Yolanda Be Cool are an Australian electronic outfit made up of Johnson ‘Durango Slim’ Peterson and (take a deep breath) Sylvester Mordechi Ezekiel Gabriel Martinez-Alvarez (or just plain old Sylvester Martinez). They topped the charts in Germany, Austria, Ireland, the UK, Denmark, The Netherlands, Sweden and Belgium with their catchy club hit ‘We No Speak Americano’, on which they collaborated with relative unknown – on the international scene at least – DJ and mixer DCUP; they’re all signed to indie label Sweat It Out.
What’s with the name?
It’s said to be a reference to a line in Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction, where lead character Jules (played by macho baldy Samuel L Jackson) shouts at female armed robber Yolanda (played by Amanda Plummer) in an attempt to calm her down. We’re starting to see a pattern emerging here: up-and-coming Brit electro band Does It Offend You, Yeah? reportedly named themselves after a line uttered by David Brent in Ricky Gervais’s The Office. What next, eh? If Time Out starts a band, we’ll call ourselves ‘Wax On, Wax Off’. You heard it here first.
What do they sound like?
This year’s summer hit, ‘We No Speak Americano’, is firmly swing house, sampling 1956 Italian hit ‘Tu vuo fa l’Americano’. But when they’re doing club sets, the boys’ sound is much less specific, and harder to pin down. The genre assigned to them will vary depending on which reviews you’ve read, but the term ‘gimmicky house’ has been widely used. Yet in a recent interview with a London radio station, the boys disagreed with the term. ‘I haven’t heard that one!’ remarked Peterson. ‘But we try to push what we call “party tech”. Others call it “midget house” or “gypsy house”. We also like “quirk house”, “non-serious techno,” “batty house”, “non-batty house”…’ According to Peterson, minimalist stuff sounds best when it’s not boring or serious, adding that if it makes you dance, ‘it’s all good’.
How did they do it?
They’re not too sure. Martinez was recently quoted as saying the pair ‘just wanted to make a fun party track’, never expecting it to do so well overseas, and are ‘stoked’ by their unexpected success. Produced in
just two days, the track has been played and remixed by DJs in clubs around the world. Back home in Oz, the track made the top five, achieving similar highs in France, Spain and Norway. The pair have said that for Yolanda, sampling is just as important as having an original instrumental track, but the former should really be seen as the icing on the cake.
Besides playing at Chi on December 16, the boys are planning to hook up with DCUP again for a follow-up to the hit that put them on the global stage. They’d intended to get round to it earlier in the year, but fate (and their manager) had other plans, and they’ve been touring Europe all summer, plus squeezing in a fistful of festivals over the last few months – and are now looking at kicking off a tour of North America by March next year.
Nevertheless, the pair recently revealed that they’ve managed to wedge in a couple of hours in the studio, recording tracks with Pongo Love from Portuguese dance music project Buraka Som Sistema, and Bazooka Boom from Moscow. They also, in their own words, have ‘lots of new stuff in the works’. Fans of ‘WNSA’ can rest assured that these two have no plans to fizzle back into oblivion any time soon. Catch them while you can!
Yolanda Be Cool play Chi on December 16. Tickets Dhs150.