Exclusive Interview: Five Minutes with Y-BALLOON

In Interviews, Magazine by Editor

      Image credit: Huy Doan

Meet Los-Angeles based Mark Daiss, also known as Y-Balloon, who has just released his latest single, ‘Messenger’. Released on the 25th of December via AWAL, the single features the talented vocals of Molly DeWolf. The producer aims to bring the toxicity of social media and technology to light, concerned that these mediums are tearing us down at the cost of a conscious, carefree human experience. His latest single highlights these concerns, pairing sombre lyrics with light and organic touches in an effort to balance the seriousness of the topic with the lighthearted freedom that can be found within music.

We sat down with Mark, eager to discover the other pieces of wisdom he has to offer. Find it all in the exclusive below:

Set the tone for us. Why the arts?

I played classical and jazz music growing up, but then I started coding in Silicon Valley is when I fell in love with electronic music. The energetic force and contemplation of it made me want to actually make the music myself 🙂 I see many similarities between the flow state of coding and producing

Which comes first when you’re producing – the sound or the idea?

Songwriting at the piano is always the first step for me 🙂 

Does your material feature any collaborations?

I have collaborated with Taylor Rice from Local Natives as well as Molly DeWolfe

What’s on your current playlist?

Rufus Du Sol, Shallou, Bronson

Tell us about the chemistry you have with your fans on stage.

Haven’t performed live yet! Was potentially hoping to do my first show but then the pandemic hit 🙁 

What techniques do you experiment with to get your original sound?

I play several lives instruments (piano, trumpet, guitar, vocals), which I love incorporating into my work. Then, purely electronic sounds so that you feel a live element while also have clearly distinct moments too.

Was there a specific moment in your life where you thought, “this is what I want to do”?

While coding in Silicon Valley on the predictive search startup I built called Aviate.

Any emerging artists on your radar?

Pluko, Kidswaste

What gets your creative juices flowing?

Nature inspires me — sitting at the piano, staring out at Mt Wilson and the Angeles National Forest from my studio is my favourite way to get a day started 🙂 

Take us through your collection of gear, tech or software that accompanies your creative expression.

In my studio, I have the instruments I have long played like an upright piano, trumpet, acoustic and electric guitar. I also just got a Moog One, which I am in love with, an Elektron Analog RYTM drum machine, Ableton Push, as well as a ton of plugins and software synths 🙂 

Any side projects you’re working on?

Not at the moment

How have you refined your craft since you entered the industry?

In the past year, I have been focused on improving the production side of my music. Because I came from a jazz background, playing piano, songwriting, have been strengths, but I am now really focused playing with synths, drum machines, including moments in a track that create delight for the listener.

Breakdown the news for us: what can we expect from you this year?

I have a huge new slate of music coming in 2021. I will likely be using my own vocal and lyrics a lot more, telling a lot more of a personal story.

Famous last words?

Bring nature and electronic music together is what I’m after 🙂 🙂 

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By Sarah Britton

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