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INTERVIEW: Yolanda Be Cool at TomorrowWorld

A few years ago, "No Speak Americano" could be heard on every pop radio station, but there is way more to Yolanda Be Cool than their world wide number one hit. They are much deeper - literally. The Australian duo has crafted tracks made only for the club, and joined the Dim Mak family recently, as the label expands their sound.

We caught up with Yolanda Be Cool after their set on the Dim Mak stage at TomorrowWorld, where they talked about signing to the label, working with Steve Aoki, where they got their name, and more. Find out what they had to say:

 

How was playing the Dim Mak stage at TomorrowWorld?

It was beyond our expectations.  We’re house DJs and we knew that this festival was like, you know—it started in Belgium with a lot of hard music.  You know?  And we’re house DJs, so we weren’t really sure what to expect.  But we did our thing and the crowd seemed to really like it.  And all we could ever expect was for the stage to build, and it did. So it was really fun.  We did our thing, and people seemed to like it.

What do you think of the festival?

It’s the most beautiful environment.  We’re talking into a [recorder], but if the [recorder] could actually see and have eyes, you’d see how beautiful it was.  It’s a beautiful day. It’s amazing.

You guys recently signed to Dim Mak. How do you like being with the label?

It’s been awesome.  Everyone’s been really supportive.  Steve’s been really cool every time. You’d imagine he’d be so busy, but every time we’ve ever emailed him, he’s emailed straight back, which has been cool.  And the guys have exceeded our expectations with helping out with remixes and they promote the family vibe, and that’s exactly how we feel.  We feel like two little children from the other side of the world that have been adopted by a happy family.

[Listen to Dim Mak Studios every Thursday at 10 p.m. ET on Evolution]

How is working with Steve Aoki?

We love Steve, he’s so cool.  We sent him our stuff and, we had our fingers crossed.  And he wrote back immediately saying, “Love it.  Come, let’s do it.”  It’s like exactly what you want to hear as an artist, or what you’re hoping for.

What made you want to sign with Dim Mak?  You have a bit of a different sound than you would expect from some of the other artists signed to the label.

What happened was, we’re good buddies with the Booka Shade guys, and we’re also buddies with the AZARI & III guys.  And both of them have just released like tracks with Dim Mak, and we’re like, “That’s pretty cool.”  Booka Shade are like the Berlin,tech house legends, and AZARI & III are like cool-ass cats.  We spoke to both of them and they said, “Dim Mak’s been nothing but awesome.” And Steve was sort of like, “You guys are part of the new sound for us as well,” so he was supportive of us.  Like he said, “Don’t try and like create music for what you think.  Just create music for what you like.”  And he was cool with it, so that’s been good. It just seemed to be a very natural fit. It was like, you know, do what you do.  And Steve just embraced it.  And we didn’t feel like we had to do anything other than be ourselves, it just felt natural.  It also feels like the EDM sound has probably hopefully reached its climax, and I think everyone’s going to start getting a little bit deeper.  And so I think Steve’s obviously aware of that and looking to that as well. So that’s our vibe. (laughs)

How was making your album Ladies and Mentalmen

It was so much fun because the thing is we draw on all our inspirations from the past, which are guys like Groove Armada, Basement Jaxx, Moby.  All those guys have tracks that are 70 BPM ballads into like, you know, 128 house stompers.  That’s really where we’re from.  So we didn’t feel compelled to just punch out 12 tracks that really sounded exactly the same, the same synth, the same BPM. Because Johnson loves hip-hop; I grew up on trip-hop. I love, Nirvana.  Johnson loves Biggie.  So we’ve got a hip-hop track.  We’ve got, like a banger. We’ve got like an emotional tear jerker.  We just did what we loved on our album, so making it was so much fun.  It was a very natural process.  When we sent it to Steve, we had our fingers crossed.  He said, “Dudes, I love it.  When can we do it?”  And we were like, "F**k yeah!"

[Buy Ladies & Mentalmen on iHeartRadio]

You've had a busy summer, and you were at Burning Man. How was that?

All we can say is when do the tickets go on sale for next year?  Because we want pre-sale tickets for next year.  We had so much fun.  It was like, we keep sort of saying that—we don’t want to sound cliché - but it really was a next-level experience.  It was like everything artist in a melting pot.  You could be an artist; you could be a singer, a rapper, a graphic designer, a lesbian, a pancake maker, a sangria maker.  And everyone just loves everyone. It’s just a really amazing artistic, beautiful world that you just have to be a part of and go there to experience. Now, imagine the Olympics for partiers, and then imagine that just being 5% of the whole festival.  So you’ve got the Olympics of partying going on, but it’s only 5% of what’s going on.  So yeah, it’s pretty good.

Did you guys rough it and camp out?

We roughed it, but we were roughing it in an RV. (laughs) It was still rough. Can I just say that our RV was so rough that I ended up roughing it in the tent with a couple of friends because our RV was so rough?  And then when I got to the tent I thought, “This is cool.” The best thing was we had five people in our RV but beds for four people.  But it was actually never an issue because everyone’s sleeping patterns were so out of whack that you come home and you’ll be like, “Okay, there’s no one here.”

Tell us about "Sweat Naked?"

It’s a club banger with a quirky sample, which is kind of what we’re feeling right now. There’s so many tracks that do the same thing.  So we’re always trying to make tracks [that] have the same effect of the tracks that do the same thing, but have a little bit of something that’s a little bit different.  So we’ve got a vocal sample that’s talking about—I don’t know.  I think she’s talking to her boyfriend about getting sweaty and naked.  It seems to work!

Where did you get your name?

It’s a quote from one of our favorite directors, from one of our favorite movies, in one of our favorite scenes.  You may have heard of it; "Pulp Fiction."  Samuel L. Jackson. “Be cool, honey bunny.  Yolanda, be cool." Diner scene in "Pulp Fiction" inspired from that. Ask Zeds Dead where Yolanda Be Cool came from and, see what he says!

Your song "No Speak Americano" was a huge radio hit. So how do you think you guys have changed from then until now?  

Well, I guess the thing is that when we wrote that track we weren’t thinking of radio.  And we were actually DJs at heart. We think about people having fun on the dance floor.  And when we wrote that track, we thought about that.  And when we wrote “Sweat Naked” and when we wrote our album, we actually thought about exactly the same thing, you know?  So nothing’s really changed.  It’s just that some things take on a life of their own; the others take on another life. When we approach music, it comes from the same spot.  Like we didn’t have a specific agenda when we wrote that; we didn’t have a different agenda when we wrote “Sweat Naked.”  We didn’t have a different agenda when we wrote our whole album. It’s just that you can’t predict the future.  You’ve just got to do what you like.  And, you know, if something sticks, then so be it.  If something doesn’t stick, then that’s cool too because we like it from the start.

Photo Credit Katherine Tyler for iHeartRadio

 

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