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In conversation with classically trained music producer Y-Balloon

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      Image credit: Huy Doan

Mindful technologist Y-Balloon caught our attention when he released the sparkling single, ‘Messenger ft. Molly DeWolf’ earlier this year. The single is a reflection of the moments on social media that tear us down. Based in Los-Angeles Y-Balloon, aka Mark Daiss was brought up on the precision of classical music in San Fransisco. With his first single (‘Mockingbird’) released in 2019, we’ve seen the talented artist collect over 570k plays on Spotify over the years. The adventure-laden EP Gone In The Wild was released late last year, quickly followed by his latest single (‘Messenger ft. Molly DeWolf’) on Christmas day. The rising artist frequently discusses the acronym JOMO – the Joy Of Missing Out. We’re hoping that this is hinting towards a full-length album but, for now, we’ll simply be happy to discover a bit more about the musician’s personal philosophy in the exclusive interview below.

‘Messenger ft. Molly DeWolf’ on iTunes

Tell us about your highlights for the year

Longgggg solo hikes wayyyyy out in Angeles National Forest or Desolation Wildnerness

If you could paint a picture with of your sound, what would it look like?

It would likely look like a neon forest 🙂 

What is the message behind “The Joy Of Missing Out”?

The message behind JOMO “Joy of Missing Out”, a play on FOMO, is about getting away from the things that bring us down, bring us anxiety (could be social media, toxic relationships, etc), and going to find those places that bring us joy. It could be going on a hike in the mountains, or it could be watching your favourite show that you know just brings complete unadulterated joy. Go miss out on the things that bring us down, and instead find the places that bring joy.

What are the 5 albums and artists that have influenced you the most?

Odesza/In Return, Rufus Du Sol/Bloom, San Holo/Cosmos EP, Rufus Wainwright/Want One & Want Two

What other artists do you really like at the moment and why?

I know I have already mentioned them, but I specifically love with this performance of Rufus Du Sol – ‘Live From Joshua Tree’ was incredible — such an incredible combination of nature, electronic sounds/music, plus incredible songwriting and vocal performance. The visual production is also incredible. Love love 

How did you get to your first gig and how was it?

Haven’t had one yet because of covid!

Tell us one interesting fact about yourself that no-one would expect.

I am a coder and built a predictive search company called Aviate in a previous life 🙂 

You’ve mentioned that ‘Messenger’ is a reflection of the difficult moments found within social media. Do you think social media is a predominantly negative force at this point or can we still turn it around and use it for a positive experience?

I have a deep experience in technology, building the predictive search company Aviate. Though it wasn’t our direct focus, we spent a long time both talking to users as well as looking at the data of millions of users. This learning was incredibly heartbreaking, to say the least. At this point, social media is absolutely damaging for a mental health perspective – we have plenty of research now to back that up. While there are occasions of positive psychological experiences with social media, we now have clarity that’s mostly damaging. I am an optimist that yes, something could change here. The platforms, and the people who run them, have the opportunity to change how their platforms are used. Unfortunately, with an overwhelming amount of research, the leaders of these key products have chosen to not make big changes. The Center for Humane Technology is doing a lot of amazing work with the leading tech companies as well as our federal government to potentially help change this status quo we currently live in. I love their work. I am hopeful that over time, we can see these platforms care for humans and not just optimize for engagement and revenue.

What do you consider your biggest achievement so far?

When users DM me and share with me how my music is helping them get through and cope with covid — nothing brings a bigger smile and sense of purpose 🙂 

Famous last words?

I love this quote from the poet Mary Oliver from her poem Wild Geese “Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination, calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting — over and over announcing your place in the family of things.”

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