yuné pinku is making music for the metaverse
The London-based producer on why she’s shunning real-life clubs to soundtrack life in all its virtual glory.
01 Feb 2023
“I like the idea of clubbing and how music brings people together, but clubbing in London has changed,” laments yuné pinku. “It’s less about music or dancing and more about getting on it… that’s what I’ve struggled with.” Despite being 19, the wary producer/singer reveals she’d snuck into clubs underage and “was bored by the time I could [legally] go.”
yuné pinku, who is also known as Asha Yuné, belongs to a generation of bedroom producers who spent their lockdown years carving a fresh brand of electronic music. Yuné’s sound is remarkably astute. Her tight rave beats venture between techno and garage, undercut by adventurous synth bursts and cleverly-layered vocals with pleasurably deep drops. It’s heady; pensive yet danceable – music to move alone to, to lose yourself on the dancefloor.
“On the internet you can form this image of yourself that’s larger than life”
But Yuné explains that she isn’t all that interested in, or inspired by, the club scene. “It’s nice to DJ [at clubs] as it’s being part of it without being [in the scene] properly,” she explains, detailing how her love for electronic music began with solitary experimentation. “During lockdown I went into the different forms [of electro] and developed an appreciation for it.”
Yuné grew up in London in a Malaysian-Irish family, “there were three cultures influencing [my childhood]” she says. She liked London as “no one really cares where you’re from”, but it was online that she found a particular sense of belonging. “I’ve always enjoyed completely immersing myself in the internet. I’ve grown up with it, it’s a whole other world that you can exist [in] ” she adds.
At a time where falling down internet k-holes feels like modern routine, Yuné has made it part of her artistry. She felt “a bit delusional” working on single ‘Fai Fighter’; locking herself in the studio and barely noticing she had nothing to drink or eat for hours. The result was a web of skittish synths combined with vocals that teeter from shrieking hysteria to calm control. She explains the song is partly based on the Hindu goddess of chaos, who is linked to ideas of divine femininity: “in order to be true feminine there’s female rage,” she affirms.
Yuné envisions this gloriously-angered divinity as a liberated virtual self in ‘the metaverse arena or some kind of future realm’: “in the anime game world, women are still hyper-sexualised, but a lot of the time they are stronger… carrying bazookas or climbing buildings,” she explains. “I think on the internet you can form this image of yourself that’s larger than life. I pictured the project in a weird cyberpunk world, like blade runner.”
Conversely, ‘Night Light’ explores the vulnerable side to the virtual, with airy synths and melancholic melody. Here, Yuné flips classic sci-fi-tropes and eschews the viewpoint of the human creator to rather voice how A.I. laments its impermanence. “It’s based on these fictional characters of a robot that essentially falls in love with the person who will destroy it,” she writes in the single’s press statement.
‘Night Light’ and ‘Fai Fighter’ are both part of forthcoming EP BABYLON IX, released this spring. While debut EP Bluff chartered themes of growing up and forced bravado, BABYLON IX looks to the metaverse as a reflection of authenticity. “It’s about embracing vulnerability and desperation, the stuff you shove down, but also the phoenix rising,” she says.
The subject of femininity in virtual spaces steers the conversation back to earthly reality of making music in 2023. For Yuné, there’s much to address regarding equality in electronic music circles. “It’s still a bro-ish world. I’ve had a lot of people explain things to me that I didn’t ask for,” she reflects, but also values the increasing number of women producers on the scene. “Things are definitely changing for the better – ‘B.O.T.A’ is an example of a giant dance track.”
Lastly, I ask her to sum up what we can expect on BABYLON IX. She answers casually, instinctively surpassing the tangible to reach a different plane of being:
“It’s like the soundtrack of a rave on mars, I guess.”
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