- Words Notion Staff
- Photography Paige Margulies
Yot Club's Ryan Kaiser shares his musical firsts, speaking about turning a hobby into a career, the obstacles he's faced, and Jim from The Office.
You can rely on Yot Club to warm the grey days of January. It’s the instantly likeable lo-fi indie-pop project of Mississippi-raised, Nashville-based singer and producer Ryan Kaiser, who writes, records, mixes, and masters every song he releases independently.
Reserved despite his almost 200 million stream count on Spotify alone, Kaiser has only been releasing music under the moniker Yot Club since 2019. Balancing three jobs with 18 hours of classes per week, he always saw music as a hobby. Now, thanks to his viral sucess from (you guessed it) TikTok, Yot Club has become an actualised self-sustaining dream.
At the tail end of 2021, Yot Club shared the nostalgic, summery new single “Deer Island”, the last taste of upcoming EP, ‘Santolina’, dropping 14th January.
Speaking on the track, Yot Club said: “Deer Island is a tiny island with no residents. You can see it from the coast and I’ve always thought it looked super creepy and liminal. One night I read about a guy that used to live there alone in a shack. He would paddle out to fisherman and tourist and sing for them and they would throw him tips. Everyone referred to him as the hermit of Deer Island and he was apparently very well liked throughout town. I just thought it was a cool story and it shows that if you do what you love, people will almost always be supportive even if it’s weird.”
Notion caught up with Yot Club’s Ryan Kaiser to hear about his musical firsts – from the first Fender guitar he owned to the first record he released and much more.
First song you ever made?
It’s called “In the Way” by Amateur Observer. I’ve had a few SoundCloud projects throughout the years but Amateur Observer was my first. It was like 2014 and I was in high school. I deleted all those songs off SoundCloud but someone still has “In the Way” on their Bandcamp if you look it up.
First song you released officially?
My first non-Soundcloud release was for Yot Club and it was the song “Jaded”. It’s funny it’s actually my least popular song to date.
First CD or record you owned?
When I was 8 I wanted a Greenday ‘Nimrod’ CD so my mom took me to the mall and Greenday had a parental advisory sticker so I got ‘Panic’ by MXPX CD instead. I also listened to a bunch of my parents’ CDs. They had R.E.M, Cake, Cowboy Mouth, Proclaimers, Elvis Costello, They Might Be Giants, and a bunch of other 90’s college radio-type stuff.
First time you realised you wanted to be a artist?
I’ve been recording songs in between work and school for a few years now and I’ve always just seen it as a hobby or an outlet. My plan was to work as a producer, writer, or something on the back end. It wasn’t until recently that I realised being an artist could be a self-sustaining job. I’m really appreciative of all the support I’ve gotten this year that’s made it possible.
First gig and first festival you went to?
The first show I went to was a local band called The Weeks. I haven’t really been to a lot of festivals, I think my first one was Beale Street Music fest back in high school. I saw Band of Horses, Kaiser Chiefs, Paramore, St. Vincent, Rise against, and for a brief moment G Eazy.
First time you faced an obstacle in your career?
Probably trying to translate the songs into a live performance. When I recorded a lot of my songs, I wasn’t even thinking about playing them live. I was just trying to make something that sounded cool. Some of the songs are in warped keys and some have weird vocal effects, which is all stuff I’ve had to figure out for the live show. I’m not a big gear nerd and I’m not great with technology so it’s been a hump to get over.
First instrument you owned?
A black Fender Squire Strat, the one that comes in a box with the amp and case.
First time you felt like giving up?
Music has always just been a hobby for me so I’ve never really gotten the urge to give up, I almost gave up on school a bunch of times though. Sometimes I’ll get the urge to give up on a single song if I can’t get it sounding right but I can’t give up on music as a whole because I don’t really know what else I would do.
First time you felt starstruck?
I’m not sure, I don’t really keep up with celebrity names or what they’re doing. When I was younger Jim from The Office was in a movie in my hometown and they shot a scene behind my work. So I guess Jim from The Office. I know that’s a lame answer.
First time you ticked off a bucket list goal?
I try not to get hung up on bucket lists. I think when you fixate on your biggest, most ambitious goals it makes you ignore the smaller day-to-day accomplishments that get you there. My song went platinum this year and was even the number one song in the world for two days, but I would have never put that on my bucket list because it would’ve felt ridiculous and possibly even jinxed it. I just try to focus and stay as busy as I can each day and just see what happens. All the support lately has given me a lot of motivation and made things super easy.