Singapore dream-pop artist Yeule is one to watch. Her latest EP Coma, for example, is a gauzy, cathartic record dripping with emotion that sees moments of release with breathy exhalations and galactic keys.
Yeule's FADER Mix is also a journey, traversing film scores, J-pop, slow and steady blues, and reinvigorated electro-pop. One minute it feels like you're taking a drag in a smoky jazz hall with "She Brings the Rain" by Can, and the next it's the '80s and you're daydreaming in math class thanks to Japanese singer-songwriter Tomoko Aran's "I'm in Love."
Take a listen below, and scroll for our chat with Yeule.
Where are you right now? Please describe your surroundings.
I'm in my bedroom. It's dark and it's 3 a.m., I've lit at least six incense sticks since I started browsing through Tor. There’s black ink on the floor because I got up with my headphones on and the wire caught on the bottle and pushed it off. I just left it there. The only lights that are on are the fairy lights I took off a Christmas tree two years ago. I just drank an ice water. There’s an empty glass in front of me. I have a view of the city from my bedroom, and I’m quite high up. I never really leave my room nowadays, so I like to stare at the sky once in awhile. There’s a ton of stuff in my room that remind me of my cat, Nugget. Her toys are still lying around. I miss my cat.
Tell us a bit about this mix — what do you imagine people doing while listening to it?
I don't imagine people, but I imagine a woman putting on a vinyl while she's in her underwear. She just lit a candle and now she's walking towards the kitchen to pour herself a drink. Then she goes towards her bookshelf to browse her records while she has a Hibiki 20 Years on the rocks in her right hand. She opens her curtains to see the dim light of a city street, only to hear a cat meowing in the distance. She can barely hear it, but the music seems to put this mysterious meowing cat in a kind of strange atmosphere.
You can see on her bookshelf she has a collection of poetry, particularly confessional poetry, but she keeps it a secret, because she doesn't like the controversy and always having to defend her favorite poets. She sometimes cries to loud music while reading Anne Sexton. Early in the morning when she'd forgotten to turn off the player the night before, it loops a blank sound, and she can hear the scratching vinyl subtly penetrate the air, while in morning gaze, she drags herself out of bed everyday to a black coffee. Every morning she plays Shigeo Sekito while drawing that thin line of black ink off the edge of her eye.
What's your earliest musical memory?
Of all that I can remember in the distant past, I have a vague memory of looking inside a piano, pressing the keys while curiously looking for where the sound was coming from. I also remember when I was a sad kid, I would mess around with the scales until it sounded as sad as possible, then I would laugh. I can’t remember how I learnt the first song I learnt, but now I can play many pieces by listening. I can’t read notes though.
What's the last book you read that had a big impact on you? And why?
The Sorrows of Young Werther by Goethe, translated by David Constantine. Here’s a quote from the book: “She stands before an abyss. She has no eyes for the wide world lying before her, nor for the many who might make good her loss, she feels herself to be alone, abandoned by all the world — and blindly, marshalled into a narrowness by the fearful plight of her heart, she jumps, to smother her pain in an all-encompassing death.”
This is just another one of those depressing confessional literary pieces which I kind of like. Goethe captures the "unnecessary suffering that humans create for themselves” (N. Sōseki) quite magnificently.
What's your favorite dish to cook and how do you make it?
I love japchae. It’s a Korean dish. My best friend and I have it all the time in London when it’s cold and depressing.
I just cut up a bunch of vegetables and do a stir-fry with glass noodles. The key is to add mirin and sake. And add soy sauce to adjust flavor. I don’t like to measure stuff so I usually just eyeball things and keep making it, adjusting it until I get it perfect. There’s also a kimchi variation on this. I recommend that you check it out. I also follow recipes through Cooking With Dog. RIP Francis.
0:00 ザ・ワード２ Shigeo Sekito, “The Word 2” (The classic of forever.)
2:58 Toru Takemitsu, “Shiroi Asa / The White Dawn” (1964) from his collection of film scores.
5:21 Can, "She Brings the Rain" (As heard in the film Norwegian Wood, adapted from Murakami Haruki’s novel.)
8:42 Sachiko Nishida, "Chin Chin Chidori" from the album Nihon Indigo (Was initially my ceremonial music for channeling my demons during meditation sessions.)
11:35 Seiko Matsuda, "Hitomi wa Diamond / Eyes like Diamonds" (Live version, 1983)
15:25 Miharu Keshi and Haruomi Hosono, "I’m Leaving It All Up To You" (1996) from the album Swing Slow
18:51 Tomoko Aran, "I’m In Love" from Fuyu-Kukan / Floating Space (My dad loves this track.)
22:59 Yumi Arai Interview before performing "瞳を閉じて," from the album MISSLIM (1974)
23:58 Yumi Arai, "Hikōkigumo" from Hikōkigumo (1973) (She wrote this song when she was only 19. I heard it on a vinyl, then again at the ending credits of 2013's The Wind Rises.)
27:14 Kubota, "La La La Love Song" (Opening theme from the 1996 TV show Long Vacation. Brings me back to when I was in high school, used to watch this show after school.)