Hailing from Hong Kong, Yako got his start working at a club in China called LEVELS at just 16 years old. At that time, Yako was working as a lighting technician for the visiting DJs while producing music out of his bedroom. Eventually, club organizers decided to give him a chance on the decks and the set as electric on impact. As a result, he earned a residency at that club. While there, he was eventually discovered by Dancing Dragon Management, a subsidiary under Live Nation.
Since then, YAKO has made it his mission to share Chinese electronic music with the world – in his own words:
I believe that electronic music is a universal language for everyone, and it’s time to show the entire world how a Chinese artist is capable of inspiring people pursuing their own dreams of making music, or any form of art.Yako
While still only at the beginning of his career, he already is the first Asian artist ever to take the main stage at Creamfields. He also played b2b with Carta, as the only Chinese artists to perform at Electric Daisy Carnival Las Vegas this year.
One EDM had a chance to sit down with Yako for a conversation, which can be read below.
What are some of your upcoming projects?
Basically, I have a bunch of new singles to release. The biggest one is an EP, which will be released in July. This EP is going to be a huge collab with a bunch of artists and with a different kinds of music styles.
What’s it like DJ-ing in China? How is it different from DJ-ing in the United States?
For one, a lot of Asian artists have not yet gotten onto the international stages or played at a lot of big festivals. In Asia, and especially in China, the music scene is a little bit slower than in western countries. They know a little less about music style and different vibes.
As a Dj, you have to be more energetic. You have to have more connection with the audience when you play. That’s also good for China. Since people don’t know as much about music, they are more hungry for new music.
They want to learn more about different styles of new music. I cannot say 100 percent, but they don’t necessarily care about who is playing. Of course, they do but they care more about if it’s good music or if they catch a good vibe from the music; they savor it. They like and follow you, they really enjoy it, and they dance.
Where do you hope to play in the future?
I just finished one of my dreams–EDC Vegas was cool. There are so many. Maybe Lost Lands. Before I Dj’s I played in a band. I wish I could get like a solo show where I could do my song, where I could collaborate with some of the band music. I would like to do more live music, not just playing a dj set.
What do you think of Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC) so far?
Well for one, this is my first time in Vegas and also my first time at EDC. There is crazy production, decorations, stages. It’s a signature. You can recognize it immediately and can tell that this is EDC. The people are crazy. The vibes and energy are so good. I just played a main stage act and even opening, the crowds are really energetic. It’s cool. I cannot really explain good words. It’s really dope.
Why did you get into music production? What do you like about producing music?
My first step at learning music, I was learning classical piano. That’s how I started with music, and in the band, how I started to compose music. After a few years, like a really long time, I heard about Turnical Brothers. At the time I didn’t even know what DJing was. I started messing around with synthesizers. I started to get to know and realized I can produce. In a band, you have to just make a song, but when you produce you can arrange all the things and can totally be yourself and make all the sounds. When I produce, I try to make a new project, a new song every time. Put my hands on the keyboard. I bring up something and just start jamming and figure out how my song will come out.
What is one tip you would have for an aspiring musician?
I can give you like a really easy answer. If you have a creative block, and you already know how to produce or compose music and have no inspirations, listen to some music that you don’t like. Also, listen to your favorite track and find out what you like about it. Basically, listen to more different music, and try to feel the vibe.
Tell me something about yourself that most of your fans do not know about you.
I like to collect sneakers.
What do you like to do when you are not DJ-ing or producing music?
I like to be with my dog.
What would be a dream collaboration for the future?
I have so many options, but for the shortest term, I wish I could get a collaboration with Oliver Sykes from Bring Me the Horizon.
Is there anything else that you would like our readers to know about you?
I have an EP in July, Huge collab. Lots of artists collaborated with me. Wait for it. See how Asian music is.