Yellowtechnica is making music within a luminous, multi-dimensional, retro dreamscape. Born Derrick Cheung, the artist, producer, and DJ began experimenting with piano as a child and discovered upright and electric bass as a teenager, refining his guitar skills and growing even more consumed with rhythm and groove. As Yellowtechnica, he has built a vast and momentous career spanning fashion, curation and event production to creating hauntingly charged music of his own—his talents lie not only in conjuring sticky melodies with guitars and synths, but in bringing people together to connect through music. “I’m trying to build this world that connects the energy of DJ nightlife with this more indie guitar music world—two parts of me,” he told Noisey.
His new song, “DIE4U,” is full of winding, atmospheric synths and dark, explosive energetic shifts. He strung the track together gracefully, traveling across a spectrum of synthesizers and layering complicated, dreamy vocals. The “DIE4U” music video, directed by Justin Morris and Nicholas Woytuk, plants him in a timeless motion picture scene of a cowboy on a smokey, hypnotic journey, singing the lyrics to the forlorn track—a concept based on a vision of “backyard wrestling meets rodeo”, he said. “I think visually, Justin wanted to play with the idea of the calm at the beginning of the song, and the interlude in the middle and then the utter chaos at the end.”
“DIE4U” is jam-packed with emotive production builds, dreamy guitars and gentle synths, and in the video, Yellowtechnica traverses all these textures and tones in a glistening and terrifying series of shots. At one point, he is dragged through gravel with dirt and rocks spiraling up at him. At another, he’s spinning in a circle suspended from a crane. “I’m OK with heights, but I’m very scared of giant machines,” he said. In both moments, the video encapsulates his detailed lens to storytelling and his appreciation for theatrics.
Revisiting writing “DIE4U,” he explained that the song reflects his tendencies in love. “I think I have this thing where I fall in love too quickly,” he said. “I wrote the song right after I had been seeing somebody casually and I was taking it very seriously,” he said. “So it’s about meeting someone new and feeling like, in a very short time, you would die for them… and then realizing very quickly that is not what you’re meant to do.”
Of its production, he said, “I think to me, 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, the chaos ensues. The song is quick, too, kinda short, which is also very representative of the relationship,” he laughed.
“It has sexiness and romance and breakups and fights and sadness. I’m trying to explore all those things.”
In both writing and recording, he has the comfort and fearlessness of a musician whose fingers gravitated naturally to guitars, dating back to his time in a cinematic post-rock band in high school. “It all comes full circle,” he told Noisey. “Guitar was my entry to music, I started getting into electronic and DJing when I was in college.” From his first gigs in his hometown, Baltimore, to throwing parties in Boston while taking classes and Berkeley and Emerson, he knew he loved creating connection and catharsis for listeners through experimental music experiences.
Yellowtechnica’s new EP is coming out in the next few months. “I’m still exploring my sound and trying to stretch my voice in different ways and take on different personas in the songs,” he said. In 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 of these feelings. Sometimes it's dark and gritty, and feels really emotional, and other times it’s aggressive and high energy. It has sexiness and romance and breakups and fights and sadness. I’m trying to explore all those things.” Among all this, “DIE4U” is a glimpse into the vibrant and rich imagination of an artist who enjoys stepping out of his comfort zone completely.