Ymi is a brainchild of one Gabriele Griciute, a Lithuanian singer, songwriter, producer currently based in London. She reached out to us via Instagram about a month ago and since then we were haunted by her magical music.
Accompanied by guitarist Andrius Mack together they explore indie, electronic, synth, experimental pop music by stretching its boundaries and morphing it into something new.
Straight away second single ‘Words’ entered our Indie Top 39 weekly chart and today it is at number two. As well we featured their music on several playlists New Sound #2, Haunting Vibes #2, #4LTMUSIC.
We are thrilled that talented team had time to talk to us.
Tell us about your journey so far and the birth of Ymi
I think that somewhere in my mind, subconsciously Ymi started a very long time ago. Probably when I was still in high school. I was getting myself involved in so many different bands and projects, I felt the urge to sing and be on stage, I wanted to become a jazz singer, then took part in various TV shows. And yet I always felt that I wanted to do something different, something of my own. I wanted to say something. Something I couldn’t yet describe.
And towards the end of my Sound Production studies in Lithuania, I started writing and producing my first album. I didn’t know what I was doing at the time, but the only thing that I knew for sure though was that I loved the process. Playing the piano, humming some melodies on top of it, then recording all sorts of instruments, playing with my vocals, learning about electronic instruments and music production.
Later I moved to London where a whole new chapter started, it was the moment where Andrius Mack joined Ymi and we started experimenting together. In the meantime, we also started writing music and doing sound design for films, video games and other media. It took us long nights trying different things, searching for a sound that we liked, recording, re-recording, producing while also trying to survive in a super fast-paced megapolis like London.
But here we are now, just released our third track and it feels that our journey has just begun.
Looks like you completely transformed your sound. Going from jazz to more subtle electronic and experimental sound. How did that happen?
I guess it all started when I started producing music. I was so inspired and a little obsessed actually. I realised how much one can do with sounds, instruments, synths, various recording techniques and digital manipulations, although I was really bad at it at first. But with a great amount of work and support, tips and patience from my mentor and friend Raiga, other friends, colleagues and of course tutors at my Uni, I started getting a bit better, understanding more about technicalities and concepts and eventually, I started liking what I was coming up with.
Music to me is a form of self-expression, an inspiration, a gateway that allows you to explore new things, new feelings, new meanings, unheard worlds.Ymi
This year you released 3 amazing songs. Let’s talk about each of them. What does it mean to you and what is the story behind the song:
Our debut single. The song is about how life’s sometimes weird, fluctuating, beautiful and sometimes intense. I can’t even count how many times I found that whilst in the middle of it all it’s easy to fall deep, become overwhelmed and wrongly assume that this is how things always were and forever will remain. However, tomorrow comes and life swiftly changes. It never fails to do so. This song is a mantra that I repeat to myself when everything gets gloomy. It’s a truth everyone knows, yet easily forgets. My hope is that this song might remind at least one person of this at a tough moment.
Our second release. The song touches on the importance of talking to one another. So many times I’ve seen people choosing to hold in emotions, to keep all their inner doubts, pain and other destructive feelings to themselves. Then these words, they keep piling up until the day comes when we cannot hold them in any longer and all of these suppressed emotions erupt, many times all at once. Often I find that these words tend to be hurtful, toxic and do not necessarily really mean anything.
The song is about my belief that there is a way to avoid this storm altogether – if we put more of our energy into trying to understand each other, to talk about what we’re feeling and most importantly listen with intention.
‘Walk Beyond The Moon’
Our newest and first more down-tempo, hypnotic ballad. The track speaks about subjects of inner fears and their meanings, love, salvation, peace and the art of being. This is one of the first songs I’ve ever written for Ymi, I’m not entirely sure, but I think the origins date back about four years when I was still a student. The song sort of followed me around and evolved together with me, reshaping together with the influences I picked up after emigrating, getting entirely new parts like the guitar solo at the end by Andrius Mack.
Your latest single comes with a music video. Tell us more about the idea behind the video
Together with Andrius, we were thinking of what kind of video we could do for this release during the lockdown. Following social distancing, doing some sort of filming was complicated, so we started thinking a bit outside the box. It just suddenly dawned on me that during my time in London, interestingly I think I met and made friends with more dancers than musicians. I thought it was a long shot, but without thinking too much about it I reached out to these people and other dancers that I was a fan of and asked if they would be willing to film themselves dancing to our song.
Amazingly they agreed and within a few weeks, we had footage, which quite literally took my breath away. It was absolutely incredible seeing them (Amy Lawson, Bailey Shaw, Ieva Navickaite, Jodie Lee Tye, Jokubas Nosovas, Jono Selvadurai, Millie Mayhew, Stefanija Nosovaite improvise so beautifully to our music. Eight different emotions, expressions, stories and types of connectedness to the song. I have always admired dance and always dreamed about ways of connecting my music to this magical art form. I am forever grateful to everyone involved.
Music is a way to dwell into the things you already know, but want to relive again and allow others to experience it too.YMI
Where do your ideas for songs come from?
They come from life experiences. I believe that everything we do, we hear and see lie-down somewhere in our mind and then in one form or another, in a moment of bliss it comes out. In our case, it comes through the music that we write.
What does your creative process look like?
Fortunately or not (not sure yet), I don’t have one answer to this. It varies. I tend to believe that like most things we do in life, the creative process also needs practice, some sort of routine and repetitiveness to keep the engine running. You have to just do it. Do it loads and then eventually something will happen.
It might be either good, horrible or somewhere in the middle, you sleep on it, you look at it again.YMI
It might be either good, horrible or somewhere in the middle, you sleep on it, you look at it again in the morning (sometimes in the middle of the night) and you choose one of the following: to continue, to start from scratch, or maybe leave it for another day. Deadlines help, sometimes, sometimes they are the worst, but you deal with it.
How would you describe your sound?
It’s really difficult for me to define this probably because I try to avoid labelling myself to a particular genre. But then again I suppose many artists do, but still, end up having their own unique sound. I think I’ll wait and hopefully, the audience will tell me what the answer to this question is.
Do you experience any of the challenges as an independent artist working in the music industry today?
The biggest one is doing everything ourselves, from putting your hands on a piano to uploading your latest master to your chosen distributor while editing the last bits of your video clip. It’s great that there’s two of us in Ymi, we share our efforts, I do my things, while Andrius ended up taking charge of most of the promotional side of things. The business side of making music is very interesting, dynamic and ever-changing, but also hard because the day only has 24 hours and there are so many things that need doing.
The business side of making music is very interesting, dynamic and ever-changing, but also hard.YMI
What piece of advice you’d give to other artists who are at the beginning of their journey?
Just do not overthink things. I say to myself that life is a game. You have to admit the fact that there will always be a failure. One day you might even hate what you are doing and that is alright. That is just another emotion that you are experiencing and to be able to feel it is beautiful. Dedicate yourself, but know when to stop and do other things you like and be with people you like, look after them and look after yourself. Be kind.
Dedicate yourself, but know when to stop and do other things you like and be with people you like, look after them and look after yourself. Be kind.Ymi talking about the advice she would give other artists
If we’d hack your Spotify account, what artists would we find?
The list just goes on. One day it is classical music, another it’s Fela Kuti, then Aphex Twin, then Stevie Wonder all the way to Gregorian chants. I tend to listen to new genres and new artists almost every day, they all inspire me in their own ways. Whether I like it or not, it is exciting to hear music that you haven’t heard before, to learn something new and to experience something you haven’t yet experienced.
Do you have a song, that when you hear it, you’d say, “I wish I’d written that”?
It would probably be ‘Nature Boy’ written by Eden Ahbez. The version that Nat King Cole recorded is just magical. Not that I wish to have written it, but I love it and I dream of creating a song, a story that would be so impactful to someone as this song was to me.
Do you have any recommendations of artists we might not have heard yet?
They’re quite widely known, but these are some of the latest discoveries of mine: Kindness, Marie Davidson, CS + Kreme, RY X, Kelsey Lu, Floating Points.
How would you define success in the music business?
To me, great success would be continuing to be inspired to write music, play it live and reach more and more listeners that would enjoy and relate to our music.
Do you think there’s anything artists or fans can do to support each other during these strange times of COVID-19?
There is always something we can do. Supporting artists financially by purchasing their music and merch, ‘attending’ their online shows, sharing their music, helping them reach more listeners. During this time we really have to look out for each other as it really is an incredibly tough time for the arts industry as a whole. I hope all creators around the world will find strength and ways to continue working and people will be there to show that it is important for them that they do.
What is the first thing that you will do once the lockdown is fully lifted?
There are so many, too many. I want to go and see my family, my friends, I want to drink beer in a pub, go to a gig, go play our music live, go dancing until the dawn, go travelling and see the world, and just do the things I took for granted before the lockdown started.
What have you got planned for 2020 and have any of your plans been impacted?
After the official release of ‘Black Heart’ we want to play it live! But of course, with the current Coronavirus situation, we can only wait and see when we’ll be able to begin. In the meantime we will continue to write music and who knows – maybe we won’t need another 5 years to release a second album.
Ymi is the best music export from Lithuania since Ten Walls.DOV ZAVADO » INDIE TOP 39