Interview: Five Minutes with YesYou
Australian electronic-soul duo YesYou’s distinctive nostalgia-drenched brand of electronic, RnB and soul-inspired music has made sure that this music project has gone from strength to strength since its inception. Having gained 10 million collective streams to date via streaming platforms including Soundcloud, Youtube and Spotify, YesYou have also been showcasing their versatility by collaborating and working closely with artists such as Jordan Rakei (Ninja Tune), Noah Slee (Majestic Casual), Michael Marshall (Timex Social Club) and Damon Trueitt (FKJ, Todd Edwards) among many others.
Influenced by a wide-range of artists from Moby to Pretty Lights, and Fatboy Slim to Maribou State – YesYou’s signature atmospheric, and texture-based brand of indie-pop inspired electronic-RnB swims in delicate timbre, rendering the duo reminiscent of acts such as Romare or Ross From Friends with their ability to mix indie-danceable gems and funk-laden rhythms alongside multifaceted vocal techniques. The duo have just released a mesmerising new single, ‘Everybody’s Got To Learn Sometime’, a unique cover of the hit that was written by The Korgis and later made famous by Beck’s cover of the track. This new single features vocals by UK musician OFEI, whose vocal timbre and delivery flawlessly merges with YesYou’s diverse electronic sound.
Listen to ‘Everybody’s Got To Learn Sometime’, by YesYou, below.
We caught up with YesYou and chatted about unique vocals, organic sounds and working with a minimal set-up.
Set the tone for us. Why the arts?
We’ve always enjoyed having an outlet for creativity, whether that be releasing our own music, or working on releases for artists we look after.
Which comes first when you’re producing – the sound or the idea?
The voice has always been at the centre of what we do. A sound can be recreated and copied but a voice is truly unique. Hearing someone like OFEI or Damon for the first time is what we’re constantly looking for.
What’s on your current playlist?
The new Maribou State record, Stro Elliot, a mixtape from an artist we look after called Blasko, a record out in a few weeks from Young Futura and still pumping Hare Squead‘s ‘Flowers’.
What techniques do you experiment with to get your original sound?
We’re pretty set in our ways when we sit down to work on YesYou stuff. We like to start with a vocal and after that we really do stick heavily on using organic sounds.
Take us through a day in the recording studio.
We aren’t in the studio anywhere near as we use to be but when we do we tend to start the day pretty early (9am). We play each other tracks we’ve been working on while getting stuck into a coffee. The next 30 minutes is spent choosing what to work on and then we’ll get working. We deconstruct the idea and take it back to the strongest part of what’s there and build around that.
We used to not eat so much while we work but these days we’re having a break and grabbing some food (usually Mexican). Ideally we’ve polished the idea by just after lunch and are ready to jump into the next demo. We definitely don’t obsess over finishing tracks like we used to. All the music has to do now is feel good and once we hit that point we’re pretty happy to let it be.
Was there a specific moment in your life where you thought, “this is what I want to do”?
Probably after our first single ‘Half Of It’ was added to JJJ. We’d never seen music as something we could pursue as a career before that point. It had always just been an outlet for us, seeing the reaction to something we’d made in our parents’ home was really cool.
What do you keep close by while you’re playing a set?
Any emerging artists on your radar?
We’re really excited about a few artists we’re working with. JANEVA is a Melbourne based writer and artist, she’s just come back from a writing trip in LA and some of the projects she’s working on are really exciting.
Blasko out of Melbourne and his next mixtape. He’s supported SG Lewis and Jhene Aiko already this year so he’s definitely someone to check out.
There’s also a rapper we’ve done a few tracks with out of Canada called TOBi. He’s truly an exciting artist who we think is going to do some great things in the next 12 months.
What gets your creative juices flowing?
A good voice more so than anything else…
Take us through your collection of gear, tech or software that accompanies your creative expression.
Our set up is really minimal, we find ourselves getting overwhelmed with too much gear to work with. We work in Logic, running Komplete 9, a stack of drums we’ve collected over the years. MPK 49 keyboard, Fender jazz bass & Fender guitar. Really nothing special.
Any side projects you’re working on?
We’ve been working on project called Cold Clinical Love on and off for the last few years. It’s been dormant for a while now but we’re looking to kick things off again. Outside of YesYou we have our management roster, vocal A&R project where we work directly with artists, labels and management companies to find the right vocal for their project and also A&R/project managing for Yunizon Records.
How have you refined your craft since you entered the industry?
We’ve become a lot more confident in our sound and a direction for the project. For us the craft hasn’t changed dramatically but our attitude to creating is totally new.
We treat it very differently than we did when we first started. We use to live and breathe it every hour, everyday. Everything that happened was a huge deal and it put us in a really bad place.
We found ourselves living from song to song and we started to create what we thought people wanted to hear. We’ve finally struck a much more comfortable relationship with YesYou, instead of it running our lives, it’s there when we want it to be.
Breakdown the news for us: what can we expect from you this year?
More music. We’ve just finished a weekend away writing for the next release with a producer from Melbourne called Julian Steel. There’s some really different stuff we’re currently clearing samples for, fingers crossed we can make a couple of those things work.