top of page



Complex Business* asked YLIAM some questions about their musical process and latest song. Read their exclusive interview down below

Complex Business: Hi YLIAM! ✰ Thank you so much for having us at your house. Before we go on to talk about your song Decennial, could you tell us a little bit more about your


YLIAM: Hi! Of course! Right now I'm working on a little album demo, song by song, not rushing it. I'm producing everything myself at the moment, so it's taking a lot of time. Before that I had a band, LOUCHE, with Charlotte Symoens for many gorgeous years. We had many shows a in art-spaces, galleries, museums or art-festivals, and often played around with theatricality and performativity, while remaining our chicken punk selves. It was in between music and performance art. 


✺ *Disclaimer: Complex Business and YLIAM are alter-ego's of the same being ✺ 

I've also been working a lot with Mahya Ketabchi, by the way, this upcoming Sunday we are having a radio show called Town on RadioX which we have been running with Staedelschule students for the past years, once a month, when I lived in Frankfurt. This time we will play some under the radar FLINTA hip-hop artists.

So yeah, I guess most importantly, I love to work with people!

C.B.: And what do you do outside of music, in terms of audio as a medium? Cause I heard you would also work on sound in general, and not only songs? 

Yes definitely! Sound as a whole has been one of my main tools in my art practice. One project I especially loved doing last year was the sound for Juliet Carpenters short-film Egolane – soundtrack, sound-design, foley... I absolutely love to do that. The way she described atmospheres in words and images and I had to transform them into sounds, and then, how the 2 mediums merge together into one full experience... it's so cool to see happening. When I am working with video, I always simultaneously have sound in mind too. 

C.B.: How could you describe your genre or vibe if you had to use words for that?
Mmmh... Until now, all my of my songs are super short, sketch like compositions. Many are made on the road, sometimes on my phone, with different apps. I like to make use of the latest technologies that are judged to be "tacky" or unprofessional.


Genre wise, it's hard to describe, but I would say there is a solid base of melancholy at the bottom of it all, wether it be lyric wise or in the chord progressions. I think I got a lot of the harmonic influences from my dads music; catchy but always with a bit of sadness dripping here and there. I like to make that moodiness overlap with shredding guitars or deep beats to contrast, and there's often also field-recordings incorporated somewhere for the cinematic aspect. Once in a while I just make something totally unrelated with anything I've made before, I also enjoy that. But yeah, generally, I'm weak for harmonies and layered vocals, distorted guitar, dramatic reverb dreams and recently I'm having a pop era where I am not afraid anymore to use super catchy melodies and lyrics.


C.B.: What kind of instruments do you use at the moment aside of your phone and your voice?

Y: For now, it's a guitar, a bass and a (broken ☹ ) midi-keyboard. But I realised how much I miss physical instruments. Like I'd love to record with a REAL drum. I'm getting a bit tired of using Logic instruments and Plug ins, all the time... plugging everything immediately in my interface (no amps)... although it's a love-hate relationship...  I love to use the basic Logic sounds and effects and try to tune them as much as possible until they become unrecognisable. But I miss the physicality and vibrations of real instruments in my hands, against my body... there's nothing like playing the bass on a proper, big, fat bass amp in a room and have your entire being buzzing like a vibrator.


C.B.: Can you tell us more about your latest song?
How did you write it?

Y: So, this song was written almost unconsciously. I don't really remember how it came together. In day to day life I feel quite rational but there's another layer of me where I am letting everything flow intuitively, emotionally, and that is when writing lyrics. It just pops out of my mind out of nowhere when cooking for example and then I have to record it as fast as possible.

C.B.: And why the title "Decennial"? 
M: March is a very special month to me. It's the month of my father's death, but it's also the birthday of many of the closest people in my life. In fact, he waited to die until all the March birthdays where over, and then he let himself go. This year is the 10th year of his passing, that is why the song is called Decennial.

C.B.: It's a classic to use the "love and hate" dichotomy in songs – what is the meaning behind those lyrics for you? 

"I’ve been looking inside
in the deepest of me lays my enemy

And I know that u died
and it’s weird
but i can take peace with it

is it strange to love
and to hate at the same time?"

Y: March being the beginning of spring and a death memorial period enhances the dynamic of life and death. It's hyper present around me every year around this time. It's like I'm mourning and celebrating at the same time. I've been working a lot around this dynamic recently, since I've been realising how much gradient there is to life. 

C.B.: What do you mean with gradient...?
Y: Well I mean that things are so much more nuanced than what I always thought. Maybe it's part of... growing... to realise that? I don't know. It sounds a bit cliché, but it's the very human thing of feelings that only now I am starting to allow to feel. I realised I can be sobbing and mourning in the morning, and have a nice and fun skate session a bit later that day.

I used to feel that emotions where something monumental, something heavy. I would feel guilty when I switched from one emotion to the other back in the days. I felt incoherent in my feelings and I thought it wasn't supposed to feel that way.

But recently I came to realise that it's up to you to decide what to do with these emotions that are yours. You can work on how want to deal with them. As long as you are doing it somehow consciously and don't hurt others with it. But one should not feel guilty to feel happiness along with their sadness. Many things can co-exist, overlap – that's the gradient thing. The song is a little bit about that.

I realised I am happy with my life now, and that although I miss my dad, I don't regret or wish for another life than the one I have now. On one side it makes me feel guilty – you're supposed to wish for the dead to be here with you now, if you could. But I don't, and I am learning to accept that. 

C.B.: So music is a bit of a processing – or almost coping mechanism for you?
Y: Yeah, and sometimes it's super innocent and all about sound. But most of my songs and lyrics come from a place that I don't go to in my daily life.

C.B.: May we ask what your future prospects or projects are? 
Y: For now, I just keep making songs in my home-studio to point of them being good enough for demo's. When I made enough of them, I will hopefully find a producer or anyone who is down to mix, master or re-record with me so the songs a listenable. I am down to do live shows at some point, but I don't enjoy being on stage alone, so I am on the watch for other people to join me. 
But for now it's just making, making, and having fun with it.


C.B.: Thank you for this interview YLIAM, and we wish you all the best!

Y: Thank you for coming over, Complex Business! Let's skate soon. 

C.B.: Sure!!

bottom of page