909originals catches up with YokoO

French producer YokoO has developed a reputation for deep, emotive electronica in recent years, with releases on Kindisch, Get Physical, Rebellion and Lee Burridge’s All Day I Dream, not to mention his own, recently-launched Satya imprint.

The globetrotting artist, who currently calls Lisbon home, launched Satya earlier this year with Basics, a various artists compilation featuring Matthew Dekay, Zone+, Retza, and YokoO himself. The forthcoming third release on Satya is Atman, a four-tracker collaboration with Manjumasi co-founder Atish.

It’s is set to land on 12 November, and can be pre-ordered here.

909originals caught up with him.

Hi YokoO, thanks for talking to us. Your latest single, which you recorded alongside Atish, is Atman. Was it the first time you have worked with Atish?

It was indeed. We played back to back a few times over the years but never actually discussed the possibility of collaborating in the studio. It all happened rather organically after Atish reached out to me mid-2020 amidst the pandemic.

How would you describe the single?

Celestial and ripe for the early hours, the EP showcases a display of maturity reflective of a state of being.

It’s the third release on your Satya label, which was launched earlier this year. What are your plans for the label, how are you seeking to position it?

For a long time, I have been associated to record labels that do not truly represent my musical tastes fully. With Satya, I am hoping to blur the lines and help people understand the broader spectrum of music I am into, whilst promoting talented up and coming artists that I believe should be placed on the map.

You launched the label in the midst of the pandemic. Why was the time right for you to launch it when you did?

My desire to push my own brand out there has been growing for years. Somehow, I felt that building a following as an artist was a necessity first. Now I realise that building a following through the brand would have been healthier.

I sat still for a few months during the pandemic and felt inspired in waiting no more. The time is now.

How was the pandemic period for you personally – were there both challenges and opportunities?

As I mentioned it last time we exchanged, I saw this period as an opportunity to spend some time diving within, disconnecting from touring life’s noise/technology and tuning in to a profound state of presence.

Following a few months in a Mexican retreat, I returned to my Lisbon studio inspired and determined to walk down the road less travelled. I must say that after all these years of intense touring, I deeply enjoyed falling back into a balanced routine. I gained clarity, and my output in the studio drastically increased as a result.

While you are originally French, you’ve been something of a globetrotter over the years. Has that been reflected in your musical style, do you think?

Being a globetrotter has somewhat been inevitable as the music led me down that path. The diversity of energies I am exposed to, as well as the experiences I am subject to, as a result have their ways of impacting my creative output. I express the way I feel through my music.

Every experience turns into emotions, which eventually affects the way I put sounds together in the studio. Traveling helps diversify the type of experiences I have, which results in a constant, and ever changing flow of inspiration.

You’re a keen advocate of yoga and wellbeing. In what ways are your productions an extension of this lifestyle?

At the core of EVERYTHING, there is energy, vibrating at its own unique frequency. A thought, a sound, a movement, an intention, […], you name it. I believe my yoga practice has helped me purify the vibration that emanates from the very core of my being and therefore is making me a better human at all possible levels. It is obviously also reflecting in the music I create.

Yoga has showed me a path to the infinite. It has taught me to see without eyes. It is attuning me to feel into a much broader frequency spectrum and connect to an energetic world that appears to exist beyond the space / time modalities. My awareness of the endless multi-layered universes is slowly expanding to a level of integration.

The constant desire to rise and the work that lays beneath it all has a profound impact on the energy at the source of every thought I have and every action I take. The higher vibrational energy flowing in and out of my being defines my relationship with both my internal and external environments. All is connected, somehow.

Is it true you got your name from a yoghurt commercial?

It is indeed. ‘Yoko’ is a character created by Yoplait.

What’s next on the agenda for YokoO?

A smashing end of 2021 on the road. Fun gigs, lots of traveling, and hopefully a little studio time with friends along the way.

[YokoO & Atish – Atman is released on 12 November. You can pre-order it here.]

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