BYO OutsideInsight: Giraffage Talks DJing in Space
By Josh Manning
BYO OutsideInsights brings you interviews with some of the awesome artists dropping by this year for Sydney’s very own OutsideIn Festival, brought to you by Astral People and Yes Please. The first of our interviews is with LA-based producer Charlie Yin, otherwise known as Giraffage. He’s got a bunch of releases under his belt, including a split EP with BYO favourite XXYYXX, and has busted out a bunch of dope remixes, including Janet Jackson’s classic ‘Someone to Call My Lover’ and Stardust’s ‘Music Sounds Better With You’. He stopped by to chat new material, DJing in space and his recent signing to A-Trak’s Fools Gold Records.
In regards to new material, you recently tweeted that you’re keen to get back into the studio. It’s been a while since you’ve dropped anything new, have you been finding much time to write lately?
I haven’t really, just because I’ve been on tour. I am sitting on a release right now. It’s still being determined as to when it’s going to be released, but it’ll be released sometime in the Fall [Aussie Spring]. That’s all we really know right now. That tweet was really in reference to me just wanting to get back and really start working on the next release. It’s been hard to write music while I’m on tour. Some people can. Some people can write full songs and albums. But I need to be somewhere comfortable, like in my own studio.
So this release you’re sitting on, is that a single? An EP?
It’s going to be an EP. I’m not sure I can delve too much into the details at this point but it’s going to be an EP and it’ll be released on Fools Gold [Records].
So it’ll be your first release with them?
Yeah. I’m super excited about that.
I’ve read recently that you’ve been trying to use more original sounds rather than samples to avoid law suits. In terms of your writing style are you leaning in any particular direction at the moment? What’s been influencing you?
I don’t think I’ve been leaning in any particular direction. It’s still going to sound like Giraffage material just sample free, in the sense that its all royalty free samples instead of samples from more popular songs. Stylistically it won’t be exactly the same as my last few albums but it’ll definitely still have a Giraffage sound to it.
I interviewed Will Weisenfeld [from Baths] a while back and he said he did a lot of sampling of weird stuff like hitting tables with various objects, have you ever got into that kind of stuff?
Yeah, I do that for a lot of percussive sounds. I bought a mic pretty recently and I’ve definitely been using it more, especially for the EP that I’m sitting on right now just because I can’t really use samples too heavily anymore. I’ve been recording some of my own samples here and there.
I’m leaning on your Twitter feed a bit here but you seem pretty obsessed with music and space. First you wanted to write an album up there now you wanna DJ to raving martians?
[Laughs] Yeah, thats like my life goal, to go to space. I mean, since I was a kid I’ve always been fascinated with space, and music is another thing I’m really fascinated with so it’d be cool to combine both. I think nowadays it’s getting to the point where maybe it’s feasible, maybe in 10 years or so. Who knows?
It’d have to be some kind of silent disco set up though right?
Yeah, everyone would have to be wearing headphones. It’d be pretty cool though.
It’s funny talking to you about this stuff and it makes me think how much Twitter has changed the way we, as music journalists, conduct research for interviews.
Yeah, definitely. I mean Twitter is so unfiltered and I feel like someone’s Twitter feed tells you a lot about the person.
Yeah, like I never would’ve known you had to use some 0.5 ply toilet paper recently.
Yeah man, on tour I have to use this toilet paper and it’s super thin. You have to fold it like 10 times. It’s rough.
Yeah, literally. I also noticed you have a lot of love for your new label mates [at Fools Gold Records] especially the MCs. You gonna hit Lil B up for a collab any time soon?
Oh man, I’d love to work with Lil B. I mean, hopefully, for the next release we could get some cool features like Danny Brown or Lil B. I’m not opposed to that idea at all.
Yeah you’ve got a load of guys with sick flow on Fools Gold. I’m guessing collaborations are definitely something you’re interested in doing in the future?
Yeah, I think so. I’ve never really collaborated too much in the past and it’s such a different way to write music. But the collaborations I have done have been really fun. I’ve been collaborating with a close friend of mine just getting the feel of the process and yeah, I think it’d be really cool to dive into that world of more collaborative music instead of just being inside my own head all the time. My buddy [who I’ve been collaborating with] is a fellow producer. He and I have just been making songs together, not for Giraffage, but just for a side-project. I don’t even know yet. But he was the first guy I’ve been able to do that with. So now that I’ve kinda got the process down it’ll be cool to reach out to more people.
Fools Gold should be a really good opportunity to do that.
Yeah, I’m in good company for sure.
How was that? How did it feel to have A-Trak’s label come along and want to do business with you?
It was pretty crazy. I mean I’ve never really worked with a label before. I was on Alpha-Pup for a little bit but nothing really concrete happened and it all just kinda fell apart. So this is really my first time working with an actual legit label. It’s kind crazy and its still very new to me. I’m still learning a lot of stuff but it’s just really cool to see the whole process.
Is there any pressure you haven’t had to deal with before, like with release schedules?
I don’t think so. I think due to the fact that the label owner is another musician, he understands the struggle a little bit. He understands the creative process. So far there hasn’t been any pressure. They’re very accommodating. If I wanted to push it I could, but they don’t push me. It’s been great.
Moving on to your slot at OutsideIn, you’ve been to Australia before, are you looking forward to coming back?
Hell yes. I really enjoy coming out there. It’s honestly one of the coolest places I’ve ever been on tour. I think Australia in general is such a beautiful place, all the food is really good, everyone is super nice. I made a bunch of really good friends there so it’ll be great to get back and see everyone.
Yeah, and with OutsideIn you’ve got some real legends on the line-up.
Yeah The Pharcyde are playing, and Pantha Du Prince. I’m just keen to check it out, as a spectator.
I was gonna say, have you scoured the lineup yet for any hidden gems?
I’ve looked at it a few times, but I haven’t really dived into the lesser known artists. I am really excited to see the classics, the legends, like DJ Spinn, that’ll be really cool. I’ve never really seen any of the footwork guys play live but I’ve heard its really tight.
Yeah, I’ve heard DJ Spinn is pretty epic. You should definitely check out the local lineup as well. There’s some great electronic sounds coming out of Sydney right now.
Yeah, I definitely will. There’s definitely a really good Australian scene going on. It’s crazy right now, so much good music coming out of there. There’s definitely an Australian signature sound now. It’s really cool that it’s identifiable.