Ethereal pop is how Yasmin Kuymizakis describes her music and you now have the chance to experience it from your own living room during a streamed concert that will also feature Bark Bark Disco and Megafun. In what is probably Malta’s first online streamed concert collaboration between three artists, this Monday (tonight) will find up-and-coming artist Yasmin Kuymizakis – better known artistically as Yews – joining forces with lo-fi outfit Bark Bark Disco (The Beangrowers’ Ian Schranz) and Megafun (Clandestines frontman Daniel Abdilla) for an intimate concert delivered straight from one of the trio’s living rooms.
The idea was Schranz’s brainchild, who came up with the concept after the three had already planned a small gig for very few people at a coffee-shop in Valletta. Believing that the idea should be extended it further to give the opportunity to fans who aren’t based in Malta to also experience the music, he thought of creating an online event.
“It’s something totally new for us. We’ll be playing live from a living room so people can just watch us while at home on a Monday night! My set will be different than usual… I’m trying out a different set up, intending to make it more fun! Hopefully it’ll work out!” Yasmin tells me.
Yasmin tells me that she has always loved music from an early age, secretly dreaming of creating it herself and of putting on shows.
“There was a time when I was too afraid so I didn’t do anything about it. I went through a phase and started buying and collecting instruments but didn’t play or take it seriously. I had given up before even trying. Then I had an assignment for a University credit and had the opportunity to compose a short piece of music for fun. So I went for it, using a guitar and melodica. My lecturer loved it and encouraged me to start composing music. All I really needed was some encouragement and will power from my side.”
How do you describe your music?
I’ve never found the words to describe it, but I do like ethereal pop as a description – which is what other people are calling it. However, I do not try keep myself under this category. It just comes out naturally. Having said that, lately my playful side has been coming out more as I’m producing some fun, “beaty” electronic tracks, which I’m really enjoying. Would love to see people dancing to my music too!
Which bands/musicians influence you?
This is a tough one since I don’t try following a genre or particular artists. I just play, see what sounds good and go with the flow. On the other hand when I listen to my tracks when they’re ready, sometimes I do feel I’ve been influenced by bands like Fever Ray and Sigur Rós.
What was the first CD/cassette tape you ever bought?
Probably a Backstreet Boys cassette tape. I was crazy about them when I was a kid!
Your top three albums ever and why?
Not top three ever, that’s impossible as it always depends on what I feel like listening to. I love so many albums by a variety of bands like Beirut, Animal Collective, The Antlers and many more… so I have decided to mention the three albums I can’t stop listening to right now. At the moment I’m going through a phase, I can’t get enough of electronica, with a pop edge.
I’m listening a lot to Molly Nilsson’s These Things Take Time. This singer/ songwriter’s melodies are simple and repetitive, yet I find them catchy and addictive. Her vocals are unique too.
Then there’s Broadcast’s The Noise Made By People. I find this album remote and unique, makes me feel like I’m in space! Finally, John Maus’s We Must Become the Pitiless Censors of Ourselves. Synth, synth and more synth! I’m going crazy for them right now.
A song you hate and why?
Guru Josh Project’s Infinity. So annoying from the very first note.
Butterflies before performing?
A musician you’d like to collaborate with and why?
Locally I’m really admiring Megafun at the moment. His songs are so catchy. A pop genius and he’s only sixteen! Lucky me, I’ll be collaborating with him and another local favourite (Bark Bark Disco) in our streamed gig coming week. They’re loads of fun to work with. As for a foreign act… I wouldn’t say no to Molly Nilsson, even though her live performances are disappointing.
Which instruments do you play?
The piano mostly. I’m teaching myself guitar and I love collecting all kinds of instruments. The more unique, the better.
Your go-to music when you’re happy?
Anything I can dance to!
Catchy indie pop like the Hidden Cameras! Uplifting music! Feist’s 1234 always makes me feel better too, especially when watching the music video.
Three words to describe the Maltese music scene.
Monotonous, boring, (but) improving! I’m seeing some new good bands emerging and it should be an exciting year!
Last good concert/gig you attended was…
In Malta: the launch of Brikkuni‘s second album Trabokk. And what an album it is. Abroad, it was Yann Tiersen. Brilliant.
Which particular band would you like to see live and why?
Without a doubt, I’d say Battles! I was meant to watch them last summer. I went to a festival, and found myself at the very front. I adore them and I was really excited. Unfortunately, they had technical difficulties so all we got to see was them frowning and swearing.
What inspires you?
My own personal experiences
What do we find on your MP3 player?
A wide variety of genres from pop to folk, indie, electronica, cheesy ‘80s and ‘90s which take me back in time… whatever sounds good!
The music industry destroyed real music. True or false and why?
I’m not into mainstream music at all, so I’d have to say true. The songs being played on MTV and the radio don’t take me anywhere. However, the underground music scene seems to be growing in Malta too! And once in a while a good pop song becomes a hit, which is great. Gotye’s Somebody I Used to Know and Lana Del Rey’s Video Games come to mind.
A life without music would be…
Yewsless . My punster friends will appreciate this answer, I know…
What do your family think about your music?
In all honesty I think they wouldn’t care if it’s the worst music they’ve ever heard as they’re very supportive and proud of me. Nonetheless they say they like it, although I know they initially thought it’s a little weird! It grew on them I think. My dad even asked for my music on his mobile now!
Did you ever get the “music is not a real career” talk when younger?
Yes and I used to give it to myself too!
Which of your own compositions is your favourite and why?
I don’t really have one particular favourite. They all mean a lot to me for different reasons. However, I feel I have a lot more to learn, and always feel I could produce better work. I can definitely say that my least favourite is the one that currently has the most listens on my Soundcloud page. It’s called Yellow.
Yews, Megafun & Bark Bark Disco will hold a streamed, live concert on Monday March 12. You can enjoy the concert on www.stickam.com starting at 21:30.
This interview appeared on The TV Guide (The Times of Malta).