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Meet James Yuill - Folktronica's Next Great Hope

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Photos by Benjamin Hoste/LAist

If you're like me, the very word "folktronica" makes you cringe as if someone had dragged their fingernails down the chalkboard of your heart. Folk and electronica? Could anything be more horrible than putting synth beats on top of Nick Drake? Or adding some banjo and slowing down Justice's tempo? The two genres seemed to be like beef jerky and Pop Rocks, two substances who were delicious apart but shouldn't ever ever be mixed together.

Well...almost never. There are exceptions to every rule. What if the folk is not a sample, but written by the artist in question? What if the synth beats don't overpower the melody, but just add a little bit of crunchy edge to the otherwise smooth veneer of the folk ballad? It would take a subtle hand, and by God, James Yuill has done it. For all of you who thought Postal Service's classic album, Give Up, was a flash in the pan sort of moment, I am delighted to announce that it wasn't.

One young man from Britain has picked up the torch and run with it. His debut album, Turning Down Water for Air, which has been a sweeping success in the UK and Europe will be released in the States in May. However, if you're impatient to hear him tonight, Yuill will be making a suprise appearance at KCRW's RadioActive Dance Party. We had a chance to catch up with James Yuill at Nettwerk Music Groups' offices in Hollywood. He was kind enough to grant us an interview on their staircase. Here is some of what was said.