From the other side of the world, Yung 808 transmits his larger than life vibes through his pop-punk base heavy hits. With over 3 million total streams, 808 continues his rise to the top and become a local sensation is his hometown. Now the artist is breaking boarders and bridging the gap between him and the United States. The rising star has valued quality over quantity releasing a few tracks for the year but bringing it to a major close with the guitar flooded track titled “Pretty in Pink.” Aside from the 18-hour time difference, 808 tapped in to discuss his newest release titled “Pretty in Pink,” and everything that makes up his vibrant yet mellow vibe.
When did you first start writing music? When did you decide it was something you wanted to pursue?
I think I started writing music back, about halfway through 2017, but I didn’t start making it and releasing it until the beginning of 2018.
What changed? What changed for you then that made you want to start putting it out?
I’m not 100% sure. I’ve always loved music, I’ve always been someone that’s had an involvement around music, and I think one day I was listening to, I can’t remember what, I was… I think I may have been listening to PnB Rock or someone. Someone had just dropped an album, and I was just fascinated. I was like, “Maybe I’ll try, maybe I’ll give it a shot.” And then yeah, just learned how to basically just record, and that was about it. And then just moved from there.
What is the music scene like in New Zealand?
The music scene in New Zealand, is… It’s okay. It’s nothing massive. It’s nothing like the US, but if you get to a point where you are developed enough like people such as Lorde, as she came from New Zealand, Stan Walker, Six60, you have a bunch of bigger New Zealand artists. And then you have people like me, Kid Ray. There’s a couple other artists that I’ve recently performed with, which we have an audience, we are just looking at expanding worldwide and also growing, growing in New Zealand with what we have here. There’s not much of a really large, independent artist industry, so it’s very hard to find that… Build a foundation. So you have to put a lot of work in for that.
What’s one of your biggest challenges then I guess, as far as getting your music over here in the States?
The hardest part has been probably with this year, I got introduced, when I was signed to my current label, there was a whole side of business and copyright, legality things. Was it like percentage splits and everything? because here in New Zealand, our copyright laws are completely different. As soon as we create something and publish it, it’s ours, we get entitlement. We don’t have to put out a copyright to request ownership of it. Yeah, it’s all slightly different. And then also just especially with marketing and promotion and targeting, a lot of that is very different for a US or UK or an international audience compared to what New Zealanders kind of… especially with my new song that drops tomorrow, the promotion around that, it’s summer here, but it’s winter for you guys. It’s flipped for what I’m doing.
You’re going have to split market, kind of.
Yeah, pretty much. When we sit down and planned out everything, we had two categories for the themes of everything and how we do that.
Who are some of the artists that inspire you and your style?
Definitely, it’s changed a lot. My new stuff is more MGK pop punk, Sum 41, kind of. Who else is there? Sum 41, Fall Out Boy, Panic at the Disco, Paramore, MGK, Mod Sun, Blink 182 especially, kind of that genre music, the pop punk, post pop, modern rock, a lot of that fusion genre. When I started, it was probably people like PnB rock. Who else would there have been? Like Lil Mosey, more of the hip hop. I guess it would be a little bit of R&B style, but I definitely shifted to the more energetic alternative out there, because that’s what I’ve always liked, I’ve always been like that as well.
How did you come up with Yung 808? Or when did you even decide on that name?
I was planning on changing it and then everything just all flooded in at once, so I didn’t have time and I just stayed with it. A lot of people, especially in my hometown, when people see me or if people recognize me, they’ll say “Are you 808?” It was it was Yung 808, cause 808 being like a base in music, a drum type of sound, and then Yung, because I was young, so I was like, “Oh, that will do for now.” And then it just grew and everyone kind of jumped on to that and I was like, “Okay, well, guess we’re rolling with that.” I’ve always thought like, “Oh, I could change it,” but then I have to make a whole new artist page. I have to go through all that, I’m like, “There’s no point.” Enough people just go out and say “Oh, 808, 808.” I don’t have to be Yung 808 unless people are directly searching or referencing me, which is cool though, because it means that I’ve got enough recognition in my fan base and the people that do listen to me that they kind of have grown on to learn that’s me.
How did you get linked up with Buppy and Resonance?
Me and Buppy actually met in a very weird way. We were watching some artists that we both liked live. And Ed joined and played one of his songs, and I was like, “Damn, this kid’s got talent.” And he had only just started making music, and I was like, “Damn.” I called him and was like, “Yo, we should work, we should cook up some stuff.” And this was like, for New Zealand, we were right in the middle of our lockdown, so we had just… Everyone was kind of stuck inside, nothing was really happening. There was nothing else to do than sleep, eat, watch TV or make music. We just banged out about 10 songs, and then as the year moved on towards end of the year, he’s like, “There’s this label collective that’s being developed that we were working on and everything. Do you want to be a part of that?” And then a bunch of artists and us all pitched and a select few of us got signed, and we’ve just been developing from there. The label has been really amazing, like the amount of business and music industry techniques and understanding that we’ve learned has been something.
There’s a whole side of it that I had no idea even existed, and Buppy just being not only an amazing artist, but an amazing manager, and just having this vast understanding of it all, has passed down all of this knowledge, and he just guides us through everything. And it’s great, it’s amazing. So yeah, that’s kind of how everything moved on.
You just performed a packed out show and I heard New Zealand was COVID free so what was that like?
Yeah, I’ve seen on… Our news has been packed with how the rest of the world are like 18,000 cases in the UK. I’m like, “Damn.” I hope everyone’s good beause here there’s nothing. Yeah, I just got asked to be a special guest at a… Where was it? It was probably an hour’s drive in a different city from here, and they had a bunch of hours that worked for me. I went along and performed. It was dope. It was such a good vibe. By the end of the night, I can’t even remember. It was packed, it was the most people that they’d ever had at that venue. It was insane. It was just an amazing time. It was a really good vibe, and it’s something that I hope once everything in the world’s cleared up, when I do come over to America, if we can organize some smaller little shows like that, if there are still limitations on that, where everyone can just enjoy the moment and vibe and just rock out and have an amazing time. I feel that that energy that we’ve got here, I want to bring across to there. It’s similar, but there are a couple of things we do here at shows and stuff, some things like that, that are just… It’s just a really great community vibe that you can bring everyone together for music. So yeah.
Bring me to a show over there, give me the vibe. I feel like everything I look at the vibes are just way crazier than over here.
Facts. I don’t even know. With America you see it, like when artists perform, usually there’s the raised stage and then a massive gap for all the security and the… In New Zealand we had security on the stairways to the slightly raised stage, but the crowd’s like right there. And the thing is, no one is kind of… No one’s that ignorant and just impulsive to jump up on stage and ruin the set, ’cause everyone’s having a great time. But because you’re right there with the fans and with everyone singing the music, you can give it, you can hand the mic over, you can jump in the crowd, you can dance around, you can get everyone hyped up, you can get them down low, down low when the beat drops down, jump up… You can interact so great.
And then also it’s all… It’s usually all open door between the security payment entranceway, and then you come upstairs or you go into another room, and there’s a lobby area, there’s merch stores, there’s bathrooms, all that, and that’s where people can chill off and grab drinks and refreshments so no one passes out. Then you come back in and you walk through the doors into the venue, and it’s just smoke machines lights, mad energy, you walk in and you just get filled with this beautiful energy of people just being happy. And there’s never a dull moment, like we did… I did a Juice Wrld tribute. I sung Lucid Dreams by Juice Wrld, and everyone just had their phone torches out. Everyone was just singing, just… And it wasn’t necessarily a sad moment, it was just a really meaningful deep connected with everyone; everyone had this energy of respect between everyone. So it was, yeah, it’s just a really… I think it’s a really connected situation, a concert in New Zealand. That’s what it’s like, a very connected and closely related between the performers
Why did you start making music?
Why? Lots of reasons, lots of reasons. Of course, I loved music, I wanted to… I was like, “Well, I love it, I might be able to make it.” But also, it was just a mental health release for me. I do suffer from an array of mental health issues, and music has been the one thing that’s always been there, no matter what, you’ve got music. And I think many, many people, many artists as well can agree with that. You can take an internal situation and format it and perform it and output it in a sense that even if in that moment you do listen to the song, you don’t need it, but it’s still good to listen to, but then when you do need it you can relate to it on a level that’s ridiculously just… But that you have those songs you listen to, and it’s just like, “Damn. Damn!” That’s why I love making music, and that’s why I wanted to make music that people could listen to and just be, “Damn!” That they get what it’s like. Yeah.
For sure. So is it the feeling that you get from your music that, helps you perform live like, for example, you know Summer Walker, the big conversation that surrounded her having anxiety and people misunderstanding how she gets on the stage.
Yeah, I was following that, I do suffer from anxiety, and people are like, “How do you perform in front of a… In a concert situation?” So I felt that, but, with that I think if you’ve managed to output the emotions that are troubling for you into the song, then when you get up in front of people to perform it, if they’re there and they’re listening, that means that they get it. So why should it affect you in the first…I could be incredibly anxious before I go on stage, but when I go out there, and I just see everyone had to be there, everyone kind of knows what my music is, everyone knows what it’s like, then that all settles and goes away. I think that’s what people, I wouldn’t say failed to understand, but couldn’t fully grasp with the Summer Walker situation of how that came to discussion, but then they’re like, “Oh, how do you go and perform to thousands and thousands of people?”
That’s the one thing that a lot of people didn’t really see with that, especially because if you make the music for the way it makes you feel, and then it’s relatable for others when you perform it, it’s like they feel it for you. So it’s like there’s a transmission of energy I don’t think a lot of people understand.
They know what it’s like. Definitely, definitely.
Talk to me about to the new release “Pretty in Pink!”
Pretty in Pink, it’s the first single… I’m the first artist from my label, Resonance Entertainment to drop a song, and everyone’s dropping in 2021, the beginning of the year onward, and I was like, “Nah, I’m going to drop one for summer for here, right before Christmas, and yeah, so it’s a new song, it’s in my new style. It’s very, very, like… I would say a bit of post pop punk, but a bit of pop punk, and then just regular pop, fuse-y… It’s just a really happy, really happy just vibe-y song. And I want people to listen to it and just be able to dance with your headphones in. It’s that type of song, you can just listen to it by yourself in your room, and you’re just like, “Yeah, yeah,” and dance around. But then also, if you’re in the car on a road trip, you can play it and just dance around as well with your friends. So that’s definitely the vibe of the song.
Take me to the recording studio. What was it like for you making this one? What was the vibe? What did you feel?
When I was making the song, that was… I heard the guitar melody, and I contacted the dude who produced and was like, “Yo, you done anything with this?” And he made it, this is months, months ago before I even thought about making it. And then I… And I kind of, it overpassed me and he had released it himself as just like a YouTube one. I was like, “Hold on, hold on, hold on. I’m going to buy that, I’m going to buy that,” right click. And I recorded out the song, and as soon as I recorded it, I showed… I always show my mom my music. I show my mom my music all the time. And I show my family and especially my Nana, my mom and my Nana. It has to go… If the song gets the seal of approval from them, then I know it’s going be good, and mom has been every single day, until like… Well, for me, it’s today, and tomorrow she’s just going, “Has the song dropped? When’s it dropping? When’s it… ” So I just knew it was going be a really good energy, good received song, and everyone seems hyped for it, which I’m like, “That’s dope. I’m really… I put a lot of effort into… A lot of the behind the scenes work, it went through many revisions of mixes and masters that I wasn’t happy with. The photoshoot took two full days to do because it was just ridiculously hot, and I got really bad sunburn on the first day. There was a lot of stuff leading up to the song, so I’m very, very hyped for it to be released, which will be good.