F.Y - "Keeping creative momentum is important for me. I want to capture as much as I can in the first few hours of creating while the idea is fresh." - Stereo Stickman

F.Y “Keeping creative momentum is important for me. I want to capture as much as I can in the first few hours of creating while the idea is fresh.”


Armed with an extensive catalogue of original music, ranging in style from electronic dance to alternative and Nu Disco, F.Y launched his album Mixed Feelings at the end of last year, and continues to move from strength to strength as a creative producer.

We caught an interview with him to find out more about the music – his creative pathway, his influences, and what the overall dream may be. Here’s the conversation in full.

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Frank Yates – thanks for the interview! I’m excited to dig into creativity with you. To start things off, where are you from, and what was your gateway instrument or style for getting into music?

Hey there! Thank you for the great questions. I currently live in Bend, OR but have lived all over the place. I grew up in Jacksonville, FL for a good chunk of my youth but moved around a lot. My dad was in the navy so we moved a lot.

I started playing guitar when I was 13, and although I don’t consider myself an amazing guitarist, it was the instrument that always inspired me and lead me to more of the production side of things. I grew up with a lot of emo and hardcore music actually, though I’ve always listened to all genres. My first early projects were in the rock and post hardcore scene.

How do you get started when crafting a new track from scratch?

I have had to get more comfortable with my creative process over time. I used to hit a lot of road blocks when creating, but the more I’ve done it the more I trust the direction. Like if I try out a particular sound of a synth and it feels right I will just go with it. Whereas if I am getting stuck on something like writing a bass line or something I’ll just drop it and come back to it.

Keeping creative momentum is important for me. I want to capture as much as I can in the first few hours of creating while the idea is fresh. Some of my favorite songs I’ve written have been sketched in just a few hours that way. I try to just get the ideas down first and then come back and fine tune and mix later.

With that being said, I do try to limit myself with the options of sounds I use for a project to keep things cohesive and consistent. And less time browsing sounds. Which eats up some of that creative flow.

How do you define nu disco, and what was it about this style of electronic production that appealed to you?

When it comes to genres, I haven’t quite found where I land in my style, I typically tell people it is indie electronic but I also sing and play guitar and different instruments and blend them all together with a lot of electronic textures and elements.

The reason I have been drawn to electronic production is the freedom to explore so many sounds. I found that creating with a normal band structure was limiting for me. With electronic production I can really explore so many different sounds to capture different emotions. I love synths and weird textures that, to me, makes for interesting listening. It has also allowed for me to work on things on my own and achieve a lot more on my own time. In a lot of ways I feel like leaning into electronic production is a natural progression.

Grow is a brilliant example of your skill and sound – an immersive, ambient yet also uplifting, euphoric original. Where did you begin with this one, and what does it represent?

I was really happy with Grow. Though, it came out pretty quick and naturally. I believe I started with the synth melody that you can hear early in the song. Then started building different textures on top of that and other rhythmic elements.

I tend to use my emotional state to drive a lot of the creative process. I come from a pretty troubled past and have spent many years processing a lot of trauma and issues internally and I tend to use music to process. Often, there is a touch of darkness in my music but also a nice large portion of hopeful and uplifting balance. Because for me, that is a large part of what life is all about.

On the flip side, Currency is an entirely juxtaposed example, world rhythms and tones meeting with the retro fuzz of electronica across a cascading tapestry of melody. What was your mindset when making this piece?

I think for this one I was a bit more on the darker side of things, but was thinking about the world and how everything is driven by profit and money. The song kind of has a scary element to it, as though it could be in a horror movie or something. I wrote this in melodic minor to give the eastern feeling melody and put some strange distorted screams in there to create a something that felt dark yet intriguing. Though I like this one, the album I’m working on is much lighter and more hopeful.

How much time do you spend in the studio creating music, and do you aspire to spend more time on the stage, or keep things behind the scenes?

I have a home studio and I am in there most days honestly. I am completely DIY and do all of the mixing, recording, mastering as well as art work and design. So there is always something to do aside from writing the music. I am looking to get a manager to help with some parts of it. Because it gets a bit lonely doing everything, and it’s just a lot of work.

As for shows, I am working on building out a little west coast tour this summer. I opened up for Robert Delong in October and opening for Catching Flies this June, but I really want to tour this new album because I am really proud and excited for it. Putting together a live set is a whole other piece of the puzzle as well and have to do things in chunks. But yeah, I want to play more live and build out a cool visual show as well.

Tell me about last year’s album Mixed Feelings, what was it like to focus on a full-length project, and how does it feel to listen back now?

I am extremely proud of Mixed Feelings! It was a concept album and the overarching theme was a state of being conflicted all the time, in a deep and internal way. Hints the name. I was just struggling with hitting blocks created by my own internal landscape, especially with interpersonal relationships. It was just a process of working through that I think

Before that album I was also struggling to finish tracks and having a hard time finding my creative voice. I was in college for music production and sound engineer while I was writing the album and told myself I would have it finished before I graduated, which I did. It was so much work and I don’t think I had ever been more obsessed and busy with a project before. I don’t know if I was in the best place mentally, though I am glad I went through it because it was a huge learning experience. Especially because it was all DIY.

Looking back on it now, I would have done some things differently and realized I wasn’t completely confident in what I was doing, which I think shows. Which makes sense because I had never taken on such a big project on my own and a lot of it was just trial and error. Though, I am still very proud of the work and it has led me to be more confident in my current production. As many things, I think it captured where I was at the moment and it can kind of just live there as a point of reflection.

I was also so surprised how many people listened to my first album, especially because I did everything myself and all of the art and promotion. I feel very grateful and blessed that there are people out there listening.

You’re also working on a brand-new album – how’s that going, and is there a different approach or concept behind this one?

I am! I am very excited about this next album, it feels like Its coming out naturally and more confidently. It some how feels more honest as well. This one will be a little shorter then the last one. I think I will be capping it off at 11 tracks, I might even split it into two EPs. But I am right around 9 songs in right now and hope to have it done by June. 

I think I hit a point where I just started letting go of “how things should be” and began trusting my process a bit more. I will be releasing my first single Untitled Memories in a week! I can’t wait for people to hear it. It’s lighter and more dreamy then my first album for sure.

You’re a multi-instrumentalist with a vast live set-up – how do you maintain the drive and passion for being consistently creative as a solo act, and do you ever crave that collaborative angle?

It honestly gets lonely at times, and can feel pretty isolating. I think I just started producing that way and have just kept going. I think writing is also a very vulnerable and emotional thing for me sometimes and I find it easier to get to that place alone. Setting up a live set alone is definitely hard, it can be frustrating and challenging to create a set that is intriguing and interesting as a solo act. I’ve thought about expanding it out but for now I think I will be keeping it solo. At least for this project.

I am starting to test out a new project with two other musicians which will hopefully fill that need for collaboration and companionship. Oh! And the other thing people don’t tell you, it’s a lot of work to go it alone, in a band setting at least you can split up the responsibilities, but as a solo act it all falls on me.

What’s the best thing that could happen for you in 2024?

Oh man, honestly if people just keep listening and getting something from my music, that is the biggest reward. Although, I would also really love to play some festivals and more shows this year. I am going to finish this album and set up a little west coast tour since I live in Bend, OR.

I have also just decided to see how everything plays out and just keep making music that I love and see what happens.

Thank you for the great questions.

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Find F.Y on Apple, Instagram, TikTok & his Website.

Rebecca Cullen

Founder & Editor

Founder, Editor, Musician & MA Songwriter

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