Yellowlees – “I think it’s more important than ever to be kind.” / Interview

Yellowlees is the project of Pete Rapp. Having got started in music back in 2016, the singer-songwriter has released a slew of releases over the years. Embracing a DIY approach in terms of recording and releasing his material, Pete’s music has a touch of intimacy to it that strikes a chord (pun unintended) with all who hear it.

We’re pleased to have had an interview with Pete to discuss his start in music, his plans and spoke details of his now-released new single ‘Keepsake’. It’s another personable tune that offers easy-going melodies and sweet harmonies, making it easy to become addicted to. Big thank you to Pete for doing this! You can check out Yellowlees on Facebook, Instagram & Twitter.

Photo credit: Alfred Barwick Film & Photography

Hey Yellowlees, how’s it going? I’m good, thank you! It’s been a very weird few months, but hasn’t it been that way for everybody? And I’ve been very lucky in the grand scheme of things, so I’m trying to keep it all in perspective. How’s it going for you?

What got you started in music? Opening with a big question! In the earliest moments, I got started singing at school, through musicals and the theatre (my other great love in life). Then I picked up the guitar around the age of 10 – starting on electric guitar because I was a precocious little bastard who wanted to skip the basics, probably – and eventually started performing in bands from 14 or so. Those early days were pretty terrible in retrospect, but there were flashes of good stuff…I started writing songs at 15, having experienced my first heartbreak, and I went from there. I was in and out of bands, always writing but never getting much momentum, until I started playing solo as a 19-year-old under the stage name ‘Pedro’. Eventually Pedro became Yellowlees, and here we are!

You’re set to release your new single ‘Keepsake’ soon. What can you tell us about it? ‘Keepsake’ is the first out-and-out love song I’ve released; I’ve written plenty about love, but never just fronted up and got a proper love song out there! I wrote the song really suddenly at the very beginning of lockdown, it just sort of fell out of me one evening (always a good sign for a song). Just like everyone else, I was worried and overwhelmed by everything that was happening – ‘Keepsake’ draws on the feelings one gets when you’re far away from a loved one. With everything we know changing so quickly, this idea came to me of, like, “well if we’ve suddenly only a few more moments together, we’d better make the most of them, and I want to tell you what you mean to me while I still have the chance”. It’s my most earnest, vulnerable song so far, I think. It means a lot to me. I hope it means something to others too!

It’s your second single released this year. Could we expect to hear more music from you? Hopefully you will! To be honest, I was hoping to release more music this year than I currently have, but y’know, the world’s pretty much been trying to eat itself alive, which threw everything off a bit. I’m going to try my damnedest to get a few more tunes out before the end of the year, or very early in the next one, but don’t hold me to that. I promise I’ll try!

You’ve been releasing music since 2016. Has the songwriting process changed for you over the years? Crikey. Good question. It has indeed changed – at the very least I hope I’ve become a better songwriter since I started! I’ve always tried to write honestly, whether it’s through a personal lens or through stories, characters and situations. There’s always plenty of me in the music, of what I’m feeling. That’s something I hope to hold onto, and I think I push myself to do more of it as I write more music. The older and more experienced you get as a human being, the more complex you can find yourself feeling, which is something I want to reflect in my writing! One thing that’s definitely changed for me recently is how I put songs together when I record them, when I’m adding extra instrumentation and production. I wasn’t always aware of how important subtlety and textures can be – that’s something I’ve tried to focus on lately.

Finally, if you could close out this interview with one final thought, what would it be? We’re going through a really turbulent time at the moment as a population, so I think it’s more important than ever to be kind. Try your best to do the right thing and to do right by people. You’ll make mistakes, everyone does, but as long as you’re always doing your best to be kind, you can make up for them in time. That’s what I’ve been trying to tell myself, I think. Can’t hurt, eh?

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