Exclusive Interview – Yulo X

Fresh off the back of his debut single UNISON, we spoke with the man behind Yulo X – Felix Neumann

HMWL: Can you tell us a bit about your journey in the music industry so far?

Yulo X: „Yulo X“ is a new project that I launched in august 2023. In the years before, my musical activities were really quiet for various personal reasons that would probably go beyond the scope of an interview. However, some might still remember me from the 2000s and 2010s in connection with different music projects, such as my former dreampop band “a hundred times beloved” or an earlier house project called “Fex Fellini”. Although I was very much involved in the music industry back then, both as an artist, co-label operator (Globelle), and promoter, the music industry in 2024 is a completely different beast, and I’m just now trying to get used to it.

HMWL: What inspired you to adopt the new alias “Yulo X”?

Yulo X: The „X“ is just an abbreviation for my first name Felix. I chose „Yulo“ for phonetical reasons, i just liked the name, it has no specific meaning.

HMWL: How does the sound of Yulo X differ from your previous work as Felix Neumann?

Yulo X: I have never released music under my real name, even though there is a Felix Neumann that can be found on Discogs, but that’s not me. If you look at the development from – to pick up the mentioned projects again, but leaving some out – ‘a hundred times beloved’ to ‘Fex Fellini’, there is a clear focus from introverted niche music to house and club music. ‘Yulo X’ draws from both worlds.

HMWL: What motivated the change in your musical style and identity?

Yulo X: I have the great advantage of not having to meet any expectations with a completely new project, I can still experiment. Certainly, one will be able to discern a common thread in my album. I do have a story to tell and there is a concept. But I also look forward to continuing to play with electronic genres and venturing into unknown paths. Sound by template is too boring for me. If you look at the musical work of some great artists and stars of the electronic music scene, you can certainly identify a signature that has crystallized over the years or decades. But let’s be honest, since the early 2000s, electronic music has been repeating itself in phases, adding new impulses, but always recycling what has already been. And when the trend leans towards house, a large part of the scene aligns with it. If it’s techno, as it has been for several years now, the journey goes in that direction. You can go along with it, but i feel no pressure to play that game.

HMWL: What was the inspiration behind your new project, UNISON?

Yulo X: “UNISON” is the centerpiece of the upcoming album. It unites the styles of the different directions and tracks. That’s what also the title stands for. The orchestral elements, the use of piano passages, a driving beat in the second half. At the same time, I tried to strip it down to its essence, not overloading it with textures and pad layers. The track can’t decide between art and club. And that brought me the most joy in producing it. There will also be a music video by Serdar Ayvaz that plays with the theme of “Unison” and perfectly captured the vision and taste I had in mind.

HMWL: Can you tell us more about the themes and concepts explored in UNISON?

Yulo X: For me the meanings behind the word “UNISON” are super interesting. In classical music terminology, it can mean that something is played on the same pitch or in the octave. This is something I applied in the orchestration – at least in parts. But I was more interested in the social aspect behind the terminology, which I wanted to transform musically. So, when people and their actions are in harmony with each other. In such a chaotic and divided world that we live in, a lot of people desire to act more in unison. Musically, I wanted to unite this through the two opposites, the classical-orchestral and the driving-clubby elements. I even considered splitting the track into pt.1 and pt.2, but then decided to release it as a whole.

HMWL: Floral art is heavily featured visually alongside the first single. What is the story behind this choice of imagery?

Yulo X: Serdar has worked on the theme of „UNISON“ in the upcoming music video through organic and floral forms, and Kea, who designed the cover, follows this approach as well. In general, I chose a floral visual approach for the entire album, I don’t want to spoiler too much, but the whole album also follows the concept of euphoria and decay, in my opinion the floral explorations are the best visual approach to express that.

HMWL: What can listeners expect from the rest of the album when it arrives?

Yulo X: Over the past 12 months, I have experimented a lot, from ambient sound and downtempo, breaks to melodic electropop, and various forms of house and techno. It is precisely the contrast, the breaking up of genres, and also playing with familiar listening experiences and expectations that bring me joy and have been the greatest driving force behind my creative work in recent months. So the album will be very diverse, the different styles are connected through a specific warm and dark sound, also thanks to London-based producer Tian Karl who helped me with final mix of the album.

HMWL: What more can we expect from you this year in terms of new releases or projects?

Yulo X: You can now primarily expect a few single releases in the next months and of course the album release in autumn.

HMWL: Are there any upcoming collaborations or special projects you can share with us?

Yulo X: There will also be a collaboration with already mentioned Tian Karl, an exciting mix of our two styles, which will be released later this year or early 2025. I’m really looking forward to that. There is also a collaboration with the Viennese composer and musician Punzmann, so stay tuned. And who knows what else will follow this year; I’m always open to collaborations. Working together on tracks is always very inspiring for me.

HMWL: Can you describe your studio setup and how it influences your music production?

Yulo X: I work a lot in-the-box. This makes it more flexible. For example, two album tracks were created while traveling and hiking on La Gomera. New environments can sometimes be inspiring for the creative process. I like to use the Vienna Symphonic and also Spitfire Audio Libraries. Diva and Pigments are a must for me. Also Le Gibet and Electro from Teletone Audio. I totally love the Mini Moog by UAD. However, in the studio, I also enjoy using my analog Juno or the Prophet Rev2.

HMWL: How do you intend to bring your music to life in a live performance setting?

Yulo X: There are some plans how I could perform it live, but I’m not decided yet. I will share that when it’s official.

HMWL: Are there any particular challenges you anticipate with live performances, and how do you plan to address them?

Yulo X: It is very challenging to perform the album in a live set. This approach might not satisfy me either, which is why I haven’t said much about it yet. But I have a few alternative ideas in mind that are not yet ready to be disclosed. I’m generally not a fan of live performances, they rarely sound impressive and convincing and are mostly for die-hard fans. When it comes to a live appearance, I see me more on the DJ side and I really enjoy selecting cool tracks for a set. The arch of a DJ set brings me more joy than tweaking a live performance. But I’m not decided yet, maybe I’ll change my mind.

HMWL: Who are some of your biggest influences and inspirations in music and beyond?

Yulo X: Musically I was socialized with shoegaze and dreampop of the 90s. My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive, Pale Saints. But also the intricate sound of the early 2000s Weilheim scene around The Notwist, Lali Puna and Console. These were also the biggest influences for my former project “a hundred times beloved.” Even though “Yulo X” has a more contemporary look, there are still references to that sound, the dark and partly melancholic elements. However, I draw inspiration from many genres. Currently, it’s the UK sound around Joy Orbison or Leon Vynehall, Four Tet, or Floating Points. The sound of Skee Mask is also absolutely mind-blowing for me. But I also love disco sound, funk, soul and classic house music.

HMWL: How do you stay creative and inspired in your day-to-day life?

Yulo X: Indeed, it’s listening to music. Being in nature and going for walks always brings me new and good ideas. But often, it’s simply experimenting—a little melody on the synth and suddenly patterns and textures form around it. There’s never a shortage of ideas.

HMWL: Is there anything else you’d like to share with your fans and listeners?

Yulo X: I am super grateful for the initial reactions to UNISON on my social accounts. It’s a good start as a complete newcomer, and I really appreciate every positive comment!

HMWL: Where can people follow your journey and stay updated on your latest releases?

Yulo X: I think my account on instagram is the best idea for that: https://www.instagram.com/yuloxmusic

Photo credit – Lena Krafft

‘UNISON’ is out now and available to buy/stream here