Yeo Interview - Collaboration and Good Times
Recently we had a chance to chat to Melbourne musician and creative director Yeo. You've probably heard his name being thrown around a bit, probably because he's a massive fan of collaborating! We had a bit of a chat to the lovely lad from Melbourne about his recent collaboration with pop Goddess Asta, and his life a muso.
Futuremag Music: Congratulations on the release of Never Wanted That, it’s a cracker of a track! What was the inspiration behind it and the intriguing cover art?
Yeo: Cheers! It's a helluva lot of fun to write about douchebags, especially when you and your collaborator are huge Rihanna fans. Riri knows how to drag someone better than most and still stay classy, so we used her as a strong reference. The cover art was made by my good friend Ruwan De Silva. He's recently been getting into his own style of visual art while listening to music, and it conveys a lot of delicate sensitivity, which matches NWT's subtext if you imagine the lyrics as a dialogue between two characters.
Futuremag Music: There’s a beautiful balance between your elements and Asta's in this track, how much input did she have in the writing and production of the single?
Yeo: I was mucking around in the shed by myself as usual, playing with some random guitar picking and dancehall rhythms and it naturally turned into this warm track that felt like a hug. I wanted it to be a duet because you can't hug yourself. When I sent it to Asta, we workshopped lyrics back and forth via email before I flew her down to record the final takes. During the recording process, she improvised half of the bridge and the outro. After listening back, I decided to keep almost everything. It turned out to be such a great signature of hers. It was then mixed by Andrei Maberley, who really brought it to life by paying meticulous attention to our vocals and the references we provided.
Futuremag Music: You clearly find a huge value in collaboration in your music, especially with the wonderful Asta! Can we expect any more collaborations for your upcoming album release?
Yeo: Yes. There are 4 more collaborative singles coming, all with good pals that I humbly respect, plus a very old friend of mine jumped in to co-produce a track. We're drip-feeding all the singles (a couple of solo tracks included) in the lead-up to the album release in August. SO MUCH CONTENT.
Futuremag Music: It seems you’re always working on multiple different projects at once, including lending your vocals and production to other artists. How do you find the whole process different when you’re making music for someone else other than your own project?
Yeo: I'm a pretty selfish collaborator in some ways. I find it hard to understand how fussy most artists get when I'm working on a song for them. Or how when I throw something on the table that I think suits them and is awesome, they immediately dislike it. It happens all the time, and it's totally a natural part of collaborating. Everybody's different, and I'm still learning to get used to it. When I'm working on my own music, I make decisions easily, commit to my choices and hardly ever regret it, probably because to me it's all part of a much bigger journey. Apart from poor Andrei who gets hammered by my mixing notes, I've allowed the feature artists on my album to do almost whatever they want. It's a very democratic record because I respect the people I chose to work with.
Futuremag Music: You started putting your music onto the brilliant triplejunearthed.com years ago, and you still do now! What is it about that platform that you think is so important and keeps you coming back even now that you’ve made a name for yourself in the Australian music industry?
Yeo: The Unearthed team have supported me from day one, seemingly almost independent of the main branch, and I respect that. That platform is the only way Zan Rowe would've found my first song back in 2006. Since then, it has grown into a great national community, and my loyalty and belief in the value it has for emerging artists and radio personnel continues because I don't want to stop being a part of it.
Futuremag Music: What is the next 6 months looking like for you? Will we be getting any chances to see you live or be hearing any bigger bodies of work from you?
Yeo: We have a national tour planned for September. The album drops in August. A bounty of singles from it will be drip-fed between now and August. I'm pressing fucking vinyl, making new long-sleeve shirts, and we're doing our own renegade PR campaign. I don't even care, we're just doing it our way because Aussie PR gives us a lot of closed doors. There may be a remix or two that I've done for others in the meantime. Until tour, my team and I will be in the woodshed sharpening up... and working day jobs because touring causes a haemorrhaging wallet.