If you were to combine the poignant lyricism of Bon Iver and the moving production of James Blake, you would arrive at Yoste. Over the course of a handful of releases, the Austrailian producer and singer has weaved together a discography that may be limited in terms of number but already feels grand in musical breadth. It is a testament to Yoste's innate talent for infusing a profound sense of sentimentality within his lush, sweeping downtempo electronica soundscapes.
October saw the rising Australian producer release "Blue," a track which we hailed as an impeccable addition to the world of emotive electronic music. Today, we here at Ones To Watch have the pleasure of premiering the visual accompaniment to "Blue." We spoke to Yoste about finding his musical identity, the spellbinding music video for "Blue," and the future of Yoste as a project.
OTW: How did the Yoste project first start, and what is it like looking back from then to where you stand now?
Yoste: I was in and out of so many bands and projects throughout high school. I was trying to find a musical identity that fit. The idea for Yoste began to develop when I was traveling through Turkey for a month. Maybe it was the right time in my life or maybe it was the different environment, maybe all or none of the above, but I realized if I was going to make the kind of music I really wanted to that I’d have to learn to do it myself. The idea of Yoste as my solo project began there. A lot of people view their musical “persona” as just that, not really them but more a character they play. I think that’s beginning to break down a lot, at least for me. So much of my identity is tied up with the project and being a musician that I think there’s only a fine distinction now between who I am day to day and Yoste as a project. A lot has happened since I started a couple of years ago… more than ever recently, but I’m not looking back, just forward.
OTW: You instill a great deal of emotion into your distinctive brand of electronic music. Is there something specific you hope people take away from "Blue"?
Yoste: I’m not a great fan of specifics… that’s probably why I didn’t love law school. In all seriousness though, I don’t mind giving general themes to songs most times, but beyond that, I’d really rather people mine the music and lyrics for their own meaning. Ultimately, I take David Lynch’s view that the art is the thing. If what I was trying to say could be better said in a paragraph of text then I’d do that, but I think the music and lyrics alone are more powerful.
OTW: How did the concept for the music video of "Blue" originally come together?
Yoste: As with so many things, it was based on a back and forth of ideas between myself and the production company pixelframe via email. It was important to me that I wasn’t the focus of the narrative, but more the narrator - a side character. I’m not sure that will always be the case, but it worked neatly in this case.
OTW: The music video for "Blue" utilizes a work of James Turell as its background. Was there a particular element that drew you to incorporate that work into your video?
Yoste: It’s a stunning piece, and it was just an opportunity to mess around in a beautiful part of my home city for a night. The memory of making the video is actually more valuable to me than the end result, great as it is.
OTW: "Blue" not only synthesizes your work with Turell's but also a tender bout of choreography. What drew you to incorporate so many moving parts?
Yoste: Dance is always such a brilliant way to say a lot without being too explicit. It’s not just a bunch of shots of people crying in kitchens, slamming doors or sinking to the floor, not to disrespect those things, but they require a certain finesse to do well. Then again so does dance. I don’t know why I went on that tangent - Dance is great basically, and the choreographers/dancers Sophie and Jack did an amazing job. In the past year, I’ve been sent or tagged in so many videos of people dancing emotively to my music and I absolutely adore it. Dance will continue to be a big part of the project’s visuals I’m sure.
OTW: You've released a series of phenomenal singles, but we've yet to hear a full EP or album. Is this something we can expect in the future?
Yoste: Yes. My debut EP try to be okay will be out in February. I can’t wait. As you might expect, it’ll be a summary of the first couple of years of the project and everything that’s happened… my ideal starting point. Beyond that, I’m already deep into the process of writing and producing my second EP. It’s very focused on youth and reconciling some pretty heavy insights and struggles, as one might expect from someone in their early twenties. It’s been an absolute pleasure to make on the whole. The vision has been so clear and I’m incredibly excited to finish it and get it out. In short, there will be a lot of new music next year. I’m in a really solid place creatively now.
OTW: If so, what can we expect thematically and sonically from a Yoste EP or album?
Yoste: I’m very much continuing to incorporate ambient textural elements and quirky sonic palettes into my music, but beginning to move towards a slightly more raw and upbeat side of pop as well. As my production and recording skills improve, I have the luxury and responsibility of learning which elements to deliberately keep raw in order to not polish out some of the emotion of the tracks. Themes will range from seemingly unconquerable apathy to intense emotion, feelings of inadequacy, feelings of comfort. There’s a lot I want to say. I don’t really mind that I don’t have all the answers - that’s a large part of what makes these things attractive. That’s my view at least haha.
OTW: Any New Year's resolutions for 2019?
Yoste: As I’ve said, I’m in a great place creatively, so I hope to keep that up. Beyond that, I expect to be playing live a lot more. I’m so excited to head on tour and meet some of the people connecting with the music face to face. I worry that the impact gets lost digitally.
OTW: Who are your Ones To Watch?
Yoste: I’m a bit worried that all my “ones to watch” are already being watched! These days I feel like an uncool dad. I’ll often go to my friends or girlfriend and rave about some new artist I’ve discovered, only to have them tell me they’ve been listening to them for months… Having said that, I’ve recently listened to Leif Vollebekk and Heilaker and they’re both lovely