I have set time aside…
to talk with the amazing Roz Yuen about her stunning E.P., Feel So Good. The single of the same name is out so I was curious what thought process started that song – and what themes go into the E.P.
Yuen moved from Australia to Berlin and talks about the German capital’s allure; how young she was when music really struck her; if there are British tour dates later this year; which new artists we should show some love – she selects three albums that mean a lot to her.
Hi, Roz. How are you? How has your week been?
Great, thanks! This week has been a nice balance of working in the studios and time hanging with friends in the sun.
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
I’m a Berlin-based vocalist, songwriter and music producer from Melbourne, Australia. I make downtempo Electronica-Pop with an experimental edge.
Tell me about the single, Feel So Good. Can you explain what inspired the song?
The song is about a type of intimacy you share with strangers. I had just moved to Berlin without knowing anyone. It can be an isolating and lonely experience. However, when you have a clean slate it can feel really liberating, too. You get to share that moment in your life with people who have no perceived ideas about who you are. It’s a special type of bond or closeness.
It is from the E.P. of the same name. What sort of themes inspired the songwriting?
A running theme behind my three-track E.P. is intimacy. I draw from my experiences and like to tell stories about the people I encounter; the city’s natural rhythm and flow and the sounds that create its atmosphere.
It seems Berlin is important to where you are now. Is the city a perfect place to make and promote your music?
For now, yes! Berlin is chill, progressive and at forefront of things that really excite me like immersive audio-visual experiences. I also get amazing opportunities to meet and collaborate with creatives from all around the world.
Do you think the music you are producing now is your best? How have you progressed as an artist, would you say?
I am making music that is an authentic expression of what I want to say - others can decide what they think it is my best. I have gained more confidence in my music production skills and realising the creative vision in my head. However, I’m always learning and growing with each song I write.
How did music come into your life? Which artists made an impression on you as a child?
My dad tells me he used to catch me singing in my cot. My parents exposed me to The Beatles and ABBA. I also remember singing along to Belinda Carlisle’s Runaway Horses on C.D. which belonged to my aunt.
Are there going to be any tour dates coming up? Where can we see you play?
I definitely intend to tour Europe. I did a lot of gigs when I was in Melbourne. However, since moving to Berlin in August 2017, I have focused on writing new work and developing my skills as a music producer. I absolutely love performing live and can’t wait to get stuck into it.
Will you come to the U.K. and perform here?
I have a strong affection for the U.K. having lived in London for two years. I’d love to perform there again. So, the answer is ‘Yes!’
Do you have any ambitions to fulfil before the end of the year?
I am already working on songs for my next E.P. My ambitions are to finish the tracks and then partner up with a label to release them in early-2019. In the meantime, I’ll also be doing some shows.
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music – the one that sticks in the mind?
A defining moment in my music career was when I volunteered as a Performing Arts Leader to run a choir for the U.K. homeless charity event, Crisis at Christmas. In the middle of our rendition of Stand by Me, Sir Ian McKellen walked in and watched us perform. It reaffirmed why I invest so much and devote my life to making music. Music is a human need which has the power to connect you with other people and lift you up at your lowest.
Which three albums mean the most to you, would you say?
Amy Winehouse - Back to Black
Her soulful vocals and witty dark lyricism have gotten me through some tough times.
Massive Attack – Mezzanine
This textually-rich Trip-Hop gem has been highly influential in shaping my sound.
Burial – Untrue
Words that come to mind when thinking of the album: ‘timeless’, ‘visceral’; ‘ambient’, ‘melancholic’ and ‘warm’. It’s aspirational.
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
Patience, perseverance and passion for the journey are what will sustain you through the highs and lows of a career in music.
Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?
I am a huge fan of TOTEM from Copenhagen who makes new wave Synth-Pop. An amazing songwriter and hardworking music producer - it makes me think of New Order and The Cure.
Another hot tip is DJ Chick’n and the Cuntry Roosters; a British all-female trio that combines Punk and Techno. When their music is released it is going to go off - and I will be in the audience joining everyone.
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
I am a bit of a workaholic and music-obsessed. However, my favourite unwinding activities include baths, lazing around on a picnic rug in the park or wandering around contemporary art museums.
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
On my recent trip to London, I picked up several vinyl records from the lovely people at One Little Indian, including an L.P. from French artist, s a r a s a r a. I’d love for you to play her track, Love, which was co-produced and mixed by Matthew Herbert. It reminds me of Björk and Fever Ray.
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Marice Garcia Rosell