Written by: Lita Frazier
For this Sub.mingling article, Lita Frazier got the chance to speak with some incredible talent rising up in the music scene. Yoko, also known as Emi, strives to recreate the realms that exist in her own mind, and mold them into sonic experiences. Although originally from Tacoma, Washington, the esteemed producer has sculpted her sound from the influences of the Colorado underground scene. The focus of the Denver based Yoko project is to deliver heavy bass and unique soundscapes that evoke movement emotion.
What gave rise to the name Yoko and the story behind your project?
The name “Yoko” was originally inspired by Yoko Ono and her transformative lens in the art world way back when. I always thought she was a bit odd and widely misunderstood by the masses, and I felt the same about producing such a niche style of electronic music. The actual name Yoko is Japanese so it’s also a nod to my Japanese heritage.
You recently had a Tour with Contra and have also been touring to numerous locations all over the United States, what are some of your favorite places you have played and visited thus far?
It’s hard to narrow it down because I truly enjoy all the places I get to play, however, I think my top three so far would have to be Flagstaff/Phoenix AZ, Austin TX, and San Francisco CA. The crowds and energies in all these places have been so awesome and welcoming, and I have yet to have any bad food experiences! If I had to pick my favorite crowd this year it would have to be the lovely people in Flagstaff and Phoenix, they know how to have a great time.
You have had many impressive collabs come out with some formidable talent such as Veil, Skinny Limbs and Jabbs. Is there anyone in particular you would like to collaborate with in the future?
If I’m allowed to shoot for the moon here, I’d have to say Thought Process, Smigonaut, Keota, and CloZee. I think the blends would be quite interesting.
Over the course of your development, what have been your most important instruments and tools (In the DAW and in real life) that have helped you progress this far?
Learning how to build patches from the bare bones up has been the biggest thing for me. Once I was able to understand the fundamentals of all of my favorite sounds, and more specifically the ins and outs of synths, it allowed me to see sound design in a whole different light. Phaseplant is my go-to, and being able to experiment with such heavy and diverse post-processing tools like RIFT has made the art of producing 100x more exciting for me.
Can you talk about a breakthrough project, event and/or performance in your career? Why does it feel special to you?
I think my breakthrough project is on the horizon, I just finished my second Album and it focuses on a sound that I always dreamed of attaining. It feels so special to me because I truly never thought I had such a musical vernacular as this inside me. In terms of breakthrough performances, I’d have to say my set at Sonic Bloom this year was my career highlight. Being surrounded by my closest friends and playing for my current hometown/largest fanbase in the D’OM was honestly such an electrifying feeling I’ll never forget.
Congratulations on being recently added to the Sub.mission roster!
What do you hope to hope to accomplish henceforth with your project and what new music should we be excited to hear from you in the future?
Anything else you'd like to add?
Thank you! It’s honestly surreal being a part of such a talented roster. I have looked up to all of the Sub.mission artists for years and to be right next to them now is insane to me. I have high hopes that this next album is going to make some waves in our niche music scene, so stay tuned for the end of the year because my team and I have curated the next chapter of the Yoko project and you won’t want to miss a beat.
Follow Yoko: https://linktr.ee/itsyokomusic