Yb.'s new single Dance With Me Today is out now! We chat to the musician about the release and more.
Image: Xavier-Finn Negrello.
Brisbane’s rising alt-indie act Yb. recently unveiled his new feel good tune, Dance With Me Today. Teaming up with producer Charlie Hole (aka Thomas Porter), the track opens with a grungy guitar riff before the musicians spoken word in a lower register simmers above the clicking tap of percussion.
The genre-bending musician fuses together threads of funk, rap, gospel and afro beats into one succinct soundscape across his releases, influences like Steve Lacy and Cosmo Pyke.
Having recently performed to a sold-out crowd at Brisbane’s Black Bear Lodge, Yb. has been building his following, with over a million streams to his name. Already having co-signs with Dangermouse, Snakehips and UK star Tom Misch, and co-writes with the likes of Winston Surfshirt, Stevan and Touch Sensitive on the horizon, 2021 is shaping up to be a massive year for the musician.
Dance With Me Today is out now! Read our interview with Yb. below.
Could you tell us a bit about how you began your musical journey, and your background in music?
I’ve always been surrounded by music in an African household, but my earliest memories of music as an occupation came from my older brother. He started making music at the age of 11 so when I started making music it was a lot easier to navigate the industry. Music has been an escape for me for as long as I can remember.
Congratulations on the release of your new single, Dance With Me Today! The track is such a feel good tune. What prompted you to write the song and inspired its conceptual nature?
The song itself speaks on the idea of letting go. I wanted to both convey the importance this introspective voice and also providing a tune that people could feel good about and dance to.
You effortlessly fuse together elements of disco, funk and rap. How did you arrive at the sonics present not only on Dance With Me Today, but throughout all your releases?
I have to attribute a lot of that to musical influences like Steve Lacy and Cosmo Pyke. I guess when it came time for me to make music I fully understood where I wanted to go with it all.
If Dance With Me Today was a pre-existing piece of art, which artwork would it be and why?
The Scream by Edvard Munch. I don’t know it just gives off those vibes haha.
Could you tell us a bit about your creative process when writing and recording?
I’m the type to have an instrumental done before writing and recording etc. After I sort that out it often becomes about what the instrumental is telling me to do. Of course, when I sit myself down and write I create a story or subject matter driven by my personal experiences, but the delivery is all up to the way that the instrumental makes me feel. So, in short, the instrumental has a huge role to play in that process.
You’ve been co-writing with the likes of Winston Surfshirt, Stevan & Touch Sensitive. Have these collaborations left any influence or impact on how you approach creating?
Every single one of them! They all have such a fun and interesting way about creating music and I learnt so much. The biggest thing I can say is that when the people are right, you leave feeling not only like you’ve learnt from them, but you have also made a life-long friend. Overall, it was such an amazing experience working with these legends ☺
What else do we have to look forward from you in 2021? Will we be hearing an EP or album anytime soon?
If all goes well you can be expecting an EP from me by the end of the year. We are still in talks about what we need to do to provide the listeners with the best body of work possible, but I shall keep you guys updated.
Australia has a diverse and vibrant music scene, who are some of your favourite Aussie acts and why?
Oh I’ve got sooo many!! My manager Benji just got me into an artist called Nobuki, his new single is incredible! I’m really into, Sycco, Golden Vessel, Mallrat, IIICONIC, King Ivy, Tkay Maidza, Feviland, Cosmo’s midnight Paabio and all those I worked with down in Sydney! I’m sure I forgot somebody but there really is soo much talent in Australia.
You recently performed sold-out show at Black Bear Lodge! What can audiences expect from one of your live shows?
You can expect a really fun and accepting atmosphere! It seems that the people that come to my shows share this mentality and its really fun to see people turn up and just lose themselves for a moment.
With restrictions easing and borders having opened, will we be seeing you hit the road with national dates anytime soon?
I can’t promise that I will tour just yet, but I can promise that I will be doing a lot more shows in my hometown!
For right now I’d say, Stevan, Spencer. And loving (Band).
I’d love to work with Loving or Claud one day.
Album that has had the most impact on you?
Fuzzybrain by Dayglow
How do you define your musical style in 3 words?
Alternative, Indie, Lively
A release you’re most looking forward to in 2021?
I’d love to hear more from Nobuki
If you could create the soundtrack for any film, which one would it be?
I’d love to do the soundtrack for a show like Euphoria.
Album you would listen to on repeat on a road trip?
What Do You Think About the Car? by Declan McKenna
Best concert you have been to?
Daniel Caesar! He was incredible.
Last concert you went to?
It’s been a hot minute but I think it was Listen Out in like 2017 or 18
Guilty music pleasure?
Not so much guilty but I really like folk music.
If you could support any artist on tour, who would it be?
An artist you think has had the most influence on the music industry?
Clairo. No doubt no doubt.
What advice would your current self, give your future self, for a year from now?
Keep going! Never stray from the music that you want to make and stick with people that feel the same way.
The moment you knew you wanted to be a musician?
After watching a Last Dinosaurs live performance. I looked at my best mate Peka and I said that’ll be us one day. I never stopped till it happened.