Music composers familiar with production hardware would know about one of the earliest drum machines, informally known as the “808”. The 808 machine was the colloquial name for the TR-808 Rhythm composer that was manufactured by the Roland Corporation, which was made for musicians to create samples and demos via digital porting.
This sets the context for a producer from France named Yonea, who in this digital era has created a label called Eighty-Eight (88) Music. In similar likeness to the Roland creation (minus the 0 numeral), Yonea embarked on creating something for musicians worldwide, that is a machinery of works for creating dreams and porting it into music. Not being from a big metropolitan city in France, Yonea has had to make due on the backend of the power of the internet and connecting with artists around the world. What was originally a music record label, has been created into something greater. The number 8 in numerology represents karmic debt and emphasis on “recreation” as an order of balance, which just like Yonea’s career and life thus far, has been all about recreating himself! That has carried over to his beloved Eighty-Eight Music label, which is also in a state of constant recreation.
We spoke to Yonea about his path and discovery of music, everything regarding Eight-Eight Music, his sound and style of music, future plans and just got to know him on a personal level.
Lavatory Records: For all those who don’t know you, how would you describe Yonea?
Yonea: I’m the Eighty-Eight Music’s founder, but also Manager and Producer. I come from the East of France, which is a small town near Nancy.
LR: When did you get into music?
Yonea: I have been in the music world since 2006/2007, but I have always been a real passionate music lover.
LR: Describe your style of music?
Yonea: You know, I’m Gemini! It is said that Geminis have a double personality, that’s not a false statement because it applies to me!
I love violent and peaceful music! I haven’t got a defined style as such, so it can range from hard-core music to minimal (techno); black metal to classical music.
Lately I’ve developed a preference for Trap music: electro and rap Trap! In fact, I pretty much love each style of music – that can give you sensations! Whether be it by lyrics, rhythm or just a note!
I think we can say MUSIC IS MY STYLE lol.
LR: Who were your favourite musicians while growing up?
Yonea: It was always quite varied for me.
In the metal category: it was mainly Marilyn Manson, Slipknot and the Offspring.
In electro: it was Prodigy, Daft punk, Cassius and The Chemical brothers.
Finally in rap, Eminem, Cypress Hill in regards to world artists. Here in France it was NTM , Booba and IAM.
I was looking to name some underground artists in each genre, but this list would become too long!
LR: Tell us the history behind the Eighty-Eight Music label?
Yonea: Since I was young, I always said this to myself, “I love some underground bands or artists, some of them deserve to be known across the world, and so I must do something!”
My goal is to make them known and make connections between artists and bookers. I mean why not?
Other times, I get it done by making connections with artists, by featuring them and by creating some pure musical madness!
So first I had created “Néocryte Productions” with one of my best friends and happened with my bassist. But then we were lost in this music world… we didn’t know how to do it seriously, and then we abandoned the project.
After that I contacted some people in the industry who helped guide me and that allowed me to build Eighty Eight Music serenely.
I’m self-taught, so it was not easy, but passion and support from a few people who encouraged me has made this dream possible. I cannot thank them enough!
As for the name , it’s simple (or not!), the number ” eight ” is present in all my life. I was born in 1988, my department number is “88”, and the “8” really represents something for me.
Many people around me are dead (friends and family), and at a pool game, the “Eight Ball” is the last ball that falls in the pocket.
I feel like I’m the last to go! Also because I hate these unfortunate and tragic events that are around me, then the “88″ can also mean ” Eight (ball) Eight (Hate) “.
However, “Eighty-Eight Music” is not just a label, it serves public relations for artists I’m working with who aren’t signed to the label.
I’m working on a lot of collaborations with various artists and even personally investing in projects that I believe in financially.
Eighty-Eight Music is a real state of mind for people who happen to share the vision!
LR: What has your experience of the music industry in France been like?
Yonea: When I was a student, a singer in my classroom said to me that my voice is special and I should throw myself in a metal band to become a singer. At the time, I was hanging out at a lot of metal shows and I then met some guys who I formed my first metal band with! But we were not serious, it was just for fun.
Later, I sang in several other groups but just for fun too. I then started hanging out at some Rave-Parties, which helped me discover the DJ business; it was a real revelation for me! This is where brutal sounds mingled with melodies!
I then bought my first turntable and started to create my own music and mixes at a few parties for some years. However my side job didn’t allow me to continue in this venture and I got tired of working in this scene, so I put it aside. Maybe I’ll come back one day, it’s not impossible!
Now, I’m focused on the Eighty Eight Music’s projects, which take much of my time.
LR: When can people expect new music from you and Eighty-Eight Music?
Yonea: Firstly you can find some of my beats on South African rapper, Tre’s album, which will be released later this year. I love working with him because we understand each other and he’s just a good guy!
We’re working with Alouatta on an EP project and on some videos, which are due out in August or September. Alouatta is a king of word play and he’s just an amazing artist!
I will soon be unveiling a new artist who’s signed to the label, called Djamben! He’s a young man from my region and he’s very promising!
Finally, I’m working’ on a side project under the ”Yonea” pseudonym. It will be an Electro/Trap project. I’ve got some tracks which are ready to go but I want to find some new collaborations first to grow this project across the world.
LR: Apart from music, what can you tell us about you as a person?
Yonea: I’m a very simple person who likes the simple pleasures of life. I live a quiet life, you know, I’m a little bit of everything and can be deemed to be a “mister everybody”. I’ve got my girlfriend and I’ll be daddy soon. I have what many may call a “day job”, but am hoping to make music my real day job!
But in spite of everything, I’m sure to make my dreams come true! I have developed this saying which has become a habitual mantra; “Live your dreams, don’t dream your life!”
LR: Are there any people you want to shout out?
Yonea: Yeah! Too many people to shout out!
Shout out to my South African family (soon I’ll have more friends in South Africa than in France lol)! Shout out to Lavatory Records and Thato Keikelame for this interview and for the trust in and belief in me.
Shout to My brother Tre, who gives me much inspiration and fortitude! Shout out TNT Productions for their work!
All artists that I’m working with: Alouatta, Djamben and all the others. Amad (FMR Concept), for his advise and motivation.
Everybody who supports Eighty-Eight Music world wide! And for sure, everybody who told me “You can’t do it, it’s too difficult”, they helped me become better! Also a big shout-out to #LoudHipHopRadio who introduced me to Tre!!