Multi-talented artist, producer and recording artist Yuki discovered his love for music at a young age, which inspired him to leave school at 17 and travel from his home in Hamilton, NZ to LA to pursue a career in writing and producing music. In 2018, that found Yuki working on Jaden Smith’s sophomore album ERYS, including instrumentation for the track NOIZE, featuring Tyler, the Creator. Since then, he has been hard at work on his recently released album, Be Free, which represents his growth and evolution as a musician and lyricist while drawing inspiration from a wide array of sounds.
With Be Free out now, we caught up with Yuki to dive a little bit deeper into the album and talk about his plans for the future. Read the full interview and listen to Be Free now below.
The Prelude Press: You’ve been involved in music, whether it’s writing and producing your own music or producing for other artists, from a young age. What first inspired you to get involved in music?
Yuki: I’d been learning guitar and bass in school, and doing school band stuff, but it got pretty boring just learning covers of classic rock songs on guitar every week *laughs*. So in my music class I decided to use the classroom gear and start recording stuff and learning how to make beats. I slowly started to learn on Garage Band and then Logic Pro X, and it just progressed from there!
Just last month, you released your first full-length album, Be Free. Now that it has been out for a little bit, what are some of your favorite things about the album? What on the album are you most proud of?
I’m most proud of the album as a whole; the overall package of the project, how the album art works with the music sonically, and how the songs flow. My favorite thing is that, for me, it captures an era and it’s still really special and refreshing!
How do you feel you’ve grown as a songwriter or an artist with the writing and recording with Be Free?
I think on Be Free I really got better at writing hooks and finding my writing style, which is honest and sort of straight forward. I struggle with writing songs with super deep metaphors or intricate lyrics, but I think I found a balance of “to the point” lyricism that still holds enough weight and meaning.
You’ve mentioned before that you draw inspiration from a lot of different sources, which makes your music a really diverse melting pot of sounds. What would you say were some of your biggest influences when you were working on Be Free?
I would say Vampire Weekend, Hiatus Kaiyote, A$AP Rocky, “Master Of None” on Netflix, and my friends’ music!
Was there anything in particular you wanted to accomplish with the album when you first started working on it?
I just wanted to make something that I could be properly proud of, that no matter what it did or didn’t do, I knew that I put my all into it and that I loved how it sounded. I wanted to be able to say, “I’m really proud of this album,” to anyone and mean it honestly.
I want them to hear the effort that went into the music. The construction of the songs, the structuring, the production depth that might not be picked up on first listen. I just want the listener to really feel like they’re in the world I tried to create!
Last year, you also did some production work on Jaden Smith’s album, ERYS. What was that experience like? Did you learn anything during that process?
It was crazy at the time, being my first real experience working as a professional producer. I learned a bunch of things during that period, more than I can count, but the main thing was to back yourself! Trust your ideas and even if people don’t pick them, that’s okay.
How does writing and working on your own music compare to producing for other artists? Do you feel more pressure when you’re working on your own material?
I feel more pressure when working for others but more pressure to actually create for myself. I go through phases of making a bunch of ideas for my solo music, and then sometimes go months without being able to create anything. I can’t force myself to create anytime so I just ride it out, but sometimes I feel bad when I don’t work on anything for weeks on end. With producing for others, I usually get inspired by the situation I’m in with them. I find it hard to show up on the day with beats; I’m better at reading the vibe and then seeing what I can come up with from there.
For obvious reasons, I know it can be a little hard to say definitively if you have any other big plans for the rest of the year, but what are you looking forward to once the music industry finally starts to return to normal?
The biggest thing for me is planning my move back to Los Angeles! My visa is nearly finished so once I get back I’m going to go ham! Producing more, working on more solo music of course; I think that’s when I’ll shine 🙂