Finland’s Yotto has global perspective
EUROPE HAS long been known as the world centre of dance music. Firmly embedded in the culture of cities and towns like Berlin, London, and Ibiza, electronic records have been a mainstay on radio stations since the ’80s.
Over the past 10 years, however, North America’s EDM boom has created its own cultural identity—one that, according to Finnish DJ and producer Yotto, has its own unique benefits.
“In North America, it’s obviously in a very good place right now,” he tells the Straight on the line from a Philadelphia tour stop. “It really blew up there a decade ago, with the boom around the big festivals and everything that came with it. It’s turned into a big business. I think that’s a great thing, because everything is so professional. And people listen to all types of music— they don’t differentiate. You have kids that go to a techno party, and the same people might go to a dubstep show. That’s not very common in Europe, and these places where dance music has been around for longer. In North America it’s always seemed to be like that—that everyone works together a bit more.”
The artist has an authoritative take on the global ecosystem. First experiencing electronic music after picking up records from the Finnish public library system and now signed to U.K. deep house label Anjunadeep, the producer—born Otto Yliperttula—has been playing around the world since 2015 and is a regular in renowned international clubs. His latest set of dates showcases his first full-length release, a 13-track collection named Hyperfall, that Yliperttula released in September this year.
“I felt that I wanted to put out an album because an album can do something a bit different from the club singles mixes that I keep releasing,” he says. “So I had these huge tracks that I really liked that didn’t make sense as singles. It came together quite fast. I built it like a DJ set would be, so that it had some sort of flow. At the beginning, there are a couple of tracks that I can never play out when I’m Djing. And then there’s ‘Nada C’, which leads to a more chilled-out, deeper midsection, and then it takes off towards the end a bit more with big tracks, and stays up.”
The typical Yotto sound—muscular, 120-bpm bass lines with staccato melodies—underscores every track on the record, with the producer using those elements to craft songs that range from dark underground bangers to more commercial EDM pop. Conscious that ticket-buyers are keen to experience those offerings live, Yliperttula has chosen to construct this tour’s sets around the album’s multiple moods.
“I have to deliberately play as much of my own music as I can, because that’s usually what people want to see—especially on an album tour,” he says. “But there’s just so much good new music out on a weekly basis. It’s crazy. I go through promos and new music every day. And then when I’m on-stage, I have five brandnew tracks I want to play, and have to work out where to fit them in. I always build a set around my own tracks, trying to make sure they actually stand out, and then I use others as transitions, as functional tools. It’s a balancing act.”
Yotto has been playing internationally since 2015.