When his song “Bad Boy” became a drop in the restless ocean of TikTok virality, producer and songwriter Dallas Cotton, better known as Yung Bae, was making music in his mom’s basement in Portland. “I didn’t understand TikTok when it was happening. I still don’t get it, but I do respect it,” he told Noisey. “It truly blessed me. No matter how much I don’t understand it, it changed my life.”
Yung Bae’s new album, Groove Continental: Side A, is full of exotic and euphoric songs with features from musicians who took them in radiant directions: from EARTHGANG and Pink Sweat$ to Channel Tres, Jon Batiste, and more. “Touch The Sky” is a bubbly funk tune featuring The Ready Set, one which came together by chance through a fluke Kidz Bop session and eventually became one of Yung Bae’s favorite songs on the album.
“Jordan is insanely talented and quick with it,” Yung Bae said of working with The Ready Set’s Jordan Mark Witzigreuter.
Groove Continental: Side A is light and luminescent, and it came from a meticulous interest in exploring sound. “Exotica and anything [from the] ‘60s makes me happy. Japanese Disco and 808s make me happy,” Yung Bae said. “I had a blast making [the album]. It got me out of a rut. I needed this album.”
Yung Bae spent 6 Hours ahead of his performance in Washington, D.C. with Noisey. He spoke about the paradox of being someone who struggles with social situations and considers his “element” hanging out on the couch with his cats, but he also loves to make music and wants to share it with his fans. He looks at his artistic craft and his mindset as neighbors that can support each other in moments of necessity.
“Full transparency, I’m diagnosed with OCD,” he said. “I have a very big issue with certain social situations. Most of the time, I have a hard time meeting people.” The music comes naturally, but as a performing artist, Yung Bae has been on a daily journey of adjustment, giving trust to his fans and settling into the flow of touring. “The fans showing up and being so welcoming—they make it super easy,” he said. “My team has been completely there for me. I’ve slowly adapted. I have fun at shows again. I love meeting and befriending new people—it’s always fun.”
Yung Bae’s bouncy, nostalgic production style makes his songs feel designed for feeling good because they are. They’re about going out, wearing what you want, dancing, floating, connecting, wandering, and healing. Yung Bae indulges in the ridiculous and exuberant. When asked what would be his dream TV show to write music for, he says the answer is Dexter’s Laboratory. “Film and TV composers are geniuses,” Yung Bae added. “That’s one of my goals one day. Now I’m scheming on that. Get me for Shrek 5!”