For most, knowledge of Yolanda Be Cool is limited to 2010’s release ‘We No Speak Americano.’ It quickly became a success, used and abused across dance-floors globally. In October this year, the single was recalled to make way for debut record Ladies & Mentalmen. We spoke to Sylvester Martinez, one half of the Bondi Beach duo. The record, Pitbull, and threesomes were hot topics.
Where are you and what are you wearing? (Laughs) I’m at my home in Bondi Beach and I’m wearing our Ladies & Mentalmen t-shirt, which we just picked up the other day. We were supposed to have them ready for the launch but we ran out of time. I tried it on earlier and I’m still wearing it. It feels good (laughs).
Congrats on the album. How does it feel to have it out there? Mate, it feels amazing and exciting. We are so relieved. It sounds very mature and different in comparison to some of your previous material. Did you make a conscious decision to create something more solid? That is great to hear, thanks mate. It has taken us 18 months to put together and from the outset we were thinking about the dance and electronic albums that we really liked over the years, and of course the ones we didn’t like (laughs). Bands like Groove Armada, Basement Jaxx, Massive Attack and Portishead have all written albums with so many different kinds of elements. They would be our inspirations for sure. We definitely didn’t want to go into this thinking we were going to do a David Guetta, 120 BPM, Nothing But the Beat album. That’s just not what we are about. We really wanted to show what we are capable of doing, so we wanted to make a few bangers, we wanted to make some nice ballads and we pretty much wanted to do anything we were feeling at the time.
The decision to ‘recall’ ‘We No Speak Americano’ was a big one, considering it reached number 1 in over 16 countries and won 2 ARIAs. Yeah mate, it was tough but it had to be done (laughs). What will cats dance to now? Mate, they are going to have to pick something off the new album and they are going to have to focus and try to dance in time (laughs).
Is it good to be back home after touring for a solid 12 months? Yeah mate, for sure. It’s great to be back. Don’t get me wrong, we did have a lot of fun on the road. It is just nice to be back home for a bit.
What were some of the highlights? Mate, we’ve supported guys like Claude VonStroke, which is amazing right? Then we be supported Pitbull. We’ve really got a broad spectrum covered (laughs). But one of our unexpected highlights was this one trip we made to Casablanca. We were focusing on our writing quite a bit at that time and were just heading from place to place for shows and not really having the time to scope out exactly where we were heading and what we were doing. So we were driving for like an hour and then ended up in Morocco. We were reading the play sheet which said we’d be playing to 90,000 people. We just brushed that off as a typo and just assumed it meant 900 or 9,000 at the most. Then we were told that this was actually a free festival that has been put on by the king of Morocco; we were playing after Pitbull and it would be in front of 90,000 people (laughs). So then we get on this massive stage and you seriously couldn’t see the end of the people. That was insane (laughs). To top that off, Pitbull played ‘Bon Bon’ with a ‘We No Speak Americano’ sample in there. That was all pretty crazy and amazing (laughs).
If you could have a three-way with any artist or musician alive today, who would those lucky people be? Oh shit. Tough question (laughs). I should really say guys names so that my girlfriend doesn’t get upset (laughs). How about Azealia Banks and Art Department (laughs)? That’ll make a nice sandwich I think.
Below is the above mentioned recall of ‘We No Speak Americano’:
Check out the latest offering from Yolanda Be Cool featuring American singer/songwriter Arama Mara on vocals. This is ‘Before Midnight’:
Ladies & Mentalmen is available now on iTunes.