Having survived a life-changing car accident, Maltese musician and producer, Yasmin Kuymizakis – aka JOON – decided that making music was a necessary part of recovery. Now, over ten years later, she has just released her debut album, Dream Again. Oozing a captivating energy, the collection offers an eclectic array of ethereal electro-focused soundscapes. With a shimmering majestic splendour and uplifting lilting melodies, each track glistens with its own immersive, euphoric grandeur.
We caught with JOON to find out more about the album, her inspirations and her founding of the Malta Sound Women Network…
Hi JOON, welcome to Get In Her Ears! Can you tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?
Hi! My actual name is Yasmin Kuymizakis, born in 1989 and I’m from the sunny island of Malta! I’ve been composing and producing music for the past ten years and am also a sonic artist and sound designer for film, video games, theatre and so on. I am a co-founder of the voluntary organisation Malta Sound Women Network.
What initially inspired you to start creating music?
I had been dreaming of creating since I was a teenager, but never had the courage to do so until I was involved in a bad car accident in my early 20s. That was a total wake up call for me! I changed my life around completely after that.
We love your captivating, celestial soundscapes, but who would you say are your main musical influences?
There’s plenty! But I think the most obvious ones are: Grimes, Molly Nilsson and Karin Dreijer (Fever Ray, The Knife).
You have recently released your poignant new album, Dream Again, would you be able to tell us about the writing of this? Are there any themes running throughout it?
I wrote all these songs in different phases of my life in the past ten years, so there are a few different themes. However, I often write about love and letting go. Being the private person I am, I also write a lot of advice and words of encouragement that I feel I need to hear.
You grew up and are still based in Malta, how do you find the scene is for new artists there? Would you say it’s difficult to get noticed?
We have a good healthy scene here, but yes it is hard to get noticed internationally.
Back in 2017, you founded the Maltese Sound Women’s Network with composer and academic Jess Rymer – would you be able to tell us a bit about this and what inspired the idea to start this network?
The Malta Sound Women Network is affiliated with the Yorkshire Sound Women Network. It aims to bring like-minded women together; to share knowledge and skills in music and sound technology, sonic arts, production, audio-electronics and anything to do with using kit to create sound. Jess and I decided to start this network because there was (and still is) a huge lack of women electronic artists in Malta, so we started connecting, supporting, mentoring, promoting and educating women and girls in electronic music and sound.
And how do you feel the music scene is for women and non-binary artists generally? Do you think things have improved much in terms of gender balance over the years?
I feel there is a lot more support and enthusiasm for women and non-binary artists these days. The situation has definitely improved, but it is still very much a male dominated scene.
Obviously it’s been quite a difficult couple of years for all musicians, but how have you been connecting with your audience and other musicians during the pandemic?
Funnily enough the pandemic was a bit of a blessing for me as I got the idea to contact Italians Do It Better (record label) and start JOON during lockdown. Like everyone else, I’ve been more online than ever before but that also helped me to connect with my audience in different parts of the world. It’s difficult for touring though. I would love to perform more now that my debut album is out, but it hasn’t been easy so far.
And has there been anything/anyone specific that has been inspiring you, or helping to motivate you, throughout these strange times?
My friend and collaborator Ian Schranz, aka Bark Bark Disco. He’s the best for motivation! Super positive all the time. Also, Megan Louise and Johnny Jewel from Italians Do It Better. They are so encouraging, passionate and hardworking. These three people inspire me a lot. I believe there’d be no JOON without them.
As we’re a new music focused site, are there any other upcoming artists that you’d recommend we check out?
A few would be: Discovery Zone, Orion and Number One Popstar.
Finally, what does the rest of 2021 have in store for JOON?
My plan is to perform as much as I can and write my next album. I am also starting to DJ – that’s super fun!
Dream Again, the debut album from JOON, is out now via Italians Do It Better.