We've heard of and seen it many times: the frontman of an established, well-loved band creating a new solo project; an outlet for all that insatiable creativity. But Yllis' new material is set to be something we've never heard of, weaving imagery and poetry never seen before. Indeed, just analyzing Monster Cat frontman Wang's artfully expressive depictions of the music and meaning of his project to him definitely excites us, anticipating his first ever gig as Yllis tomorrow.
Promising entirely different — and more electronic — soundscapes from Monster Cat's luxuriantly dark and psychedelic feel, Yllis looks to be an intriguingly fresh platform for Wang's versatile musical prowess. With currently no available online output to judge from, his debut show with music collective Syndicate would be the ultimate debut for this new project. We feed our curiosity about Yllis with this edition of our Bandwagon Guest List, and he sure doesn't disappoint in leaving us inspired even before his new material is revealed.
What inspired you to start this solo project?
I need to keep making stuff. If I spend a day without making anything I go to bed feeling real shit about myself. A few years ago I started making more electronic, beat-based type music — on my own, in my bedroom. The process was spontaneous, fresh...it was invigorating. So I kept at it and it has culminated into this.
Why the name Yllis?
It sounded nice on my tongue.
What kind of sound and direction can we look forward to with Yllis, and how would it be different from Monster Cat?
The music I'm making now, it's completely different from anything I've done before. It's more electronic based, and it's more beat driven. Instrumentation wise I'm trying to keep it completely out of this world. The weirder and fresher sounding the better. Some bits get really #turntup. Some bits I think sound like if the Internet was a sentient being who digested the pain and love of the world only to vomit it out into your ear drums. There's still this dark streak in me that I can't shake I guess. It's still me making the music at the end of the day. So maybe some people will be able to hear some similarities.
Speaking of Monster Cat, how has the change in the band’s lineup affected its dynamic, sound and writing/recording process?
I'm so proud of what the band's become over the past year. And I've learnt so many invaluable things through this experience of change and renewal. Something that these guys taught me is how to sit back into the music—to sit into the moment, and to stop chasing a feeling or a sound or... "perfection", to just let the groove take over. It's really a beautiful thing. The music flourishes and blooms, crashing against you like a wave on the shore. In the past we were mathematicians. Now we just splash paint around the canvas.
How has the creative process for Yllis been different from that for Monster Cat?
Yllis is all me. Nothing to fall back on, no one else to blame or rely on. Things really picked up when I decided to just do and not think. I was grasping at what was in front of me—it was immediate, it was for survival. I was finding myself as little bits of stone on the ground and polishing each tiny piece every night.
“Electronic, hip-hop and post-rock fused together” sounds intriguing. Did you consciously want to blend these genres together, or did it just emerge from what you were doing?
I just want to make stuff that I think sounds cool, that has meaning, that could connect, that I would want to listen or dance to. Where all that comes from I'm still figuring out. Sometimes we make unconscious decisions without even knowing it. Maybe it's deciding what pair of shoes to wear, or it's deciding if we should get out of bed in the morning. I'm beginning to think that that's quite a dangerous pattern to slip into.
What inspires you?
Music wise I'm listening to a lot of experimental electronic stuff and what I think could be classified as left-field hip hop? I've also been giving Miles Davis' Bitches Brew a spin at least once a week. I try to meditate daily, and stay as connected as possible to the world through the Internet (in much the same way that an affair with a destructive lover might inspire good art).
Planning to release any Yllis material some time soon?
Yes, very soon.
TOP 5 INFLUENTIAL ALBUMS
&&&&& | Arca
This is really quite a masterpiece. Simultaneously stimulating the mind and the body in such a natural yet carefully orchestrated manner. Texturally and melodically ground-breaking and really pioneered everything that I find exciting about music in 2015.
Dark Energy | Jlin
Listen to this and you know that Footwork has really arrived.
Yeezus | Kanye West
Everything Kanye puts out is like a shot of adrenaline for me. Pure creative impulse punching you in the face screaming "get off your ass and make something great!"
Heterocetera | Lotic
The title track is incredible.
Believe | Airhead
Two of the tracks on here, "Shekure" and "Shirin", completely blew my mind. Texturally just so cool and compositionally so classy at the same time. Managed to be both #relevant and timeless when it came out.