Yo Lee’s Unique Musical Style
Taiwanese artist Yo Lee talks about his interest in film, how his perspective has shifted over the past few years, and much more! 台湾艺人Yo Lee 讲述了他对电影的兴趣，以及过去几年他的视角如何转变等等！
Please introduce yourself and describe your music for those who have never heard it before!
我的音樂很受 c pop 的影響 c pop 我自己的定義是一種比較強調主旋律的樂風，歌曲架構上要能夠適合"清 唱"，編曲比較像是在服務歌手，歌詞也是比較華人式的含蓄、隱喻。 所以我的歌曲比起"唱"更像是在講故事， 以我的視角看到的世界。 編曲上就是配合每一個故事需要的畫面情境， 所以比較沒有固定的樂風， 你可以在<博>中能聽到 lofi 的傳統樂器二胡及月琴 也可以在<如果你也愛我就好了>聽到各種合成器暴力的亂噴 (皆收錄在<如果你也愛我就好了>專輯中) 一部分也是因為我玩心很重 每個都想試試看!
My music is very influenced by C-pop. My definition of my music is a style that emphasizes the main melody. The structure of the song should be suitable for acapella, so my songs are more about telling stories than singing; [they are about] seeing the world from my perspective. The arrangement is [made] to match the picture [created] by each story, so there is no fixed musical style. You can hear lo-fi and traditional instrumentals, synthesizers… various kinds of music. I'm very playful and want to try everything!
When did you first start to consider pursuing a music career? Has this always been your dream job, or did you previously pursue a different kind of career?
您是什么时候开始考虑从事音乐事业的？这一直是你梦寐以求的工作，还是你 以前 追求过另一种职业？
大學念電影也剛開始彈吉他， 因為開玩笑地寫了一首歌曲<把音量轉小>(收錄在 ep《找到我》) 去 diss 隔壁學生社團過大的音量而受到一些台灣獨立音樂平台的矚目， 就這樣誤打誤撞變成創作歌手。 那時候我覺得比起風吹日曬的拍電影，窩在房間吹冷氣寫歌好像也不賴。 (台灣非常熱) 現在則追求能夠成為一名遊戲設計師！ 做出夢想中的遊戲
I started playing the guitar while studying movies in college. I jokingly wrote a song called "Turn Down the Volume" to diss the student club next door. I accidentally turned into a singer-songwriter. At that time, I felt that compared to filming in the wind and the sun, writing songs in a room with air-conditioning seemed not bad - Taiwan is very hot. Now, I want to be a game designer and make the game of your dreams!
Please describe your new album, Cooling Down.
他是一個相對於 warm up 的概念 這張作品記錄了這兩年的"疫情時代" 人與人的距離、隔離的不安、存在焦慮... 所以有之前的累積彷彿在規則改變之下都化為烏有 只得將自己變得冷感，好度過這個漫長的冬天 就像<冷身操>裡面的一句歌詞 「明天不會更好，明天只會更像昨天。」 聽覺上以弦樂和木吉他為主軸 留了很多的空間給樂器 我自己都有一種在作電影配樂的錯覺 不知道對於西方的聽眾這樣的組成是否會是新鮮
[It] is a concept related to warming up. This work records the distance between people, the anxiety of isolation, and the anxiety of existence in the "epidemic era" [of] the past two years. The [music] seemed to transform under the change of [social] rules. I had to make myself feel cold to survive the long winter, just like a lyric in “Cooling Down”: "Tomorrow will not be better, tomorrow will only be more like yesterday." The guitar leaves a lot of space, and I pictured myself making a movie soundtrack. The composition might be new to western audiences.
What is something that might surprise people to learn about the making of your new album?
为了呈现歌曲《Go Back to Bed》中房间的故事，我和制作人韩立康和HLK找了一个房间，里面放着一键播放和录音。 我什至考虑过使用 iPhone 直接录制。 我们认为有这样一个连贯而直接的表达方式很棒。
In order to present the story of the room in the song “Go Back to Bed,” the producer Han Likang, HLK, and I found a room with one-take equipment to play and record with. I even considered using an iPhone for direct recording. It's great to have such a coherent and direct expression.
How is Cooling Down different from your previous music?
Cooling Down 和你以前的音乐有什么不同？
第一張專輯在作的時候蠻執著要自己控制每一個細節 有些地方反而會因此有點僵硬 這張由於已經跟製作人韓立康 HLK 合作過 在冷身操當中就能放心地交給他 我覺得適度的稀釋自己是好事 比較沒有那麼用力整體聽起來反而是比較舒服的
When I was working on [my] first album, I was very obsessed with controlling every detail by myself. In some places, [the music] was a bit stiff. Since I have already collaborated with the producer HLK, I can safely give it to him [and keep my contributions] moderate. It's a good thing to dilute yourself. It's less forceful, and [the music] sounds more comfortable overall.
Your music videos are very interesting! How do you come up with ideas for your videos? What is the inspiration for them?
不知道是不是因為大學念電影 寫歌的時候很容易冒出一些片段的畫面 我會把他們記錄起來跟導演討論 例如<如果你也愛我就好了>MV 音樂製作時就有想到像經典電影《Run Lola Run》 那樣的快速切換鏡頭、中景 女性視角的歌詞也有提供一些線索 復古感的紅色字體等等... 最後導演想到用搶案來包裝感情中的情緒勒索完整了這個 idea
I don’t know if it’s because I’m studying film, but when I’m writing songs, it’s easy to [visualize movie scenes]. I’ll record clips and discuss them with the director. For example, when “If Only You Could Love Me” was made, I thought of the fast switching of shots like in the classic movie Run Lola Run. [I also got inspiration from] the female perspective from the medium shots, font, and retro feel. The director thought of using a robbery case [as a video concept] to package the feelings [in the song]. Emotional blackmailing completed this idea.
Do you have a personal favorite music video, and if so, why?
Childish Gambino的“这就是美国”。我很憧憬社會議題的敘事，音樂利用曲風和 MV 把美國的兩種面向用很粗暴直接的肢體展現
“This Is America” by Childish Gambino. I look forward to narratives of social issues. The music video shows the two sides of the United States in a very rough and direct way.
How have you changed as a musician throughout the past few years?
可能心理受到疫情影響 雖然聽音樂的我相信，也確實被改變了 但作華語音樂的我好像更難相信自己作的音樂能夠改變世界 資訊爆炸的階段所有篇幅過長的內容都被快轉 難免會懷疑這世界真的需要這麼多的歌嗎
Maybe [my] psychology [has been] affected by the pandemic. Although I believe that listening to music has indeed changed, it seems even harder for me to believe that my music can change the state of the world's information explosion. It is inevitable that all the content that is too long will be quickly [dismissed]. [Does] the world really need so many songs?
Who would you love to collaborate with in the future?
我其實從來沒想過這題 我很喜歡 John mayer 但我從沒幻想過要跟他合作 聽他的歌就很好啊 可能為比較少跟人合作 也可能只是單純沒自信 但我蠻想寫歌給魏如萱唱的 是我很喜歡的一位台灣歌手
I actually never thought about this question. I like John Mayer very much, but I never imagined that it would be good to cooperate with him. Maybe it is because I don’t work with others, [and] maybe I just don’t have self-confidence. I really want to write songs [with others, like] Wei Ruxuan [aka Waa Wei], one of my favorite Taiwanese singers.
What was your experience like on Jungle Voice? What lessons did you learn from being on the show?
我其實不是第一次參加選秀節目， 但這次比起把歌唱好拚輸贏之外 也花了比較多心思讓自己成為節目中的一個腳色， 試著有自己的人設、轉折 但其中當然也背負了相當的風險 他畢竟是個電視節目 要讓大家覺得好看
It was not the first time I participated in a talent show, but this time, I put more effort into making myself a part of the show, trying to have my own character and turning points. But, of course, [that comes with] considerable risks. [It’s] a TV show, after all. [I] want to make everyone feel good.
What is the proudest moment of your career so far?
Writing a song for my favorite noodle shop, “ShanXi Daoxiao Noodles.”
What are your short-term and long-term career goals?
短期就是把現在腦袋中想像的歌作出來! 已經迫不及待要開始第二張專輯了 長期就是可以一直作自己想做的音樂 並從中得到快樂 到 大概五十歲 之後再說
In the short term, I want to make the songs in my imagination! I can't wait to start my [next] album. In the long term, I want to keep making music and have fun with it, until I'm about fifty years old.
Is there anything else you want to say about your music?
No. [I’ll] just let the music say it.
Answers have been edited and condensed for clarity.