Unless you’ve lived under a rock, you most likely know of experimental bass pioneer and sound boy Yheti. In his innovative and forward-thinking production, he is always trying to one-up himself in his creative process. His most recent musical escapade, Everything New Was Old, is a shining example.
Reflecting on over a decade of music, Yheti has created a highly substantial project that brings about a range of human emotions. This year, he brought the project on the road with The Knew Sound Tour, which featured sounds from Honeybee, Toadface, and Ternion Sound. After many sold-out tour dates and a rollout of single releases, the highly anticipated project was released on September 1st.
Shortly after the release, Yheti reached out to Electric Hawk for an interview to talk about the project and the process of its creation. We hope you enjoy it! :::)
Nix [Electric Hawk]: First, thank you so much for reaching out! We know you have been busy, and we appreciate you taking the time to talk to us. How is life treating you now that summer is starting to wind down and winter approaches?
Yheti: YoyYOYoYO Yo Yo! YO YO! Yoyo Yo Yo! Hello, Hello, Hello, Hello, Hello, HHHHEEEELLLOOOO!!! It’s great to chat about music. I love music so much, and I appreciate you and your crew for transmitting this data into the digital world. Life has been good this summer, but a bit overwhelmed by life, to be honest. There’s a lot of suffering in the world and also a lot of beauty and joy. I’m looking forward to slowing down this winter, sharpening my focus, and strengthening my vision of the future. Our awareness is such a beautiful, complex thing, but it can also feel like a burden in the same light.
N: We have been loving Everything New Was Old so far! With the steady trickle of releases to the eventual release of the full 20-piece project, which song(s) do you think best represent your growth as an artist since you switched from producing under Yeti Master to Yheti?
Yheti: Yo! I’m happy you’ve been enjoying the new album! I spent a stupid amount of time on it. I feel like every track represents my growth equally as I wrote and worked on all 20 simultaneously and tried to utilize every technique/skill I’ve learned over the years across the 60 minutes of audio. It’s interesting that you mentioned my older project, Yeti Master, because not many people are aware of that project. I think there are only a couple of random YouTube videos that other people have uploaded of those tracks. But I’m still really proud of that work and plan to upload it all to SoundCloud soon.
N: You mentioned your favorite tracks are “We Found You” and “Closed Eye Light Show.” What qualities, quirks, or techniques did you use with these songs that make you love them, and what did you learn from making them?
Yheti: With “We Found You,“ I took the drum break from my track “I Lost You” and ran it through all sorts of different effects. I then went through all the recordings, picked my favorite sounding parts, and laid out 64 different drum break patterns on my drum pad. I like to make games out of creating things. Lately, I’ve been playing this game I call “Flowering The Beat,” where I’ll write one drum pattern and one bassline. Then I write a new drum pattern to the bassline, then a new bassline to the new drum pattern, write a new drum pattern to the new bassline, and so on until I have about 32 new patterns. I then picked out my favorite sequences and stitched them together in a way that made me feel things.
There are repetitions in the intro, so it would be possible to mix them into DJ sets. But when the main section starts, the drum breaks and the bassline never loops or plays twice. There’s a constant variation for over two minutes. Even though it’s a bit chaotic, it still feels very cohesive because all the drum breaks are derived from the same sample, and the bassline remains in the same key. “We Found You” is really special to me because of the constant variation. I feel like the constant variation in rhythm and timbre can trigger my brain into a sort of meditative flow state or something. I’m not sure if it has that effect on anyone else, though.
I’m also really happy with “Closed Eye Light Show”
…because I feel the sound set is really unique. It feels like being awake all night until the morning to me. I’m not sure how to explain it better than that. The feeling is really unique and interesting. Also, I love the way sliding sine waves sound over loud sub-bass. In the second section, the way the bridge melody sort of morphs into this laser-y, slide-y melody that speeds up and slows down rhythmically… I just really love it. And the descending arp sound in the outro feels like Mario World. Every detail in the track feels really beautiful to me, and just thinking about it now makes my heart feel good.
N: In a previous interview with EH, you said, “The observer [of art] deserves a lot more credit for being the vessel having the experience. Without the observer, the beauty wouldn’t exist.” What have been the most interesting audience observations of Everything New Was Old? How about those that have come from other artists and collaborators?
Yheti: One of the more interesting observations is seeing which tracks different people resonate with most. Sometimes, I assume a friend will really enjoy a certain track and might be slightly annoyed by another. And then their favorite track will be the other one. Tracks on tracks, for days and days. There are so many tracks in the world. What are we going to do with all these tracks? I wish we could build invisible multi-dimensional machines with tracks. There are plenty of tracks to go around. Then, we could create new things with new purposes inside new dimensions. But most likely, the tracks will just chill online, and some will have their patterns transcribed to air wiggles and vibrating the cone.
N: The artwork for the singles, as well as the album, are all very cohesive and unique. What is your artistic process when creating visual art that pairs with musical art?
Yheti: My process for making art is similar to the music process in the way I make lots of pieces – quickly. Then, I compare them all next to each other and pick which ones inspire the right emotion I’m aiming for. With my line drawings, I’ll draw five or so every night I can for a few weeks while only spending a few minutes on each. One drawing out of the many will really stand out to me, like the The Party Has Changed album cover or the Deformed EP. They were both in a sketch pad with like 100 other quick drawings. When flipping through the book, they stood out to me a lot.
I make my music in a similar way. Sometimes, I’ll write a new demo every day or three new demos in one day. When I have 30 or so, I’ll pick out my favorites for an EP or album and finalize the tracks. With the drawings, I have very little skill, so I leave them as sketches because I’m afraid I would ruin them if I tried to detail them. I’m much better with digital art, I think. For the single artwork, I made lots of digitally altered pictures, put them all next to each other, and picked my favorites. I also used the same paper texture for every piece to make it cohesive.
N: What do you think first-time Yheti listeners will take away from listening to your self-described “magnum opus,” Everything New Was Old? Why do you consider this project your magnum opus?
Yheti: I feel like Everything New Was Old is my most important work as an artist because I had such a clear vision of the entire project before I started writing anything. Sometimes, when making an EP or album, a lot of artists just collect their favorite demos, finalize them, and package them together. With this album, I wanted to write it similar to the way I would play a DJ set. I made a list of all my favorite feelings from music and made sure to include every technique and skill I’ve learned throughout my life. I wanted parts to feel organic, dubbed out, synthetic, chaotic, and beautiful. Some parts I wanted to have words, no words, dubstep, soul, drum and bass, jungle, beats, halftime, noise, ambient, and abstract parts.
I’m really not sure how my music would sound to a first-time listener. Depending on their individual taste and history, the album might sound chaotic and uncomfortable, or it might sound interesting and beautiful. Or a combination of both. It’s really interesting to me [how] the same song can trigger a wide range of emotions in different people. Music has facilitated some of the most beautiful experiences in my life, so I try my best to trigger those experiences in others. Human psychology is complex. Everyone is unique, so it’s a huge puzzle trying to light a lot of souls at once. Also, I don’t expect my music to be that effective in inspiring emotion. I think if I’m a bit delusional about the power of music, it will inspire me to do my best work.
I hope a first-time Yheti listener would feel their brain light up and have epiphanies about their existence and the importance of love in the human experience. My goal is to make music that could help inspire people to be enthusiastic about being alive. I wanted everything to feel familiar but new as well. If art is too familiar, it can feel dull. And if art is too new, it can feel overwhelming or chaotic.
With art, there’s a lot of power in understanding expectations. Before collecting any sounds or writing any music, I wrote the timeline of the album out on paper. Then, I penciled in where all these different feelings would fit in my multi-genre DJ set narrative. I resampled all my favorite Yheti tracks to play live, plus the ones that fit into my vision, and started completely new tracks using the “Flower The Beat” method I mentioned earlier. I started the project immediately after the release of The Party Has Changed in February 2020. That’s about when the world stopped. I originally thought I would have the project done in one year. Achieving all the feelings I wanted and matching the vision as accurately as possible ended up taking me about two and a half years.
N: What was the process of making these tunes while keeping your vision in mind?
Yheti: I would open the first track and flip a sand hourglass. Once the hour was up, I would open the second project and flip the hourglass. I would do about eight to ten-hour sessions every day. By the time I [returned] to the first track, it would be two or more days later, and I would hear it with a fresh perspective. I spent the most time working on this project than any project I’ve ever completed. Most of my albums and EPs over the years are just a collection of experiments. But with Everything New Was Old, I had a strong vision from the very start. I continued working on it until every detail was perfect in my mind.
Listen to Everything New Was Old below!
If you’re looking for new music, keep up with our weekly Spotify Playlist, Fresh Hunts. Whether it’s the newest tracks from Yheti, something new from your favorite artists, some old school, or underground—we just want you to hear it.