A chat with Yaw Faso
I was lucky enough to catch Yaw Faso on the phone to chat about his music and experiences as a musician coming from the west.
Yaw Faso is a phenomenal artist from west Melbourne, sonically Yaw’s music transcends a collection of genres including pop and hip hop with a strong influence from global sounds, in particular, Afro and Caribbean music. From his first official releases in early 2015 to his most recent single, released in September ‘Wake Up Call’ with SOKEL, Yaw truly reinforces the growing contemporary music scene in Australia’s music industry. Having played at some of the most notable Australian festivals such as Strawberry Fields and even west-based Let Them Eat Cake, as well as working as a knowledgeable mentor to up and coming artists through the Raw Elements hip hop program, in Footscray, Yaw Faso is one of the west’s brightest stars.
Coming from a musical family, Yaw recalls being around music from a very early age. Yaw’s father, originally from Ghana, was a drummer playing in some of Australia’s first African bands. Yaw describes his own first proper experience in a studio setting when he was a teenager, becoming a part of the ‘Urban Voices’ program run by the Phoenix Youth Centre. In his teenage years, there was a range of community programs in the west such as the ones run by Phoenix Youth Centre that “pave the way for artists”, he says, “they had me aspiring to be an industry professional”. They give a voice to those wanting to learn music and create art. Taking part in these programs, Yaw says gave him an opportunity to “learn and hone his craft” crediting the community programs that “solidified [his] background in music”.
We move to the topic of creative influences and processes, Yaw describes taking a ‘genreless’ approach throughout his music. Zeroing in on the sonic exploration of different sounds in his music and looking to influences from his own African background as well as influences from other cultures. Yaw talks about not relying on a single genre to describe his music, the sounds he uses evolve and progress as he develops as an artist. Looking at creative processes, Yaw highlights the importance of connecting with like-minded people to produce music that “paints a picture of identity,” and has the ability to reflect the stories of multiple people.
Footscray is one of the most culturally diverse suburbs in the west. Yaw and I are both no stranger to the incredible diversity that makes up the community in Footscray. “Footscray is such a unique place”, says Yaw. The multiculturalism of the population and the cultural events showcase what the west has to offer. Yaw draws influence from the eclectic mix of people in Footscray, really driving home the idea of “space vs. place.” Yaw is eager to see what the community will produce in the next 10 years, diversifying music as we know it and sparking a new wave that is proudly west.
With a plethora of musical talent currently operating out of the west, Yaw, like many of our other contributors struggles to narrow down just a few of his favourite local artists. He lists Jyayo, an Avante-pop artist, who is a regular collaborator with Yaw, Footscray’s own Tèbir, rapper P-Unique, drummer Lucky Pereira, and guitarist Robert Nguyen.
Looking to the future, Yaw Faso has been making the most of Melbourne’s COVID-19 restrictions to look to online communities to network with like-minded artists and possible collaborators. You can listen to Yaw’s latest single ‘Wake Up Call’ ft SOKEL, which is out now on all your regular platforms.
Photos by KASIENKO