INTERVIEW: Keepin’ future funk fresh with Yung Bae

Internet star and producer Yung Bae talks about his bright new tune ‘Silver and Gold’, growing up with funk music and anime, and the impact social media has had on his ongoing success.

If you are familiar with future funk and/or vaporwave music, then odds are you’ve come across Yung Bae’s futuristic yet nostalgia-laden tunes.

Yung Bae, real name Dallas Cotton, took the Internet by storm with his vintage yet modern sound. Fans fell in love with the producer’s music, which often used sampled grooves taken from classic disco and Japanese city pop.

The 27-year-old producer is also an avid fan of Japanese anime, pairing his songs with artwork taken from the likes of Sailor Moon.

Last year, his online fame reached viral status when his single, ‘Bad Boy’ with bbno$, was featured in over a million videos across the TikTok social media platform.

Not bad for someone who got his start in releasing music via Bandcamp since 2014.

Throughout this year, Yung Bae continues to dish out groovy dance music via his weekly radio show as well as prepping for a new record full of original tracks.

The new record sees the fresh-faced artist taking his unique sound with refined production elements and collaborations.

His latest single, the Summer Olympics-themed ‘Silver and Gold’, offers listeners a dose of positivity in an otherwise chaotic time in the world. The new song features the vocal talents of Ausstralian pop singer Sam Fischer and American rapper Pink Sweat$.

Also read: Yung Bae continues the funk with latest collab single, ‘Silver and Gold’

The track follows previously-released tracks such as the silky smooth ‘Wonder’ (with Channel Tres), the energetic ‘Disco Body Parts’ (with AWOLNATION), and the classy AF ‘Revolving’ (with Marc E. Bassy).

Read on below with our interview with the young talent as we discuss the new song and music video, his inspiration behind his visual aesthetics, and the impact TikTok played a crucial role in his ongoing popularity.

AsiaLive365: Hello there, Yung Bae! You’ve dropped a brand new track titled ‘Silver and Gold’, and I gotta say, it’s one pretty uplifting jam! What’s the story behind the fun song?

Yung Bae: Yeah! It was essentially just a track I made with some of my closest production friends, so we were kind of sticking with that song writing mentality like writing the hook and the chorus. We really wanted to hone in on our idea of being communal, and geared it towards the Olympics, how it brought everybody together in that sense.

It was kind of like we all had a vision of it when it first started like, “Hey! Remember that old Coca-Cola commercial where they’re all like holding hands and they’re singing that song? We need a song that happy and uplifting.”

AL365: You also recruited the vocal talents of Sam Fischer and Pink Sweat$ who both add fun personalities to the sound. How did that unity come about?

Yung Bae: I think Sam’s manager are close friends with my manager. For a while we’ve actually been trying to figure out who to put on the track, and then in April this year they were like, “Yo, Pink Sweat$ wants to be on this track, is that cool?” and we were like “Uhh…yeah?!” (laughs)  So we flew out to Nashville, met up with him [Pink Sweat$] and Sam, and we had a blast with it.

AL365: You’ve been putting out numerous collaborative tracks with artists such as Marc E. Bassy and AWOLNATION. How do you decide who to work with?

Yung Bae: It’s funny, like most of them, just kind of happens through trial and error. My manager and my A&R have been really great at helping me hone in and suggest a few of these names. But most of them just came about naturally and fallen into place. We had a few people try out ‘Silver and Gold’, for example, but it was Sam and Pink that felt perfect to be on it. Same with all the other artists, it came together organically, so it’s been really fun.

AL365: Speaking of fun, you just dropped the lyric video for ‘Silver and Gold’ today, and it’s full of joy! It has a cute corgi in it, is that yours?

Yung Bae: No I wish that is. That’s little Cordy but she is obviously the true star. I wish that were my dog, oh my gosh, like sheesh!

AL365: Your new songs are full of groove and soul, could you describe to me what this new record is all about?

Yung Bae: It’s what I’ve aimed for since the beginning. It feels like everything sonically I’ve been chasing since I’ve started Yung Bae. It’s a touch of old and also a little bit of new, it’s different but I still wanted to sound like Yung Bae at the end of the day.

AL365: You are known for this retro visual style and musical influences that takes inspiration from the 70’s-80’s as well as anime. What is it about these aesthetics that draw you in?

Yung Bae: I associate to a lot of these when I look at them. I’ve always loved the pairing of Sailor Moon with funk and disco. When I look at Sailor Moon, I think, “Wow, look at how pretty all these colors are.” They have the full spectrum of the rainbow, and everything is so bright and colorful. And I associate that with disco because I think of just how bright, happy and exciting the music is. These are great visuals for it, you know, they somehow just pair perfectly.

We grew up with a lot of old school stuff. Sailor Moon was kind of the first introduction I had growing up, and then after that, my brother and I discovered Cowboy Bebop. We were really into Samurai Champloo, like that was it for us, when we starting to get into hip-hop. I don’t watch like a lot of current anime either, it’s kind of like whatever I watched as a kid, it just stuck with me. I’ll always have it on silent in the background, and it was just something to look at. It was so visually-pleasing, and makes me feel super old-school.

AL365: On the music side of things, you are associated with the vaporwave and future funk genres. Do you embrace that sort of association?

Yung Bae: I feel like I wouldn’t call myself completely future funk anymore, but it still feels like I haven’t made a full departure from that scene completely. I guess there’s a little old and a little new sprinkled in so it’s a little different but I feel like it fits under that umbrella.

AL365: How would you say you’ve grown musically compared to when you started out?

Yung Bae: When I started out, I was still very rooted in sampling. With this album, there’s a lot more original music. We’re just working with session players, and everything is written out and I’m doing some singing on this one. There’s gonna be a lot more features. Future funk is very niche when I think of that now. It’s very fast paced, chopped up, kind of Daft Punk-inspired as a whole. I still aim for that kind of sound with the chops, the groove, the percussion, but it’s been fun to elevate it by adding these new features, and see how the vocals stack up.

AL365: I dig it, your sound gives me this warm and fuzzy nostalgic feeling.

Yung Bae: It’s like “I haven’t been to the 70’s, but I wish!” (laughs).

AL365: Yes, that’s exactly how I feel. It’s like we’ve never grown up from that era but I like it. Did you expect TikTok in playing a major role in getting your music heard as seen with your single, ‘Bad Boy’?

It just kinda happened. And like at the time I was like very unfamiliar with what TikTok was because I’m usually just out of the loop, like crazy, on pop culture and all these apps and stuff. I’m like “Okay, if it’s not like Twitter or Instagram, I can’t go too far into that. Someone was like, ‘Your song is trending on TikTok’ and I’m like, ‘Tight. What’s TikTok?’ And then slowly, we were just watching all these videos, and it’s really cool just seeing what TikTok can do for a career, how influential it can be now. I’m super thankful that everything happened with that, it really played a crucial role with where I’m at now.

AL365: Any hints on who else we can expect to hear from your new music or what else we can know about your upcoming record?

Yung Bae: There will be a few of them on the radio show that I have on Apple Music. Not everybody on there is on the album, but there’s quite a few names that are definitely on there. I’ll leave it up to fans to figure it out, it’ll be cool to see who makes it on the radio show this season and how many are actually on the album.

AL365: We last saw you play in Thailand in April 2018 for the Bangkok Arts & Music Month (BAMM!) series of events. You’re currently scheduled to play live in the US in November. Are there any plans for you to come back and tour around Asia?

Yung Bae: Honestly, I’m truly hoping so! I don’t know when though, I’m really hoping that everything opens up again soon.





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