Just at that point in the year where we’re all slowing down; burdened by the snail-like economy
and piling overcommitments, Asian-Australian artist and producer Yeo echoes the complex
frustrations of the mundane on his long-awaited LP TIRED out 15th of September.
Intimately intertwined with Yeo’s own personal experiences, TIRED waxes lyrical on recurring
topics that live rent-free in the cerebral producer’s headspace, ranging from human ethics to
industry politics and of course the odd stab at intimacy and relationships.
Possibly the most vulnerable storytelling we’ve seen from Yeo, the genre-bending artist
shares his existential take on his latest body of work which depicts an effortless mix of grungy
alt-R&B and wonky pop:
“TIRED is an honest declaration, direct and all-encompassing in describing my state of
existence underneath the weight of an industry that neither cares for nor holds any patience
for the source of its product…Speaking of which, I write about the usual things I’ve written
about in all my albums–betrayal, self-sabotage, loneliness, abandonment, my disdain for how
everyone’s opinion on an artist is based on everything except the art–and I blame all the usual
suspects, only this time I’ve made it spicier. Dating is a trap and making music will kill you.
Maybe that’s why I’m tired.”
While indeed, the topics Yeo touches on in TIRED are not new to his repertoire, it all seems to
come to a head in this sonically diverse reimagining of his various existential crises. From
taking on R&B-meets-punk rock on ‘OBSESSION’; to revisiting his love of lo-fi and pop on
‘NEVER MISS’; to exposing his raw and intimate side on ballad ‘TIRED’; to grifting inspiration
from the chilling soundtrack of horror video game ‘Silent Hill’ on new track additions like ‘OLD
M8’ and leading single ‘CALL IT’, Yeo shows that being Tired is, more often than not, inevitably
also a sign of personal growth.
“TIRED as a concept might sound negative but there are plenty of triumphs under the surface
of this record, scattered like quail eggs in a deep bowl of simmering tomato stock and beef
tallow. I’m proud of the in-language collaboration with Melodia Kong 孔艺弦. I’m proud of
reconnecting creatively with Chris, Ollie and Tessa (Hoodlem), my lifelong friends. I’m proud of
mixing every song except the titular track–Gormie smashed that one out of the park. I’m proud
of releasing the whole thing in Dolby Atmos which takes the experience to another level. I’m
proud of a new level of honesty, which brings equal parts cringe and excitement. I think there’s
a lot of pride collected over the few long years it took to make this thing.”
In true foodie fashion, the TIRED album art features a cake made with the Hokkien dialect word
sian which directly translates to ‘tired’, as a nod to Yeo’s Malaysian roots. A common phrase
often used in Singapore/Malaysia/Taiwan and continues to be used in Hokkien-speaking
communities around the world; for those in the know, sian somehow has the capacity to
capture a complex, unspoken mix of emotions English cannot. iykyk.
“The way sian is said is onomatopoeic. It sounds like a sigh and when I say it, I feel it reverberate
through my soul far more profoundly than I feel the English equivalent.”
Tiredness is a sigh; the constant repetition of problems you don’t want to face. But at the same
time, it’s the feeling that reminds you what you’re fighting for and looking forward to. If you’re
feeling tired right now, listen to this album and know that Yeo is right there with you in
celebrating all the confusing, exhilarating, sentimental, uncomfortable ups and downs that
come with being human.