Sebastian Carandang, better known as Yeek, is a Filipino-American indie artist who is breaking lots of ground in the experimental R&B, hip hop, and punk circuit. I first found out about Yeek earlier this year after reading his interview with i-D magazine. Whether he's moshing in a backyard or skateboarding while singing about Emo Nite, he has quite a distinct POV on living in Los Angeles that's depicted in his music and visuals. Rolling with the likes of Duckwrth and Sports, Yeek also collaborates with a very creative circle in the indie scene.
As someone who is pushing the boundaries on what it means to be an independent artist in LA, Yeek's unique style intrigued me to find out more about him. I got in touch with Yeek over email, and he was very down to talk about his influences and his latest album Sebastian that came out in April. Here's the Q&A interview below!
How would you describe your sound to someone who’s never listened to your music before?
It's always hard to explain my sound to someone, but I always end up explaining it roughly as an R&B soul style of singing accompanied with indie-rock, & jazz influenced guitar riffs.
Tell me about your experience growing up and your heritage. How would you describe your family and your upbringing as a whole?
My parents moved here from the Philippines in their mid-twenties & we lived in a low income New Jersey neighborhood when I was a kid but then my parents found better jobs that eventually helped us move to a nicer middle class neighborhood... But it never stopped my parents from disciplining us as opposed to spoiling us with nice things that they could technically afford. They always taught my brothers & I to work hard to get the things we want. I was raised on principles but also being passionate.
What was your parents’ reaction when you told them that you wanted to pursue music?
They weren't always supportive of my music career until I proved to them that it could work.. Now they have more faith in my music than I do & I couldn't be more grateful.
What types of challenges have you encountered because of your ethnicity? Have you experienced any struggles to combat any Asian stereotypes in your career?
Can't really think of any struggles in particular in terms of pursuing my career.. More so in my upbringing, living in the south.
Are there any other PoC musicians, bands, producers, etc. who you’re a fan of and how do they inspire you?
Sure, there are a lot actually.. Most of them are my friends, & just talking to them or seeing the moves they make motivates me to work on my shit even more. Their individual character & taste for things inspire me a lot.
What was your creative process while writing “$even”?
A lot of people tell me the song is like hearing 3 songs in one & that's exactly what the process of making it was. I was basically creating 3 songs in one session then combining them all in the end. I feel that my sound is just a melting pot of genres I enjoy the most & I feel like $even was my song to express that.
How do you go about planning the visuals and music videos for your songs? Overall, what’s the inspiration behind your aesthetic?
I work a lot with my friend Christian Long on most of my videos. If it's not with him, I sometimes control the direction of how a whole video will be, then collaborate with my other talented friends to help me execute my ideas. The aesthetic in the visuals are simply inspired by my personal lifestyle, colors schemes I find visually appealing, & my favorite films.
Just a couple months ago, you came out with your album Sebastian. What are your plans in the coming year?
Basically to keep pushing the album & see how long it can last by creating non-stop, new content surrounding it, whether it be through visuals, photos, animations, short films, clothes, etc.
Do you have any advice for aspiring creatives of color?
Never feel the need to give into a certain stereotype based on your skin color. Be who you are, whatever that entails. Embrace it all. It's okay to be vulnerable & honest through creativity.
Last, but not least, what is your favorite Drake song?
Right now it's BLEM & Nothings Into Somethings.... Of all time? I could go all day lol.