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Yeo on Pharrell, Keith Urban and Koopa Troopa

Written By Sam Murphy on 06/20/2014

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Melbourne producer/songwriter, Yeo, has been kicking around on the scene for a while. Since the release of his first single, Girl, off his forthcoming EP, Come Find Me, his audience has boomed. His second single, Kobe has continued that streak, amassing almost 50,000 plays on Soundcloud and delivering a video directed by MOOP JAW.

We spoke to Yeo midway through his Kobe single tour, a show that brings together his diverse, RnB styles with an all-encompassing visual experience.

How’d the first show go?

Ah it was insane. It was crazy. So unexpectedly awesome.

Has the liveshow changed since you started?

It has. New members is one of them. But we’ve condensed the show down to a two piece, added visuals and also just recently we’ve started piping the set up so there’s not big spaces between songs and making it a real show. Making it an engaging experience more so than just a bunch of dudes on stage playing music.

Are people responding well to new material?

Four or five of the songs in our set haven’t been put out yet. Majority of it is from older albums but there is a big chunk that is new and people don’t seem to notice. Or if I do mention accidentally on stage that we are playing a new song, they get excited. It’s pretty cool.

QQ_Yeo_1I suppose you’re at that enviable point in your career where people respond well to new songs rather than going for a bar break.

Nahh. That happens. I feel sorry for bands that have to put up with that.

When you were writing and producing the songs for Come Find Me did you feel like you were onto something with Kobe?

I didn’t. Kobe is the one that is the most poppy and catchiest but I don’t necessarily like it the best. I think Girl is really interesting and then the other two are really quite catchy. It’s hard to explain. I didn’t get the feeling at the time. I liked it but I didn’t think this is the single.

Do you find Come Find Me is quite eclectic or is there a common thread that runs through it?

For me personally there is always a common thread. To everyone else I think they listen to what I do and think every song sounds different. I can see that too. A lot of things are different from song to song but where they come from, say my heart or the feelings that I have, they are all from the same place.

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Have you had a common influence since you started recording?

The influences definitely change all the time for me. I think a lot of the feeling, it makes sense when you put them in chronological order. When it comes to something like grief it’s followed by shock, followed by anger, followed by you know repairing yourself and then eventually happiness. It all makes sense in terms of that kind of thing. Talking external influences, I listen to a lot of different kinds of music, I read a lot of different books and I watch a lot of different movies.

Do you think inspiration comes from finding new instruments and new sounds?

Yeah definitely, everything I do is to not have a plan. I lock myself in a shed and play around with all the different musical toys I have. A lot of the time songs just form themselves.

Do you pull inspiration from obscure things like Nintendo?

I used to play video games a lot when I was young. I don’t keep up with the gaming trends these days but I still enjoy video games in general. But yeah It does come from obscure things. Anything from video games to the way the light reflects of a river. Sorry to sound wanky but that’s one of the things. Or how could it is in Melbourne in Winter when you wake up sometimes. Whatever.

I read that you have another EP ready for release after Come Find Me, is that still happening and is it a different kind of sound?

It’s probably a very natural progression from Come Find Me. Come Find Me has a lot of space, and dimension to it. The next one is a tighter, groove-based thing, possibly with a bit more emotion. Because the space has been taken away, it’s a little bit more confronting.

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Do you have an album in the works?

I would love to do an album but I don’t think that I have the attention span nor does my audience. We’ll see. One day I would love to. A big concept one with massive story-lines and songs that run into eachother.

It sounds to me as if the visual output is just as important as the audible output for you. Is that true?

Recently it’s become that way. I think to standout from other musicians and acts you’ve really got to focus on the experience as a whole and realise that people need more than just their ears to be stimulated these days.

How’d the collaboration come up with MOOP JAW for the Kobe video?

Well my manager is actually really good friends with the director and the writer of the clip. He heard the song and he liked it so he said yes.

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Are you happy with the clip?

I’m so stoked, I’m really proud of the clip. It took a long time to come out because there were some details we had to work out. But when it came out everybody said to me it’s beautiful. And I was like, “yeah, I’m glad it came across that way”. That’s all we wanted to do. Make it a work that both Rhett and I were happy with.

How do you go about incorporating the visual into your live show?

We just have a projector and we turn the lights down so you can see the projector. That’s what a lot of bands do wrongly these days. They leave the lights up and you can barely see anything. It’s all about making the crowd feel less self-conscious and giving them something to focus on other than people.

Was there an artists that influenced you early on to be a musician?

Not particularly. There have been a few key artists in my life that have made me or inspired me. Mostly my peers, seeing what they do and how things can be done push me along. Pharrell was a big influence back when I was starting out. It was like, hey he’s just one guy with these ideas and he’s just putting them on record. It’s hard to nail down influences because there’s so many and they’re always changing.

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Do you feel it’s a good time to be a self-made electronic artist?

Ahh. What it does is if there’s a lot of competition around, you just get better at what you do. You work hard. Sometimes, it’s a little bit disheartening when you see these young kids who have produced one song in their bedroom shoot to superstardom whereas there’s guys like me have been kicking it for nine years. But it’s all about the follow-up. If they do a track after that that’s just as good, I’ll shut the hell up because that’s rad.

Do you feel like taking a while is a good thing?

I definitely feel that. My character is very densely built now that I’ve been gigging around for so long. And I don’t get phased by flashy offers or big city lights. I know what I’m good at, I know what I’m not good at and I know what I need to get better at.

Kobe Single Tour:

FRI 6 JUNE – NORTHCOTE SOCIAL CLUB, MELBOURNE

SAT 14 JUNE – THE CAUSEWAY, PERTH

SAT 14 JUNE – LOST SOCIETY BAR, PERTH (DJ SET)

SUN 15 JUNE – INDI BAR, SCARBOROUGH

FRI 20 JUNE – UPSTAIRS BERESFORD, SYDNEY

SAT 21 JUNE – THE ARMIDALE CLUB, ARMIDALE

FRI 27 JUNE – ALHAMBRA, BRISBANE

SAT 28 JUNE – SOL BAR, MAROOCHYDORE

FRI 4 JULY – CATS @ ROCKET BAR, ADELAIDE

SAT 5 JULY – TRANSIT BAR, CANBERRA

THU 17 JULY – SCU UNI BAR, LISMORE

FRI 18 JULY – BEACH HOTEL, BYRON BAY