just how good or bad I feel.

I don’t eat meat and I try to stay away from bread and pasta and stuff that’s just not good for you but fills you up. I try to eat lots of veg, fruit, salad and occasionally fish. When I’m at home, it’s easier to eat well as I can cook, but on the road I find it quite hard.

Do you have a daily routine of exercise or do you make it up as you go along?
I personally love running. It does amazing things for my brain, I feel clear and great after a run. When I’m at home I will run across the beach, and when on the road I’ll use the gym and pool if I can find one.

I find yoga really good as well. When I don’t exercise it really shows in my mood, my patience and my anxiety.