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The Eighth Note: Yorke

Last edited: 17.06.19 | Comment? | By











‘The Eighth Note’ is 8 quick Questions with Wellington Musicians.

A chance for us to catch up with people & see what they’re up to, or introduce you to a new musician/band and their music. Up next is Billy Ridgway, who records under the name Yorke, and has just released his multi-genre debut album Nü Yorke.


Who are you? Tell us a bit about your music:
My name is Yorke, I’m a 24 year old musician living in Wellington, New Zealand. The name Yorke originated when I first moved to Wellington because of my resemblance to the great Thom Yorke. Yorke became my nickname and who I was known as around the city. It’s also homage to my upbringing in Yorkshire. The title of my debut album “Nü Yorke” stemmed from the idea of bringing a new face and sound to my fanbase. Also being inspired by great artists from New York, I thought the play on words was perfect.⁣
‘⁣Nü Yorke’ has no specific genre. It brings in an array of sounds all the way from RnB to alternative rock. I wanted to create an album that isn’t just relatable to my peers in New Zealand, but is able to be translated worldwide. What better way in doing so, then using the language of love. With this album I have portrayed my stories in a way that will make you feel we have once walked in the same shoes. I hope I am able to give people temporary relief whilst they work their way through their own journey of life and love.

What have you been working on lately? Any new tracks or albums on the way?
I have a few new music videos in the works with the great Connor Pritchard. We only met for the first time late last year but the energy we have when we work together is truly magic. Connor is a very humble guy, who really cares about the art and shares a very similar vision with me. It works like clockwork every time.
I’m also in a six man band, which will be performing the “Nü Yorke.” album with in the next few months. Every member of the band has been around during the beginning of my journey of becoming Yorke, so performing my first ever album with them will be something truly special. You won’t want to miss out on this one.
Lastly, new music is on the way! I have an EP on the way with my best friend/audio engineer/very talented vocalist, Sparrow. We’ve been making music together since 2013, so our collaborative nature is very natural and unforced. We know each-others sounds so well that its very easy share the same vision when we’re writing a song together in the studio.

Where is the best place where people can follow you & find your music?
I would say my most active social media account would be my Instagram. But you can find me on Facebook, Youtube, Twitter. Pretty much everything. Honestly you’ll find everything you need on my Instagram.

What were the 3 most influential albums to you growing up?
This is an extremely difficult question, but if you want to know the three most influential albums that help me grow int my sound, I’ll try box it down for you.
T-Pain – THR33 RINGZ (2008)
So this came out when I was 13, before I even started making music. I was always very much into hip-hop, but this album mixed the qualities I loved about RnB with the bounce of Hip-hop I lived for. The album very much opened my eyes up to the importance of melodic sentences, as every song was such an ear worm. Every chorus had a futuristic tone to it, and would grab your attention. I think this is the first album I ever put on my MP3 player and I would have it on repeat. Anyway, this album is the only reason I started making music. One day I was bored and home and googled “How to sound like T-Pain.” That’s the first time I downloaded a DAW and I’ve been recording myself ever since.
Chance the Rapper – AcidRap (2013)
So this album came out on my first year out of high school, I had just moved to Christchurch to study audio engineering at MAINZ. I had already started a small fan base living in Blenheim, collaborating with artists such as Octobr and Tapz. As much as I loved RnB at this point, I was only making rap music as I hadn’t found my voice yet. This album changed everything. It brought me back to that old school feeling of hip-hop I loved, intertwined with Jazz that my Grandad had brought me up on as well. Most importantly, it had a brand new sound of melodic rap. Just the thing I had been looking for. Chance taught me you could still be conscious with your words, while using your voice to paint melodic strokes of art. This was the first step of infusing my work of hip-hop into something more melodic.
Bryson Tiller – Trapsoul (2015)
The final album that really pushed me in the right direction of where I wanted to take my music. This album was the perfect blend of the trap era of music, and the futuristic RnB I was so desperately trying to make. Over everything, the relatability of the album was all there. I had just gone through a rough breakup the same week this album dropped, and he spoke to me about my stories. This album really brought my passion into play. I wanted to make music for people who go through relationship issues, but don’t know how to express it. This album spoke to me in a way that made me feel like my situation was being listened to and validated. I can only hope my album spoke to a few people, the way this album spoke to me.

Which other Wellington musician (s) would you most like to work with?
Luckily I’ve already managed work with my favourite artists out of Wellington! But right now I can’t stop listening to George Young’s Mental, PT. 1 EP. I used to hear George DJ once a week at the restaurant I work at. He’s very passionate about music and you can hear that come through his EP, along with his character. Hopefully we can tee something up for the future!

What is your favourite Wellington venue to play in?
I’ve only played at a couple! But I would have to say my favourite venue to go see a live show would have to be San Fran. Excellent floor layout, a balcony to get some air over looking Cuba street. And when that floor is full, the acoustics of the room is absolutely incredible.

In your songwriting or composing (or the bands songwriting) how do the compositions and songs take shape?
I started out making music alone in my bedroom, as most of us do. It was a fun way to pass the time and also very therapeutic to be able to express myself. I do enjoy collaborating today, but if I want to get to the core of my music I usually have to be alone with only myself to converse with. Every day is so different from the last, so depending on how I’m feeling will define the outcome of the track. I work with a lot of producers from all over the world, so I usually have a few beat catalogues to dive into before I even get started. I’ll search for a beat that is in sync with the feeling I have in my stomach. I then set up the mic and get out how I’m feeling by free styling across the production until I’ve found some key melodies and lyrics. Usually at this point I’ll find the hook and it will become the heart of the song. After that its pretty easy, I’ll write around what the hook is focused on, and go back to my favourite melodies I kept and rewrite around them.

Where/when is your next gig?
This is undecided! I have a few venues that are keen to put on a show, I just need a bit more time to organise the band so I can put on the live show you all deserve!

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