From Tokyo to Los Angeles, the easy-breezy Electro-Pop artist and Singer/Songwriter AYAKO release a blend of pop and house music with her debut single, "You Are The Damned."
Tastefully merging her multicultural upbringing into a sonic adventure, AYAKO has garnered international attention through her past J-Pop girl group and her present-day collaborations.
Constantly transporting listeners to alternate universes within her music, her debut single "You Are The Damned" sets the tone for more exciting and intriguing singles to follow.
Teaming up with LA-based Producer SEROW for the single, AYAKO mentioned that the song is an emotional first step, as she sings from the heart with lyrics based on personal experiences while the supporting beat brings us back to the clubs.
"You Are The Damned" begins with pulsating sub-bass while an R&B inspired beat drops alongside AYAKO's breathy and angelic vocals. She offers such elegance to the song while singing empowering lyrics of dancing to the beat of your own drum and not paying any mind to those who judge.
While low and moody piano chords bring depth to the song, the pre-chorus offers a sped-up beat that builds towards its drop. At the hook, a piece of stimulating house music beat drops that keep our toes tapping and urges listeners to groove away with the song's irresistible vibe. While the second verse comes around, AYAKO's layered vocals bring the ultimate ambiance that's heated up with the supporting production.
Overall, AYAKO's debut single "You Are The Damned" brings listeners into this vastly accepting space that encourages anyone to live how they desire, without feeding into society's 'norms.'
Congratulations on the massive release of your stimulating debut single, "You Are The Damned." What inspired your lyrical message of encouraging others to dance to the beat of their own drum?
The main inspiration while writing this was actually my own inner turmoil and anxiety… I was transitioning out of college, working 3 part-time jobs, and was overwhelmed with figuring out how to turn my passion into my career. When I got to the session, SEROW and I talked about this emotion and this transition. We came to the conclusion that it's always best to dance to the beat of your own drum, otherwise, you will never truly feel fulfilled. I think a lot of people go through this struggle in their early twenties. It made the writing process flow very naturally and turned out to be really therapeutic.
Regarding the sonics in your single "You Are The Damned," what was it like teaming up with Producer SEROW? How did the two of you work off each other to reach the end goal you had in mind?
SEROW and I have very open and deep chemistry in and out of the studio. The piano chord progression was the first element we had. SEROW started experimenting with the beat, which helped set the mood for the rest of the production. Our friend Andre laid down some guitar in the pre-chorus, which completely elevated the transition into the chorus. From there, we just kept experimenting with different sounds and ideas to get it to where it is today.
Continuing your venture into the music industry, do you plan on sticking with this blend of Pop and House music? How did you come across this exhilarating merge in the first place?
I plan on sticking with this blend of pop and house. I don’t necessarily want to feel cornered by any genre though. We wanted “You Are The Damned” to have a contemporary and underground sound. The verse beat is moody with lots of swings and an ominous melody, but the four-on-the-floor gives the chorus an uplifting and confident feel. We blended these two sounds to reflect the juxtaposition between the feeling of doubt and the feeling of hope and empowerment.
Seeing as you're finally making your own solo venture into the music industry, what should we associate your brand with? How do you want your music and brand to be perceived by listeners?
My bicultural background as a Japanese-American is a big part of my brand and what I represent. My siblings and I started a party called Collision, which aims to bridge the Japanese and American underground electronic music scenes. The first release I was featured on was a compilation album called “Tokyo Horoki” produced by Japanese house music veteran, Shinichiro Yokota, and UK-based producer Pleasure Cruiser. I wrote and sang it in Japanese and English, which is something I plan to do more of for my upcoming music. I want my music and brand to inspire others to go where the magic is.
What has been your biggest source of inspiration this year while creating new music?
My biggest source of inspiration for my upcoming music is my relationship with myself and with the people close to me. “You Are The Damned”, for example, is a dialogue between my insecure self and my higher self. Writing helps me make sense of what’s going on internally and externally.