Yolanda Be Cool Have fun 10 Years of “We No Communicate Americano” [Interview]
We often think of EDM and dance music as being a fairly young genre, which, it is. But, dance music has been raiding the pop charts for a long time. Today, we’re celebrating the 10th anniversary of a seminal dance/pop crossover hit, “We No Speak Americano” by Australian duo Yolando Be Cool.
I vividly remember the song being all over the radio, constantly (streaming wasn’t the behemoth then that it is now.) For me, it was certainly not like anything I’d ever heard; those bouncy horns, the quirky Italian sample. It was also a great way for an American audience to get exposed to more club oriented sounds. “We No Speak Americano” actually peaked at #29 on the Billboard Hot 100 back then, but it was an even bigger success internationally, reaching #1 across Europe and Latin America. Needless, to say, the Australian duo of Andy Stanley and Matt Handley ended up achieving way more success than they ever could have imagined.
To commemorate the 10th anniversary of “We No Speak Americano,” the boys are releasing a special EP featuring a special edit of the track by Yolanda Be Cool and original collaborator DCup. There are also top notch edits from Sllash & Doppe, Chemical Surf and JAXX DA FISHWORKS. We got the chance to sit down and have a lovely chat with Yolanda Be Cool. They reflected on how the international smash hit impacted their careers, their takes on the music scene now, their passion for music and quarantine activities.
Hey Andrew and Matt! Thanks so much for chatting with us, we’re celebrating the 10th anniversary of your breakout single “We No Speak Americano” Can you reflect on the past 10 years and how your music career changed after that song was released.
A: “As you said, it was the breakout single, things sort of haven’t been the same since, in a good way. We’ve got to travel the world, play fun parties, and most importantly, make awesome friends, all around the world. It’s allowed us to pursue our dreams of making music during the day and playing shows at night. So, that’s how it changed, we were sort of doing that beforehand, but just a lot less planes and hotels and countries, and stamps on the passport.”
M: “It makes you feel old, if you think now, if you’re 20, you were 10 when it came out. Big ups, maybe the 10 year olds are now 20 and are hearing it for the first time.”
A: “They’ve been hearing it in the kid’s movies, like Madagascar, Peter Rabbit. It’s been in all those ones, you just hear it, it’s funny.”
How did you guys approach releasing songs after that? I’m sure you knew it would be tough to top that, maybe you didn’t want to. What was the approach?
M: “I think, honestly, we definitely struggled, probably for a year, because we didn’t ever plan to have a song getting played after Britney Spears. And, even with DJ gigs, some gigs we’d get booked, and people would be all, oh, if you make a song that’s commercial then you play commercial. But, we were never really trying to make commercial music, and therefore we were never really playing commercial music. So I guess when that song happened there was a bit of pressure to try and do the same thing again. So, I definitely think it took a few years to get our groove back after that, because it was hard trying to have follow ups to that, and it was definitely a bit of a weird time, but we feel good about it now.”
Tell us how you guys originally got started making dance music and what keeps you going?
A: “I thought about this the other day. Matty and I always say that we’re DJs first (here are all of my vinyls), I think that’s been one of our advantages. If you’re a DJ, you’re a people person, you can look around the room, you can see this person over there, they need to get up. Or this song has been playing and the majority of the people like that, so I’m going to go on this tip, it’s almost a entertain and educate type thing. Obviously we wanted to make some mashups and you start experimenting, you know, I found this acapella and it would sound good over this beat. So, you do that so you have something fresh for your set that no one else had. And then that sort of just led into production. So, we weren’t the type of people that were studio nerds that just knew how to make amazing music, but then would get to a MIDI controller and just figure out they couldn’t DJ. So that was sort of our progression to the whole thing, DJ, mashups, and then bootlegs, and then, hold on, we can try and get an original vocal here, or we should try and be that sample. And then edits into original productions, that’s sort of how it went for us.”
What’s your take on the state of dance music in general?
M: “I feel like it’s really good. I feel like, with the internet, which has obviously been around a long time now, just the fact that it’s so easy to have access to everything now. It’s like every single sub-genre can find it’s audience, whether or not that audience is spread across 100 countries or condensed into one city. I think the internet enables people to find exactly what they like and run with it. I guess it also gives people exposure, things like back in the day, you needed to have a major record label, you needed to be on a major radio station for people to hear your music. Whereas now, you can make a song on your shitty secondhand laptop on pirated software and put it up on the internet, and it could potentially be a number one! Not that we did that, but we weren’t that far off.”
A: “To that question, I remember the last time we played EDC, we finished our set, which was super fun, it was awesome, we went back and had some shots of tequila, we walked around and we were at the main stage. Matty and I are open to all kinds of music, but there was stuff that was like complextro, crazy sounds, I’m sure it’s super difficult to make, and the kids were loving that! So I was like that’s cool, and then just a short walk away we were rocking out to the Martinez Brothers in another spot. I was like, man, dance music is for everyone. I was appreciating watching all of those kids going crazy to, it was some pretty outrageous sounds. Martin Garrix was on there as well, who we’re friends with and respect. And then we found our little pocket tucked away and that was super cool as well. I reckon there’s something for everyone right now which is good, it can even be pop. Skrillex and Diplo have merged really cool underground sounds, but, chuck Bieber to the top and you’ve got a smash hit. Dance music has really hit its stride.”
Obviously this year has sucked, what have you guys been doing in 2020, and how have you stayed positive during quarantine?
M: “I’ve been in my little neighborhood, I’ve got a beautiful little area, the beach is really close. I’ve got my studio, and my backyard, and my dog, and my girlfriend, and the internet. And that’s pretty much been me, just alternating between working on tunes and working on stuff for the label. We both meditate twice a day, so that’s definitely helped the sanity and the positivity. The weather’s always pretty good in Southern California. It sucks I can’t get back to Aus to see my family and friends, potentially even do gigs like Andy’s about to do. I think I’ve been pretty sweet.”
A: “At the start it was a novelty, we don’t have to go to work, we stayed home, I got to homeschool my children, stuff like that, we hit the studio, we were having fun, but then it sort of got dragged on a bit. But we always decided, let’s just pretend in the studio, let’s go full steam ahead, so we can have a full release calendar, probably just as much as any other year, we’ve shot video clips, we just want to keep going, put stuff out for whoever wants to hear it. And then hopefully when the restrictions ease, and the borders open up and when the flights fly again, we’re ready to rock, we’re ready to go, that’s sort of how it’s been for us.”
What can fans look forward to in 2021 from you?
M: “Just lots of tunes I guess. We’re going to try and do some more stuff with DCup, which is going to be fun because we haven’t done anything with him. We have a tune with Noizu, we got lots of other stuff, we’ve got another EP for Melii’s label, we just did one which we really enjoyed. And hopefully we’ll get to hang out together and do some shows. This is the first time I haven’t been home for Christmas. So, hopefully we get to tour and play parties, and swim in the ocean, hug people, that kind of stuff.”
A: “We’ve got a bank of music that we’ve been working on that we’ve got to finish off. Some club stuff, maybe some more radio stuff, we’re just going full steam like I said before and hopefully do some shows when we can.”
Ten years removed from a massive international hit, how do you guys view yourselves and what’s your place in the music sphere in 2020?
M: “I feel like we feel like our best is yet to come, which maybe sounds funny given that we had a big hit 10 years ago. But, maybe that hit, in some ways, came earlier than it should have in our careers. And I feel like now, we’ve sort of built ourselves up, ironically, in a way that we’re kind of ready to do it again. We’re just still really excited about jumping in the studio and seeing what could happen. We surprise ourselves with what could come out, we’re really inspired by young people and old people. We’re as enthusiastic now as we were 10 years ago, but we’re probably smarter. We probably don’t go to as many after-parties, but we’re definitely down to go to some. And we haven’t had an argument in so many years, pretty much since we started meditating. Whereas, I think in the early years, when we were touring non-stop and really tired and really hungover, we definitely had some disagreements. Including trying to rip USBs out. So, I’d like to think we’re better versions.”
A: “I think that was all correct. Music is one of the best things in the world, making it makes us happy, and meeting other people that share that same passion and we get along with is the best thing ever. We’ve got homies, London, San Francisco, LA, anywhere around the world you can just land and you’ve got a little family there, it’s honestly so special. It can just be a little Instagram or What’s App, whatever, and you’re straight away, back into homie land. That’s the sad thing about this Covid, you haven’t seen anyone in a long time. We all share the same passion and the froth levels are high.”
Any dream collabs?
M: “I’d love to do a session with Armand Van Helden for sure.”
Any words for the fans?
A: “Thanks for all your support over the years, and hope you dig the new 10 year anniversary of ‘We No Speak Americano.’ We’ve waited 10 years to bring it back, but I think it could be a bit of fun. I’m sorry.”
M: “Hopefully this version doesn’t become as annoying as the last.”
Check out the special 10th Anniversary commemorative EP of Yolanda Be Cool & DCup’s “We No Speak Americano” out now on Sweat it Out. Check out their latest Insomniac live stream as well!