Torontonian Folk-Rock artist Yanis was too busy writing songs and playing out to focus on uni-studies. With the release of his debut EP “QUEEN KARI”, he only plans to go up, up, up in 2016.
WHEN DID YOU START MAKING MUSIC?
I’m a solo artist. When I was 18 I got tired of watching other people make music. I thought I was every bit as good as any of my friends who played music.
WHAT DO YOU PLAY?
I love to play guitar. Nothing makes me happier than fingerpicking while enjoying a TV marathon. I love my Little Martin. It‘s so compact and cute!
SELF-TAUGHT VS. LESSONS?
I’m self-taught. I learned to play by ear by carefully listening to records. It was pain staking at first, but now it has really paid off. I can figure out a song by hearing it once or twice.
WHERE HAVE YOU PLAYED YOUR FUNKY JAMS?
I’ve performed all over Ontario. I was playing in a club one night and some crack-heads stumbled in. It was open mic night so I invited them on stage. It was one of the funniest performances I’d ever experienced. Sadly it turned violent soon after and I was ran away and hid in the bathroom. I love the Supermarket in Kensington Market. I will perform more in the New Year so subscribe to my Facebook for all the details!
WHEN LOVE OF MUSIC EATS YOUR FUNNY-MONEY…
Recording can be costly. I work hard and I take pride in releasing professional quality audio. I’m thankful that I have fans that pre-order my albums. I would be financially screwed without them. A big thank you, as well as a big hug, to anybody who’s ever pre-ordered or bought anything I’ve released. I love you.
WHAT IS YOUR APPROACH TO SONGWRITING?
I approach writing like I’m a dream world where I can be anything I want. It’s kind of like Nightmare Before Christmas and there are all these doors. My song “Goggle Head Blues” is me walking through the Bob Dylan circa 1966 door.
My song “Jeri” is me walking through my John Lennon circa 1970 door. January 2015 was cold and dreary and so I mostly stayed indoors and wrote songs.
I marathoned Digimon on Netflix and I became completely smitten with the innocence of a show from my childhood. In one episode the mantra “Queen Kari” is recited and I found it to be a heart-warming alliteration. The result of this past winter was an EP titled “Queen Kari”.
IS IT IMPORTANT FOR MUSICIANS TO WRITE THEIR OWN SONGS?
I don’t think it’s important. Name me any great singer-songwriter and I’ll show you some beautiful covers they’ve done. It really is about the performance and recording. I love jazz, folk, country, gospel and blues and those genres are all about tradition. I think artists can be a bit more inventive with their covers. I think we live in a generation where the acoustic guitar + popular song formula is getting old.
ARE YOU PLAYING THE FAME GAME?
I think recognition is important to me. I would love to win a Juno. I would love to have my music chart, but I want to be on people’s iPods more than I want to be rich. I’m well aware that musicians, even those with fan-bases, don’t make millions. That is fine by me. I will continue practicing and improving at music until the day I die. If you don’t think I’m any good at music now, check back in a few years. I’ll be much better.
QUICK SHOTS WITH GUITAR JUSTICE
Your all-time favorite food: Sweet Potato Sushi – YUM
If you could live anywhere in the world it would be: New York City
Bands in the lime-light doing it right: Kalle Mattson is doing it right. I don’t think any band in the lime-light is doing anything wrong – they’re where I want to be.
Coke or Pepsi? Coca-Cola
TO HEAR “QUEEN KARI” BE SURE TO CHECK OUT YANIS’ BANDCAMP