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The Super-Sonic Family: Y.O.P.E.

Updated: Oct 30, 2023

After the successful 'Super-Sonic Jazz Family Vol. 1', compilation in 2019 by the Amsterdam-based festival and platform Super-Sonic Jazz - the label is back with a follow-up. More than 150 artists responded to the open call, which resulted in a compilation album with 31 songs. In the coming weeks, small digital batches will be released, building up to the official vinyl release in Rush Hour during the festival in November. In this series of articles, we will highlight multiple tracks and tell you all you need to know about some of the members of the Super-Sonic Family. After introducing Misto Kay, let's meet Y.O.P.E.

Y.O.P.E. with Miguel Valente (sax), Brenn Luiten (keys), Joop de Graaf (bass), Luis Possollo (drums), Anton de Bruin (keys). Picture by Heaz From The Multiverse.

How do you describe yourself as a musician?

I’m a bass player at first. I've played in many projects as a sideman, but at some point, I realized I wanted to write music. With Y.O.P.E., I want to combine club life with everyday life using inspiration from broken beat, and electronic music, and the improvisational aspects of jazz. That is the essence of Y.O.P.E. Next to that, I’m still active with other projects as well.

The intention is to be able to play on a jazz stage but also in clubs at 3 am to make people dance. In all honesty, we are still unsure in which direction we are going, but the goal is to earn ourselves the freedom to do both. That means playing a set a night where we can go wild and freestyle and play a show at Bimhuis the next day where the audience is listening to our story.

How did this project, Y.O.P.E., come to be?

Me and the drummer, Luis Possollo, started the project after I had recorded some ideas for songs. I asked Luis to join me in the studio and look at what we could make of these ideas. In one day, we made the first EP. It was a combination of beats and jazz. The drums and bass on the first EP are mainly improvised. The new album and this single have been more about writing a tune instead of improvising. It has more layers than the previous project, I would say. This single, A Place To Go, was also supposed to be on the new album, but when the open call by Super-Sonic Jazz came by we decided to try it. I sent three songs and they thought this one fitted the project the best, so that's how it ended up there. We also just wanted to release something. I want to take my time with the album and not rush it. There's no release date either, but maybe next year!

What are your inspirations, both musically and non-musically?

There are many inspirations. An odd one, maybe, is the ordinary day-to-day life. Going out, friends, stuff like that, and the experiences you gain during that. On a musical level, Donny McCaslin and Jason Lindner were some of the first artists who inspired me to make music. They are not only skilled at their instruments but can also create a vibe and improvise. That's also the goal of my solo project. Another inspiration for the sound of Y.O.P.E. is Nerve, a project by JoJo Mayer.

My background is actually in Hip-Hop. I used to DJ at parties, but that shifted when I picked up the bass guitar. Bass became my main focus. Maybe it would be fun to start DJing again, playing and collecting records.

Does your time as a Hip-Hop-oriented DJ influence your sound and way of playing as a bassist?

In some way, it does. DJing and Hip-Hop is where everything started for me. When I started playing bass, I played music like the Soulquarians; J Dilla, Erykah Badu, D'Angelo. I learned their songs. That sound influenced the way I play and is still an inspiration, but my taste got more diverse. Currently, I listen to way more different stuff.

(All above pictures by Heaz From The Multiverse)

You said you want to portray the nightlife with your music. Where does your interest in that originate from?

I was partying a lot! Hahah. When I'm in a club, I always appreciate it when there are live elements in their set, when they use drum computers and 808s. I am way more interested in something like that when I am at a party. If that live element is missing, I usually end up smoking in the garden.

You are working on multiple projects. How do you approach these different projects? How is it different from your solo work?

If I work on a different project, I have more time to focus solely on the bass. I can put more details in it. It is my goal to be a servant to the music. With my own projects, it's the other way around. Because when I spend so much time on the composition, I forget to practise and realise that I need to be able to play the music myself. It's a dilemma. That's why I also like working on different projects where I don't have creative control. And like I said before: I am taking my time with my next project. That is so that I can put more energy into my bass playing.

What does working on multiple projects teach you?

I learned a lot about the people I play with and how they approach music. It is inspiring and gives me input for my music and process. When someone asks me for a project, they ask me for the way I play but also for our connection. I've never played with people where we didn't like each other.

Besides your solo album, what can we expect from you in the coming time?

I'm working on something with Brintex Collective. Also, I'm a part of a new project called Imaginarium by Anton de Bruin, a keys player. It's a similar vibe to my music, with a lot of 'dub' influences. Also, I started writing a duo album with Sam Peetermans, who also sings in Y.O.P.E. The goal is to create a small and intimate set-up with an SP-404, synthesizer, and effects, which allows us to produce a 'fat' sound. It would be great if it turned out like a similar set-up to Binkbeats for instance, but that's quite the puzzle.

The Super-Sonic Jazz project strives to present and support the Dutch music scene and all its talents. How do you feel about the Dutch scene? Do you see any changes?

I see a lot of developments in the "modern-jazz/breakbeat/UK-vibes" scene or however you want to call it. The movement is still very much at its beginning. There is already a larger but more traditional jazz scene, but I feel like there's more room for the newer styles that have been gaining popularity in bigger cities like London and Berlin. I see growth in the amount of super-talented musicians, SMANDEM. for example. In cities like Amsterdam and Rotterdam, this movement is growing. There is a certain level of freedom to it. One example is not only having to play jazz standards at jam sessions, which can also be nice.

Do you feel part of a scene? And what stimulates that feeling of being part of that?

In Rotterdam, BIRD attracts a lot of talented musicians who are into the same type of music. They are open to a new sound and style instead of wanting a traditional jazz jam session. Amsterdam also has these sessions, although I'm not too familiar with them. I think a platform like Super-Sonic Jazz is vital in giving these musicians a stage and place to develop themselves.

In November, at the Super-Sonic Jazz Festival, all the contributing artists will celebrate their work together, meaning lots of creative cross-pollination will occur. Only time will tell what ideas, concepts and projects will arise there!

Y.O.P.E.'s socials:


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