I picked her up from a Soho tattoo parlour at 6:00 and we ate £4 pizza at 7:00. Yeule is a sonic mask from a dream dimension who doesn’t want to be found.
So can you tell me a bit about where Yeule came from?
If I can remember... it was in 2012, when I was a freshman at high school- I didn't have many friends and instead played a lot of Final Fantasy 13. In one version, there was a character called Yeule. She encompassed the idea of death and rebirth: in the game she was reborn over and over again as long as the timeline kept changing. To see her die so many times, I started to wonder what it would be like to kill parts of myself off in my own lifetime. When I think of the past, I think of my previous selves, and it almost feels like a past life.
What happened in 2012 to trigger you to focus on developing this?
I would say like a lot of isolation and imaginary people helped me. I had an imaginary world, I had water mammal friends.
I related a lot to this having a similar childhood, so at this point we spoke for a while about how our child selves form who you are and create opportunity for who we could’ve been.
I've always been making music as a way to record fragments of my life I was inside of at that time. It started as something I did to keep track of my reality and my dreams. I was writing very ambient music, with indecipherable vocals and used a lot of inspiration from video game soundtracks. I wanted to feel again that moment when I entered the old Cocoon, it was destroyed to just dust and ice, no one around but me. Ghostly... unclean yet the silence was beautiful.
I feel it’s necessary to be familiar with these made up worlds as it affects the person I am now. I don't think of it too much but I still feel very sentimental about older songs I've written. I feel like I don't make sense…
So introduce us to Yeule.
There is an infinite well of memories both imagined and real that become part of her. How could I imprint the person of Yeule into my life when I also experience my life as Nat [her birth name] and Penelope [an addition self] and... hmm… but I think within all of these voices, Yeule is not a separate entity, but a part of every side to me. She is the part of me that wants to remember the way an archaeologist wants to keep and records things, uncovering an easily forgotten image of the past. I have this connection with soundscapes and remembering a moment in my life through it - It almost acts like a portal into these worlds. Yeule is the one who keeps record of everything, and it makes it almost real to me when sometimes it’s hard to know what’s real and what’s not. This happens not just through my own music but in others as well… They’re just different worlds.
When did you start to invest more of your time into playing and creating a presence as a professional musician?
I feel like it’s very hard to manifest through the stage, the image that I have created in my head. There are so many different voices to her so that I can't be one person. I try to simplify it because I know that there are many people who want to see Yeule live. She's more than just a recording for me now. She's out in the world, people have seen her. It makes me happy but sometimes I do want her to myself… Though, I would do it for the people who support me, because I appreciate that reciprocation to believing my silly dreamed up self.
So do you consider Yeule part of yourself or an independent entity?
Whenever I write, or paint, or compose, or make something, I feel afraid to show it to the world unless she is there. Yeule is my guardian and protector, my shield. I wouldn’t have to reveal too much about who I am, which is ironic because my music tells you a lot about me, in some ways. She is something to latch onto when I am showing a part of me that’s very vulnerable.
Do you see Yeule and your fine art - your paintings – as related? Some musicians are musicians and for some, it’s just another form of artistic produce. So would you say, for you, they feed into each other?
My practice in fine art is more conceptual and abstract, I would say. I don’t want to put either of these mediums under a specific label, but I know they come from the same place. Yeule is like a bullet train that starts from the beginning and ends far far away. My other practices is like a circular track going round and round until it goes off path, forgotten.
And so technically, and in terms of the actual music you produce (as opposed to the concepts behind it), what’s most important to you?
I think it's always been honesty. I don't know when something is real, whether it happened before in real time or is it that I am throwing some abstract jargon from a place I didn't even go to but remember it from a life before? Honesty has always been there to keep me in check. If I feel like something is too far off, even for me and my own realities, I just have to be honest with myself.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Don't fight the fire. It's okay to follow someone into the dark.
interview KATE BISHOP
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