RMR recently sat down with rising EDM star “YAKO”. Originally hailing from Hong Kong, Yako is quickly rising to the top by creating his own cultural genre of music. He just signed with US management team Prodigy Artists (Ghastly, Borgeous, Crankdat, Eptic, NGHTMRE, etc). With music in his veins from a young age, he strives for nothing but to be the best and to leave an infinite musical blueprint. Here is what went down.
Exclusive YAKO Interview
*The interview was edited for clarity*
You’ve been making music since you were 14, what was the turning point in your life when you knew you wanted to make music as a career?
YAKO: I actually started with learning to play the piano when I was 4 or 5. I wanted to become a classical musician then. When I was 14, I put together my first band, which was a metalcore band. It was during that period I realized I wanted to become a full-time musician, go on tour, and release music.
At what point did you feel you had crafted your own production “style” and felt comfortable releasing music publicly? Any influences?
YAKO: Well, even though I’ve released a few tracks, I don’t think I’ve crafted any particular style. Every musician or artist has their own vibe. When I make music, I just jam with it on Ableton like how a band would work out a song together. Just go with the flow and something with my “style” comes out.
Can you briefly walk us through your creative process?
YAKO: I always start out with a melody or sound in my head. Most of the time, I will then dig in my sample packs to find a fun sound and then build a melody around it. Then it’s just my hands on my keyboard and I see where it goes. I don’t have any specific methods I work on, it all depends on how I’m feeling.
How does it feel playing in front of thousands of people at this point in your career? Do you have any rituals or ways you prepare before each show?
YAKO: It’s amazing to just be able to perform. It doesn’t matter if there are 10,000 people or 10 people in a room, as long as you are connected with the song then you’ll feel the energy. Back during my band days, before each show, I used to do some stretching and push-ups. We did a lot of jumping around the stage so I had to make sure I was stretched out beforehand. I’m not doing as much jumping behind the decks nowadays but I still keep up the same ritual before my shows.
You’re already headlining your own major tour, The Thousand Fox Tour, can you tell us a bit more about the tour and your experience on it so far?
YAKO: Touring is super exhausting! You’re constantly spending time in airports and hotel rooms and sometimes it’s hard to remember which city you’re in or which one is the next. One of the longest travel days I had was trying to make my flight from NYC back to Hong Kong. I had back to back shows in three different time zones within 48 hours. I think maybe 30 of those hours was spent on a plane or in an airport. But the second I jump on stage, it’s all worth it! I forget about how tired I am and get wrapped up in my set and the energy from the crowd. Getting to talk with fans after shows and realizing I actually get to do what I love every day, is amazing.
Music plays a big part in life. Is there any particular message you’re trying to get across to your audience with your music?
YAKO: Enjoy every second of it. Stay close with the people you love and don’t be afraid to share love.
What would you like to accomplish musically and personally in the future?
YAKO: It’d be awesome to play a set that ended with fireworks.
Are they any new projects or music we can expect in 2020 that you can tell us about?
YAKO: I just released a collab with Nitti on his new EP. It’s called Shenzhen and a tribute to the bass music capital of China. I wanted to create something that could capture the energy and vibe of the city and what bass music means to me. I’ve also got a few other collabs in the works and so many IDs I’m ready to release in 2020.