Being signed to Anjunadeep is a big seal of approval for a young producer. Being handpicked to open the 12,500-capacity Wembley Arena for Above & Beyond should be even more of a vote of confidence.
So it went for Yotto, the fresh-faced man from Helsinki, whose soulful, three-track Wondering EP has cemented the deep house producer as one of the label’s hottest rising stars. Still, when he returns home, he feels a little underwhelmed.
“I come from a very musical family, but I think I’m the least gifted,” he says, also noting that no one else in his family has played Wembley Arena. “It’s just because I’m the least classically trained of all of us, but I’m the nerd, so that’s probably a good thing.”
During those days in his childhood, when he shirked piano lessons, no one could have guessed an inclination for analog synths, computer technology, and bleep-bloop dance rhythms would lead to an international career. His family, of course, is very proud, and they must be even prouder that he embraces his little brother’s musical inclinations, consistently collaborating with him for track vocals.
Known to Yotto fans as CAPS, lil’ bro provides the stirring voice on many of Yotto’s releases, including the title track for the Wondering EP.
“It’s not something you think would happen when you’re kids, so when it actually does happen, it’s fun,” he says. “When you have someone you’ve known your whole life, it’s very easy to point out any mistakes that you make. There’s no stress for insulting anybody, and it’s also cheaper than actually getting someone very famous to sing on your record.”
Having grown up together, you’d think they’d have plenty of practice with this sort of thing. Ehhh, not exactly. Every 16-year-old knows it’s not cool to hang out with your 10-year-old brother, and it seems even the gifted Yliperttula family isn’t immune to sibling rivalry.
“Mostly, I was very annoyed by him playing the piano and the drums because he made a lot of noise, and then he was probably annoyed by the techno music coming out of my bedroom,” Yotto jokes. “Now that we’re sort of grown up, at least in numbers, it’s easier to work together.”
Not that there aren’t a few embarrassing moments locked away in the basement.
“We did do something when I think he was maybe 12, and I was 18 or something,” he admits. “I still have a couple of those recordings left. They are the worst things ever. I’ll play them at his wedding or something.”
As far as Wondering is concerned, it was fun, but it was still a heavy process.
“There was a point where I was completely sick of it, and I thought it sounded like crap,” he says. “We made it a little over a year ago, but we hated the original. Or, we didn’t hate it, but it just didn’t sound right. I made the new version a long time later, like earlier this year, and I ended up being happy with it.”
“Happy” is a bit of an understatement for the music community. The title track and EP alike have been showered with praise from critics and fans the world over. It’s brought Yotto more fan interaction than anything he’s released before.
“I’ve been very, very happy with all the feedback that’s come. That’s definitely not something I was expecting when the tune was being made,” he says. “I’d already gotten so tired of the vocal and the whole track. It’s been very comforting to see people actually like it.”
It’s become a real source of pride, but he’s not content to get lost in the moment. Anjunadeep is keeping him plenty busy. He released a remix for Lane 8’s “Undercover,” featuring Matthew Dear, between live dates with Anjunadeep. He promises a ton of new music to be released in the coming months, though some of that has yet to be finished.
Whenever the sun goes down over the Finnish countryside, you can probably find him holed up in his room, feverishly composing the next house hit. He’s more successful now, but he’s just an older version of that same kid crumpled over synths, trying to unlock the combination of his destiny.