Fresh off the release of his acclaimed EP North, the Finnish DJ/Producer made his Australian debut on Friday night in Sydney, with a passionate 2-hour set at Jam Gallery. Rave Reviewz' Sean McDonald caught up with the Deep house hitmaker afterwards to discuss his career, recent release and upcoming projects.
RR: Yotto, welcome to Australia. That was a fantastic set. You’ve played all over the world, how did this gig compare to other places?
Yotto: It was very intimate, which is honestly my favourite way to play. I always love it when you have a low ceiling and when the booth is close to the dancefloor; you can actually connect with the crowd. And I could definitely feel that they were here for my music tonight - when I opened with my own record 'Off the Grid' the reaction was just amazing. I’m super happy about this being my Sydney debut.
RR: We are too mate. Bootz ‘N’ Catz have built a reputation for hosting events featuring deep/progressive house legends, including some of your label mates. Tell us how you got involved with Anjunadeep.
Yotto: Well, I made a remix for Pierce Fulton, who I’ve been internet friends with for ages then ABGT played it on their radio show and asked me for a mix. I had all this unsigned music lying around, so I made a mixtape of all my own music and instead of putting it out, they signed all the music from it. It was more like an accident!
RR: A happy accident! On their Facebook event page, Bootz ‘N’ Catz ran a poll for people to vote on their favourite Yotto track/remix. Which one do you think got the most votes?
Yotto: Hmm…not sure. It could have been Marisa or Aviate, which I forgot to play actually! Or the Above & Beyond and Rufus remixes?
RR: Aviate was 2nd, but top spot went to your Above & Beyond remix -'Counting Down the Days'.
Yotto: Oh wow, good thing I played it today. It’s not something I usually play anymore because it’s been a while since I made it.
RR: Do you have a particular favourite amongst your tracks?
Yotto: It changes, but at the moment – it’s 'Marisa'. There’s just something about it. It’s kind of borderline annoying, which I like. It was one of those melodies that I made while I was travelling and I was super home-sick. You can feel that in the track’s mood, it’s kind of happy and sad at the same time. It’s the first track I signed to Joris Voorn’s label. Joris and Kölsch are great idols of mine and they have been playing my track a lot, which made it that little bit more special to me.
RR: Congratulations on North. The cover art for the EP is very unique with its Nordic landscape. Was your homeland an influence in the music?
Yotto: Most of my EPs have not had a concept behind them, they’ve been a combination of tracks which work. But North was different. I made the lead track last winter when I was touring a lot in America, then when I got home it was really snowy and cold. I just stayed in my studio downstairs in the basement, drinking hot chocolate and built a whole EP around it. Then we also included 'Edge of Affection' which was already on the Anjunadeep compilation. It made sense as the closing track on the EP, because it was more sunny rather than being dark and gloomy like the rest.
RR: Speaking of inspiration, we’re big Twin Peaks fans here at Rave Reviewz and love that you made a trilogy (The Owls/Cooper’s Cup/Fire Walk) inspired by the show. Have you watched the new season?
Yotto: Actually not all of it because I travel all the time, but I’ve seen the first couple of episodes and I’m a big fan of the original. My mum and Dad used to watch it when I was very young and I remember hanging around the living room and seeing clips of it and thinking it looked weird and interesting. Then I got more into it when I was 16/17 and since then it’s been very important to me.
RR: So, what else are you currently working on?
Yotto: Well, I have another EP coming out before the end of the year on Green and I have a tonne of music lying around and I need to figure out what to do with it!
RR: Ok, what’s the deep house/progressive scene like in Finland?
Yotto: It’s really hard actually. Finland has a great club scene, but we have more of a German underground influence, more Berghain than what goes down in America, for example. We have DJs like Dixon, Black Madonna and Marcel Dettmann as big influences on one side and then the EDM peak on the other side, but the stuff in-between, where I think I belong does not really exist. But I’m working on it!
RR: Well as you’ve seen tonight, there’s a big Anjunadeep community over here in Australia. Any chance of you putting in a word with James Grant and getting the whole team over for an Australian tour??
Yotto: Haha I’ll put a good word in. We’re all doing our own things at the moment but they always ask how some of my gigs have been. I’ll let them know this was great, so let’s see… maybe we’ll all be over soon.
RR: Hope so mate, thanks.