Artist Profile: Yukon Snakes

Words by Wendy Ma

The perfect potion for long drives and sluggish mornings, Yukon Snakes can revive the most haggard of souls. Tim Searle, Brisbane based producer has previously sold beats to international hip hop artists as well as backed local talents, Emma Louise and the Boat People. As Yukon Snakes, he now works to serve up a seamless blend of genres, heavy tribal beats and lucid ambiance through his chirpy, experimental creations. He also recently toured with Toro Y Moi!

As I embarked on a long drive down to the coast today, Horse and Hound (available for download here) made me hang off every static and every sound as I resisted the urge to shimmy, headbang, cut a rug like I have never cut a rug before, all I could do was to channel my new-found energy into some light bopping, to prevent accidents.

No holding back this Sunday (24th March) as Yukon snakes will be reppin' Brisbane, supporting XXYYXX (US), acclaimed electronic young gun, at Alhambra Lounge, thanks to Silo Arts!

1. Three words that describe you!

Passionate, anxious and silly!

2. Funniest thing that happened this week?

Well I borderline pissed myself last week. I had a 2 hour block period with no opportunity to go to the toilet. Needles to say by the final moments my body and mind hated each other and I had a mild accident. Not the worst thing to happen, but still embarrassing for a grown person.

3. Tell us about what you do?

Well, I produce music of all sorts. I love music that gives you that magical feeling. In terms of production I sell beats, produce bands/solo artists and I spend all my other time working on my solo project. Apart from that I search for inspiration from all aspects of life and art.

4. Why Yukon Snakes?

The name is a Blade Runner reference. The replicants were staying in the hotel Yukon. Harrison Ford’s character finds what he thinks is a fish scale in the bath tub. In turns out that the scale is actually that of a snake. Apart from being a massive Blade Runner fan, the name eludes to something along the lines of ‘nothing is what it seems’.

5. How did it all start?

I started learning classical piano at age 7 or so. There was no passion for music until I discovered the electric bass at 11. From there my life turned into a constant need to play and listen to new music. I then picked up the double bass a couple of years later and was officially obsessed. At 13 or so I got a demo of Sonic Foundry Acid. From there I raided my parents record collection and created my own samples and songs. After years of trial and error I finally sold my first beat in 2007 and I have not stopped going for it since.

6. What do you find is the most exciting and rewarding aspect in your working process?

I love the feeling of collaborating with people I have never met and will possibly never meet. The relationship starts with basic chitchat and ideas and then within days or weeks we have created a work together that is ready for the world to listen. I also love making new friends/working relationships with people I would never have met if it weren’t for the magical world of music. It brings people together in many ways.

7. Professional training or learn on the job?

I have a Ba. in Music Technology from the Queensland Conservatorium of Music. The degree really helped with my technical side. Having said that the most valuable training has come from practical experience meeting people and playing music in general.

8. What motivates you to create?

The need to always make something that excites me. Half the time new music fails, but I am strongly motivated by reaching a breakthrough with a track. Once a new idea has body I feel like nothing else matters apart from getting a final product.

9. What inspires you at the moment?

I listen to a lot of Bill Hicks. He talked truth like nobody else. I get a lot from podcasts these days also. The Joe Rogan Experience and DVDASA (David Choe) podcasts are great. I love truth seekers who speak from the heart.

10. Now that Saints Row the Third is completed for the second time, what occupies your spare time besides yoga?

Hahah. That game is awesome, although Skate 3 is the best game of all time. I work in Special Education, which keeps me busy during the week. Apart from that I love to cook and chill out with my girlfriend.

11. What’s next in terms of using different media/challenging yourself?

I am about to get a visual set going. Brisbane DJ Jing Kohn has started working in that realm, so that should be an exciting future collaboration. Once I have more work released I have no doubt the live show will eventually branch out with a band. Still a little way to go, but in the works for sure.

12. As a creative, will you continue to be based in Brisbane or do you feel the need to move to greener pastures (to continue to create or for more opportunities)?

I will always have a base in Brisbane. My family and heart live here. Having said that I lived in Melbourne for a bit and that was fun. I would love to spend some time in Sydney and then eventually overseas. Technology these days makes it pretty easy to live wherever and work with anyone anywhere.

13. Favorite place in Brisbane/what will you miss about it?

I love the lookout park in Highgate Hill. Red Hill is possibly my favorite area in Brisbane by far. I just like Brisbane hills in general.

14. How would you change Brisbane’s art/music scene for the better (if you think it needs to change at all?

I just hope there is a huge growth in support for producer/artists and such. There is an ever-growing community already. I just hope the love continues.

15. Who would you most like collaborate with (living or dead) and why?

Living, it would change my world to work in the studio with Vangelis, Kanye or make a beat for ASAP Rocky. Dead, I would love to have a vocal feature from Blossom Dearie. I sampled her when I was heaps younger and she is oozes the sweetest feel.

16. Also, when is your mix tape coming out and what should we expect?

I am planning for an April release. It is going to called Blankets the Mixtape. There will be new Yukon tracks including a single release, remixes, collaborations with Inspired Insomniac, Filthy Creatures (Sydney), Corrine Stevie (Miami) and Georgia Potter. Overall I am just very excited to get some new music out there!

Like and keep up to up to date with Yukon Snakes via facebook!

The philanthropic souls at Silo Arts and Fans are bringing experimental, lo-fi electro artist and 17-year old young gun, XXYYXX to Brisbane all the way from sunny Florida. His music has been described by veritable sources as a happy mix between R&B, modern hip-hop, taking drugs on a highway underwater and clean cut yet hazy and minimalistic sounds. He mixes a bit of old and familiar with some modern and hypnotic, and with support acts like Yukon Snakes, Silo DJs and Tincture, Alhambra Lounge’s walls will definitely be consumed with ultra tunes. He’s set to play a chilled out Sunday session on March 24, 8pm, tickets here.