In Conversation with Yot Club

Under his creative moniker Yot Club, Ryan Kaiser burst onto the scene in 2019 with his hit single ‘YKWIM?’. It was a track that showcased an indie-pop sound that resonated with listeners, which has now racked up over 650 million streams on Spotify alone. For the Brooklyn-based artist, it was a life changing moment and his popularity has only risen since. 2024 has been dedicated to his second studio album Rufus, which was released last week. The project was teased with two singles: ‘Pixel’ and ‘Nostalgia’, both were incredibly upbeat and easy to ingest, whilst both came with accompanying visualisers which told very different stories.  

Across the 13 tracks on Rufus we see Yot Club look to the past for inspiration, noting that he ‘Doesn’t like anything that sounds like it was made now’. With each song offering a snippet into the artist’s life, we see themes of juxtaposition, introspection, and nostalgia take centre stage within his songwriting. Perhaps the tone of ‘Human Nature’, who’s joyful production is contrasted by the heartbreaking story the artist effortlessly tells is the perfect example of the journey Yot Club takes listeners on. Rufus portrays an artist unafraid of showing his vulnerabilities, whilst also taking time to celebrate life’s special moments, making for a truly relatable experience. It was made to be played live, and you can only imagine how these messages will be elevated when Yot Club takes to the road later this month. 

Ahead of the release of his new project, we spoke to Yot Club about his artistic journey to date, his unique songwriting style, and the influences behind ‘Rufus’. You can read our conversation below. 

Hey Ryan Thanks for taking the time to answer these questions. How did your journey in music begin and at what point did you realize this could be a career?

I’ve been playing guitar a while, and I started messing around recording stuff when I was like 16. I just put stuff on soundcloud and bandcamp for a while and then Yot Club was the first time I put stuff on spotify. It was always just for fun while I did work and school, I never saw it being something I could do as a job. And I never really decided at any point for it to be a job, it kind of just snowballed until one day I realized it was all I was doing. I was living in Mississippi during covid and rent was cheap so as soon as I started getting a little money from spotify I shifted full focus to that.

You’ve developed an alt-pop style that blends uplifting production with dreamy vocals. What are some of the influences behind this?

I didn’t have streaming back in 2016 – 2017 I was just listening to soundcloud and bandcamp. I really liked how homemade and unique a lot of that stuff sounded. I was listening to a lot of Earth Dad, Oddy Knocky, Andrew Yonker, Foliage and stuff like that on there and I really liked it because it sounded like something I could make. The goal from the beginning was to take that 2016 soundcloud diy sound and repackage it in a way that would do well outside of soundcloud.  

In 2021 you released your breakout single YKWIM? Which has accumulated 630 million streams on Spotify alone. What was that experience like?

It was weird, when the song started getting a lot of streams I figured it would just go back down after a few days. But it just kept going and then labels like Capital, Republic, Interscope all started hitting me up and I was like oh damn this must be more serious than I thought. It gave me a lot of insight into how all that stuff works and I’m really glad ultimately I didn’t go with any of those labels. I was happy all these people were listening to my song but I was also worried people would ignore my other songs. I rushed to get more music out so people would see I was an active artist and not some weird viral sound on the internet. I’ve been really lucky, people have been really receptive to my other songs as well. Some artists with a viral song are not so lucky.


How would you describe your time in the music industry since? Do you feel a level of pressure to release another single with similar success?

I have been comfortable, the success of ykwim made it possible for me to get great management which makes it where I don’t really have to worry about anything but making music and playing shows. I don’t really worry about streams or outperforming ykwim, the main goal now is to tour often and grow the shows as much as I can. I want the project to be less on the internet and more in real life.

Your second album Rufus is out now. What inspired the project?

I was deep diving a bunch of 90’s bands like Grandaddy, Apples in Stereo, The Bats, Galaxie 500, The Cry and it was all easy and inviting. I liked the simple poppy arrangements and listenability the songs had even though the bands all had their own unique sound. A lot of these albums are fairly non linear and don’t attempt to tell a huge story. Each song is like its own episode of a cartoon, with its own individual storyline. I knew I wanted to make something like that, with more energy put into the individual songs than the overarching storyline. 


You’ve already released singles ‘Pixel’ and ‘Nostalgia’, does the album share a similar vibe?

The album is kind of all over the place. Not everything is fast and upbeat like those, there’s some chill ones too. 

How does your creative approach change when working on an album?

I’ve opened up to working with other people a bit. I used to do everything at home alone, and I still do quite a bit that way. But I’ve gotten more open to second opinions and getting help. I had some writing help from Harrison Lipton and Charli Adams on two songs and had some production help from Tommy English and Patrick Wimblerly who mixed it. I’m glad I got Patrick to help with the mixing because he made everything a bit more full and vibrant.  

What stories have you drawn upon when writing Rufus and what message do you hope translates to listeners?

I’ve never been a big story teller with the music but I always feel inspired by going to new places and seeing new things. I always feel like I have a lot to write when I come home from a tour. The writing I like to do is usually more visual than emotional or story-telling. 

When can your fans expect to hear the album live?

Of course, I made this album with the live shows in mind. I’ll be playing a good bit of Rufus but still showing love to the classics. I’m really excited for the upcoming tours, I’m working really hard to make them go as good as they can possibly go.

What other plans do you have lined up for 2024?

Doing a North America tour and a Europe tour. Gonna record plenty of new music I’m sure. Just trying to stay as busy as I can.

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Words: Jake Wright