Toronto-based YASH has racked up an impressive catalogue as a producer and songwriter, with a JUNO nomination under his belt and credits on releases from Tiesto, Steve Aoki and Red Velvet, to name a few. To debut his new project, YASH’s alter-ego takes the form of a virtual avatar that is modeled to reflect the eccentricity and vibrancy found in his brand new sound.
Originally from Israel, YASH has been making music in some capacity since 1998. From a young age, he had lyrics and melodies dancing in his mind. Drawing inspiration from artists as diverse as Beck and Freddie Mercury, YASH creates unique, melodic live experiences by incorporating organic instrumentation and profoundly inspiring lyrical content into his sets.
Yaakov Gruzman is stepping into the spotlight as YASH with his single “Unicorn” – a fun, light-hearted track that features JUNO award-winning electro-pop artist Dragonette. The new song follows YASH’s debut release “Bohemian Like You”, a captivating dance track released in 2021 that has garnered over 800K Spotify streams to date.
Originally from Israel, you’ve been making music in some capacity since 1998; with lyrics and melodies dancing around in your mind from a young age. In what way(s) would you say Israeli culture has attributed to your love for the arts? What Middle Eastern principles have you adopted since living in Canada, and making music in a North American
YASH: “I think my upbringing in a Middle Eastern country definitely influenced my approach to music. I grew up in Jerusalem, which is a city of many religions and cultures, and you hear a lot of different sounds everywhere. Listening to a lot of Arabic scales, and singing, and the different countries in the Middle East all have their own unique sounds and instruments. I think mostly I applied this making trap and hip-hop beats and combining traditional Middle Eastern instrumentation in my beats.”
As a writer, mixer, and producer, you were nominated for Dance Recording of the Year at the 2017 Juno Awards for Shaun Frank’s “Let You Get Away” ft. Ashe. You’ve also had the opportunity to write and produce for world-famous acts like Tiesto and Steve Aoki. As someone who is familiar with the industry on multiple levels, how have you found it has helped with understanding your aspirations and values as a consummate professional in the industry?
YASH: “Well, so far I have been very fortunate to have all of these opportunities. What has taught me the most is a lesson about patience and being ready always for every opportunity. As far as valuing yourself as a professional, in my opinion, this is something that needs to come from within.”
Your latest single “Unicorn,” is a light-hearted track featuring electro-pop artist, Dragonette. What was the creative process like working alongside Dragonette? How does this track differ from your debut release, “Bohemian Like You”?
YASH: “My favourite song in this repertoire is definitely ‘UNICORN.’ First and foremost, I love the co-writers and collaborators. Dragonette is an amazing vocalist and so fun to write with. We wrote this song together with Jenson Vaughn in a session, and we both fell in love with it. We were supposed to pitch it to some Netflix show, and I was kind of hoping it wouldn’t happen. Luckily, in the end, we got to release it :). It has such an infectious bass line and vibe, both chill and urgent – I love that! This track differs very much from the debut release in that it is a way more pop-leaning track, and also an original song and not a cover.”
To debut your latest project, your alter-ego takes the form of a virtual avatar. Explain the creative intent behind this.
YASH: “The idea really has been in my mind for years, and ever since I first saw a Gorillaz video. I always knew that someday I would love to do something like that. I was always interested in animation and technology. It was the perfect moment with my decision to go solo and the uprising of NFTs and the virtual world. It seemed like the right moment to actualize this long-held dream of mine. YASH is basically an exaggerated version of myself. He is an overworked music producer, who enjoys playing around with his gear in the studio, making beats and well… smoking weed :)”
Looking to the future, after the release of your next album, it is said you have plans to start a live stream on Twitch, where you will be interacting with fans and streaming your creative process. Explain the importance you place on wanting to give this experience to your audience.
YASH: “I am really looking forward to maximizing the capabilities of the new technological boom we are seeing with Web 3.0 applications. Things like augmented reality and motion capture and face capture apps are getting so precise every year. I think the proper use of this tech in context to my character will give the audience a great experience and we will really learn about YASH and what he has to say. I’m quite sure that he will be conducting all future interviews!”
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