My name's Valya. I have a project called YL Hooi, which is a collaboration between myself and Tarquin Manek. I grew up in Brisbane and now I live in Melbourne.
How did you get into music?
My dad always had a really big interest in music and he would listen to Leonard Cohen and Pink Floyd, The Beatles, Rolling Stones, all of those kind of boomer bands. And so that would always be going on in the house. And then I got really into pop music when I was a kid. Just, you know, B105 FM which was the Brisbane pop music radio station that everyone listened to.
And I guess I was pretty engaged from a young age because there was a time where I would record pop songs off my radio, onto a tape and then face my tape player out the window towards the neighbourhood and play these pop songs and then introduce the pop songs as though I was on the radio being like, This song is by Savage Garden. And then, you know, I’d press play on another song and announce that one. So I guess there was something in me from a very young age where I was connected to all kinds of music, and I was pretty open to music.
And then when I turned 8 my parents forced me to play the trumpet because we happened to have a trumpet in the house and they didn't want me to play any other instrument because they didn't want to buy another instrument.
How about now? Has the trumpet playing continued? Do you still feel that radio voice like you want to present?
Okay, so once I left high school, I hung out in the punk scene in Brisbane. I wasn't doing any music then, but I would go to a bunch of shows and then I also had my own radio show on 4ZZZ radio which I did from year 12 into when I started Uni. I did that for a few years.
At that point though, I’d been so traumatised by playing trumpet that I basically put the trumpet away til my late 20s, when I started using it in my own music.
And yeah, I guess so going back to being in the punk scene in Brisbane, I then moved to London when I was 19 and I discovered dance music.
Umm, I got really into techno and then dub techno, then reggae and all that kind of stuff and I guess UK bass music. And then came back to Brisbane and I was like, Oh my God, you guys still listen to guitar music. I listened to techno and then yeah, just, I don't know, just continued on with my interest in music and connection to music, to the point where I would listen to all genres and yeah, now I just listen to everything. But there is still a very big dub influence in what I'm doing and what I listen to and yeah,
That sort of ties in with the other part of this project. One part is the Australia part and the other part is the mixtape part. So how do you relate the mixtape or radio idea to how you used to record stuff off the radio?
What can I say about it? Well, when I was in high school, my best friend used to make me mix CDs and I always played and I really liked just how different every song was.
And for me, especially with my shows, it's really important to kind of explore different genres and different sounds and juxtapositions between yeah, different vibes and energies to the songs.
I think you can really show your personality in a mixtape.
Have you thought about how you might put this one together?
Yeah. And I'm actually really excited that it's an all Australian mixtape because there are so many amazing and just different artists out there. And I feel like Australians make some really, really good music.
Do you think Australian music has a distinctive sound?
Yeah, I feel like some, some I feel like there is a distinctive Australian sound, but I can't necessarily put my finger on what that sound is. But I feel like if I hear a song generally I know if it's Australian and I also feel like if I see a video clip of music I can kind of tell if it's Australian or not, but I don't know what exactly it is that that would point towards that. And also maybe I'm wrong, maybe I don't know anything?
But I just can't I can't articulate it right now. I'm like, you think about it. We can come back to that in a few days after I've thought about it for a bit longer.
Is there something, I don’t really know the dub and reggae scenes in Australian that well, but how does the feel compared to the UK for example?
I would say most of my shows actually aren't kind of connected to the soundsystem parties or the dub parties, but I would really like them to be. I guess I'm more connected to the local band scene, for lack of a better term.
What have you got coming up? Anything you wanna shout out?
We're playing the Sydney Opera House in a few weeks with HTRK and some others.
That’s super crazy and very Australian. Are you excited?
I'm pretty excited. My dad's really excited somehow he's just so proud that I'm playing the Sydney Opera House and I keep being like, you know, it's actually a side room. It's not actually the big thing you're seeing in your mind, but it's still really cute and I'm still so happy to be playing.