Mix Series #38: RYL0
The shesaid.so mix series aims to spotlight the diverse artists within our community. We are committed to championing underrepresented voices from around the world, focusing on female, non-binary, trans and queer individuals. Our monthly mix series allows our contributing selectors to showcase their unique backgrounds and inspirations by creating exclusive, 30-minute live recorded soundscapes.
The shesaid.so mix series continues this month with the LA-based artist RYL0, one of the most exciting voices coming out of the hyperpop scene.
The artist’s combination of infectious vocal melodies, bombastic electronic production, and strikingly candid online presence has led to inclusions on Spotify’s New Music Friday, Fresh Finds, and Hyperpop playlists; on lineups alongside the likes of Arca, Kero Kero Bonito, Alice Longyu Gao, and Umru; and on the stages of infamous hyperpop events such as Heav3n, Subculture, and New York’s sksksks party.
Through these ventures, RYL0 is paving new ground: she is a walking supernova of forward-thinking pop ideas and, as one of the few Black women in hyperpop, a pioneer for what kind of artists can be the face of this space.
Following the May release of her I’m the Worst!! mixtape, we caught up with the singer-songwriter and producer ahead of her opening performance for PC Music’s Namasenda on June 23.
shesaid.so: Tell us the story of how you fell in love with music.
RYL0: I don’t know if there’s one specific story as to when or how I fell in love with music in general. I just remember always loving it and listening to a lot of things growing up. I had a lot of alone time on my hands as an only child, so I was constantly consuming music and really digging for new finds from a very early age. When it comes to making music, I definitely remember always wanting to be a rock star, à la Hayley Williams. I didn’t even know I could really sing until about fifth grade, though. I auditioned for the school musical just to try something new, and I didn’t even tell my parents until afterward. From then on, I was hooked on musical theater and fell in love with performing. But even then, I didn’t feel the need to make music of my own until I really got into electronic music years later.
shesaid.so: How has your community, background or upbringing influenced your sound?
RYL0: I didn’t grow up with a strong sense of community, really. I always felt like I didn’t fit in anywhere because my tastes never aligned with those of my peers. I was also quieter as an over imaginative weird kid, so it was hard to fully express myself at times. The first time I felt like I really found a community of my own was when I got into EDM in middle school. I loved how free the music felt, honestly. Especially hearing stuff like Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites… obviously a game changer. I became a full PLUR kandi kid shortly after I got into the scene– going to raves and getting my friends into it too.
“At the time, I found a real sense of myself through the rave community, and it’s definitely the reason I am where I am today.”
Getting into EDM over a decade ago brought me to making electronic music today in the form of hyperpop.
shesaid.so: Who or where do you draw inspiration from?
RYL0: I think I’m constantly inspired by anything innovative that leaves an impression on me. I’ve realized recently that I’m a super impressionable person in general, so it really depends on what catches my attention at any particular moment in my life. Recently, I’ve been diving into the catalog of Ed Banger Records and that definitely inspired my approach to my mix! I’m also completely inspired by the work of trailblazer, Charli XCX and artists of PC Music. That can also totally be heard in my mix (and my music at large). I’m inspired by the concept of being innovative in general.
“I love it when people break rules and push the boundaries of a more traditional approach to artistry.”
shesaid.so: Is there a theme to your mix? What can listeners expect to hear?
RYL0: I have a lot of fun when making mixes because I don’t do it super often, and that makes me more inclined to go absolutely crazy with it. I think the general theme of all of my mixes is a lightly chaotic multi-genre collection of eclectic mashups, combining all my tastes and flipping all my favorites on their heads. I’ve been describing my style as “RYL0-core” because I think I can pretty much guarantee I’m always going to try to make the most insane mix you never knew you needed to hear. It’s just the right amount of absolute nonsense, and sometimes shouldn’t work at all. I always find a way to get my ideas to translate, though, so that’s what you can expect to hear.
shesaid.so: What are you currently working on, and what are you looking forward to in 2022?
RYL0: My second mixtape I’m the Worst !! came out in May, so for the past few months I was focused on finishing that up. Now that it’s wrapped, I’ve been working with new producers and honing in on my craft as a songwriter. I’ve been doing a lot of sessions with different people, trying to find what the next project might sound like. In the meantime, I’m just enjoying being able to perform a bunch. I went on a mini-tour in March and have been playing some pretty big parties like Heav3n and Subculture (both LA based). Looking forward to playing a few more shows this summer and have a few more releases that I’ll be featured on dropping in upcoming months!