“By the end of listening to the music I’ve got planned for Wonderest festival, my goal is for both my listeners and me to feel stronger than we were twenty minutes ago,” said Yank, the eternally experimenting musician, composer and producer known as iamyank. We talked with him about creating atmospheres, the experience of breaking free from city life, and the festival’s eco-conscious outlook.
In the previous articles of our HYPE X WONDEREST series, we introduced the AU workshop’s Copper Thinking Bench installation and Studio Ü, the graphic design studio behind the festival’s visuals, as well as talking to lighting and installation artist Andor Illés Erazmusz about this year’s zero-waste lighting solutions and stage design. In our latest article, we talked to musician-producer Iamyank.
You started your musical career as a drummer, and then as part of your career as a solo artist you pushed the boundaries of the genre. How did you start out on this experimental path?
As a child, I experienced a strong impulse when I heard drums live for the first time at a concert. The sound—which was dynamic and very loud—overwhelmed me. The outcome was a deep curiosity within me about how such sounds could be produced. This was what drove me then, and it’s what still drives me today, twenty years later, when I switch to piano or guitar, or even when I write music for strings. In my head there’s no difference between instruments, I don’t want to reach a ninja level in just one field.
What’s the next uncharted area you’d like to try out?
The human voice. Generally, it lies very far away from me because I make and listen to instrumental music, but then I discovered ritual, ceremonial songs from the 1400s. There’s such raw power in this kind of tribal of singing, that instruments can’t compete with. I’d like to use these elements as a composer, but I’m not sure yet, if I’ll ever sing.
The Wonderest festival, originates from the intimate, live music concert series, named Garden Wonder, where you’ve been a regular guest for years. What kind of an experience do you get out of these performances?
They evoke two completely opposite feelings. You’re in a room with a few people sitting on the floor, while you’re in a chair, with no sound system. At first, it’s a scary experience. Precisely because of the intimacy, there’s nothing to hide behind, there’s no support from the magic of the stage behind you. Then a sense of security descends upon me, that I can do anything here, all I need to be is honest. The audience is very attentive, very interested, but at the same time they don’t have any expectations. All of this together, gives you a huge feeling of freedom as a performer. But of course, for this, you also need the personality of the organizer, Hanna, as her tireless enthusiasm transmits to the audience and the artists too.
What are you preparing for the Transylvanian festival with?
Actually, for the first time, I’m going to try to have just me, the guitar, and the pedals on stage, without the piano and synths. I have an effects pedal system that I’ve been building for a couple of years, with which I can loop layer upon layer of guitar themes. It’s from this, that harmonic, slightly film score-like textures emerge.
What kind of mood do you want to evoke? Is there an atmosphere in your mind you want to create?
Although I work on several projects at the same time, they all have the same feeling at their core. Imagine you’re a fragile little girl, alone in the middle of nowhere, with a storm-like force coming out of the blackness surrounding you. It has a very scary and uncertain undertone. But then, somehow, you become more and more confident that everything will be ok, and you’ll be able to face the future with courage. This emotional transition is the backbone of my material, at the end of which both my listeners and I feel stronger than we did twenty minutes ago.
The philosophy of Wonderest is also about breaking away from everyday life. What does this mean to you?
I’m a full-time musician as well as a music teacher, so I’m lucky in this sense, for me everyday life is a mindful getaway. I try to stay in it too, because otherwise the threads of thoughts that I’ve been thinking about for months get broken. For example, I ideologized for myself that I’ll be spending four days at Wonderest so that I can have a space to think in a focused way after my performances. But during concerts I invite people into the world where I am lucky enough to exist. This way, I’m not disconnecting from myself, but connecting my audience to me.
What’s your opinion about the green aspect of the festival?
By now, it should be like this everywhere. We need to take every opportunity we can to educate people and reinforce in each other that it’s doesn’t take a big effort to live this way, but it does have a huge impact. A festival can be a catalyst in communities. I love it when beside the campfire and a spritzer people start motivating each other, everything acts as a thought incubator: you’re bound to hear something you didn’t know before.
In the heart of the Transylvanian mountains, at an altitude of 1,100 meters, the Wonderest festival will be kicking off soon, taking place between 8-11 July! The event, offering a familiar atmosphere, is being held in the spirit of slowing down, disconnecting, and eco-consciousness: there’s no reception, but in exchange you get breathtaking views, indie folk and experimental performers, sunrise concerts and an unforgettable community experience. But how is a micro-festival put together? Week by week, we’ll be introducing you to the unique atmosphere of Wonderest festival and breaking down the event into its elements with the help of a creator or performer from a different field each week. Click here for tickets!
Photos: Bence Bendegúz Boros