There’s not a huge amount of information out there about YAYAYA. It seems that, by and large, the beat-hungry Dutch duo prefer to let their music do the talking. Fortunately, as evidenced on their recent self-titled debut, their music has plenty to say. From the anticipatory shivers induced by opening track ‘Lead Me’, which sounds like Modeselektor at their most warm and playful, to the fast-forwarded sunset soundtrack of closer ‘Highway’, it’s a hyperactive blast from start to finish.
Still, while YAYAYA may not be interested in shouting about themselves on social media, they’ve still managed to get their music heard by some pretty distinguished ears. Not least those of Daedelus, who so enjoyed the early demos the duo sent to him that he ended up releasing the YAYAYA album on his own Magical Properties label.
Daedelus’ love for fast tempos was recently exhibited on his Wears House tape, an eighty-minute love letter to the ’90s rave scene in Los Angeles, and YAYAYA certainly don’t disappoint on the BPM front. From fidgety footwork to pulsating techno, they may not stick to a single genre but they’re clearly happiest at high speed. Impressed with the album and intrigued by its origins, we got in touch with Kees & Gert-Jan to find out more…
Your name, YAYAYA. Is it a Dutch take on Yeah Yeah Yeah or is there a deeper meaning?
Ya has a lot of meanings in different languages and they all appeal to us, but no deeper meaning, it just sounds nice.
There’s very little info about you out there, is that intentional? (And if so, are we about to ruin your mystique?)
Not intentional, but we are not really active on social media and such, we just like to make music instead of posting about it.
What sort of music were you exposed to when you were growing up?
When we were kids we had no internet so of course pop music on MTV was basically the easiest access to new music. Later we recorded our own compilation cassette tapes with Beastie Boys, 2Pac/Biggie, Nirvana and that kind of stuff. A little later the gabber/hardcore scene in Holland was pretty big so we definitely are influenced by that.
When the internet became bigger it became such a joy to discover so much new music from all over the world that is under the radar. As DJs we had a huge (drum and) bass period. Although there isn’t a big scene in our hometown we went to bigger cities to go to concerts and dig for vinyl.
When did you first start making music, and how different did it sound to what you make now?
Kees had piano lessons from the age of 10 to 12 and then started playing drums. For his 18th birthday he got a multi-track recorder and basically fooled around with drums, piano and keyboards. I guess you can call it lo-fi home recordings. Sounds totally different then the stuff we do now. 🙂
When I [Gert-Jan] started at 18 or so, it was all about sample-based hip-hop. Little later on I discovered the early dubstep and instrumental beats like FlyLo, that era really shaped me in my musical taste.
If there was a fire in the studio and you could only save one bit of studio gear, what would it be?
Computer, most important files on it. But it’s all replaceable tho, almost everything is stored online.
Your debut album came out on Daedelus’ Magical Properties label. What influenced you to send him your demos and how did you feel when you heard his feedback?
When we were diggin our crates to find artists and labels to send demos to, Daedelus was in there and we were both like, yes that could be a nice match. He was pretty positive about the first demos, after sending some more we met him in London while he was on tour and from there it all started to roll. It is a bless to be working with him!
Your music can’t be easily categorised but it’s pretty relentlessly high-tempo. What is it that draws you to those bpms?
We want to make dance music. 160 bpm is just one of the best tempos there is, very versatile to work with and never gets boring.
Is the track ‘AKT’ placed in the middle just to give people a breather?
Exactly the reason why it’s there. One hour of 160 heaviness needs a break.
Who’s the guy in the video for ‘I Go Up’, and do you feel bad for making him sweat so much?
Our friend Daniel van Hauten is the dancer, respect!! We don’t feel sorry for him, he likes to sweat.
He made the video for an art installation a while back and we were happy to use it in a slightly different version.
The video on Facebook got a very extensive description about the video and why he made it.
Whereabouts in the Netherlands are you from, and what is the music scene like there?
All in the South: Heerlen/Maastricht and it sucks. It sucks pretty hard. But it gives us more time to be in the studio so there is a positive side about it.
Can you send us a photo of the view from your window?
Which Dutch artists should we have on our radar right now?
Where in the world would you most like to perform?
Africa, somewhere in the streets on one of those homemade super-soundsystems.
What’s your favourite track of 2018 so far?
G-J: Dabrye – Lil Mufukuz ft. MF Doom
Kees: Nihiloxica – Endongo
You can stream and download YAYAYA via the Magical Properties Bandcamp here. A vinyl edition is promised later in the year.
Photo: Karlijn Dado
Interview: Kier Wiater Carnihan