Premiere: Meet YAAK, who makes spiralling electronica with Above The Clouds
After a debut EP back in 2019, the Melbourne-based musician sets his sights on a new sound as he further introduces himself.
If you're familiar with Melbourne's electronic scene, then chances are YAAK is a musician already well familiar to you. In 2019, the musician made an entrance with his debut work, arriving in the form of a string of singles and a first EP - titled T I D E S - that introduced the musician as an emerging face in this genre-switching, electronic-meets-hip-hop-meets-pop realm very much in line with the current-day movement to make music that avoids genre boxes, rather than sitting in one distinct lane that's easily comparable.
It was also damn good, with T I D E S setting YAAK up as a fresh face of the future, in both the live music realm - he sold out Melbourne's infamous Horse Bazaar as a headline show before its closure - and in recording, where he quickly became pushed by heavyweights amongst triple j and Spotify. Earlier this year, he arrived with something new in the form of I'm Back, a song firmly rooted in hip-hop featuring Perth's own 506 and US rapper Jalen Santoy, who is soon becoming one to watch internationally in his own right. It was a bit of a shift in sound that showcased YAAK's ability to bring the best out of his collaborators, which in hindsight, couldn't be any further away from his next work.
Above The Clouds - premiering on Pilerats today ahead of its release later this week - features YAAK in the centre spotlight, being a near-instrumental explosion that really deepens his production work and gives it a chance to shine without the distraction of a guest vocalist, for example. The end result is something quite heavy-handed and abrasive; a rushing gust of pacing synth work and crashing percussion coming together in a way that feels completely different from his past work, aside from the very subtle shadings of hip-hop and pop music that make itself known underneath.
"After a few hip-hop focused releases, it felt like the right time to deliver something a little more intimate," he explains on the single, which arrives with a set of merch that he hopes doubles down on the warmth of the single's darting melodies. "With so much uncertainty around us at the moment, I wanted to give people a window into how I’ve been feeling.
"I wanted to create a song that takes the listener on a journey without giving them the answers – I think every listener will take something different from this track, and that’s exactly the point..."
The full thing is not out until tomorrow - Thursday, August 20th - but we think it's so special that we're premiering it a little bit earlier, all while giving you the opportunity to further introduce yourself to the musician and his craft before he really starts to take off. Take a listen below:
Tell us about yourself?
This question always makes me feel like I’m on a speed-date…
My name is Jacob, and I create music under the name YAAK.
What’s the ‘vibe’ music-wise?
For me, the vibe has always been about blending elements from the different styles of music I like the most. For the most part that takes place in the Electronic / Hip-Hop / Pop space. I love when I listen to songs that challenge where I think a sound, a melody, a drumline should go and that’s something I try to emulate.
The YAAK sound represents duality, too. Some releases are going to be melodic, emotional journeys; Some are going to be stank-face bangers. I appreciate that my fans are starting to realise that it’s a buy-one get it all package.
What are your production and writing processes usually like?
It really depends on the song; I think every process is different. To me – jumping into a writing session is like jumping into rapid waters, I like to just see where it takes me. I can’t trust if I jump into the waters again that I’ll end up in the same spot so I try to capture as much of that original spark as possible.
Can you tell us about your new single, Above The Clouds?
After a few hip-hop focused releases, it felt like the right time to deliver something a little more intimate. With so much uncertainty around us at the moment, I wanted to give people a window into how I’ve been feeling. I wanted to create a song that takes the listener on a journey without giving them the answers – I think every listener will take something different from this track, and that’s the point.
What does 2020 have in store for you?
At this point in, it feels a bit crazy to get too attached to anything this year. I’ve been using this time in isolation to focus on creating as much as I can.
I’ve got an exciting, high energy record with UK born, Melbourne based artist Z.Lewis. I’m also working with my labelmate ‘jas.’ to try and wrap up her debut EP which is sounding incredible. Lastly, I’ve been working on a hip-hop project with another labelmate who we haven’t announced yet.
What do you want people to take away from the project?
More than anything, I hope that people take what they need from the track. I know that sounds like an easy answer, but I really don’t want to tell anybody how to feel about Above the Clouds.
If it makes you happy, if it makes you cry, if it makes you miss someone you haven’t in a long time – if it brings you comfort in some way, then it’s done its job.
Where can we find more of your music?
Anywhere you can find music. All major distributors and hopefully some cool other avenues soon.