Club or living room? This is not a question that concerns Berlin-based artist Y3ARS. As a DJ and remix-artist, he really knows how to amp it up at the club and get the crowd moving with his four-on-the-floor dance beats and progressive sets. But, as a solo-artist, he can also create a relaxing atmosphere on the sofa. The release of Y3ARS’ first solo album in September 2015 will let you wind-down with some relaxing dance moves. Though in the meantime he has devoted himself to electronic music, Y3ARS’ roots lie in hip hop. In fact, he was a member of the hip hop formation “Flexevil” from the late 1990s until 2005. To this day, he’s still on friendly terms with his former producer, NHOAH. Indeed, since 2011 he also sings and performs as part of NHOAH’s electronic music project “TANGOWERK“. Now Y3ARS is releasing his first solo album. Having kept an open mind to music while on the road for many years, he incorporated elements of electro, trip hop, soul and even pop into his songs. Sounds that have been a part of his past, but also sounds that he’s discovering presently. “For the first time in ages, I actually felt liberated as I approached my solo songs, like I did 20 years ago when I started making music as a teenager. I did exactly what I felt like doing and didn’t waste any time worrying about what my audience might like.” You definitely can’t say that Y3ARS caters to popular demand. One of the tracks, a piece called Couldn’t stop the love, begins with some elements of West Coast hip hop before transitioning into EDM with a soulful voice. The end of the song, just like the start, is again influenced by West Coast style. There are also tracks that you can drop in a club – pieces that Y3ARS skims with his deep, bassy – and then again very light – voice. And all you want to do is listen. His performance is so matter-of-course that it could only have been engendered by someone who unswervingly articulates what he’s all about, what his make-up is.
But authenticity is also created by the stories that Y3ARS tells in his songs. He refuses to let his lyrics be dictated by “big political issues and contemporary affairs”. Instead, his music revolves around his daily life between his family, walking his dog, stages and clubs. His new album is not an autobahn that rushes through your living room; it’s more like a river that gently carries you from your couch to the club and back again.
For Y3ARS, the club-living-room axis is not all that far apart. He considers it more as a healthy mood swing: “if I can end up back on my couch in the end, everything is fine”.
And perhaps this moment of regeneration that he lets himself indulge in is one of the reasons why Y3ARS’ music comes across as so refreshing.
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