American singer-songwriter and dynamic recording artist YUS prepares listeners for what to expect on his upcoming album, Hyperspiritual, with a stunning new single entitled "A Way Out."
Born Youceff Yunque Kabal in Brussels, Belgium, YUS later moved to Pheonix, Arizona, and started honing in on his craft. Drawing from an eclectic set of influences, YUS is best known for creating emotive soundscapes that strike listeners with sonic depth and impactful lyrics.
He brings this to the stage in his latest emotional, conceptual, and heartfelt single, "A Way Out." The song is the second lead single from the 2023 album Hyperspiritual and was initially written in 2012. After some major rebranding and reworking, the song was brought back to life. It marks a desire to leave the temporary nature of romantic relationships, looking for validation from within instead of through others.
Expanding on "A Way Out," the experience begins with plucky and pulsating synths that drift through the speakers with immaculately good vibes. Once more piercing synths start flooding in from the background, YUS's sonically-distorted and tastefully-autotuned vocals bless us with bright melodies and conceptual lyrics about finding a way to validate yourself without needing someone else.
Without the beat of a single drum yet, YUS pushes us to the hook, where our ears are greeted with mid-tempo percussion to round out this dynamic listening experience. The glimmering and gleaming synths continue pumping through the speakers on this feel-good and uplifting note, sending us to the outro with a sense of empowerment that all we need is ourselves.
Find YUS's stunning new single, "A Way Out," on all digital streaming platforms, and catch him perform it live at 1720 in Los Angeles on Sunday, November 13, in support of the upcoming Hyperspiritual album in 2023.
Welcome to BuzzMusic, YUS. We're so pleased with the lyrical concept and dreamy sonics in your new single, "A Way Out." What inspired the personal lyrical content within this piece?
Thank you for having me. Lyrically speaking, A Way Out was inspired by the feelings I had towards my girlfriend at the time in the Spring of 2012. It's a dialectic, pondering whether or not I would welcome a solution to escape the looming end of our relationship, depending on how that solution came about. I've learned about myself that the way things come my way greatly affects how receptive I am to them. For example, I would rather earn $500 working than someone randomly giving me money in the street. Likewise, here, I ponder whether I would be willing to accept someone randomly giving me the solution to my relationship issue or whether I need to earn it. I think we would all rather work through our problems on our own, but sometimes, the problems are greater than we are. Someone else can come in from the outside and do the heavy lifting and help us find our solution. Would we be willing to let them, though? That's the question. And to be honest, I don't think it's an easy one to answer. I think most people like to do things their way, but sometimes, you have to learn to let go.
What was your creative process like when formulating the sonics and production for "A Way Out?" What sort of vision did you initially have in mind for the song's vibe?
I included the original demo of A Way Out as a bonus track to the release on Bandcamp. That was the vision I initially had in mind. It was very Washed Out-y, or at least my interpretation of a Washed Out production: Spacey synths, airy vocals, and a dope groove that kicks in at the right time. I had a bit of an epiphany in the Summer of 2012 when I added this drone-y guitar sound to my song Nowadays, as a pedal point to play throughout the track. When I returned to A Way Out some months later, I decided to try something similar with it, and that's how that distorted guitar playing in the background came to be. I also recorded my synthesizer live, as opposed to using a virtual synth, and adjusted the synth filters in real-time to make the track sound like it's growing more and more dramatic as the song progresses. The final changes came about when I recorded a version of the track at Endless Noise in Santa Monica in the Summer of 2019. Playing live drums on the song gave me ideas for the outro of the song, as I felt like I wanted to do something as a drummer when the synth lead solo reached its zenith. I basically tried to recreate what I did in that version but within my DAW. I think it gives a more human sound to the drums, which I think is the secret to good production.
Do you feel that "A Way Out" provides a solid representation of the sound and vibe on your upcoming 2023 album, Hyperspiritual? Should we expect similar emotive soundscapes and lyrics?
You know, I think so, yeah. It's the first song I've released using autotune on my vocals, so it serves as a good introduction to my new sound. There's quite a bit of autotune on my vocals on Hyperspiritual, so if you like this vibe, then the album will be a treat. Not all the songs have to autotune, but I think it works well for the songs that do have it. I think the autotune vocals on the album are even better than on A Way Out, in fact, way better, and I personally think the vocals on this single are great. Lyrically speaking, I get a lot more involved on the album, and there are some truly heartbreaking moments as well. If you thought A Way Out was heartbreaking, you're about to have the rug pulled right from under you!
How do the singles "A Way Out" and "The Question" tie into the theme of your upcoming album, Hyperspiritual? How do these songs relate to the entire concept?
Thank you so much for asking this question. I feel like I haven't really had the platform to explain my vision, so I appreciate the opportunity to do so here on BuzzMusic. When I wrote "The Question," I really thought it was the best song I ever wrote, and I still feel that way most days. I wanted it to come out first primarily to draw attention because it's probably the most positive out of this song group. Conceptually, it almost sounds like the beginning of a relationship, or how one feels at the beginning, so it was befitting for it to come out first.
It relates to A Way Out and Hyperspiritual because of the rhythmic cadence, groove, and overall production choices used. It all ties into the cover art. It's pink all over for me, sonically speaking. The cloud in The Question's cover art is like that feeling you feel in your heart and in your stomach when you fall in love. It's like your soul dancing. I feel the same with A Way Out's cover art. I feel like the distorted guitar pedal tone is what the cover art would sound like if it could, and vice versa; if you could take a photo of the guitar sound, it would look like the cover art. It's like a star twinkling in the distance that then grows to be so bright it envelops everything. A Way Out, as a successor to The Question, is sort of like how you feel after all the fun is done: Introspective, questioning where things are going. Hyperspiritual is when shit really hits the fan. That's why the cover art is so dramatic. You'll know what I mean when it's announced. It's kind of amazing how the art for these songs lined up, to be honest. I sampled these from the Thought Forms book by Annie Besant and C.W. Leadbetter, which I came across some years ago. While I was releasing and doing promo for my albums Talisman (2014) and El Yunque (2018), I would listen to these songs, and the group that is on Hyperspiritual, I think, just kinda banded together on its own. I had this wild creative streak when I was living in Phoenix, AZ, between 2012 and 2015, where all these songs came through me. Some of them came out on El Yunque, some on these singles, and some on Hyperspiritual. I'll still have more songs left over from that streak, even when that album comes out, but this is all to say that it's been a bit of a process for me to get these songs out in a way that makes marketing and artistic sense. For the longest time, I've wanted to just give up and upload everything to SoundCloud and let the world make of it whatever it wants. However, I think that's why I call myself an artist these days because it's my duty and my decision, my artistic opportunity, in how these songs are rolled out. I used to think that after you create a song on your computer, all you have to do is upload it and let it fly away, but not anymore. These days I try to embrace the role of storyteller a bit more and give a little more substance to my releases in the hopes that listeners have a full experience. So yeah, I gave the world "The Question" and gave the ones who heard about it time to enjoy it. Now it's time for "A Way Out" to see the light of day and carry the torch until the album comes out next year.