The yo-yo Contingency
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The yo-yo Contingency

Seattle, Washington, United States

Seattle, Washington, United States
Band Alternative Folk


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When and how did you meet and form?

Neil: "We met in college about 7 or 8 years ago..."

Jack: "...and first started working together as disc jockeys on the radio."

Neil: "Not too long after that, we formed as Freak Monkey..."

Jack: "...which was an extremely powerful force, at least to me. However silly we got, we always did something new and awesome for the next performance. And what I think is most important, even now is, that we allowed ourselves to branch out. Began to put in use instruments that supposedly take forever to learn."

Neil: "After college, I moved to Chicago..."

Jack: "...which sucked, cause I still had to finish school, or I was still in school."

Neil: "At some point, Jack showed up and ended up sleeping in my apartment, on the floor, for a few weeks. During that time, we recorded the Box of Love EP. From them on, we called ourselves the yo-yo Contingency."

What effect has releasing your music without a record label had on you as a musical duo?

Neil: "Uhhh... I'm not exactly sure, since we've never had a label..."

Jack: "...or even any money."

Neil: "We've been working like rabbits so everything is sort of a blur."

Jack: "Well, it does make for a lot of talks on the porch and in the car about where we are now and where we want to go. And at times, we have to be each others' worst enemy which weighs heavily on the friendship."

Do you follow a specific process in the writing and recording of your music?

Neil: "I can't really speak for Jack, but my methods really vary. What seems to work best for me is drinking lots and lots of Gatorade and Red Stripe and smoking too much."

Jack: "Yeah, I like the green tea, it soothes the throat."

Neil: "We also seem to write and/or record in extremely cramped, sometimes damp and smelly, spaces..."

Jack: "...from like ten o'clock at night, to six in the morning."

Neil: "I'm not sure if that's because it breeds creativity or simply because we're broke."

What advantages does playing in a duo present for you over playing in a larger group?

Jack: "Well, it allows us, to be apart of the whole process."

Neil: "And we also don't really like many people."

When do you plan on finishing and releasing [Backed by a Toy Army]?

Neil: "The recording process is complete and we already have the engineer and printer set up. We're just trying to raise and/or find some funding. I'm a regular at the plasma donation center in Seattle."

Do you have any plans in the future for releasing comic books in which the two of you are characters, or was "The Cask of Amantillado" a one-off effort?

Neil: "Yeah. Right now, Jack and I are working on a comic about giant, pink bunnies."

There is word of a "substantial" tour following the release of your next album. Do you have any specific plans regarding it?

Neil: "We'll be hitting the road this spring and are currently talking with some bands, that you've most likely heard of, to partner-up on some shows."

Jack: "I just can't wait to play and have campfires."

Neil: "I'm also working on building a rocketship that's big enough to hold the two of us, plus all of our equipment."

You appear to be growing exponentially in terms of your coverage --what are your thoughts on this?

Jack: "Wow, what a compliment. Thank you. -For anyone who doesn't know, 'exponentially' means:

setting forth; explaining; expounding; interpreting. 1. a person who sets forth, expounds, or interprets (principles, methods, etc.). 2. a person or thing that is an example or symbol (of something). 3. in algebra, a small figure or symbol placed above and at the right of another figure or symbol to show how many times the latter is to be multiplied by itself.

Jack: "How perfect is that?"

Neil: "Yes. Jack is a very big fan of his big red dictionary. And my thoughts, I guess, are simply that I like it very much. Growth is good." -


Backed by a Toy Army [June 2006]
Backed by a Toy Army LOFI Sampler [November 2006]
Box of Love [January 2004]



"This is some freaky shit - and I'm into it."

Comprised of Neil Campau and Jack Sprauer, of Seattle and Detroit, respectively, the yo-yo Contingency is a self-sufficient duo of multi-talented, multi-tasking musicians. The artists function simultaneously as composers, lyricists, performers, sound and visual directors, and entrepreneurs, compiling many years of classical and professional musical training within vocals, guitar, ukulele, keyboard, percussion, set, and hand drums. Additionally, each contribute to the band's collective sound as musical instrument aficionados, often experimenting with children's toys, world and cultural traditions, and the often overlooked wealth of sound obtainable through kitchen utensils.

Ultimately, every aspect of the yo-yo Contingency's music is considered a shared project between the two members. Roles and responsibilities are often traded and manipulated, making their live performances a veritable circus of instruments, video, and sound.

Although forming an accurate description of the yo-yo Contingency's music is a seemingly futile mission, a number of Garageband Records' fans have given it their best shot, with often unusual outcomes:

"...older Beck meets Ween..."
"...Radiohead meets the Doors..."
"Sounds like David Bromberg on acid."

In other words, it's a difficult hole to peg. The yo-yo Contingency could be best described as alternative pop: dork-rock substance added to folk-rock essence and pop-rock naiveté. A closer listen provides subtle insight into the band's influences-the melodic simplicity of The Eels; the dramatic ingenuity of They Might Be Giants; the lush textures of The Flaming Lips; and the earnest sincerity of Fountains of Wayne. The infiltration of these elements are indirectly apparent, lending to a sound that is at once familiar and distinct.

"Wonderfully unhinged, coldly brutal, funny, shockingly graphic . . . "