After college you moved back to LA, what was the reason for the move?
YS: Well I was playing college football and decided to quit and move back to LA to do something creative. Work my visual stuff, graphic designing, web developer, I wanted to make music and then DJing happened.
What was it that made you decide you wanted to go in the musical direction?
YS: I was playing in hard core bands when I was growing up, and none of my friends in my immediate circle really liked that music, and I started to make music by myself, and then that’s when I got Reason and some other software. I tried to program double bass, was making bad IDM, didn’t even know what it was and I was trying to find stuff that sounded like it – and then I found Aphex Twin, French Touch and UK Garage music, and was like…blown away by how beautiful that culture in music was. There wasn’t a big scene for garage or french touch in LA at the time, and I started making music like that – and then in 2006 Daft Punk played Coachella and the whole world turned on his head, and everyone liked house music! And I was kinda a part of that and luckily into that stuff so it was cool when a lot of people got into it.
Now you’ve produced some really good music for some really good artists, you even went on tour with Katy Perry, you’ve produced for Sky Ferreira and Chris Brown; how do you decide who to produce for?
YS: Uhm, I think I take a different approach than most people would in music. For me, I guess since I started out DJing, the whole root comes from DJing, it’s sort of a selfless thing. I just wanted to make music that made other people happy. I understand people going out to get away from their work week or whatever it was, and I treated it like I was a janitor or something – just want to make people smile as much as possible. My twist on it, well inherently for me it was how can I make music for people to make them feel as many things as possible. And you know, Sky was one of those who ran up to me in her braces at the club at like 14, really wanting to make music and I thought that was great. I think we worked for like three weeks of trying to make something, and I ended up just looping a song and handing it off to her and she finished it in New York. I don’t know, it’s pretty simple, I just want to make music that makes people happy.
You manage BANKS now, was that just a project that completely took off? What was that process like, or what inspired you to get behind her?
YS: Our mutual friend was making songs for a long time, Mike Posner and Pat Booker came to me with their songs ages ago and I remixed it before it was a hit, and same with BANKS. Her friend sent me iPhone recordings of her singing and I thought it sounded really cool and I finished the Katy Perry tour opening for her and wanted to get into a studio project, and I just… became a father figure because she was so new to it. I got her a lawyer and became manager ipso facto, as a producer it became this granular thing that just turned out, and I had this cool unique opportunities to dictate the stories, here is how I think this should go, you know, “how can I help steer this” and I had no idea how much work being a manager was. I just took on my second client, Potty Mouth, and yeah, they’re fucking awesome.
Now there was an issue recently where a girl group released BANKS song on their album before BANKS released it as her original, how do you go about handling something like that?
YS: Well from the point of view, they want to make sure artist group is comfortable happy, and my emotions dictate too much of what I do – it hurts me and that song was truly special to her, that song was so important for her career, it was definitely whack to see them release it officially without crediting it as a cover. I mean ultimately it was mismanagement by their label or management because they sampled her song, if they wanted to do a cover, all good, totally fair game. But there was no credit. But ultimately – its a rights issue.
You are a jack of all trades in the industry. Out of everything you do, which is your favorite or what are you most comfortable with?
YS: Oh man tough to say, I mean it’s funny, all this stuff stems from a simple place of wanting to make things that contribute to the greater good of the world and put a dent in the universe. We’re in a special medium, entertainment things you have to be fully engaged, music you can do it your whole life and i think it allows you to impact a lot of people efficiently. It all falls hand in hand. I really love DJing because it allows me to tell a story, be a snake charmer, experiencing visually right away making people happy. Producing for me is a good front as well because you can make the music. From the manager stuff and working for Spotify, that’s exciting cause you get to really help spread the gospel. But I do love playing records- it’s so visceral. As a kid I was like “Hey listen to how good this song is!” and to make a living out of doing that is the best. And then I slowed down and quit DJing because it became less about that and more about other things. I didn’t think other people liked music as much as I do, but they do and it was cool to learn that.
You have a really good photo blog – EatSkeet.tumblr.com – where you document your journeys. Where has been the most inspirational place to visit and who have you met that has left the biggest impact on you?
YS: Oh man. I’ve been a lot of places! There are a few people, I mean, well the greatest thing about DJing to me is the relationships you build, and you meet so many like-minded people all over the world and thats so bizarre but definitely nice. I went to Sydney AUS, and I met my best friend in the world, Gina Gammell and she moved to LA and she’s like my life partner in all things business. I went to Nashville, Libby and Lola Broocks, whose father is a really big pastor, and I grew up listening to satanist, death metal bands, all hardcore, and she grew up homeschooled and really involved in the church, yet we were in the same place. And that was really eye-opening for me and really interesting. I mean, Rony Alwin – @ronysphotbooth – Rony is my best bud; so many people. And best location is Sydney I think. It’s a really great refuge for me. I go every holiday I get.
Who is someone that you think we should keep our eyes and ears out for?
YS: Definitely Potty Mouth – “Hell Bent” is one of my favorite singles of last year. Oneohtrix Point Never – that shit is so good, he’s an awesome ambient producer from Brooklyn.