Welcoming this vibrant duo to Afterlife, Yotto & Stephan Jolk Combine for ’New Era’ EP.
This is Stephan’s fourth release on the label in less than a year, but the first collaboration with Yotto. With distinctive but synergic sounds, both artists are renowned for their ability to imbue their music with rich musicality and captivating rhythms.
We caught up with Stephan Jolk and Yotto to talk about their new collaborative EP ‘New Era’.
EG: Hello both, thanks for your time today. How and where did you guys first meet, did you start making music together straight away?
Stephan Jolk: Thanks for the invite. We actually came together for this release, I wanted to do something with Yotto for a while, so you could actually say that we got into doing music even before getting to know each other.
EG: Why do you work well as a duo, what makes you enjoy working together?
Yotto: I found in Stephan my very same passion, and attention to detail, and a desire to fill the music with emotions, as well as energy. We have been very much aligned through the whole process and this made it not only very smooth but also pleasant.
EG: Who does what in the studio? do you each take certain roles and parts of the track?
Stephan Jolk: Yotto is surely more focused on groove and arps, as a producer I admire how he has them always glued together. On my side, I always jump on playing leads first. It’s the two sides of the same coin.
EG: What was the inspiration and thought process beyond the new music for Afterlife? Did you have a certain aim or goal?
Yotto: Stephan is obviously embedded in the Afterlife world, so for me, it has been a matter of reinterpreting my vision within this emotional and deep world while maintaining a high level of energy.
“I found in Stephan my very same passion, and attention to detail, and a desire to fill the music with emotions,
as well as energy” – Yotto
EG: How did you hook up with that label, what’s it like being part of the family, do you make music with a certain style so it suits them?
Stephan Jolk: It’s my mother label, I always produced with the idea to get here, and they are the ones who launched me. So no I would say that however you want to describe my sound, the Afterlife part is embedded in it, and comes out naturally.
Yotto: I have always been a fan of the label and love what they do – it made sense to work with them on these records we made with Stephan since they ended up organically fitting that aesthetic.
EG: Tell us about the live streams you have done – Yotto in Finland and Stephan in Slovenia. how much prep went into those, how much did you try and create a soundtrack to suit the location?
Stephan Jolk: The TIME: CODE stream in Slovenia is the most recent stream I did as part of an ongoing series that I am working on, to communicate through images my music, and interact with people. I always try to bring a variety of tracks to the streams but with a clear mood in mind. In this case, I edited several tracks with some vocal aulic samples as I wanted to emphasize the aerial landscape, and I specifically produced a broken beat closing version of ‘A declaration of Love’. The original was released back in January on Afterlife as part of Unity Pt.2, a various artists compilation with charity purposes.
Yotto: Yeah, we climbed up a little mountain and dug a hole in the snow to record a DJ set in there – I wanted to showcase some upcoming music and also present a visual slice of the dramatic winter of my homeland. I ended up playing a pretty energetic set to keep myself warm too. I loved doing a YouTube premiere for this where I was able to chat with the people watching in a very casual way.
“I think the time has come to forget about what I missed and start seriously thinking about what will be” – Stephan Jolk
EG: What you have prepared for the coming months?
Stephan Jolk: I have a remix coming up before the summer, which curiously will also be my first one, as I literally never remixed anyone before. I think that the track is very much connected to the present time, and although it’s very much melodic, it explores a less melodramatic area of my sound, which focuses more on deep emotions. I’m also working on releasing ‘Ameno’, a reinterpretation of an original by a French band, Era, who is well known for singing with made-up Latin words. Last but not least, there is a serious possibility that gigs are coming back around the summer, so my attention is definitely on that as well.
Yotto: A couple of tracks before the summer, I spent most of 2020 locked in the studio and all of that is slowly starting to come together and get released. I’ve also been working on an ambient mini-album that might see the light of the day this year.. who knows.
EG: What have you missed most in the last year white no DJing, no parties, no touring?
Stephan Jolk: The answer is in the question, but the single one thing is for sure the possibility to enjoy moments of music surrounded by people. But we are so deep and far into this whole mess, that I think the time has come to forget about what I missed and start seriously thinking about what will be, and that hopefully will be soon, and a much-needed, ‘New Era’.
Yotto: I’m with Stephan on this one; enjoying those special moments with a crowd and your friends.. that’s what I miss. It will be a beautiful New Era once we come out of all this.
Stephan Jolk & Yotto’s ‘New Era’ EP is out now. Stream and buy here.