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DHA Interview – October 2017

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INTERVIEW: YOKOO & RETZA

Published On 11/10/2017 | By Steve Rickinson | Interviews
The collaborative efforts between YokoORetza, and All Day I Dream have produced a slew of well received singles.

As individuals, YokoO is no stranger to house music in all its deepest forms. With releases on highly regarded labels such as All Day I Dream, Musik Gewinnt Freunde, Kindisch, Get Physical, Moodmusic and Plastic City, he has marked out a spot for himself in the global house music scene with talent being sought after from every corner of the world. Retza has had the underground heads listening, talking and following for the past couple of years. With original and remix releases also on Watergate Records and Lo-Fi 45, 2017 has turned into something of a breakout for the Melbourne artist.

With their new collaborative EP “Euneirophrenia” available now via All Day I Dream, and with the label’s upcoming ADE 2017 showcase imminent (alongside Eelke Kleijn‘s DAYS LIKE NIGHTS showcase), we spoke with YokoO and Retza on their personal collaboration, their label home, and much more.

“

I see All Day I Dream as having its own sound and movement within the dance music scene.”

Retza

What was the starting point of Euneirophrenia? How (if) did it evolve from this place?
Planning a follow up EP for All Day I Dream, I sent a basic idea of the track to Julien with the idea of a collaboration. As said by Julien, he mostly arranged and refined the existing elements which was much needed turning out for an excellent result!

Can each of you describe what is it about the other’s approach to music and creation (art) that complements your own? Perhaps the story is known in “inner circles” but how did you guys first come across each other and decide that collaborations were the way to go?
Julien had heard/played a track I had written with the talented duo Thankyou City. We then met when he played in Melbourne and after exchanging contacts began sending each other music. Naturally we thought to collaborate as we had similar visions and the results turned out great. I find we complement each other very well, as our work together is always a smooth process. I love to come up with ideas and grooves in creative flashes but it can prove to be quite chaotic and unorganised at times. I find some of the necessary steps in creating music quite tedious sometimes. Julien has much more patience than me and is excellent at the finer more intricate side of things.

What about All Day I Dream as an imprint? Now that you are closely associated with ADID for some time, where do you see its place amongst the more ethereal side of the dance music spectrum? How do you feel the creative atmosphere there still allows you both to grow as artists?
I see All Day I Dream as having its own sound and movement within the dance music scene. The atmosphere and ethos they have created is forever inspiring. From the vibe of the parties, the artists and the music that is released on the label. It is an honour to be involved in any capacity. I feel it has encouraged my continuing growth as an artist under the ADID umbrella and outside of that.


Finally, what are some things you personally are looking forward to through the rest of 2017? Any places you will visit that you haven’t been before or…?
I look forward to making more music! Working on solo stuff and continuing the collaborative efforts with master YokoO. I look forward to more opportunities internationally from a musical stand point and exploring the world outside of that. Onwards and upwards!

YokoO

What was the starting point of Euneirophrenia? How (if) did it evolve from this place?
The initial idea stemmed from a conscious desire of releasing another EP on ADID. Life then worked its magic as it usually does. Retza sent me a blunt sketch of the track, which I truly fell in love with. All I did was using most of the elements that were presented to me, cutting them up, adding some layers, and finally arranging them in a coherent way to create what the piece has become.

Can each of you describe what is it about the other’s approach to music and creation (art) that complements your own? Perhaps the story is known in “inner circles” but how did you guys first come across each other and decide that collaborations were the way to go?
We both are very capable as individual artists but whilst Retza has ease generating grooves, he’s much slower at creating variations and overall arrangement. I, on the other hand, love delving into the layers, organising, and adding finishing touches.

I came across his music whilst hanging out with producer friends in Melbourne a couple of days before playing our first ADID event there with Matt and Lee, early 2015. The newly produced track I was given moved me and I decided to play it at the gig. My memory is quite blurry but I am pretty sure Retza was in the crowd that day and heard me play it. From there, we connected and I asked him to send me some more of his creations. I instantly was blown away by both his humility and potential. He is very talented, and a true gentleman. We started swapping project ideas and it all went flowing from then on.

What about ADID as an imprint? Now that you are closely associated with ADID for some time, where do you see its place amongst the more ethereal side of the dance music spectrum? How do you feel the creative atmosphere there still allows you both to grow as artists?
I see ADID as the core of a movement. Whilst ethereal music has been around forever, ADID has been pushing it as a genre of its own, within the electronic music scene. Being labeled as such doesn’t necessarily mean that we are constricted as artists. Music with soul is what the label aims at putting out there, whether it’s for the dancefloor or not. And at the end of the day, we are free to create as we feel without any limitations. If for some reason the music we produce does not fit in with ADID, I have no doubt it will fit in elsewhere.

How were your experiences at Burning Man this year? I’m sure tracks off the package played prominently…did you notice (care) about the reaction on site?
I am afraid I did not attend, as I needed to take some time away from the masses. Instead, I visited Tulum and enjoyed some down time with myself. I fasted and focused on practicing both yoga and meditation daily. I also spent time drafting ideas for the third chapter of my podcast series.

You (YokoO) will be on site in Amsterdam for ADID @ ADE. First off, how was the summer’s ADID @ Woodstock Wonders experience for you? How do you see this year’s ADID @ ADE shaping up?
It was brilliant – a very blissfully uplifting experience for me. I recall leaving the party overly light hearted. I am quite in love with Holland and its people in general, due to the bright and optimistic energy they carry. The vibe was next to none and facing the sea at sunset is a hard setting to beat…

I did not get to experience ADID @ ADE last year. I’ll avoid expectations here and let myself be surprised. But secretly, I trust it will be yet another exceptional [sold out] event. When does ADID ever disappoint?!

Finally, what are some things you personally are looking forward to through the rest of 2017? Any places you will visit that you haven’t been before or…?
Developing countless friendships all across the globe has been a highlight of adopting such a nomadic lifestyle. The ability to nurture all these relationships whilst doing what I love is a blessing and something I truly look forward to. Moreover, I am thrilled to visit Brazil with ADID in November as it will be my very first time. From there, I am supposed to go to Chile, which I heard is absolutely stunning. I love North, South and Central America and already know the end of the year over there is going to be full of surprises!

“Euneirophrenia” is NOW AVAILABLE on All Day I Dream BUY

Soundcloud – YokoO Artist Page – YokoO Soundcloud – Retza Artist Page – Retza

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21 October | All Day I Dream of Winter Sun | Tickets | Transformatorhuis

Liquid Youth Interview – October 2017


Having contributed original material and high-caliber remixes on well-regarded labels such as All Day I Dream, Get Physical Music, Watergate Records and L’enfant Terrible, YokoO should be no stranger to anyone.

YokoO and Retza make their return to Lee Burridge’s All Day I Dream imprint with four wonderful tracks – furthering their emotional reach on the musical universe. Listening to the release, it strikes us with an well-balanced mixture of delicate strings, emotive melodies and perfectly shaped bass lines. His groove-driven and dreamy productions leave behind a certain connectivity, which is best experienced live on the dance floor.

In honour of his recently released ‘Euneirophrenia’ EP on All Day I Dream, we had a little chat with YokoO about his summer, Burning Man, the thoughts behind his collaboration EP with Retza, and the upcoming All Day I Dream of Winter Sun event during this year’s Amsterdam Dance Event, which you can attend here.


First things first, what have you been up to recently and how are you?

Life of late has been a constant journey on the road. I have been keeping busy with gigs as well as working on the third chapter of my podcast series. I am great at this exact moment. I experienced a small burnout. My system was running on hyper drive. I took Burning Man’s week off to go to Tulum by myself and pressed the rest button then. I feel much better, and have a lot of energy to share again since.

We’ve heard you’ve had a busy summer! Any highlights?

It was quite busy indeed. I played about 50 shows between the beginning of June and the end of September. It’s difficult to pin point the highlights, as all shows proved to be special and memorable in their own ways. Piknic Electronik in Montreal was certainly the stand out due to its size. Playing to an almost 10k people crowd for the first time, without losing this sense of connection, is not something I’ll forget any time soon.

You’ve played burning man for a few years in a row now. What the craziest experience you’ve had so far?

Only twice really… 2015 and 2016 are the only two years I ever attended and spun at BM.

Being caught up in what felt like a never-ending dust storm in the deep playa, incapable of finding our way back to the Esplanade, was certainly one of the most challenging things I went through at Burning Man. Something extremely strange happened out there. I remember my lover and I walking straight for so long and returning to the same point twice, like we had been walking around in circles, as if the universe was playing tricks on us. It was a truly mystical experience!


How is playing burning man compared to the rest of the world? Obviously every place should be treated as its own, but Burning Man is such an insane place. Does this change the way you play?

The place is not insane. It is pure magic. The lack of connection inspires people to embrace the present moment for what it is, taking everything in as it comes and being fully with it. Attendees are much more receptive to the energy that surrounds them. The vibe resulting from this is next to none. Having such a large variety of places to play at with the most open minded crowd definitely leads to more room for experimentation.

Where you an attendee before you played the festival?

I was not. The first year I went was to play and share my musical vision with my fellow burners.

How about during ADE. Will we see an experimental side during the All Day I Dream event?

I tend to associate “experimental” with abstract music, which usually is not designed for the dance floor. I imagine people would freak out if I played abstract electronica. ADID’s brand name has grown following a particular vibe that somehow makes the level of experimentation restrictive. That said, I seem to always peel some layers and mess with the sounds as I go, depending on my mood. It keeps things interesting for me also.

If you really want to get weird and experimental with me, it’s best to catch me outside of the ADID events, and most probably outside of the club environment also, where I am playing for an extended period of time.


Speaking of All Day I Dream, you’ll be releasing an EP called ‘Euneirophrenia’ on the label soon, the title being a subtle jab back at the label. Care to elaborate?

The track is quite dream-like to me, coherent in its incoherence and vice versa. It’s a trip deep down to la la land, with percussive drum grooves leading the ride, filtered orchestral strings lifting the soul, and a blend of random melodic lead elements, subtle pads, elephants crossing imaginary roads, cars honking . . . all supporting a mysterious-for the dance floor-atmosphere. An atmosphere ADID is notorious for.

What was the main inspiration for the EP?

Not one in particular, but all my personal experiences and the emotions resulting from them.

Can you let us in on your production process for the EP, what was your setup like?

Besides Euneirophrenia’s core idea, which was conceived in Retza’s Melbourne studio, all was made in my Berlin home. I finished Euneirophrenia by myself. Retza and I started the three other tracks together upon his Berlin visit in summer 2016. I finalised all arrangements and added the finishing touches as he left.

The set up is pretty basic on my end and involves Ableton Live, various virtual instruments, some midi controllers, the Maschine Studio, a TR-8 and a Prophet 08.


Is your setup constantly changing, or have you found a setup your comfortable with?

My set up at home is usually the same, unless I borrow toys from friends. I don’t normally travel with any gear unless I go for extended periods of time. Then, I take my production laptop and use whatever other piece of equipment I come across that I connect with.

If you had to give credit to one external item or factor for the EP, what would it be?

The woman I love. She has been the angel who facilitated my awakening in the remembrance of my purpose.

What else inspires you, outside of music?

Life in general and absolutely everything it involves. The source is infinite.


Buy YokoO’s Euneirophrenia HERE.
Photo credit YokoO: Valya Karchevska

Huff Post Interview – September 2017

Exclusive Premiere + Interview : YokoO & Retza share “Tarantism” from their Euneirophrenia EP

 Photo: Valya Karchevskaya

Euneirophrenia, the title of the new YokoO & Retza EP, means the peaceful state of mind after a long dream. This lucid feeling is a signature of both the All Day I Dream party and label, on which the duo previously released another EP, Magnetic Souls, in 2016. From the opening notes of this collaborative project between French producer YokoO and Australian producer Retza, you are lured into a layered and continually evolving soundscape. Each track name also holds a deeper meaning, with inspiration drawing from Native American spiritual beliefs (”Orenda”) , and fundamental principles of Japanese aesthetics (”Yügen”). Premiered below is “Tarantism,” which according to wikipedia is “a psychological illness characterized by an extreme impulse to dance, prevalent in southern Italy from the 15th to the 17th century, and widely believed at the time to be caused by the bite of a tarantula.” Listen to the premiere below, as well as an interview and specially curated playlist from YokoO & Retza.

How did the EP come about?

YokoO: After the positive response we got from our first ADID EP, “Magnetic Souls”, it only made sense for us to follow up with another one. Retza sent me a fairly rough version of the title track which I instantly fell in love with the vibe of and asked him to send me the project to arrange and perfect. Patience being one of my virtues, I enjoy spending time delving into details, working on structuring as well as adding finishing touches. Staying aligned with the label name, I called the piece “Euneirophrenia”, referring to the peace of mind that comes after having pleasant dreams. Once the piece was finalised and tested out on the dance floor (more than a year ago now), I knew we had to work on a follow up EP together. I originally sent it to Lee who didn’t quite vibe to it. 6 months later, most certainly after testing it out and realising how great of a response it was getting from the crowds across the globe, he asked to sign it. The three other tracks were made in my Berlin home studio during the summer of 2016 as Retza was visiting town. We managed to nail the main ideas within a week, and finalise the tracks remotely.

What is the meaning behind it?

YokoO: I trust that each track, specifically named after personal experiences are pretty self-explanatory. Furthermore, I encourage the listeners to let their imagination run wild and connect with the music. There is a meaning to be found for everyone who is willing.Euneirophrenia: The peaceful state of mind after having a pleasant dream. Orenda: A mystical force present in all people that can empower them to affect the world, or to effect change in their own lives. Tarantism: Overcoming melancholy by dancing; the uncontrollable urge to dance. Yügen: An awareness of the universe that triggers emotional responses too deep, mysterious and powerful for words.

What is your producing style?

YokoO: Retza and I either compose together, or remotely. Since we are both based on different continents, Retza works other jobs and I have a very busy touring schedule, it is never easy for us to get together. We both have our respective home studios and usually swap project ideas back and forth via the internet.

What do you want to communicate with your music?

YokoO: I mainly do this to express myself by means other than with words. I see my music as a release of energy through creation of harmonic or disharmonic vibrations. I like to think of it as a healing tool evoking emotions and inner exploration. Every piece I write corresponds to the way I feel at a given time as a result of my experiences. In other words, my music is the translation and reflection of my experiences and therefore the story of my life, or at least some of its key moments.

Euneirophrenia is out everywhere September 29th. Buy on Beatport via the link below.

Godzilla Disco – Tour Chronicles – July 2017

 

THE #TOURCHRONICLES FT. YOKOO

Yokoo

With the abundance of festivals, club nights and pop-up parties, it can be a bit overwhelming when trying to plan your party-calendar. But if there’s one event that trumps them all, it’s definitely the All Day I Dream series. What began on a Brooklyn rooftop back in 2011, has flourished into an internationally acclaimed party series and community. Bursting with technicolour emotionalism, each event provides a unique atmosphere, backed by an incredible roster of artists to guide you through the day. One of those acts who requires little introduction is Julien Beltzung, better known as YokoO. On Saturday, July 15, join YokoO alongside Lee Burridge and Gorje Hewek & Izhevski at All Day I Dream of Sunshine Divine in Toronto for one of the most anticipated parties of the summer. But first, we called upon YokoO to lead us through this latest edition of the #TourChronicles.

The biggest myth about ‘life on tour’ is…

That us DJs are partying everywhere we go. Life on tour is truly physical, and very much comparable to a marathon. If you do not pace yourself, you will burn out pretty quick.

One of my worst airport experiences was…

Whilst traveling from Sydney to Berlin via LA and Chicago, stand by. It was in 2011 if my memory serves me right. I barely had any money back then and wanted to go build my profile in Europe during the summer. I had a few minor gigs lined up. A friend of mine who worked for United Airlines offered to hook me up with a stand-by “buddy” ticket. I got stuck in Los Angeles airport for about a day. All flights were full and I kept on getting bumped to the next one. I was beyond exhausted and desperate to talk with my partner at the time. My phone was not working. Additionally, I was told there was no WIFI in the airport for security reasons, nor any computers to use. I had no money and felt stranded. Following this experience, I promised myself I would never travel stand-by again.

The best airport for a long lay-over is …

Amsterdam Schipol. I love resting there in the bin bags, listening to the sound of the birds chirping.

One of the most ‘surprising’ gigs within the past 6 months was… 

Wonderfruit Festival in Thailand. It was comparable to a mini Burning Man, with lots of dust, workshops and remarkable staging & art structures.

wonderfruit1

Wonderfruit Festival, Thailand

Wonderfruit Festival, Thailand

Wonderfruit Festival, Thailand

Name one new city that you haven’t played, but would like to visit/perform in 2017…

Tokyo, in 2018 maybe. Not sure I’ll ever break through the Japanese market with a DJ name as such though.

One of my favourite venues in the world to play is… why?

That’s a tough one. I could cite very many. In fact, I am blessed enough to honestly say there hasn’t been many venues/parties I did not LOVE playing throughout the last couple of years. I’ll just name a few here . . .

Parties: All Day I Dream – the decoration, the people, the vibe, the costumes and the music mixed together all make the events unprecedentedly magical;

The Tripping Tel Aviv – beachfront Israeli vibes, the overall quality blew my mind.

yokoo-tripping

YokoO at The Tripping, Tel Aviv

Clubs: Flash DC – the acoustic of the room is impeccable and gives me the impression of being in full control, it inspires me to take risks whilst spinning;

DNSF Miami – it’s like having a party in my living room, with my extended family;

Members Only NYC – it’s usually afterhours and complete non-sense.

The Gärten Beirut – fantastic crowd, team, and production, and I get to eat the best hummus in the world before hand.

One of my favourite festivals in the world to play is… why?

Besides Burning Man which is so much more than just a music festival, I would say that SXM in St Martin comes first. The festival is intimate, the line up incredibly solid and the location paradisiac.

This hotel has the BEST food/ room service…

The Plaza Athenee in Paris by far the best French food I ever ate.

Where is the weirdest place you’ve been given a demo?

The US custom waiting line.

One of my favourite local promoters to work with is…

Toronto? I love them all, but Sherry should get a special mention. I am sure we would all agree on that

Spill Magazine – ADID Toronto Feature – July 2017

ALL DAY I DREAM

YOKOO TALKS ABOUT HEADLINING THE FORT YORK SHOWCASE

A music event at Fort York has a certain magic to it.  On July 15, 2017, YokoO will be headlining the All Day I Dream showcase. Coming off of a sold out off-Sonar show, Lee Burridge’s All Day I Dream showcase will feature another day of electronic music designed to captivate and elevate their audience. Talent like YokoO, whose dreamy sensibilities and lush electronic compositions, are worth the ticket price alone.

“Every piece I write corresponds to the way I feel at a given time,” YokoO shares. “In other words, my music is the translation/reflection of my experiences and therefore the story of my life, or at least some of its key moments.”

The Berlin-based artist takes inspiration from his travels, but prefers to compose in nature, by the ocean and mountains where he can enjoy “peace and a healthy routine as well as the company of my lover who truly inspires me and helps me compose with a critical approach.” He lists the Maschine by Native Instrument as his “go to” for gear of choice right now.

YokoO recently retreated into a quiet phase of music listening, taking in soundscapes, binaural tones and melancholic classical pieces. “Right now, I seem to be going through a more nostalgic phase,” YokoO continues. “At home, I enjoy all kinds of music I grew up listening to – Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Bjork, The Cure, Smashing Pumpkins, Massive Attack, Noir Desire and the list goes on.”

Listing the Red Hot Chili Peppers as an influence recalls YokoO’s skater background, the inspiration for his DJ moniker. “YokoO is a nickname I was given by my friends as a teen. It originated from a Yoplait TV commercial. Before following a path in the music industry, I was skating every single day. The original cartoon character Yoko de Yoplait was skating too, and we looked alike, hence why my friends named me after him. I added a capital O for aesthetic.”

When asked what is in store for Toronto audiences on Saturday, YokoO remains mum, “I like to think of this as a surprise,” he says.

Electronic Groove – ADID Off Sonar Interview – June 2017

YokoO.: ‘All Day I Dream events always are amazing gatherings’

We had the chance to talk with YokoO ahead of his performance at Barcelona’s All Day I Dream event on June 17th.

Electronic Groove: Hi YokoO, thanks for the time to chat with us. How was your first part of the year? Any highlights worth mentioning?

YokoO: The pleasure is mine! The first part of the year was very busy with touring. I’d love to talk in depth about all the places I visited but it may take a while . . . Honestly, I’ve had outstanding experiences everywhere I went. I adored going to Uruguay, Argentina, Peru and the Dominican Republic for the first time in January. The vibe in those countries is something else. The way people danced until the end of the party in Buenos Aires, Santo Domingo and Punta Cana truly blew my mind. Medellin also was incredible. And Mexico of course, I have an ever-lasting love relationship with Mexicans. Thailand’s Wonderfruit festival felt like a mini Burning Man. Australia was great as I took a couple of weeks off to breathe and enjoy the beach. The shows in the US and Canada are always beyond. I have built a solid family in the North American territory over the last 3 years. It has become yet another home away from home. Middle East adventures are always memorable too. Beirut, Dubai – I love. Sandbox festival in Egypt will also remain engraved in my memory forever. Returning to Europe after 7 months away is definitely worth mentioning too, as one of the highlights. Finally flying home to Berlin and finding my own space again, to write music and simply be, is something I do not take for granted when being on the road so much. All shows around here have been special as well. I could go on and on.

I feel blessed and grateful to be working with the people who book me. I seem to always get in with the kindest promoters. Cherry on the cake, locations happen to be ACE every single time. It is all a matter of perspective in the end. All places and people can be appreciated for what they are. I try to see it all as a blessing.

EG: This month you’re part of the All Day I Dream lineup during ‘Off Sonar’ week. What are your expectations about this event and are you preparing anything special for it?

YokoO: This event is sold out. It says a lot about its quality I believe. People get excited and jump on ticket sales right after them being announced. ADID events always are AMAZING gatherings. They are all about love, music for the soul, smiles, laughter, tears and friendly vibes. Attendants are always like-minded music enthusiasts vibrating with-in the same frequency range. It doesn’t get much better in my opinion.

EG: Talking about All Day I Dream, how and where did you meet Lee Burridge?

YokoO: I met Lee through Matthew Dekay, who became a close friend of mine back in the day. He was my mentor in a way. He told Lee about me for a while and we eventually all got to meet together in Berlin for a meal. From then on, Lee and I kept in touch and started working together. The rest is now history.

EG: Based on your frequent worldwide traveler profile, where do you find inspiration for your music?

YokoO: The inspiration comes from the heart, which essentially I see connected to the soul. I express the way I feel through my music. Every experience turns into emotions, which eventually affects the way I put sounds together in the studio. Traveling helps diversify the type of experiences I have, which as a result contributes to a constant flow of inspiration.

EG: Are you working on new material? Can you give us a sneak peek of what’s coming next for you?

YokoO: I am always working on new material, even when I am not in the studio. Based on what I said above, experiencing life in the present moment is a major part of the process. That said, in more concrete terms, I am finalizing my next 2 EP’s for All Day I Dream, one with Retza and one YokoO solo. Additionally, I am still working on my debut album, which I’d love to pitch to ADID as well. I have many others tracks on the go. Keeping busy!

“Every experience turns into emotions, which eventually

affects the way I put sounds together in the studio”

EG: How’s your summer agenda looking like? Any special events you are specially looking forward to?

YokoO: I doubt I’ll be seeing home very much. There will be many a show and I a look-ing forward to them all!! Keep up on my facebook page or website – www.djyokoo.com

EG: You just released your 2016’s Burning Man session. Are you going back to the playa this year? What are your thoughts about the BM experience?

YokoO: I’d like to think so and planned my touring schedule accordingly. I am yet to find a camp to stay, as well as get some tickets so we will see what the universe has in store.

My thoughts? It’s special, very special. I’ve talked about it many times before. I suggest you read my Burning Man sets’ blurbs on Soundcloud. In the end, my thoughts are just thoughts, based on my personal experiences. I suggest you go and find out for yourself.

EG: A few artists have mentioned that one of the perks of touring is having the possibility to experience worldwide gastronomy. Where and what would be your last supper?

YokoO: One of the many perks indeed . . . I would say Peru hands down. I visited a couple of restaurants whilst visiting in April and everything I tried tasted like it came from another world. I am pescatarian, fairly open with food and love it all but Peruvian cuisine, WOW.

Follow YokoO:

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