Rebel Yell on moving cities, sharing experiences & her 13 year old playlist
In case you haven’t noticed by now, Grace Stevenson AKA Rebel Yell is one of the busiest creatives in town. When she’s not crafting deep, industrial techno bangers as RY, she’s creating shy pop bangers as Soft Touch and taking snaps around town. She made the move to Sydney recently from Queensland, quickly settling into town and playing a whole bunch of shows.
She last year released her debut record, Hired Muscle, through the good people at Rice Is Nice. The eight-track exploration shows pop structures thriving in a techno environment, her raucous approach to creating and using live hardware capturing the spirit of RY.
She’s got a massive couple of months ahead, including performances at Dark Mofo, Splendour In The Grass, a quick trip to Europe in between AND she’s even found the time to write and create a new techno-pop banger with Sydney’s Exhibitionist, titled ‘With You’.
She’ll also be performing at our thirteenth birthday this Saturday as part of Vivid Sydney. We sent a few questions her way to chat the move, her time as a mentor for this year’s Levels Masterclasses and her 13 year old playlist.
How have you been enjoying your time in Sydney since the move?
I honestly love Sydney! I always liked it when I visited but the move was pretty seamless and I felt like it was home very quickly.
From the outside, it feels like it’s been a huge creative period for you with your various artistic pursuits. What has this period been like for you?
Am I that obvious?! Haha yeah, look, its been a hectic time but I love it, kinda why I love Sydney too, everyones got their everyday job plus their hobbies and they have so much drive, it pushes me to keep going.
You’ve got a huge run of shows coming up, including appearances at Dark Mofo and Splendour In The Grass. What are you looking forward to most about these shows?
Don’t remind me! haha! I’m really excited, I’ve never been to Dark Mofo, it looks like something super different and I leave from Hobart to Europe for a few shows, then to SITG a few days after I get back, it’s going to be a huge mix of work and pleasure but I’m up for it.
You recently ran a masterclass as part of Music NSW’s Levels program. What was it like getting to teach others about creating with hardware? Have you done something like this before?
I had done a run of All Girl Electronic workshop’s for Information Cultural Exchange and being a trained high school teacher, there is no wonder I enjoy it. I’m keen to do more but I want to gather more gear and more knowledge first. I will say though, I like teaching people (especially women and non binary folk) about gear when I myself am self-taught and can share stories of my bad experiences with outsider’s doubt and how you just cant give a fuck about anyone else or if the way you do it ‘isn’t right’.
The last we heard from RY was your Reworks EP which saw you rework a bunch of tracks off your debut record to make them more club-ready. How did that concept come about?
I was diving into the idea of doing more Rebel Yell DJ sets and that would mean I would mix in my own tracks, so we thought about making my songs more DJ-able. Believe it or not the usual Rebel Yell songs follow a bit of a pop structure and aren’t as easy to DJ. I also love going back and changing them a bit to make them different/improve them/fuck them up a bit.
I feel like you are the busiest creative in Sydney! What is it like having so many fingers in so many pies?
Hehehehe hard one to answer, I always feel like there are dates and bits of information spinning around in my head and I constantly have a fear I’m forgetting something but so far, I am actually really proud of myself?? Sozzle, don’t mean to toot my own horn but like, look at me go! Loving life! (this is my ‘gap’ year after like ten years out of school lol).
We’re very excited to have you performing at our thirteenth birthday next weekend! How would you describe a RY live show?
It all depends on crowd and venue but lets just say loud n shouty and maybe a bit dancey yo.
What kind of music were you listening to at age thirteen?
Okay I just googled 2006 music and oh boy, I remember very specifically dancing outside my barn (yes barn, I lived on a farm) with my year 7 friends to what was popular at the time which I actually listen to all the time atm. Nelly Furtado’s ‘Promiscuous’, Cassie – ‘Me & U’… and omg ‘Crazy Frog’!!!
What advice would you give to your thirteen year old self?
Chin up bitch! U cute af 😉
Photo by Tim Hardy
Words by CAITLIN MEDCALF
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