Yellowtechnica make music in a bright, multi-dimensional, retro dreamscape. Born Derrick Cheung, the artist, producer and DJ began experimenting with the piano as a child and discovered the upright and electric bass as a teenager, improving his guitar skills and increasing the rhythm and groove even more. As Yellowtechnica, he has built a vast and momentous career spanning fashion, curation and event production to create his own haunting music – his talent lies not only in creating sticky melodies with guitars and synths, but also in brings people together to connect through music. “I’m trying to build this world that connects the energy of DJ nightlife with this world of more indie guitar music — two parts of me,” he told Noisey.
His new song, ‘DIE4U’, is filled with brooding, atmospheric synths and dark, explosive energetic shifts. He brought the track together with grace, traveling through a spectrum of synthesizers and layering intricate, dreamy vocals. The “DIE4U” music video, directed by Justin Morris and Nicholas Woytuk, places him in a timeless cinematic scene of a cowboy on a smoky, hypnotic trip, singing the lyrics to the scrappy track – a concept based on a vision of the “backyard” . Wrestling meets rodeo,” he said. “I think visually, Justin wanted to play with the idea of calmness at the beginning of the song and the interlude in the middle and then total chaos at the end.”
“DIE4U” is filled with soulful production builds, dreamy guitars, and soft synths, and in the video, Yellowtechnica traverses all of these textures and tones in a shimmering and haunting series of shots. At one point, he is dragged through gravel with dirt and rocks climbing over him. In another, he spins in a circle hanging from a crane. “I’m okay with heights, but I’m really scared of giant machines,” he said. In both moments, the video condenses its detailed lens into storytelling and its appreciation of theatrics.
Revisiting the writing of ‘DIE4U’, he explained that the song reflects his tendencies in love. “I think I have this thing where I fall in love really quickly,” she said. “I wrote the song right after I had a random date and I was taking it very seriously,” he said. “Well, it’s meeting someone new and feeling like, in a very short period of time, you’d die for them… and then realizing very quickly that’s not what you’re meant to do.”
Of its production, he said, “I think the way the song is laid out is how the relationship went. The beginning was so sweet and easy, and then waking up in the middle of the song, thinking, “Maybe things aren’t as good as they seem,” and finally, chaos ensues. The song is fast as well, kind of short, which is also very representative of the relationship,” he laughed.
“It has sexuality and romance and breakups and fights and sadness. I try to explore all these things.”
In both writing and recording, he has the comfort and fearlessness of a musician whose fingers naturally gravitated to guitars, dating back to his days in a cinematic post-rock band in high school. “Everything comes full circle,” he told Noisey. “Guitar was my entry into music, I got into electronics and DJing when I was in college.” From his first gigs in his hometown of Baltimore, to parties in Boston while taking classes at both Berklee and Emerson, he knew he loved creating connection and catharsis for listeners through experimental musical experiences.
Yellowtechnica’s new EP will be released in the coming months. “I’m still exploring my sound and trying to stretch my voice in different ways and get different personalities in the songs,” he said. Describing the mood he’s been trying to evoke lately, he said: “It’s like Hong Kong at night. The streets are wet, there are neon signs and dark mood lighting. I want to take listeners into a world that has all these emotions. Sometimes it’s dark and gritty, and feels really emotional, and other times it’s aggressive and high-energy. It has sexuality and romance and breakups and fights and sadness. I try to explore all these things.” Among all these, ‘DIE4U’ is a glimpse into the vivid and rich imagination of an artist who enjoys stepping completely out of his comfort zone.