Yotto likes walks in the park, nights by the fire, and deadpan stares across dinner tables. He also likes to produce electronic music. He’s had 5 ‘Essential New Tune’ nods from Pete Tong, and 2 ‘Hottest Record In the World’ selections on Annie Mac’s BBC Radio 1 show.
Dj support has proved devastatingly eclectic, ranging from Sasha, Laurent Garnier, Jamie Jones, Kölsch, Patrice Baumel and Adriatique. His multifarious remix list includes Gorillaz, Röyksopp and Coldplay. He also boasts a vibrant vocabulary. With his busy schedule, we had the chance to sit down and talk about his new LP ‘Hyperfall’, touring, and life.
Electronic Groove: Hi Yotto, nice to meet you, thanks for taking the time to answer some questions for us. We know you’re from Finland, can you tell us about how this has shaped you as an artist? What were your experiences with music growing up?
Yotto: Thanks for the invite. I like dark days and the music sometimes reflects that. I was lucky to be exposed to a crazy amount of music when I was a kid, mostly through my family. Finland also has a great public library system, which allowed me to find and borrow records from The Chemical Brothers, Orbital and Laurent Garnier when I was around 12 years old. That shaped my taste in music and created a foundation of love for electronic music.
EG: When do you discover electronic music and when did you realize that you would make this your full-time career?
Yotto: Ever since discovering those early artists in the 90’s I never looked back. I never had any major plans to make it a career, it was more like a daydream. I was happy to just make music as a hobby, but suddenly something happened and I was able to start doing it as a full-time job.
EG: Prior to doing music full-time, did you have another job? How did you get that balance between working for money and time for your passion?
Yotto: I actually still managed a bar while I was touring, so it took me a year of being on the road all weekends and in the office from Monday to Friday. I would still probably do it if the schedules would allow it. I love having some sort of balance, the weeks on the road are quite heavy and having a regular job on the side always felt really grounding and good.
“I like dark days and the music sometimes reflects that”
You have a new album coming out later this year – ‘Hyperfall’. An album is a big project and we’re sure a lot of hard work has gone into this. Can you tell us a little bit about the inspiration for the album?
Yotto: I do, yes! I’m happy that the album is finally coming out. It’s a big mixture of what I am all about musically, there are dark club moments, and then a few bright, almost cheesy feel-good moments. I wanted to create something that feels equally good in the club as it does on your headphones on the way to work.
You have released ‘The One You Left Behind’ as a single, can you tell us about the story behind this track and the collaboration with Vok?
Yotto: I originally made the track last summer in France, while I had a day in a hotel with nothing to do. I then played the instrumental a lot and felt like it was missing something. I love this Icelandic band called Vök, and was able to get them to provide lyrics for it. It’s a simple club track that has a bit of love song on top of it!
When making music, where does the process begin for you? What process do you take throughout?
Yotto: All tracks are different! Sometimes I start with a kickdrum or a really cool percussive sound. Then I start building from there. Sometimes I wake up and have a simple melody in my head, so I just write it down and start playing around with it. Everything needs to begin with a simple, good idea, whether it’s a sound, a hook or a melody. It’s like building a house – it’s only going to be as strong as the first element you include.
What does your studio look like? What do you use most to make music?
Yotto: I’m actually quite lucky to have my studio at home in my basement. It’s a nice simple setup, a couple of pairs of monitors, a bunch of hardware synths, then a couple of laptops running different projects. I use a lot of older Korg synths, Dave Smith analogue synths, guitar pedals, and everything is actually put together in FL Studio.
“I think the Yotto sound will still be there in the middle of the dancefloor, emotional and fun”
EG: You also DJ alongside producing. What came first for you, DJing or producing? As a DJ, this throws up a lot of chances to travel, see new places and meet new people. Can you tell us about one of your most memorable experiences?
Yotto: I was always a producer first. But I was also the guy that would shove music down your throat, so I guess the element always existed. Nowadays I have been able to come up with a concept of DJing that works for me, using my own tracks as big moments when they need to be, and in a supporting role when needed. Travelling is a really fun part of it for sure. A recent, great memory from the road is from Brooklyn Mirage in New York. The place was absolutely packed and 30 mins into my set the sky just ripped apart and it started to pour down buckets of water. I was worried the place was going to shut down. But no, I had 4 people holding covers for the CDj’s (and we still lost two of them) and nobody left the dancefloor, the rain just made it even better and absolutely unforgettable.
EG: What does the future hold for you musically? Are there any new unchartered areas of music that you would like to explore? Where do you see the Yotto sound in five years?
Yotto: A lot of things. I want to do more merchandise, have my own party concept, start a label. But most of all I want to make even better music! I think the Yotto sound will still be there in the middle of the dancefloor, emotional and fun.
Yotto’s ‘Hyperfall’ is already available on Anjunadeep. Stream and buy here.