By Jocelle Koh
Malaysian-Australian artist Yeo is probably one of the most underrated acts to come out of the Australian music scene. A producer, singer-songwriter, DJ, music director, bassist and keytarist rolled into one, the jack of all trades has never been one to stay still musically, experimenting with everything from full-on country albums to electronic music, before settling into his current more R&B facing direction.
Over chicken rice and ice-cream (how all great conversations begin), we chatted about everything from our shared philosophies, growing up as a member of the Asian diaspora, and of course the veteran muso's recent musical exploits. In particular, the introspective artist spoke at length about his latest R&B single ‘By Myself’, featuring Singaporean artist and long-time collaborator Charlie Lim.
From the first listen, I could tell that this collaboration between Yeo and Charlie went much deeper than just a vocal feature. Long-time collaborators with the purest kind of respect for each others' craft, Yeo went deep sharing about Lim's participation on the track and how it all came together.
“I kind of went through a little bit of a crisis and that was at the end of a long struggle with a back injury…so my physical health became good, then I had to deal with mental stuff. At that point in time, all my closest friends came through and was like, Hey, we're still here for you. We’re not going anything…Also yeah, I made some pretty big mistakes and hurt a lot of people around me, and the people I hurt made a decision to support me through all the bullshit...Me and Charlie we live in different countries, we don’t connect as often as we’d like to. But eventually I came and saw him...and he was also really supportive as a friend. I guess I wrote the song about coming through that and reaching out to people, and I wrote his verse as well, the lyrics…and so I guess that’s how that song comes about.”
By Jocelle Koh
Design by Allison Sun
Special thanks to SCAPE INVASION Youth Music Awards
In one of my favourite tracks ‘Least of You’ from Singaporean-Australian crooner Charlie Lim’s latest album ‘CHECK HOOK’, the sensitive musician shared an interesting phrase previously used to describe the track.
“It’s kinda poppy but also has its own weird quirks to it. I got to play a little fuzz guitar solo at the end but it’s also part of this weird half-time section which I really love. Simon (Lam, from Melbourne duo Kllo…) said it felt like you were taking a long contemplative drive at night, but in an electric smart car. (laughs)”
Although technically the phrase wasn’t coined by Lim himself, the notion of taking a long contemplative drive at night in an electric smart car strangely appeals to me as a perfect way of describing the muso’s recent electropop works.
While a mishmash of R&B, Funk, Soul, Folk, Blues and Jazz have been used to describe his music in the past, the winner of ‘Fresh Vibe of the Year’ at the 2019 Youth Music Awards’ recent deep dive into the electronic genre has added an extra zing to his creation, making them thought-provoking yet slightly unhinging.