YEI’s debut album, Barriendo Escombros Después de La Fiesta, is currently available.
What happens when your band breaks up, but you still have tons of killer songs to introduce to the world? You start another band, obviously! Venezuelan singer, formerly of Telegrama, Javier Garcia has gone solo, and thus, YEI is born. With a stimulating mix of sounds and a message behind his lyrics, YEI’s music is something worth listening to. It has an alternative, folk and a bit of a psychedelic feel to it.
In his interview with Living Out Loud – Los Angeles, YEI (Javier Garcia) talks soccer, his admiration for Eddie Vedder and the message he is sending through his music. Whether in Venezuela, the U.S. or Barcelona, YEI is on the move, and no one can stop him.
LOL-LA: Where did the idea of becoming a solo artist come from?
YEI: I had a band in Venezuela called Telegrama, which lasted about 10 years. Unfortunately, the band broke up, and obviously I had songs that I had composed for the band and were left in the air, and so that’s how I dared myself to go solo. That’s how that started.
LOL-LA: How did you choose your artistic name, genre and musical sound?
YEI: The [artistic] name comes from my actual name, Javier. So instead of making it “Jay” J-A-Y, a friend of mine came up with Y-E-I, and that’s how I got it. As far as the genre, alternative has always been the genre that I like, and the genre that moves me. It was also the one we did with Telegrama. That was where it all came from.
LOL-LA: How would you describe your music and sound?
YEI: As original, and also as controversial.
LOL-LA: Your musical sounds are very different. Where does the inspiration come from?
YEI: It basically comes from the alternative artists that I listened to from some time ago. Anything from the time of Jimi Hendrix to modern-day music. The inspiration can be more or less by song or things I like. Psychedelic experiences, or changes in time, more than anything specific.
LOL-LA: You’ve lived in Venezuela, the U.S. and Barcelona. How have these countries influenced your music?
YEI: I recorded the album in Barcelona, and it was a true life-changing experience. Venezuela is the place where I’ve lived all my life, and basically the album is a catharsis of what I lived in Venezuela during the last few days that I was there. In the U.S. I’ve learned how difficult life can be … but it has also taught me about discipline, order and also about motivation. In Barcelona, I only had the chance to be there while I was recording the album but it was, like I said, life changing because the truth is that that city has a lot of things. It’s multi-cultural and really good.
LOL-LA: What inspires you the most when you write your lyrics?
YEI: I think that it’s a lot of things. For this album, it’s from a cumulation of 10 years. There are politics, feminism, cancer, a lot of themes that aren’t necessarily common topics with artists or in songs when [artists] write their material. But to me it is important, and it seemed really daring to me and necessary to write about things that not everybody mentions.
LOL-LA: What’s the message you’re trying to get across or transmit through your music?
YEI: Well, a message about restriction and also a politically incorrect message. Not to get attention, but to create a debate about the things that happen in the world nowadays, which aren’t always pleasant. The world is really complicated. So I really just want to try to bring something and report on it, or be that link to see if we can change something about it.
LOL-LA: Talk to us about your new single “Folky.”
YEI: I recorded it in Barcelona with a great friend; I invite everyone to visit yeimusic.com to listen to it. It’s a very old song. It’s about five years old, and it’s in respect to the world nowadays and all that is going on. Even after these five years, all of these issues that I talk about are still going on.
LOL-LA: The music video for “Folky” has a really strong message. Tell us a little bit about the concept behind it.
YEI: It was an idea of my friend who works in Barcelona as a director. It was done with the collaboration of Grilled Cheese Studio in Barcelona, with a Venezuelan as well. They’re really good at what they do. The truth is that it would be very unfair of me, and I’d be a liar if I said that I came up with the direction of the music video. I wrote the song, and then turned it in to Adolfo [Bueno], and Adolfo was the one that came up with the idea [for the video]. I only showed up to film it, and that was it. I filmed my part, and I had no idea what was going to happen. I saw the concept of the video and, well, I thought it was brilliant.
LOL-LA: Where does the album title come from, and what does it mean?
YEI: The title comes from a recollection of my experiences throughout the past 10 years, from an excess of bad things that include social, political and cultural situations in Venezuela. The songs are put together in a story format. The album is basically a recurrence of all of these places, starting with “Barriendo Escombros Después de la Fiesta” and then “Las Noches de Barcelona” comes, that is very hot and blistering in certain moments, and it’s also an homage to those who can do what they please at night, and it just goes on. It passes through moments where I talk about cancer, then comes “Folky” and so on. So, I can say it’s like my experiences, and the name, well that’s the name of the first song, and it makes reference to gathering all of this debris and throwing it away in the trash and starting from scratch with a new energy.
LOL-LA: Do you have a favorite song in the album?
YEI: Yes, I like “Yo Lo Sé, No Es Un Hit” and “Estrella Fugáz.” “Estrella Fugáz” because of the content and its sound, which I love. We wanted it to really flow. “Yo Lo Sé, No Es Un Hit” because of the rhythm.
LOL-LA: Who are some of the artists you admire or that inspire you?
YEI: I like Eddie Vedder a lot, alt-J, Charly Garcia … The list goes on around that route. I listen a lot to Nine Inch Nails, too.
LOL-LA: If you could collaborate with any artist, who would it be?
YEI: I would love to collaborate with various artists, but someone I would love to work with due to everything I’ve lived, and I don’t know how accessible it would be, but I would love to work with Eddie Vedder. That would be the best. And someone Latino, or more accessible, I like what Zoé does a lot. I like what some Colombian bands do, so I would love to work with a Latin Alternative artist. But my dream would definitely be to do a collaboration with Eddie Vedder, or the guys from alt-J.
LOL-LA: How do you prepare yourself before a show?
YEI: Rehearse and warm up my vocals so that everything comes out well. The truth is that I am a firm believer in maintaining yourself spiritually. Of course before a show, you have to be calm, drink a lot of water and you have to be concentrated really well.
LOL-LA: What else do you have planned for this year, and what can we expect from YEI?
YEI: Well, right now we’re off to Miami to do this showcase at the Gibson show room … and from there we are going to Austin, Texas. In May we’re going to Colombia to do a performance, and we‘re hoping that we are ready for New York in July as well. We’ll see how the second half of the year goes. We continue adding dates and trying to make these dates fundamental for the people to listen to us and get to know the band.
LOL-LA: What do you like to do in your spare time?
YEI: Play soccer and watch soccer… and play “FIFA” (laughs). Before becoming a musician, actually, I wanted to play soccer.
LOL-LA: Is there anything else you want the people and your fans to know?
YEI: I want to invite all of the people from Living Out Loud to visit my page at yeimusic.com. There you can watch out videos and you can listen to our album. There are also social media icons for you all to click on and visit our pages. And I invite you to come to our shows.
YEI’s new album, Barriendo Escombros Después de La Fiesta, is available from iTunes. For more information, visit yeimusic.com.