Get To Know... Yang
Born unto the world on Halloween many moons ago now, Manchester electronic outfit Yang are definitely on the forefront of a shifting genre.
With strong DIY vibes, this duo goes to prove that, in this day and age, you can pretty much do everything for yourself if you set your mind to it. Brimming with creativity and a new twist on what is already out there, this pair are even eager to rework things they have already made themselves.
Latest single Amber, released just prior to the world going absolutely nuts, effortlessly blends interesting electronic elements with moody vocals and lyricism in a way which has created the perfect DIY track.
We caught up with the duo to chat origins, influences and dream soundtrack opportunities.
Tell us a bit about Yang and how long you’ve been making music for?
Oliver Duffy: We formed on Halloween 2017, we met at uni in a class which was basically sitting in a circle and smacking bongos for an hour. We played our first show in January 2019, because neither of us had done any kind of electronic project it took us a long time to figure out how to play any of it live. Davey Moore: To me, Yang is a vessel for emotion, chaotic energy and ADHD. We have been collaborating for almost 3 years now and our relationship has definitely come a long way since the start. When we have our creative sessions, we become one mind. I simply have to glance at Ollie and he knows what I want. We have a unique connection when it comes to creativity, I think it boils down to the drastic difference in our upbringing and our abilities to use those differences to enhance our music instead of squabbling about them.
At what point in your life did you decide to make a career out of your music, and what influenced that decision?
DM: To be honest, I never thought that I would have a career in performing music, I wanted to be a producer, It involves less stress and socio-politics, I can’t be arsed with drama. When I met Ollie, my mindset changed. Having someone that can play so many instruments allowed me to channel the workflow and soundscapes into a plausible live show. I’ve always been prolific when it comes to creativity however at the start I lacked the skill to play all of my ideas live and that’s another reason why we work so well together.
OD: The only two job prospects I ever had in life were rockstar or footballer, and I realised by the time I was like 11 that there was no way I was going to do anything other than music (but not because I was bad at football, you should see me whip a corner in). Music’s the only thing I’m any good at, and to envision a career in anything else would be completely alien to me.
What would you say is the main source of influence for your songwriting?
OD: Davey usually sends me templates to add basslines, chords and melodies/solos over which means there’s a defined work flow which makes for a prolific output. Although I’m always writing stuff on my own for fun, stuff that’s a bit too hard to play live with Yang at the moment but I would definitely look to incorporate further down the road, just because we revolve around being able to play the tunes live at this stage. DM: For me it’s my ADHD. I’ve been labelled as the annoying kid or the weirdo my whole life yet after a few identity crises during my teenage years I realised that if I became a creative, more specifically a musician, I could channel that chaotic energy and constant thought into music. I may not be the most polished musician or producer, one thing I can say is I’m prolific. We are sitting on a lot of songs we just need the right opportunity to release them.
What is something you’ve learned about yourselves through making music and being a part of Yang?
OD: That you shouldn’t carve out a role for yourself thinking that’s all you’re destined to do. My whole life until I was 18 I thought the only role I would have was guitarist/singer, because that’s all I’d ever been, so taking on a role where I play keys and do bv’s was very foreign to me but showed me that you shouldn’t restrict yourself to just being “the singer” or “the guitar player” forever because it ends up being pretty limiting. DM: I’ve learned that I love so many genres and subject matters. In the early days i wanted to blend my love for punk with my love for Aphex Twin. this was a great idea for us but I neglected the wealth of influence from the thousands of genres sub-genres and sub-sub-genres out there. One of the most beautiful sides of music is the melting pot of influence you can create if you simply open your mind and collaborate.
Is there anything you wish you had known when you first got involved in the music industry?
OD: That you’re rarely ever as popular as you think you are. It sounds harsh but I needed to hear it. In my old bands I used to write all the social media posts as if we had millions of people reading them and it makes for quite a pretentious read. You’ve got to toe the line between arrogance and humility, and that’s where we try to operate. DM: I wish I knew my worth earlier. Musicians, including us, often get mugged off by promoters, execs etc and I used to just accept that as a formality. I soon realised that if you remove the musicians the entire industry collapses. We make the music, We run around like headless chickens promoting, performing, posing, connecting with industry heads. Although I appreciate there are amazing labels, managers and staff members who devote their lives to boost the careers of the chosen few, there are far too many snake oil salesmen taking advantage of young artists. You control your own careers and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Who are some of your favourite upcoming artists from the city you live in?
OD: Porij are the dudes, they’ve been our mates since we first started gigging a year and a half ago and they’re doing major bits right now, we love to see it. As far as other bands coming out of Manchester, I like what Blanketman are doing, they’re pretty cool. Leisure Theory and Look Busy are delivering the goods too. DM: As Ollie said, the oat gang (PORIJ) are the dons, I’m so happy that they are getting the credit that they deserve and they’ve just been added to BBC Radio 6’s B list. Id also like to shout out WETZLER another genre-bending pot of wonderfulness.
What would your dream tour & rider look like?
OD: 4 way rotating headline tour with Us, Daft Punk, Primal Scream and Metallica. The rider would consist of a framed picture of the Carpenters, a crate of Buckfast and a big chippy tea. Yes, every night. DM :My dream tour would be with Gorillaz, Daft Punk and Aphex Twin, as well as Brian Eno performing tape experiments, live on stage. Imagine that.
If your music was to soundtrack any film or TV show, which would you choose?
OD: Match of the Day when they do the goal of the month bit. DM: That’s a hard one, to be honest. It’s not a movie but I’d love our tunes to play over a fight sequence in One Piece or Naruto. I’m a little weeb at heart.
What’s the bucket list goal for you as Yang? Where do you want to be as a band in a year’s time?
DM: The ideal future for me would be to get to a point where we would be invited to collaborate with our inspirations. I love to collaborate and I aren’t bothered about money, I just want to create and if i got to do that with Ollie and our musical idols that would be a dream. OD: I just want to keep having fun and being friends, I would never sacrifice that part of it, even if it meant missing out on bigger success. If I ruled the world I’d have us on that Daft Punk/Metallica/Primal Scream tour in a year's time.