Nico Yaryan What A Tease on LP
How far would you go to be with the one you love? And what would be enough to tear you apart? These are the questions that led Nico Yaryan down the long, arduous, but beautiful road towards his debut album, What a Tease. Rife with both celebrations of and elegies for his star-crossed romance, Tease introduces Yaryan as a new voice, one that has arrived only to deliver an uncomplicated tale of complicated transcontinental love.
Before all of this, Yaryan began as the son of Northern Cali hippies, a creative kid who cut his musical teeth on drums and midi samplers, digging through dollar-record bins and dreaming of producing hip-hop beats worthy of his idols, like J Dilla and DJ Premier. He would pass a few cavalier years of adolescence and early adulthood (as he tells it) "sort of sidetracked, working retail jobs, and skateboarding, and riding bikes, and drinking, and being a kid."
But that changed the day Hanni El Khatib, a close friend from high school, came looking for a tour drummer. "I didn't have a drum set, and I wasn't playing actively at all," the 32-year-old remembers. "But I was really stoked on what he was doing, and I was looking for the next thing. I always wanted to do music, I just didn't know what anymore."
So off he went, traveling the world with El Khatib for two years, not knowing that the experience would bring into his world two of his greatest loves. The first was the guitar, an instrument he'd been too intimidated to learn as a teenager and the second, of course, was an unlikely romance with a Dutch student. "We fell in love," he says. Forced to return to the US, Nico spent the better part of a year in seclusion clipping weed in the hills of Humboldt County, CA to fund several month-long trips back to Amsterdam.
As their relationship unfolded in the face of geographical (and financial) adversity, so did the songs that would become What a Tease. Opening with the tattered allegory of "Old Gloria" and the lonely masochism of "You Belong to Me," the record lets more than a little darkness surface: the agony of watching yourself fuck up a good thing became "Just Tell Me"; the shifting nature of success informed "Dreamers"; mistrusting the nature of his love led Nico to "Witch Love."
But throughout, there's an undercurrent of perseverance and determined tenderness, songs like the cavernous "Infinity" and, perhaps especially, album-closers "Your Love Never Lets Me Down" and "I'll Stay With You When You Die." So what happened next? you ask. Did they make it work? The more important question, perhaps, is whether you, too, would have the guts to try.