Originally from Morocco, YouYou was born in Montreal. After listening to Vince Staples’ Summertime ’06 album in 2015, he got into music. In his most recent creations, the producer draws heavily from Afro house and Carioca funk. YouYou describes his music as “diverse and enchanting. When he creates, his main goal “is for people to be able to forget about everyday life for a few minutes and be transported into his world.”
Early in his career, YouYou was part of the Montreal beatmaking collective Jeune et Ambitieux. In fact, the group opened for rapper YBN Nahmir at Club Soda in 2018. During the pandemic, it began releasing its own songs. In early October, YouYou plans to release an Afro house-tinged EP. His latest track, Soweto, is part of that project. “This is the result of many hours of hard work. I couldn’t be more proud of the result,” he says.
On a daily basis, the young artist listens to many artists of different musical styles such as Citizen Deep, Kaytranada, Hubert Lenoir and Lydia Képinski. “I like many different musical styles and I think that allows me not to lock myself into a musical style when I create,” he says.
On Wednesday night, YouYou will be on stage at Casa del Popolo as part of the POP Montreal festival, which is just beginning: “I feel like this is one more step towards my ultimate goal. I want to popularize Afro house in Montreal and be an important figure in Montreal DJing,” he says, smiling.
Pan M 360 chats with YouYou about his musical career and his participation in the Pop Montreal festival.
PAN M 360: When did you start and why?
YOUYOU: I started making music in 2015 after listening to Vince Staples’ Summertime ’06 album. I loved it, especially the percussion. At the time, I was a boy who was easily bored and didn’t do much. In the beginning, I was part of a collective called Jeune et Ambitieux (J&A) with two good friends. We did several shows and we opened for YBN Nahmir at Club Soda. My experience with J&A taught me a lot. So I’ve been in the music business for a while. During the pandemic, I started to release more solo tracks.
PAN M 360: What are your musical inspirations?
YOUYOU: I am very inspired by world music. Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of carioca funk. It’s a very rhythmic and catchy musical genre. Also, I really like afro house. I’m going to release an EP at the beginning of October and it sounds very much like afro house. Then I really like to work with samples from North Africa. On a daily basis, I listen a lot to the music of the South African producer Citizen Deep. He is one of the biggest figures in afro house right now. I also listen to Kaytranada, High Klassified, Hubert Lenoir and Lydia Képinski. I like a lot of different styles of music and I think that allows me to not lock myself into one musical style when I create.
PAN M 360: What is your goal when you create?
YOUYOU: When I create, I imagine the reaction of my listeners. When someone listens to my sounds, I want them to focus on what they are feeling. I want people who are going through a rough patch to be able to channel themselves and find themselves in my songs. On other songs, I want my listeners to get caught up in the beat and dance. My main goal is for people to be able to forget about everyday life for a few minutes and to be transported into my world.
PAN M 360: Would you like to have artists to put their voices on your next productions?
YOUYOU: Certainly, I would love to collaborate with artists in the future. I have tried in the past, but it was a bit complicated. Artists like Kaytranada and High Klassified started out as solo beatmakers and were eventually able to invite artists onto their music. I’d like to get to that point too. Most of the songs I’m creating right now are made for someone to sing on. As soon as I get an opportunity like that, I will take it.
PAN M 360: Do you think the Montreal DJing scene will continue to grow in the next few years?
YOUYOU: I believe that the Montreal DJing scene is capable of going even further. It may be hard to believe, but no one thought that one day a Montreal DJ would win two Grammys (Kaytranada). When I see artists from here doing such things, I tell myself that anything is possible. Of course, we have to work very hard and we need the music industry to support electronic music. This summer, CRi made history with his set at the International Jazz Festival. We’re on the right track and I’d like to be part of that growth.
PAN M 360: You released your track “Soweto” in early September. How did this track come about?
YOUYOU: At the beginning of the pandemic, I started listening to a lot of Afro house and I dove into that world. I was impressed by the African chants, the percussion and the electronic influence. I started creating Soweto in March 2022. The more I discovered the world of Afro house, the more I wanted to add elements to my song. So, the creation of Soweto was spread out over several months. I am very happy with the result.
PAN M 360: You are participating in the POP Montreal festival. What does this occasion represent for you?
YOUYOU: This festival means a lot to me. I’ve been interested in this event for several years and I want to participate. This year was the first time I suggested I apply. When I received the confirmation of my selection, I was in Morocco with my family. I was extremely happy to be able to be part of POP. I feel like this is one step closer to my ultimate goal. I want to popularize Afro house in Montreal and be an important figure in this movement.
PAN M 360: What kind of show will you be playing on Wednesday night?
YOUYOU: I’m going to play some songs that I’ve been working on for a very long time. Some of them are already online, others are new. In fact, I’ll be previewing my next EP. The show is the result of a lot of hard work over the last few years. This will be the first time I will be able to show the public the extent of my art. People will be able to feel different emotions and hear different musical styles. You have no idea how much I’m looking forward to it!