Yppah (aka Joe Corrales, Jr.) is an electronic musician from Houston whose 2006 release, You Are Beautiful At All Times–which was released on the respected Ninja Tune Records–helped earn the musician accolades and fans. Along with a backing band, he performed the album live during 2007’s South By Southwest, and at the Starbucks Mixed Media Series at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston. His second album, They Know What Ghost Know, was released in 2009, and his music has been featured on television, movies, and a video game. After South By Southwest, he will tour with Bonobo.
I recently asked Yppah some questions about his music, his thoughts on SXSW, and plans for 2010.
Houston Calling: What are you as hoping to get out of this year’s SXSW?
Yppah: Hopefully to meet some cool people and find some good music. I’m really excited to show off the new band. We’ve been rehearsing a ton and it’s sounding really good. I’m more confident in the live show now than I have been in years past.
HC: Anything in particular that you’re looking forward to seeing during SXSW?
Yppah: Yeah, I always do, but it usually never happens. You know how it is when you gotta roll with a bunch of folks who all wanna do different things. I’m going to make it a point to see Toro y Moi at the Terrorbird showcase though. My buddy Ernest Gonzales will also be performing. He makes great music, and owns Exponential Records who is producing some quality electronic artists. My side project, Day of the Woman, with Pollination and Stenographer, will also have a release on Exponential sometime in August.
HC: What’s your most memorable SXSW experience?
Yppah: Probably the first Ninja Showcase we played with the live band in 2007. We were all pretty nervous, but the songs we played from the first album were super well-received. It was amazing seeing Kid Koala and Amon Tobin destroy also. It was a great first showcase to say the least.
HC: You’re on one of the world’s best-known electronic music labels and your music has been featured on TV shows and video games. How did these come about? Are you happy with how your career has progressed as a result?
Yppah: Well, Ninja Tune has a great licensing department. I’m not exactly sure how it works, but I assume they have a ton of great music supervisor contacts, probably sending my album out to all those contacts. I couldn’t be happier with the licensing choices–they’ve gotten me a ton of exposure and a lot of new fans. It’s pretty surreal hearing my songs on TV or in a movie, [it] sort of feels like I didn’t even actually make the music myself.
HC: What do you consider to be your primary musical influences and how do they play into the music you make?
Yppah: I used to like Radiohead a lot, still do. I think they really shaped the way I arrange my music. The way their structure is always ever changing through out certain songs. I also listen to a ton of shoegaze-leaning music, whether it be electronic or like early 90s indie rock/psych type bands, or anything break/beat oriented. I pretty much just try to combine those styles to get what eventually comes out of my headphones/speakers.
HC: Do you play locally very often? I just recently came across your music and wondered why I hadn’t know about you before. Or maybe I had and it slipped my mind… If not, why?
Yppah: Nah, you’re right. I don’t usually play in Houston. It’s hard to get a decent turn out here for the style of music I do. On top of that I haven’t been played that many live band shows since I started the live band. That’ll change this year though. We plan on playing out way more in 2010 than we ever have before.
HC: What’s your favorite part of touring?
Yppah: Meeting new people and having fun, but mainly the actual shows are my favorite part of touring for me.
HC: Other than SXSW, what’s on the horizon for Yppah in 2010? You’re touring with Bonobo, right?
Yppah: Yeah, I’m super-excited. This will be my first legit tour with a large touring act. I’ve always been a fan of Bonobo which makes it even better. We’ll do the last half of April with Bonobo, then next will be the Free Press Summer Fest. I’m talking with Ape School and Ernest Gonzales about maybe doing some shows in the summer also, but that is all to be confirmed. I can’t wait.
HC: Any music you’ve been listening to lately that you’d recommend?
Yppah: Lately I’ve been listening to Clark’s Body Riddle, and I like Memory Tapes a lot. I stumbled across some music from this dude that goes by “Washed Out”–really good stuff. And I heard a track off the new Caribou album which is so good.
But aside from that current stuff, I’d say people like Radiohead for sure, M83. I like Ride and Chapterhouse tons.
Yppah plays his official SXSW showcase on Friday, 3.19.10, at The Independent (501 N IH 35) at 9pm.