Brighton-based Yakul are an emerging, standout voice in contemporary pop music. Renowned for their impressive live performances, they have long been a staple of Britain’s much-celebrated neo-soul scene.
Latest single, ‘Company’ was co-produced by LA based songwriter, musician and producer, Sam Barsh whose credits include compositions for Aloe Blacc, Macy Gray, Kendrick Lemar, Joey Bada$$ et al. “’Company’ is about having an infatuation with someone who’s super unhealthy for you but every time you see them you get caught up in the game,” says the four-piece, comprising James Berkeley (vocals/keys), Tom Caldwell Nichols (bass), Sam Hughes (drums) and Leo Utton (guitar). “The power dynamic keeps shifting back and forth until you finally manage to drag yourself out and back to reality. We’ve had this song for about 18 months now, which is generally longer than we usually sit on a tune for, but we wanted to wait until the right moment to put it out.”
As for their playlist: “In this modern world of constant distractions and busy schedules, there are few moments left when we seem to get to really pay attention when listening to music. I’m super in to having a dope bath with bare bubbles and candles and shit. It is such a necessary escape from technology, as well as being super meditative and relaxing. It’s also a great opportunity to really pay attention to some special songs. I’ve got a Spotify playlist called Bubblebath Bangers, which I want to release on our page at some point. Here’s some big tunes for this playlist.”
1. Puma Blue – ‘Untitled 2’
“This song encompasses why I love Puma Blue. Without any other instrumentation or production, the power of the lyrics and emotive harmony is intensified. It reminds me that you don’t always need a big budget and complex arrangements to make a powerful impact.”
2. Mac Ayres – ‘Summertime’
“Can’t have a playlist without at least one Mac Ayres tune. He’s changed the way I sing, and the way I write. His arrangements are always so simple, but it’s so effective, because his songwriting is so incredible nothing gets in the way of the song.”
3. Snoh Aalegra – ‘Time’
“This song is very aptly named. Time seems to slow whenever this song comes on. I discovered Snoh from Spotify radio, and this was the first song I’d heard by her, the moment it started I knew I had to save that shit.”
4. Daniel Caesar – ‘Blessed’
“It’s hard to choose just one Daniel Caesar song. He’s so good at writing these simple ballads. It sums up why I love ballads. Without the flashy distractions of complex layers, instrumentation and production, the chords and the melody speak for themselves. You can have a complex song which works but when stripped down perhaps isn’t the strongest foundation. But with a ballad, the melody and harmony has to be so good to carry it, cos there’s nothing else.
5. Mac Miller – ‘Come Back To Earth’
“This is the perfect start to an album and is so much more poignant and meaningful given Mac’s tragedy. I find it hard to listen to this one without listening to the whole of Swimming, but it is still a must have for the bubble bath.”
6. Jaz Karis – ‘Sillkey’s Reprise (feat. Sillkey)’
“I’m so into these little interlude, intro/outro type transitions in EP/LPs. It can really tie together a body of work and gives a deeper narrative that sometimes gets lost in a world of single after single.”
7. Nick Hakim – ‘Lift Me Up’
“I love the creativity of Nick Hakim’s production. It’s such a different experience to his music live, which is equally is amazing. It gives the songs another level and has a uniqueness that is easy to recognise.”
8. PJ Morton – ‘First Began’
“Can’t decide between the studio album version or the live album version. They both are great in different ways, and PJ does so many dope runs in both of them. I’m going with the studio one because I can’t listen to the live one without hearing the rest of it.”
9. Jordan Rakei – ‘Speak’
“Jordan put out a little clip on Instagram of him playing this on piano before the album dropped and it was one of the tunes I was most excited about hearing. I love the creativity in the chordal movements. It goes to some cool places that I wasn’t expecting, and his voice is just butter on top of it.”
10. D’Angelo – ‘Africa’
“Cannot have a playlist without D. No musician has had such a profound effect on me as D’Angelo. He inspired me to get in a room with people and just create, it was the start of a long journey, but the road would have surely been different without him. This song is very special to me and is such a perfect end to possibly my favourite album ever.”
Yakul’s ‘Company’ is out now. Listen to it HERE.
You can listen to all Ask the DJ playlists on the FMS Magazine Spotify CHANNEL.
Find Yakul’s playlist below and HERE.