JYT talks his new album, vodka and working with Chip Merlot
How's the album going?
– It's going! I just did a record with Maffi and I've been in the studio with Chip for weeks, so it's going.
What can you share about the album at this point?
– Uhh... look, it's still a work in progress and even at this point I'm still not quite what it is. I've got like six tracks nailed and a few more on the way. There's a bit of everything, but there's a story to it. I'm trying to create a proper album experience for those who still want to properly listen to a record. That takes some time.
Who are you working with, primarily?
– I've actually been a bit surprised of how large a role Chip Merlot has taken with this project. I've worked with him before but this time it's been different. He's been around for most of the sessions, and even though I still write alone, he's been around for pretty much every song and helped me produce. He's kind of made sure I'm able to communicate what I want to communicate with each song as well as with the album as a whole. He's been a tremendous help. Maffi, on the other hand — it's a whole other thing with him because he's the executive producer. He's helping me write and perfect my vocals but even more importantly he's something of a spiritual guide because we connect on a deeper level, as people.
That's quite the story. Any standout tracks or features?
– The song we just did with Maffi, it's something else, man. We call it "Vodka" and it's something of an anthem but with a flipside, a catch to it - it's about how going out and "living it up" is all some people live for, and I don't really think that's all that great, but sometimes I act like that, too. It's a trap banger and I rap. So, yeah, it's something else.
You've written and produced a lot of different genres. Is there something you wouldn't do in terms of genres?
– Probably not, but the thing is I always need to study whatever I'm doing before I do it. If I was to cut a rock album, I'd need to really go deep into the genre before I'd let myself do it. I don't wanna step on anyone's toes or get on someone's turf, you know? When people listen to the record, I don't want them to go "what the fuck does this guy think he knows", you know? So it's really important for me to make authentic music, even if I'm not playing home or in my comfort zone.
You mentioned you rap on "Vodka" – do you consider yourself a rapper?
– Absolutely not, but then how do you define a rapper? You write the bars, you rap, and hopefully deliver. I don't think of myself as a singer – or rapper, for that matter – because for me it's about finding the right vehicle to communicate whatever the song needs to communicate. It might mean a different vocal style or different genre, but it's up to the song and how to convey the point in the appropriate way, and in that sense, create the perfect song.
Do you think you overthink music?
– I probably do. I mean... yeah. But it usually yields pretty good results. I don't want my shit to sound inauthentic or fake.
Sure. So when is this album dropping? Does it have a name?
– No release date yet, but I'm trying to get it done for summer. We have some [album] titles in mind but haven't decided on one yet.
Any upcoming gigs you're looking forward to?
– My own or others'?
– I'm really excited to see Lana Del Rey at Flow this summer. Of my own I'd probably say I'm excited to play back to back with Chip at Why Join. It's going to be fun for sure.
Last words or regrets?
– I wish I was a better singer but hope I won't let my insecurities kill this album.
Catch JYT and Chip Merlot back to back at Why Join The Navy When You Can Be A Pirate on Saturday, April 15th. JYT's debut single What You Mean off the upcoming album is out now. Stream it here.