YAKO Talks Taking on Forest, International Success, Future Releases and More [interview]
Chinese Artist YAKO has come a long way since he was just a kid growing up in Hong Kong, inevitably drawn to music from various influences. With massive festivals like Creamfields, EDC LV and more under his belt, we were lucky to snag a few minutes with this soon-to-be international hit to discuss his debut Electric Forest, differences between music culture across the world, works in progress and more.
This is your first time at Electric Forest?
And you are originally from China, but now reside in LA?
Y: Yes, from Hong Kong specifically.
Let’s talk about your alias a bit, is YAKO a Chinese word?
Y: It’s actually Japanese, and it means fox.
What does that mean to you, as far as being an artist goes?
Y: First of all, it’s kind of funny because I have a puppy and she looks exactly like a fox. But my management was asking me about new names, because I was producing under a different name before, and as I was trying to create a new one we were thinking about animal types. So that’s when fox came to mind, because it’s sort of my spirit animal. So, my friend who speaks Japanese mentioned it, it fit. The music style that I make it more of a dark vibe with weird instruments with an international feel, and I use a lot of Chinese instruments that a lot of people might not know about.
How did growing up in Hong Kong influence your sound?
Y: Before I became a producer, I was actually playing in a metal band. I was doing vocals and also programming, kind of mixing and matching. I was also doing some synthesizer stuff and sounds with guitars, bass, drums, maybe the keyboard.
So that’s where you attribute your dark sound to?
Y: It was a pretty emo vibe.
In general, is there anyone that you could point out that you’d like to go b2b with?
Y: I have a song coming out soon with Yultron, and we’re both Asian, so I would love to have a set with him. We have a slightly similar sound. Also, I really like RL Grime.
So you played Creamfields, which is obviously a massive international festival. How was that?
Y: It was insane. I’ve been to Europe, America, played huge events in Asia, but this was just a totally different vibe. Here in America, people come to the festivals for music. In Europe, not to be offensive, but they just want to have extreme amounts of fun. I’ve played in the Netherlands, in Germany, but at Creamfields they love crazy music like hardstyle and such. In Germany, I did one of my favorite shows ever in this club called Bootshaus, and the vibe is so intense because everyone is watching you,but no matter what you drop they lose it, so it made it really fun. But Creamfields was huge for me.
Whenever you aren’t producing, what do you enjoy doing in terms of hobbies or free time?
Y: I like to hang out with my dog haha, and sometimes play video games.
In a lot of your remixes on SoundCloud and beyond, you’ve edited a lot of slowed melodic stuff, but your original productions are more ominous. How do you draw inspiration to edit different sounds?
Y: I like messing with new sounds, and I will just play around with the keyboard until something comes out basically. Whenever I was in a band, it was much different than making sounds as a producer. You kind of just jam and freestyle sometimes and something good can come out.
As far as touring lately goes, where have you been lately that has had a profound impression on you?
EDC Las Vegas?
Y: Yeah, I know they’re everywhere, but that is the one. You have to go! It is one of my favorite festivals.
Do you have any tracks or projects coming out in the near future aside from the track with Yultron?
Y: So I have that one coming out, but I have over 20 songs ready,we’re just waiting for the right moment.