Yahtzel, one half of the extraordinary electronic music duo known as Carmada, recently sat down with AXS to talk all things about his upbringing in Australia, the music scene here in the States, and his recent show on the Do Lab stage at Coachella.
With an upcoming show at the famed Red Rocks Amphitheatre with ODESZA (June 16, grab your tickets here), a recently released single with Savoi, and a red-hot set at Day Club Palm Springs, this DJ is taking the U.S. by storm.
Fans can catch him next at this week's EDC Las Vegas at the Corona Electric Beach stage. He's playing Day 1 of EDC at 1 a.m. Make sure to catch his set that is sure to be a journey of discovery for anyone who hasn't had the pleasure of seeing him live yet.
AXS: You've been around music for a long, long time. Is it in your genes and what do your parents think of your current exploration in electronic music?
Yahtzel: Yeah! From about 5 I started playing the drums, then at seven guitars. Keys and bass got thrown in along the way, too! I have super supportive parents that always nurtured my music career in every way they could.
AXS: Yahtzel is a very unique stage name. Where does it come from?
Y: It’s a nickname my dad gave me when I was young; there’s no actual meaning...it just kind of came out one day!
AXS: Take us through your early musical influences. You've stated in other interviews that you wanted to get more involved in the punk rock scene. What brought you into the electronic music landscape when you were 17? Was there a significant moment, something that clicked for you?
Y: I started out like most kids my age, fell in love with Blink-182 and that led to other bands like Pennywise, Offspring, NOFX, etc. My taste in music has always been quite eclectic, and I've always liked discovering new music, whether it was old or new.
Around 2008 I stumbled across Justice. They were the perfect marriage of Electronic and Punk music to me. This sent me on my electronic journey, and I later discovered artists like Booka Shade, Trent Moller and Enya. These sounds started to make there way into my music and played a part in influencing the Yahtzel sound. The last couple of years, I've started to gravitate back towards the guitar and drums, and that's inspired me to finish my live show. I've always dreamed of being a performer; it's kinda surreal seeing it start to unfold.
AXS: In what ways is your sound as a solo artist unique from that of Carmada?
Y: My solo music is a lot more laid back and I think it's better represented in a live setting. The music is designed to take you on a journey. Carmada is geared towards DJ sets and [is] more heavy hitting. When I sit down to write, I don't know what's going to come out. Sometimes I sit down to write Yahtzel and I come out with Carmada and vice versa.
AXS: Being from Australia and touring the U.S. on your most recent run of shows, have you noticed differences in the trajectory of dance music here as opposed to Australia or other parts of the world? Where do you think things are going and how would you like to contribute to this landscape with your own sound?
Y: I find America has a real mixing pot of music in general. Especially electronic music, the sounds are forever evolving. It seems the States are on most producers list of places to succeed. So you could say America has a bit of everything. I have noticed that Australia has started to shift from Electronic music to a more band vibe. I want to contribute music that people enjoy.
AXS: You recently played Coachella. Tell us about your experience, the expectations going in and your time on stage.
Y: Coachella was awesome. I had no idea what to expect. I was playing early on the Do Lab stage. My set started quiet, but ten minutes in I had a full dance floor, and it turned out to be one of the best sets I've ever played. It was really special to see that many people come down early to watch me play; I even had a group of people from my hometown (Ulladulla) in Australia come out to watch me play.
AXS: You're scheduled to play Red Rocks in June. Have you been to the historic venue, and what can fans expect from your set?
Y: I went for a drive out to Red Rocks the other day to take it all in. It's such an amazing venue. It gives me goosebumps thinking about it. The fans will have to come and watch.
AXS: Your most recent single, "Someone Else," features Savoi. What was your time like with him and how did the single come about?
Y: My Carmada partner in crime, Drew, worked with Savoi on his track "Next to You," and I really liked the sound of his voice. I sent him a couple of ideas, and he started writing. We went back and forth for a couple of months and finally nailed the finished product. It's crazy how you can write a song with someone these days and never be in the same room.
Take a listen to Yahtzel below and be sure to catch him at EDC Las Vegas on Day 1 at the Corona Electric Stage (DJ set at 1 a.m.). Next up, he'll take the stage live with ODESZA at the famed Red Rocks Amphitheatre on June 16 (click here for tickets).