Jan 20, 2023
5 min read
We often find ourselves trapped in our daily routines and familiar environments, leading to a sense of stagnation and dissatisfaction. Changing our surroundings can catalyze personal growth and push us out of our comfort zones. This concept can also apply to our approach toward music and the styles we choose to create and share. YokoO, a record label chief, producer, DJ, world traveler, and professional yogi, embodies this approach as he continually challenges himself to embrace new opportunities for building his brand, wellness, and record label, SATYA.
Born in France, by age 20, YokoO moved to Australia. The venturous artist needed a change of pace far away from his stomping grounds. It was time to manifest a new path. YokoO brought only a bag of records he had accumulated since he was 15. His objective was to attend a university to master the English language, study international business, and acquire a visa. To earn extra income, he started accepting DJing jobs on the side.
“At the end of my international business degree, I realized not only that I didn’t want to go back to a corporate environment, but also that I could generate a decent income just through playing music. I decided to pursue a career and teach myself how to write music,” YokoO tells us.
Whether it’s creating or listening, music serves as an escape. Its beauty is its ability to evoke powerful emotions, nourish a sense of connection, reflect feelings and experiences, and provide an understanding or distraction. As an artist, YokoO personifies the role of a creator and consumer, having grown up resonating with wistful music and honing his skills as a guide toward unique soundscapes. He further sharpened his mastery in engaging a crowd when he developed a fixation for deep house in 2008 and had the chance to play marathon sets at a residency.
“I always love to explore given that I am provided with a platform to express myself,” he explains. “I try and make the experience harmonic and flawless so that even though people never know where it’s going, it flows.”
With set times typically limited between 90 minutes and three hours, it’s become challenging for artists to dig deeper and showcase a broader range of their music. “It usually takes me an hour to find my groove and capture the audience into my bubble, then you can take them anywhere, and you become the puppeteer.”
His approach to playing live is similar to his attitude towards traveling without a set itinerary: unpredictable and exciting. He finds that playing on more than two decks is a thrilling way to layer sounds and improvise new songs on the spot. It reflects his perspective on life, where embracing the unknown and not imposing restrictions leads to unexpected and memorable experiences.
Speaking of avoiding constriction, YokoO talks about the essence of his imprint SATYA. It’s his vision to provide an outlet for himself and emerging artists to trumpet their proficiency in diverse sounds and reach new audiences.
“I feel that a lot of artists are trying to fit in or follow trends when they have a lot more to express,” YokoO says. “With SATYA I am trying to push a circle of artists to tap into their truth and let that be expressed freely,” he adds.
The remarkable thing about YokoO is that he utilizes his affinity with different styles of music and rhythmic sensibility to branch outside of the sound he was known for before launching SATYA. His visionary ear for groove and melody allows him to evolve and expand his audience’s horizons, exposing them to other facets of his identity. Before establishing his platform, he was notorious for his magnetic melodies released on All Day I Dream, which he explains was only one of the versions of his creative output.
“A lot of my followers appreciate my versatility and change of sound, but some still associate me solely with my achievements on All Day I Dream,” YokoO explains. “They may be expecting me to follow that style - but I’m not, I have been communicating that this is not me, it’s only a part of me,” he adds.
YokoO’s leap of faith and commitment to establishing something that genuinely represents him is a testament to the power of authenticity. It’s a shining example to other artists of embracing change and confidently presenting their musical expressions. On SATYA, listeners will find his taste in rich harmonies, pulsating beats, flawless chords layered with fluent vocals, and basslines that vibrate with a deep house groove. Upcoming releases from Retza, Francesco Mami, Haider Uppal, Hermanez, Cristina Lazic, and many more will fuel the energy for SATYA.
When YokoO isn’t working on expanding his label or touring, he is recalibrating and focusing on the things that bring him happiness: wellness, exercise, practicing yoga, reading about philosophy & spirituality, and forming genuine connections with loved ones. All of which makes us humans more in touch with ourselves and the present.