Male-female vocal duo IYES are Josh Christopher and Melis Soyaslanová. IYES formed early in 2013 after a serendipitous meeting at a Brighton house party and have since whipped up a buzz with their luscious blend of pop melodies, indie-cool and slick electronic beats. Melis’ breathy and ethereal voice draws comparison with Bjork and harmoniously entwines with Josh’s warm and soulful vocals. There’s a clear chemistry between the two, one that is heard and felt through their music.
Their debut single “Glow” is a beautifully crafted slice of electronic pop, with elements of bass music adding a sultry thump to the twinkling sounds of a glockenspiel and choral-like vocal flourishes. The single is available to download on iTunes now and you can watch their official video for it below.
We had a chat with the two-piece to find out more about IYES.
Hi there, how are you and what are you up to today?
Melis: Hello! We’re really good thanks! Just been in the sun today and Josh is working on some music with a friend of ours.
To those not familiar with you, how would you describe your sound?
Melis: We’re into writing timeless songs and making them sound a bit more contemporary. There’s electronic elements combined with grungy guitars, but we don’t stick to a specific formula, I think our signature is the combo of mine and Josh’s vocals.
Your music incorporates aspects from different genres, including indie, pop and electronic. What are the some of the albums and artists that have influenced you most?
Josh: To be honest, the band that influenced me the most is McFly. They’re songwriting geniuses, like the Beatles. But I also love Radiohead‘s In Rainbows. That album is really special to me. Also Bon Iver – For Emma.
Melis: A lot of artists have influenced me, that’s why my writing is all over the place! But we’re both huge Fleetwood Mac fans, hearing Rumours for the first time really touched me. For me Frank Ocean – Channel Orange is the ultimate vibe. Funeral by Arcade Fire and Back to Black by Amy Winehouse. I love those records and listen to them regularly. Also can’t go without mentioning Beyoncé.
Which other artists are you into at the moment and why?
Josh: These Birmingham guys called Rude have just released their debut EP and it’s brilliant. The songs are great lyrically and production wise, I think they really capture the Birmingham spirit.
Melis: Royce Wood Junior!!!
Where do you usually gather songwriting inspiration, and what is your usual songwriting process? How is it divided up between the two of you?
Melis: I get inspired when something pisses me off or through reading books. Milan Kundera is my favourite author, not just because he’s Czech! Josh strives from any kind of emotion, he’s a passionate person, and he’s really good at writing great stuff at any time. He doesn’t really need much to inspire him. I’m jel!
We approach every song differently, sometimes I come up with a verse and we go from there, or Josh will hum a melody and we’ll come up with lyrics together. It’s always exciting because every new song sounds nothing like the ones before, that’s what keeps us going!
What are some of the key pieces of gear you use to write your tracks and perform them live?
Josh: Mainly, a guitar and keys. We use those to write all our songs. I prefer to do things old school; a song has to be a good song whether it’s produced by a techno producer or a singer songwriter soloing a piano. A good song is a good song, period. And I’ll be sure to never let myself write a bad song.
What’s the best gig you have ever done and why?
Melis: Our recent headline show at Hoxton Bar & Kitchen was pretty awesome, everything went well and we’ve never had such awesome response to a gig before. Quite a few people came up to me and said “We didn’t even know your band before! A friend dragged us here, and we absolutely loved you!” Which is the best thing to be heard. Also cannot forget our show at KOKO on Valentine’s Day last year. Great venue.
And your worst?
Melis: Coincidentally also at Hoxton Bar & Kitchen like a year ago ha!! Totally everything went wrong, we arrived late. Sound guy was in a shit mood… I nearly had to pee in the car because of London traffic that day! That show sucked.
You collaborated with MNEK on your track “Breathe”. Are there any other artists/producers that you would like to collaborate with in the future?
Josh: There’s a few but I don’t wanna give the game away… The ones we want to work with are the ones we are working with. Otherwise, Pharrell/Mark Ronson spring to mind.
If you weren’t musicians, what would you be?
Melis: I’d probably become a teacher or something helpful. I’d wanna do some good for others.
Josh: Definitely a chef or owner of a restaurant.
Finally, do you have any news regarding gigs/festivals/other releases you have planned this year or anything else you would like to share with us?
Melis: We’re gonna be busy this summer doing as many festivals as possible, we’ve recently been confirmed for Lost Villages and the Secret Garden Party amongst others. We’re buzzing.
Thanks for taking the time to chat with us IYES!
No probs ❤
Written by Donnay Clancy