Crafting cosmic sounds from London and back | Yasmin Kuymizakis

Ahead of her performance at an alternative Boxing Day party, singer-songwriter Yasmin Kuymizakis speaks to Teodor Reljic about what it takes to make it as a musician in London and how this has altered her point of view of the Maltese music scene

teodor_reljic
Teodor Reljic
20 December 2016, 7:43am
I would love to see more people saying more than just ‘prosit’, and more musicians being open to critique - YEWS
I would love to see more people saying more than just ‘prosit’, and more musicians being open to critique - YEWS
Ahead of her performance at an alternative Boxing Day party led by fellow local alternative music stalwart Danjeli, singer-songwriter Yasmin Kuymizakis (aka YEWS) speaks to Teodor Reljic about what it takes to make it as a musician in London – where she’s now based – and how this has altered her point of view of the Maltese music scene in particular and of the realities of making a living as a musician in particular

You’ve been living and working in London for quite some time. How has this affected your musical career, and what have you learnt from the experience that you’d like to keep on implementing? 

Living in London has definitely helped me grow and become more comfortable in my own skin. Musically it is very, very competitive and there’s so much going on. I have learned that it is very important to network and collaborate. My take-aways are these: experiment and try new things, do not be afraid to fail and remember, there is always something new to learn. 

What would you say are the hallmarks of the ‘YEWS sound’, and what have been some of the key influences that shaped it?

At the moment, I would say synth sounds, which remind me of nighttime and the stars. I love ‘cosmic’ sounds, casiotones and strings synths from the 70s and 80s for example. I am definitely influenced by artists like Molly Nilsson and John Maus. 

Yasmin Kuymizakis – aka YEWS – launched her debut EP, Selene in 2014
Yasmin Kuymizakis – aka YEWS – launched her debut EP, Selene in 2014
What have been your most important musical milestones so far, and how do you hope to build on them?

I have performed in plenty of places in London – pubs, warehouses and even at the Kopparberg Festival. They were all fun but I really enjoyed performing in art galleries a couple of times. For one particular performance, I had my own installation with radios on a washing line and decided to use them for a live set. I had backing tracks coming out of the radios and performed with them. I think I would like to build more on being creative in this way. It was pretty unique and the art gallery as a venue made it even more special.

Now that you’ve experienced the musical scene in London, how do you feel about the Maltese musical scene? What would you change about it? 

I love the Maltese scene because it feels much easier and people are very encouraging. At the same time, I would love to see more people saying more than just ‘prosit’, and more musicians being open to critique and seeing it as a good thing that can help them to grow and improve. I enjoy getting constructive criticism for my own work but I also make sure I am true to myself and my own style. I don’t want to try be anybody else. Apart from that, I would love to see music and sound design taken more seriously in Malta. A lot of people seem to see it as just a hobby and not as work, providing low budgets, which inevitably leads to us dedicating less time and effort to the job. Because ultimately, making music and sound is also a job. I think if there were better budgets we could improve so much.

YEWS will be performing at Pudina Tal-Milied, Liquid Club, San Gwann on December 26, where she will be joined by Danjeli, Sonitus Eco and Brian James. Doors open at 23:00. Tickets: http://trackagescheme.com/. To hear YEWS’s debut EP Selene, log on to: https://www.beatport.com/release/selene/1322747 

teodor_reljic
Teodor Reljic is MaltaToday's culture editor and film critic. He joined t...