INTERVIEW: Yolanda Be Cool’s Matt Handley
Yolanda Be Cool’s Matt Handley may have been queuing up at Zara when we called him for a chat last week, but that certainly didn’t stop the chart-topping Aussie DJ from sharing his thoughts on some of the freshest new faces on the local dance music scene, his writing process for YBC and that time they got shut down by the “King of Dubai.”
MTV: You recently released your latest single ‘To Be Alone’ which is a bit different to your usual sound – what made you want to slow it down this time?
Yolanda Be Cool: Well I guess we kind of like all types of tempos and sounds, I mean, our DJ sets are between 120 and 128 BPMs, but our album had a ballad that was like 70 BPMs. We had a hip-hop tune that was 100! I guess with ‘To Be Alone,’ we sent it to the female vocalist first and then we sent it to Omar. I guess we love making club bangers and we love making more interesting stuff. You know, our mum’s like listening to [‘To Be Alone’] a lot more than other tracks!
MTV: Tell us about your writing process. Do you prefer to work alone or with Andy?
YBC: We do have a funny way of working, because we do a lot of trial and error - we find it kind of quite punishing to be in the same room as each other. We normally start things separately, send them to each other, work on them separately, and then we’ll get together once the track’s more like 70 to 80 percent done and we’ll finish it together. I guess the good thing is that we’ve never ever done anything where one of us doesn’t like it. We trust each other’s opinion. We send it back and forth and then if one person says ‘Change that,’ it’s never ever been the case of ‘No, no, no, I’m stuck on this.’ It’s a friendly working relationship.
MTV: How do you go about choosing artists to work with?
YBC: Sometimes it’s like meeting someone at a party! Our next single is with someone we met at a club in LA who turned out to be an amazing vocalist. And then other times it’s writing a list of people you really want to work with, approaching them, and surprisingly people that you think are unapproachable are quite often really up for doing stuff. It’s just been a bit of everything, and sometimes you get approached by people and that makes sense as well.
MTV: Tell us about your new RUFUS 'Tonight' remix…
YBC: We just love the original so much. I normally would say when you love the original you shouldn’t remix it, because how can you make something better than what you already love? But I guess we took in a bit more of a clubby direction than the radio mix that the guys did. People love RUFUS, and the single is such an amazing single - Tyrone’s vocals are just compelling. It was a joy to work with really.
MTV: Why do you think RUFUS have been so successful this year?
YBC: I think it’s everything about them. They’re extremely talented, they’re extremely hard-working, they’ve got their own sound, you know, you can hear a RUFUS song and pick it. They’re also really down to earth, so I think that anyone that meets them loves them. They’re amazing live, yeah I’m a huge fan.
MTV: Any up-and-coming producers you have your eye on?
YBC: Always! We get sent a lot of demos and there’s so much talent out there. The Sweat It Out roster right now is really on point. I don’t know if you’ve come across the Indian Summer guys, but I think they’re going to have a really big year next year. I mean, Motez is hardly a new guy these days, but the stuff that he’s working on is gonna be pretty massive. Go Freek, they’re two young guys from the South Coast that moved up to Sydney, and we pretty much play all their tracks in our set. So I think they’re gonna have a big year as well. Yeah, lots of people - I’m probably forgetting heaps as well!
MTV: What’s been the weirdest gig experience you’ve ever had?
YBC: I think we’ve had many. One that just springs to mind was a non gig, it didn't happen. We were in Dubai for a gig which was sponsored by Durex Condoms. Obviously condoms imply that you have sex, and I think in Dubai you only have sex if you’re having babies. And I think basically to do a party in Dubai you need a license from whatever the King of Dubai is called.
Basically an hour before our gig, we got called by the promoter who said ‘Oh look, we’ve got some bad news, the license has been revoked. The King wasn’t so happy about the sponsored party… but do you guys just mind coming to the event anyway so that people know that we actually did book you?’ So that was strange. Such a strange concept to think that there are so many people that live in Dubai that are either breaking the law or they’re not doing what they normally do elsewhere…