Yo Yo Sun are the Fremantle-based acoustic duo of Jamie Tan and Andrew Miller and they’ve just released their new album A First Light. Described as “uplifting songs that dance the tightrope between happiness and heartache” its an album for pop-folk music lovers.
Andrew Miller chatted to the Hi Fi Way about the new album and how music was something they did for fun and has now became a bit more serious.
Dark of Night is your new single, tell us about that song.
Dark of Night is a song about that space where hopelessness could envelop you and essentially about hope. Waiting for that one opportunity or one person to come and be the catalyst for change in your life. That’s basically what it’s about.
Universes is was another single, what is that song all about?
Unfortunately I didn’t write those lyrics. Jamie wrote those but she wrotes those after going on her first date with her partner while sitting on Monument Hill in Fremantle overlooking the harbour. I remember she sent me the lyrics and we kind of took it from there. But I guess its all about the universe, the sky and grass and painted that visual image of when they were just chilling out on the grass there overlooking Fremantle.
I was listening to Wish I Was Brave and it’s such a catchy groovy tune. What is that song all about and how was the creative process with that song?
That song is about trying to be brave. Its about being clumsy and awkward and just wishing you could just braver in certain situations and could find the right words to express yourself. The chorus is “I just can’t speak when you’re around” and that’s probably being a bit more clumsy and awkward when you might like someone that you meet and don’t know where to take things. In terms of a writing process, Jamie and I are pretty collaborative but generally speaking Jamie writes a lot of the lyrics that she often sends me. Also, she will send me melodies that she’s thinking of and just records them on her phone while she’s doing the dishes. Then I will listen to it and try and come up with something on the guitar to try and structure it a bit.
When I was listening to your songs, on first listen you’re intrigue with the songs then after a few listens you really get hooked and you want to listen to them over and over..
That’s a good thing!
Yeah it is! Is this a conscious thing when you write songs or it just kind of happens?
Our song writing process has been pretty organic and casual. We never really even thought of releasing any of our songs. We always did it for fun. Quite often we’d write a song in one session and then a friend Daniel Henry came around the following week and we mic’d it up and recorded it. The guitar and vocal live and if we found a take we liked then we slowly added a few instruments over the top. We only made a conscious decision to write the music a little while ago and to share it.
Is music something you just fell into and a side thing you liked to do and never really planned on releasing things?
Yeah for me and Jamie we just did them for ourselves. It was just something we did for fun and just a bit of an outlet for us. We’d catch up and have a feed and then muck round with some microphones in the back shed. Then Dan would come around and he was much the reason why our music got recorded otherwise we probably wouldn’t have any music out there.
Now Dan was your producer of the album. How was it working with him on that and how does it feel to release your album At First Light?
It’s a huge achievement to release our album. We’d been working on this project for a lot of years just for ourselves. Its really a collaboration of our experiences over the last few years and Daniel’s a good friend of ours. He was amazing to work with. Very collaborative and he’s very creative. He could play any instrument he can get his hands on. We are very thankful he was prepared to help us out.
Obviously, your music is more on the folk side. Is that something you’ve been into and the sort of music you’ve been listening to?
Yeah, we wrote a lot of songs and didn’t necessarily keep all the songs that we wrote. Its been a process of finding the sound we’ve been looking for and it is that more chilled out folk acoustic vibe that we’re going for. Like bands like The Waifs. Yeah kind of camp fire songs essentially. Chilled out songs.
How long have you been together as a band?
Well Jamie and I are just a duo. When we perform live, we’re a duo and with recordings we’ve layered them up a bit more and had friends come in and out to contribute. Mainly because we want people in our network and community to be involved. Dan plays some different instruments on the album and we have other friends come in and play things like the cello. Lots of collaboration there. We’ve been playing music probably for the last five or so years together just casually before releasing the album.
So, within that five years have you been performing live or is that a recent thing?
We have been doing odd gigs here and there live but I’d say we have predominately a studio project. We’ve only just started really playing a few more gigs live now that we’ve got some music out there.
Do you enjoy paying live? IS that something you want to keep doing?
Yeah! Definitely. We enjoy playing live. We just enjoy catching up, making and playing music together. A lot of our earlier gigs were in psychiatric hospitals because that’s the line of work I’m in. So, we’d often set up a PA and play to patients. Yeah know were playing in different venues. We are lucky enough to have some good friends so Reagan and Johnno from Suburban Vibes in Fremantle they helped us out with our single launch and set up an awesome warehouse show for us which was fantastic.We have our album launch coming up at The Aardvark in Fremantle on November 1.
Is there a meaning behind the band name Yo Yo Sun?
The concept is like when the sunset and the sunrise it sort of looks like sun goes up and down every day and we thought of the sun a bit like a yoyo in that sense. So that’s really the concept behind the name YoYo Sun. We just stuck with that and we’ve got a good friend Caroline White who is an awesome artist. She’s done all the artwork for all our releases so far and the album as well. She managed to capture I think perfectly the vibe of us in her artwork. We even sold yoyos with the bandname on it for the single launch with our merch (laughs)
That’s good! That’s good marketing!
I don’t know. People were pretty keen to walk the dog and crank out a few tricks more than listen to us (laughs) perhaps at times. But that ok (laughs)
Sell them after the gig not during (laughs)
There was plenty of yoyo-ing during the gig but that’s alright (laughs). We wanted that. We embrace that (laughs)
What are the future plans for Yo Yo Sun?
We’ve written a heap more songs so I think after releasing the album and doing a few gigs we’re pretty keen in the new year to get back into recording some more music. I think it’s a nice when you release your music it’s a chapter that you can be proud of and move on from and then start the next chapter in your songwriting. We’ve got quite a few songs were excited to record already.
Interview by Anastasia Lambis
Check out Yo Yo Sun on Spotify…